Sounds Within Sounds – Speaking Truth, Bringing Healing and Confronting Contradictions Part 1

Heart MonitorA variety of sounds cross a threshold into my life on a daily basis. God anoints me in Holy Spirit to hear sounds within sounds and the discernment to know what people are really saying behind a multitude of words. He teaches me to walk in humility and grace in this, knowing when to speak and when to be silent and listen. Just because God shows me something, it does not give me the right to speak. Lesson learned.

Moving in this vein, I listen to what people are saying, and then discern the root of what they are dealing with in their life. Once discerned, prayers manifest which display God’s power and healing into the person’s life. This is discernment on an individual level, person by person. All of us in Christ should be moving to some extent in this way. It is normal Christianity.

As God forms my voice and my sound, I see something else happening in my life. My ear is being attuned to discern a sound that is coming forth in a larger wavelength, across a wider spectrum of people – a corporate expression of Christianity today. Many are answering a question: “Who do you say that I am?” How do we see Jesus? How do our words actually flow from our heart in who Christ is? Does religion veil His reality, His preeminence from us, trying to keep us imprisoned to Christ out there? ? Or is grace awakening us to Christ in me? Big difference.

As I check Twitter and FB, I often see trends or patterns as new sounds emerge through writing, videos and images. These new sounds can be shallow and trendy, without substance or meaning. These sounds take flight; people hook up to them and pass them on, never truly experiencing the reality of what they are saying. Quite often they are immature birthed from a need for reputation and image.  They can also be sourced in anger, fear and frustration flowing from a religious spirit. A lot is being said out there.

New sounds merge with old sounds. Some die a quick death. Some hang on and are espoused as truth even though upon closer inspection they are error. Some even create a movement in and themselves. We need wisdom and discernment. And, we greatly need the simplicity of Christ and the power of the Gospel, the Good News. Too much has obscured our vision and suppressed or even killed the voice of Truth in the person of Christ.

Hearing, on a larger scale, is being refined within me as I pray for God to clarify my voice as it flows from my life, removing any contradiction in my sound that would contradict the sound of heaven and the Kingdom of God. I constantly think about Jesus saying that His words are spirit and life. (John 6:63) I am listening carefully. What am I looking for in the Spirit? Who am I saying Christ is in the power of my words?

The prophetic flows in sound  and image – words, visions, dreams, dance, art, music. The prophetic needs an upgrade at this time into a clear sound flowing from being in Christ. Right now, I hear a lot of remix or mashup of past sounds just for something to say – words like revival, breakthrough, etc. Then there is also a dissonance coming forth as the Old Covenant is placed on the same level as the New Covenant denying the present reality of the finished work of the cross and Christ in us.

The Light Goes OnThe sound of the prophetic should actually move in a New Covenant reality, confronting the contradictions that permeate an old sound of religion or an old sound of mixture. An awakening of grace is here to stay and will only grow stronger in the days ahead. While moving in the prophetic, I confront contradictions. Why? To prove my point?  No. I confront any sound, which denies the preeminence of Jesus Christ, His grace, the finished work of the cross and New Covenant reality.

Have you noticed something?

Listen carefully as people talk, expound, argue, and ferociously try to defend their words. Listen to the sound of it all.

Simplicity sounds forth in resonance – rich, clear, full. This sound flows into us, imparting to us a deep knowing in Christ. These are words of spirit and life.

Religion always complicates and adds the extraneous and the externals to its defense. It is a dissonant sound, one that lacks harmony and is simply noise. It is essential that our spiritual hearing be fine-tuned to hear what may not apparent to many. Hear the sound within the sound.

Part 2 tomorrow.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Creative Expression – Invisible Women – To Be Seen Or Not To Be Seen, That’s The Question

Do you ever feel invisible? Seriously. Do you ever feel that you can be in the midst of a crowd, your family, your friends and suddenly you realize that not only do they not see you, but they don’t even know they don’t see you? Ever been there? My own life is taking a turn this year. In the midst of this growing transition and inner frustration I heard this condescending remark, “You should just get a hobby.” Not a good time to say that to me.

Several months ago, I kept telling my husband that I felt invisible. A recurring picture flashed before my eyes. Parts of my body were disappearing as I looked in the mirror. About 3 weeks ago, I saw a book on Amazon. Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray. I was not even looking for a book like this. I did not even know a book was written with such clear and astute humor to address this phenomenon and to assure me that I was not alone.

