Present Moments, Future Promises – The Now & The Not Yet

Life is experienced within a divine tension between where I stand right now and where I want to be in the future, my not yet. Living in this tension is not always easy and sometimes in deep frustration I may want to escape from my own life. Over the past 10 years, while trying to build a ministry, I continually focused on my not yet times, discounting the beauty waiting to be revealed in the moments that were right before me.

This cost me friendships, unique life experiences that were right before me. But, I was driven, seeking a passionate pursuit of promises in my not yet future. Rather than waiting on God, enjoying the journey, I often disregarded my day, focusing ahead, in a hurry to get there. Looking back, I was filled with regret over what could have been that I simply did not see. There were moments hidden in my day to day that I bypassed looking for more important endeavors.

FlickrWhile I lived in Abu Dhabi, I focused on Finland. When I was in Finland, I focused on Abu Dhabi. When I was in the States close to my family, I was always thinking about something else. God revealed to me how often I was not in the moment. I was present but my mind was captivated by something else, always. I am very thankful that God does indeed redeem the time, making all things new, with fresh starts instead of false starts.

All along this journey, people kept giving me the same prophetic word, over and over, in various ways, through various people at various times.

Rest.

Debra, God says to rest.

Holy Spirit is teaching you to rest.

Those words became a thorn in my flesh because my flesh was concentrating on making ministry happen. I almost disdained that word – rest. Why? Because it hit my heart at a place I needed healing and I didn’t want to deal with it. It’s the same sad story for many of us. Trying to please God. Performing to prove ourselves to others and to God. Trying to win His approval. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to this constant pursuit to be accepted by God for how you perform.

Little Guy With PostitsI wanted to build, to grow a ministry, to find my place in time, to access my destiny. Along the way, there were many false starts as you can read from the previous blog post. I lived looking ahead, constantly. When God finally saw fit to shut it all down, I struggled with rejection, feeling abandoned and deep regret. Then guilt also set in trying to make it right. What a mess!

Rest, trust, abiding. I get it……….now.

Life is short on this earth. Keep the main thing the main thing. Never forget it. Life is filled with moments of hidden potential. Yet, they are lost if we continually focus and fill our time with the not yet in the future. Our focused pursuit of this not yet trying to make it happen or trying to get ahead leaves us completely bankrupt. Sadly, we don’t see it until some future point that we strive to get to achieve what we think we want. We find it only leaves us empty.

I thank God that each day is filled anew with His mercy and grace. I thank Him that there are second chances, third chances, fourth chances…..

All God’s promises will come to pass, in His timing and In His way. By faith I access the not yet future through spiritual vision. I walk day by day, looking at my horizon line, knowing God knows the way. Through visions, prophetic words, and dreams, God reveals to me great and glorious things for me to do now and in the not yet future. I walk. I live. I trust. Life is a continual journey, one to be explored, a great adventure. My life in Christ flows in sync with eternity’s divine rhythm while living on earth. That is Christianity at its finest.

Each day holds beauty, moments filled with astonishing revelation of His abounding grace. I accept the now times of my life, living each day to the fullest. I don’t discount the day, no matter how routine or boring life may appear to be. Life’s mundane routines hold the glory of Christ. There are moments in each day, which hold keys to hidden doors, waiting to be opened into wide places of opportunity. I open my eyes to see, right now.

The future is realized through walking in sync with God in my now. I don’t have to run to get there. It will unfold right before my eyes as I focus on intimacy with the Lord. I am learning to be content and in that there is great wisdom.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

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Called Forth – Out of the Tomb – Shame and Finland – My Testimony

As roots are ripped up in our lives, the lies that attach to these roots are shaken off, losing their power. Nothing is left to sustain the lies. The root is up and out. So, glorious freedom in grace flows in.

Here goes. I have hesitated writing this because of shame but Holy Spirit drew me upstairs, wooed me to write because it is time to come out of the tomb.

I truly do feel that my time in Finland was, for me, like living in a tomb – encased in the mundane and shadows. This is not meant to offend anyone. It is what I experienced. My life.

I let it happen – I would not let freedom truly arise in me. Over time, I locked myself in a prison, shackled to shadows of what I believed others thought of me or I perceived others thought of me. In any case, the clouds and the darkness descended on my life and have not moved in this season…….until today.

I feel that I was initially sent into Finland to give what was in me – freedom, creativity, and identity in Christ. I was called to walk in Holy Spirit to set people free to be whom God created them to be. Yet, I allowed discouragement, disillusionment, and anger to encase me in a tomb the longer I stayed in Finland.

