Holy Spirit Adventure – Look for the signs!

IMG_6588Sometimes I settle when God is saying “Hold on. Wait. Patience. Don’t take the first thing that comes your way.”

I may settle out of fear when nothing is coming my way that I can see.

I settle into lack, thinking that I don’t deserve anything better so I should take what is right before me. This is as good as it gets.

For any number of reasons, I settle for something less than what God has for me. What excuses do you use to hide fear, or lack, or anxiety? We all have them, in abundance.

We looked at over 10 houses to rent in Texas, not counting all the neighborhoods we drove around looking for rental signs. I discovered that there was a fight going on inside of me. The internal conversation went something like this.

“You know, Debra, the rental market is moving soooooo fast that unless you choose this one the next one won’t be quite as nice and then you will be STUCK without one. Or worse, homeless……..do you like that word?”

Or it can sound something like this.

“Debra, stop being so picky. Compromise a bit. You expect way too much.”

That’s just two examples of the never-ending story that stirred in my head.

7711866066_9ffdaf3078_zTruth – God very often withholds a bit to see if I am trusting Him to lead and guide me, despite what I see. Yes, the rental market is moving fast in Dallas. (All those darn Californians moving out this way. Haha!) And, yes, there is a chance that if I don’t pick what is GOOD right before my eyes, what will come next is NOT SO GOOD and then I am STUCK.

What I am still learning, after years of doing this, is that God always has something beyond good. He always gives me perfect and excellent, for ME. Of course, it may not look like what I initially think. It may not fit my plan. But, when it’s God, there is peace, there is joy and all the pieces seem to fall into place.

Here’s how we rented our home, our beautiful, excellent, perfect home for the next year. I am writing this to each of you to encourage you to journey in and with Holy Spirit. Life is too short to dwell on anything that has no eternal significance.

Day 4 of the search – long long days, one crabby woman, one tired husband and a French bulldog that did not want to be in a car anymore.

Ten houses or more later and each one seemed just not right. Not big enough. Way too big. No back yard for Chlo-girl, our Frenchie. No fence. Wrong neighborhood. Right neighborhood but boring. Too much traffic. Each one seemed lacking.

Was it really? Lacking? Not right? I should say it another way. Each house would be the perfect home – for somebody. But….not for us. I wanted ME when I looked at the home, when I walked through it. I wanted to know that this was THE one. That is how I live my life. It proves to be interesting. It always shows God’s faithfulness to me in the details.

One realtor looked at me, after seeing just one house he showed us, and said. “You know, you have to compromise.”

(Translated to my ears: I want to make this deal. Just pick this one.)

I just looked at him and said nothing. He had no idea about my life over the past few years. This time there would be no compromise. Trusting and waiting on God was the theme of the trip. God led us here. He guided us through every detail. He does not stop halfway through.

So one day, one long day, we drove to the last house on our list, the house that had been forgotten on a sheet of yellow lined paper, hidden way on the bottom of a list of many houses. There it was…..we knew…………we simply knew.

While waiting for the realtor to show us the inside, we stopped at a park to walk Chloe. We started to talk to a couple, a God divine connection for that moment. They spoke with heart about their Christian walk, their fears at this time in their life and the fact that meeting us was ordained by Holy Spirit for that day. She kept saying, “I know God wanted us to meet today.”

God whispers, “Debra, I have your back. Do you catch the signs? Always look for the signs.”

After getting their contact information, we went to see the house which was near the park. Bam…….all fell into place AND the great thing – the owners (bless them Lord over and over) completely redid the house inside – new floors, kitchen, all appliances, washer dryer AND gardening service. I saw the house and I saw ME, creative, alive and ready for a new adventure.

Thank you God for preparing our way in a continuing Holy Spirit journey….so excited about what is next. More to come.

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In Christ,
Debra
About Me
Rivers of Eden Ministry

 

Sometimes You Simply Can’t Go That Way? Then What?

I found myself telling a friend, “I can’t go into that room with you.” The words came out of my mouth, without an immediate understanding as to what they actually meant. I just knew, deep inside, that these words were accurate in what I felt. This room is not actually a room but a place in life where there may be a fork in the road. One person has to go one way while another person goes the other way. I simply said, “I can’t go into that room with you.”

For months, God did not fully explain why I said it that way. He also did not indicate to me what that statement meant. I lived in the tension, trying to figure out what I meant. Not wanting to be careless, uncaring, or arrogant. Not wanting to be nebulous or vague. I simply could not walk the way she was walking. It does not make the path inherently wrong. It simply means that it was not a way for me at this time in my life.

But, why? There’s the question. I finally got an answer, which brought me great peace and increased freedom.

One day in prayer, the Lord spoke to me.

“Debra don’t hedge your bets.”

Hmmmm? I always get these one-liners from God that take me down a path of understanding His way for my life. They work for me. God is gracious to talk to me with a bit of humor with a lot of creativity.

“Don’t hedge your bets.”

What does it mean?

“Debra, don’t walk forward, leaving a means of retreat open in case Plan A does not work. In your case, stick with the plan. There is no plan B. Follow me.”

“Debra don’t try to protect yourself from any losses by creating a protective barrier around you by following the same ole’ same ole’ way you have always gone.”

“Debra, don’t try to minimize your exposure to loss.”

“Debra, I have created you to take risks.”

God and I spent a whole day rehashing and talking through some things. Like how I have lost my ‘edge’ over the past few years. About how I opted for a safe route because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and rejected and invisible.

I can’t hedge my bets by choosing a sure thing. The only sure thing for me is a person, Christ Jesus. He is leading me by a unique, adventurous path. And I already see it starting. After I accepted His words. He began to tell me how He wired me to be and how I actually am and not to fight it all anymore.

So, I could not go into this room with this friend. Yes, she went into it but I could not. And, God does work it all for good, loving all His children.

I have to live my life following a different rhythm, not always easy or predictable but filled with a measure of risk and adventure. To not do life this way only leaves me bored and passive which is death to my soul.

Follow me a bit further. It gets good.

Jesus spoke to my spirit (paraphrasing of course).

Release fear of the future. I’ve got it all in My hands.

Release fear that the past will repeat itself like “Groundhog Day.”

Release fear that you have missed My plan for your life.

Release fear that people control your destiny by their actions.

Release fear of what people think about you – your failures, mistakes, etc.

Then, very succinctly, I heard, “Ask no more questions about the past. Walk forward.”

From that moment something happened, all in a progression of happenings over the past year. I sensed more and more freedom each day.

I know. I can’t go into anyone’s room that may pull me back into the mundane, doing what is expected in a safe way. I can’t walk into a place where possibilities are only something  continually talked about, but never pursued? Not me.

I can’t walk into rooms that are created for someone else. In fact, I don’t want to live in a room at all. A room is a confined space, limited for me, but perhaps not for others. God is cool in that – giving us what we each need.

I never intended to be selfish by not going into that room but I have followed people into so many rooms over the years that now, I want wide open spaces.

I have walked into rooms where people wanted me to mentor them, counsel them, finance their endeavors, talk with me, cry about their problems, walk through their pain with them, enter into their sorrow, their divorce, etc. And YES I have done it and always will do it as God leads for people who I love.

But NOW, that is not God’s plan for me. I want the wide-open fields, the broad places that are beautiful when it is sunny or when there are blustery winds and thunderstorms. I want these wide-open spaces for that is how I am wired in God.

I want the wide expanse of possibility that exists in the midst of what seems impossible, not being contained or conformed to the pressure of normalcy or the status quo.

I sought a measure of comfort for the past few years due to internal struggles and hopelessness. I am happy to say, that is not the case today.

So Lord, take the roof off or better yet, lead me out in a way you have chosen for me to walk…and to run. At least for this season. To walk on the path of faith that God places before me.

Lord, I won’t hedge my bets by choosing the safe way. This is the life you have given me to show forth your glory. Besides that, to take a path that I have taken before, expecting different results is insanity. I did not say that, Einstein did. He probably also liked wide-open spaces.

I won’t commit to be safe

I won’t rely on Plan B when you are a faithful God.

I won’t look for a way out.

I won’t live in fear and choose what is comfortable.

I won’t protect myself against loss by following what seems to be a sure path or a path where others may go, but I cannot go.