So today, I forgive Finland. Can I forgive a nation? Yes. Now, this is not written towards those whom I knew closely. This is not about them. It is about others who judged me without knowing me. Rather than come alongside, they stayed their distance and perhaps my anger and their inner silence would not allow them to come closer. There is no blame. There is no shame in this. In any case, I forgive all who hurt me – devastatingly hurt me. God’s grace is for all of us – we need it! All of us.

I have avoided saying this because I wanted to be clear. Finland brought me into its own shame – a feeling somehow I was wrong – not my actions, but ME. I was wrong. It beat me down and left me for dead but very few knew it. I am speaking it forth today just for me. As Lazarus in the tomb, God is calling me forth, out of it all.

I have always had the opportunity to come ‘out’ but I could not because shame rooted a lie in me that I was wrong – my substance, how God created me. That is a lie for all of us. I may have done many things wrong in lashing out in inappropriate ways due to my pain, but Debra is good, perfectly and wonderfully, beautifully made. In all this pain, aside from certain people, no one seemed to care, notice or even call. I forgive you Finland.

The Holy Spirit called me, wooed me upstairs to write this simply because Holy Spirit knew that I needed to put it out there whether anyone understood or not. My qualifying statement is this – I do love Finland, with God’s love.

I have hesitated writing this until today. I know it will set others free who have undergone what I have gone through – not being accepted in nations into which God has called you to go and undergoing silent pain, while standing firm in God because He is faithful to work out in you what He has planned for your life. God is all together glorious and wonderful!

What did shame do? It spoke to me subtly but persistently, “You are not good enough.” I heard it so long while I was there that I believed it. Inevitably, I, myself, then started asking people and situations this question, “Can I be me?’ I did not openly ask this but it was a question that circulated inside of me as I encountered many situations and people. I outsourced my life to external situations rather than trusting God. What was I thinking? It is all good – so very very good. God turns it all around and we are better for it. So selah……….I am now giving myself permission to BE whom God has designed me to BE, in His love, grace, mercy but in radical truth. I will continue to challenge people, risk relationships, step out in faith and be accepted and rejected, be misunderstood and more but I will never outsource needed affirmation to anyone but Jesus Christ. If I get it from others, great. If not, great. It is all good. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

In Christ
Debra

 

 

 

Creative Expression – Formed By Shame, Freedom In Christ

To walk in prophetic momentum in clarity of sound and a purity of heart, I need to be free from words of shame that formed my life. To speak words of truth, the source of life in me should be free from anything that is damming up the river from flowing outward. My identity in Christ is trying to flow forth from my inner substance, yet it is often blocked by my own sense of inner shame.

Shame imprisoned me behind a wall of insecurity and doubt, believing that somehow or someway, I was just not right. Guilt motivated my actions, proceeding from shame, trying to either people please OR just being downright angry with people for my perceived miserable life. Being up and down, like riding a roller coaster, my life was hardly one of resting in Christ. I sense that the prophetic in me flowed with clarity and function up till this time BUT to go further in this realm, death occurs in me so that resurrection life flows from me. That is a good thing that should not be avoided. Life is a journey. We advance going from faith to faith, glory to glory.

In times past, I often felt one of two ways. First, I would step out as bold as a lion in prophetic declarations and then second guess myself and wallow in fear and insecurity. Or, I would step out for the Lord, saying what I feel needed to be said, and because I was rejected or ignored, I would get angry. Both are only the overflow of inner wounding that desperately needed to be healed. The problem was in me and needed healing. God is determined to take prophetic people higher, if I can say it like that. To do that, He must aim for getting the cracks out of a faulty foundation of belief. With me, it was so simple. God was getting to that part in me that said I was wrong, not my actions but me. I was wrong, made wrong, formed wrong, just plain wrong. That is shame in its perfection.

When, as a woman, I tried to step out, knowing I heard from the Lord, shame often slammed me down, helping me to feel unworthy, unnoticed, or ignored. Often people’s words of condescension ripped apart my foundation, making me feel less than and far beneath them.

On the other side again, I have ‘pushed and ‘proved’ quite often in my life, despite these feelings inside, trying to qualify and justify just being me or speaking what I believe is from the Lord. Shame can keep you silenced or angry if you allow it to permeate your life, which I did at times.

Shame is the attack on your substance, who you are. No one can touch that place. That place is the inner sanctum where your spirit is alive in Christ. But, if you don’t see that place as the ultimate place of identity, you can be motivated by shame that either silences you or angers you. Am I laying this down understandably?

Shame entered my life through hard-hitting words, causing pain or anger. Shame also came through blatant rejection. In my head, I knew God loved me lavishly and passionately but the road from the head to the heart is often filled with pain as God heals those wounds that form our life. And, this is a journey in life as He heals and restores us day by day.

God spoke these words to me about one month ago.

“Debra, February will be a turning point for you.”

By the Spirit I can sense that what I am going through is leading me into ‘me’. The ‘me’ that He created, not the one formed in shame or guilt. Debra. It’s a journey and I am getting ready to go through a door into a new broad place.

The purity of the prophetic is moving in the testimony of Jesus. This is the spirit of prophecy. He wants a heart that is focused, willing, obedient and humble. The prophetic voice, flowing forth from me or you, should flow with intensity in the reality of His love as its source. Yet, His love, as I have said before, comes forth in many ways. It’s all in relationship.

To be continued……

In Christ, Debra

Please pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. Feel Free to contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our Contact Page on our website.

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The Voice Series

Living In A Hut Series

Creative Expression – Guilty For What You Do And What You Don’t Do

Guilt Guilt GuiltWell that’s the question folks. Do you ever do things out of guilt and then you feel awful, compromised, like crap? When I do something because I feel guilty – wanting to be accepted, promoted, or some such thing, I get pulled into a whirlpool of mixed emotions. I chastise myself for trying to produce results rather than letting things play out in time and letting things happen in due course. I take the reins and do it. Of course, it (the desire I am hoping to achieve) may initially work out BUT trust me, it will backfire eventually. Guilt should never be the driving force in any relationship or situation. Never. Never.

For me, doing things out of guilt for people was a biggie. It was never about them, but it is about me. Why did I do that? Well, to be quite honest, because I did not trust the Lord to do for me what I could not do, so I decided to work it up and do it myself. Then I felt guilty for doing things out of guilt because I know it won’t produce the desire that I wanted it to produce. There is an answer to it all. Glance over yesterday’s blog, okay?

Guilt is like going round and round in a whirlpool. Just wanted to repeat that for myself to let it settle in me. I feel guilty for what I don’t do and guilty for what I do. It’s a never-ending battle that actually is a by-product of a wounded heart. Somehow guilt has made me feel that I lack something. It makes me feel like I am not enough and I have to buy my way into situations or peoples’ lives. Have you ever been there? Oh by the way, buying your way in is not with money or it could be. It could be through control, manipulation or even promises to enhance relationships or situations. For instance, I can buy presents flattering people so that they feel wanted and do more. I can take people places that they would not be able to afford themselves because I have the money and they don’t. There are numerous ways to move in guilt.

I have decided to take a new approach. It’s called trust. Trusting God to make a way for me. Not cliché. Not some easy fix. It is reality. The overriding flow of guilt in my life flowed through my decisions. Guilt was behind many decisions I have made in times past. Suddenly, I see. Do you? Guilt robs you of an inner sense of calm, peace, and an awareness that you are enough whether things work out as you expected them to work out or not.

Guilt DefinitionHere’s a great one by Paul Ellis – The Cure for Guilt. Read it when you have time. It helped me see some things. We really need each other in the Body of Christ. Sometimes I am feeling things deep inside of me that I can’t express. I try, but the words don’t seem to come out quite right and hit the nail on the head with precision. So, I read an article that nails it for me and I say “Yep, that’s it. I get it.’

Insecurity in me on a massive scale drove me to DO for people to keep them close. It also drove me to control the environment to a certain degree. This was not done because I am an evil, angry ogre. No, I was just plain insecure with deep rejection issues. It was done because I simply did not believe, in the depths of my being, that I was enough for God. This driving reality in me kept giving me a subliminal message that sounded like this:

“You are not enough. Try harder. Buy them off with kindness. Fill their need. Take them places. Buy them things. You know, make it hard for them to go. You are second-rate, second choice. If you don’t do this, ah ah ah…………….you are not enough to keep this going.”

Yikes, that is pitiful but we do it. I have done it. Perhaps you have done it. Why do we do it? I don’t feel that Christ in me is enough to lead the way, get the job done, fulfill His promises, etc. But times they are a changing for me. I say “for me” because this is my internal reality. I am not blaming anyone for it at all. I can trace back these ‘guilt roots’ to my Polish upbringing. Guilt in a Polish family is served up on a fine platter, able to be digested at every meal. No lie. That is truly how it was. I love love love my parents (now deceased) but breaking this ‘thing’ is essential in my life.