I won’t let safety and comfort be a protective barrier around me, keeping me in a false sense of security.

So what now? Doors are opening, wide, very wide. I had nothing to do with it. It is all about Jesus. Kenya is the first door – 3 weeks in August with a great team of people.

Here is a word for me – changed my life….hope you also love it.

Garris Elkins

The way forward you seek is through a doorway that will remain invisible until you step across its threshold of faith. Many have stalled at this point in their journey because they demanded to see the doorway before they were willing to step forward.

What you need to see is not visible in this realm of natural options and solutions. Seeing with natural eyes will only cause you to stumble and stall. The way forward will appear like a step into nothing, but it will become a step into something wild and beautiful.

As you step forward, you will be responding to a voice. Listen for the voice – this is your doorway. The one who said, “I am the door” is the voice inviting you to step forward. Once you cross this threshold an enter this doorway you will see what was not previously visible in your current circumstances.

In Christ
Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to live a prophetic life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in August in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information if you would like us to minister in grace and glory. If you even want to donate to this ministry, here’s the Rivers of Eden link.

 

Creative Expression – Revelation on the Beach

Ventura Beach Hi Everyone! I took 10 days off so that I could just chill and be in God’s presence. I let go of any expectation that I had to be ‘in the mix’ or a ‘need to know’ on social media. This brief season of rest was for the sole purpose of connecting intimately with Jesus Christ. I want to keep this blog fresh with thoughts that Holy Spirit brings into my heart. I don’t want to be compelled to deliver anything and yet, I do want to bring life to those of you who are reading this. Thanks for being here!

While sitting on the beach in Ventura CA (yes, I know it’s hard to sit at the beach facing the beauty of the Pacific Ocean but someone has to do it so I gladly obeyed the Lord that day) I realized (smiling) that God was speaking to me about His goodness. Do you ever feel second-rate, passed over or left behind? There are days when I feel totally accepted in the beloved and then there are other days when I feel like a step-child. Truth has to make its way from my head to my heart on those days and God is faithful to make that happen as His love touches my heart.

Do we realize that God’s goodness to us is NOW? So often I am pressing in to see the manifestation of a promise, or some future goodness that I fail to know that His present goodness to me is glorious and real. He is good – NOW! It is in His goodness NOW that I walk, step by step into the future. His goodness to us IS…….wonderful, awesome, marvelous and more – not dependent on how I feel or even circumstances that are flying around me causing me to lose my focus. His goodness is NOW.

Yet, what if I or you or anyone can’t see His goodness NOW, the NOW clouded by frustration, illness, financial difficulties, divorce, depression, anxiety, family pressure or any number of things that seem to surround many of us, in fact, many many of us.

We can become distracted by the NOW only looking to the past or straining to reach the future.

Ventura BeachHis goodness is NOW for God is good, whether our circumstances dictate that or not. He is good. So I cannot stand in judgement on God regarding His ways, which often are quite higher than our own understanding. He is good.

The expanding revelation of His goodness NOW carries me forward, step by step, one day at a time. The NOW is a safe place to realize that He is good and His goodness does endure forever.

This may be a bit obscure but the NOW is always moving forward into a new NOW. One day my eyes open to see the future promise that I hoped for, believed in are right there, manifest before me in the NOW. Yet, what if I neglected to see the beauty of NOW because it did not come as I expected? What if the NOW is causing me to lose faith in God? What if the NOW is trying to abort my future through discouragement or disillusionment?

I am realizing that God IS good right NOW and forever and He does work all things for good. At this time in my life, I see that in His goodness I am living in His presence and every promise will come to pass as long as I move in the NOW in intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why I had to take some time off. My focus became a bit distorted, little by little every day. I started seeing my past as a hindrance to my future. I also started seeing discouragement block my vision of my future. But, He changed all that in one simple trip to the beach in Ventura, CA. I love Cali! I absolutely love Cali! It is my home even though my heart is to travel to the nations, only to come back to that place I call home. Cali – My revelation location which allows me to breathe a long deep breath today and say with simplicity of heart – God is good……..and His mercy endures forever.

Debra and ChloeRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.