I am writing this off the cuff to help each of you avoid making these same mistakes. I have not arrived but this whole thing about guilt is being exposed in the light of the finished work of the cross. And, it feels so good.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)

I draw near to God, who through His Son has freed me from guilt and condemnation. The lack that I have inside myself, those places of lack that are like giant voids in my being, are there because I don’t believe or refuse to accept the fact that Christ is full in me. I am enough in Him. He is all in me. It is tempting to work up our lives to compensate for the fact that things are not happening or life is not going the way it should be but that is not the way to go. Not at all.

Guilt - The HeartHis life flows through me, always revealing to me His perfection, flowing through my desert places, those places of deep voids and depths of woundedness that still exist for all of us, no matter how old we get in life.

The anecdote for guilt for me  – STOP – stop trying to make it work. Stop trying to make people want to do things. Stop trying and rest, be still, and listen. It works for me and establishes me on a strong foundation of peace. Now, that is not saying that it won’t rise up again and I will be tempted to buy someone out in some way through guilt. It may happen. The answer is to focus on the reality of the finished work of the cross, realizing that He has done it all for us. Guilt and condemnation has been nailed to the cross and we are free. There is NO condemnation (or guilt) for those who are IN Christ Jesus. That’s me. And you.

Our Past, Our Future and Our Now!

ImageThoughts on grace today – a bit subjective but this is a journey and we are all in the process of walking it out day by day! So enjoy!

The beauty of His grace is established in my life – where I now stand and walk and live – in freedom, in righteousness, and in holiness in Christ.  Yet somehow, as I mature day by day in Christ, I still remember at times how lost I was without Him – how utterly devoid of life without Him. This remembrance does not mean that I focus on myself as being a sinner saved by grace. I see it as a revelation of how grace swept me up out of the reality of my lost condition without Jesus Christ. He set my feet on a rock that is sure and solid and real. It’s where I am – now!

My earthly father used to tell me that it’s good to know where you come from. Yes I know I am a new creation BUT I believe what my Dad said is true. Knowing where you come from, being gently reminded of that at times shows the beauty of grace in my journey of where I am walking now. It works so great for me. It’s not that bad to look at where we were without Christ – I just don’t live there anymore.

In seeing clearly this reality of who I am in Christ through unveiled eyes I am also thankful that sometimes I can also remember and see who I was apart from Him, without Jesus in my life. I don’t dwell or abide in the past, trying to procure divine favor day by day to secure my position in righteousness in the present. I know and see who He is and where I was and where I am. I don’t define myself as a sinner saved by grace in order to justify the beauty of His grace in my life now.

It’s like this for me- my take on it. It’s cool to go back to the old neighborhood in Chicago to see where I lived, the streets I walked, and the house I lived in. When I do that, because of the beauty of grace in my life, I usually respond with a simple statement. “Wow, God, you are soooooo good to me! You have brought me a long way!”

Grace is a journey – day by day by day. The journey is the reality of Christ Jesus revealing Himself to me in my relationship in Him and with Him. We are in that reality while at the same time walking in its expanding revelation throughout our lives. We are to enjoy the journey!

Grace does not establish me in a nebulous existence where I live on a ‘happy’ cloud, unaware of where I was, where I am or where I am going. Remember, grace is a journey in Christ.  I can’t eradicate the fact that I was lost without Him, I lived under law and I am gloriously saved by His grace through faith in Him. That’s awesome!

Grace keeps me moving forward while religion wanted me focused on my past. Grace leaps into the future while religion wanted me bound to what I was. But both do not negate the fact that we can’t run away from the reality of how much we needed a Savior and He was there for us I don’t want to forget where He brought me from but I don’t use that as my point of reference as religion can and does do. I see where I came from and glory in the beauty of grace even though I am a new creation now.

The simple reason I am writing this is because I have found that when I faced my past and did not run from it but looked it straight in the eye, I saw reality. My reality without Christ. Then I shifted my gaze to Him and His love for me and in doing that grace became so precious and so real and so true. My past brought me into the reality of my now and my future in Christ and His salvation. Like I said, I don’t live there anymore but I can’t eradicate the memories of my life without Him.

So what am I saying? I believe at some point, when people are confronted with grace, they will have a meltdown in His love. It has to happen to each of us individually in some way or grace can become some nebulous ideology devoid of the person of Christ. Each time I look at my life, where I am, where I come from, where I am going, I don’t feel condemned in any way. I feel so grateful, so thankful for His grace and His love for me. Grace reached into my reality, into my life right where I was. I could not avoid facing that reality. Grace lifted me out of condemnation, out of guilt and I don’t have to live there ever again. But, like I said every now and then memories arise that show me how much I need him each day. That’s not a bad thing! It adds life, and richness and fullness to the journey so that grace is not something we just talk about but it is about our life in Christ! Real, experiential, honest, open, true, loving, full……and so much more!