Jeanne Ray wrote this at 60 years old. What can I say? It is great. It should be mandatory reading for families, churches, leaders, and friends of women over 50. It’s awesome. It’s fiction, filled with subtleties that make one burst out laughing and realities that make one cry. This book is a Godsend to me.

I relate to her in every way. It is real. It is very real. In my particular situation, a woman minister, over 50, and over 55 and almost 60, I sense that older women are the ‘new lepers’ in the church at large. Heck why not let me say that it is a reality for women of my age in general. End of sentence.

You know, I (or we) can do something about this.  Instead of shrinking back as a fading wallflower roaming the aisles of Walmart or  worse, becoming a dissatisfied, angry gritch charging forth with offense and sarcasm, we can make ourselves seen. Seen – not by force, or pride or a rotten attitude. It’s more than that. How? By being ourselves and seeing ourselves before we expect others to see us. They may never change. I can’t do anything about that. But, I can focus on me, the ‘me’ inside that is still alive in every way. The ‘me’ that walks in grace and humility, responding to condescension with a smile (most of the time). Or how about the ‘me’ that won’t get angry each time I am looked over and around but not at?

Here’s just a quick ‘aside’ for a moment. See the cover of People this month? Wow, look at Christy Brinkley at 60 after 4 marriages and 3 kids. They exalt her ability to look good ‘at her age’. There it is. That subtle comparison to what? A 40-year-old? A 30-year-old? A 20-year-old? How contrived and manipulative.

Maybe it’s just me? I have nothing against looking good but come on – there’s got to be a better way. So now my goal in life is to avoid being ‘me’ and somehow to strive to be just as good, fit, healthy, youthful, or ______ (fill in the blanks) as someone else defined by the media. Just as good – a comparison in and of itself. They don’t say it. They never say it but implication is evident by just looking at the cover. What if I want to be as good as ME? If you want affirmation, don’t look to the media. Please don’t.

Thank God for God. God, the ultimate emancipator, the consummate lover of women, proclaims, “Be free. Be released. Just BE!!!!”

And, He is saying, “Enough is enough.” I may not stop this invasive onslaught to annihilate my God-given identity as a woman of God over the great age of 50, no 55, no……okay, almost 60. But, I can ride the wave of speaking life and release to myself in Christ and to those wonderful gals coming after me.

Here is a great Facebook posts.

And another.

Just one more.

Let’s confront the heart attitude that must accompany this release. When I feel invisible, I feed into the norms of the culture at large that dictate my identity based upon my age or gender. It’s a double whammy. Age and gender – over 50 and a woman. So much condescension has been leveled at me over the years of being in Christian ministry. Yes, there were many men and women that supported me but there were more that tried to shut me down at times.

Invisibility permeates a woman’s life because culture at large, in many places around the globe, simply disdain women leading to everything from sex trafficking to prostitution to inner wounds of depression, anxiety and fear.

God has been teaching me a lot over these past few years regarding this subject. To actually be seen, I had to see what it was really like to be invisible. I had experience after experience in life, showing me that no matter what I did or said, people were not listening to me. I lost my voice. I lost confidence. I lost ‘me’. I did not even know why. In fact, at this conference that I just attended, a woman got up, came over to me, put her arms around me and said, “You have lost your voice. The enemy has tried to shut you down for many years. But, God is restoring your voice, sending you to the nations to speak and declare His words.” That one came from left field like a hurricane force wind through a woman of grace and glory. It was at this moment that scales dropped off my eyes.

So what do you think? Any comments?

I will leave you with a quote from the back cover of the book.

A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to and she’s only really missed when dinner isn’t on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible – truly invisible. She panics even more when her family doesn’t even notice a thing. Her best friend immediately observes the change, which relieves Clover immensely – she’s not losing her mind after all! – but she’s crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew it.

Clover discovers that there are others like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she used her invisibility to get to know her family and town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated, no matter what they role. Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray

In Christ

Debra Westbrook

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. You can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Speaking from Outside the Walls – My Journey

ImageHow to start? Let’s see. This is my journey outside the walls of the institutional church. This experience may not be for you, but it is mine. It is a journey that started in 2000 when God simply told us to leave the institutional denominational church where we served in a leadership position.

Qualification: We did not leave Christianity. We were not rebellious or independent. We left in obedience to God’s word to us. It began a glorious journey of joy, sadness, grief, healing, rejection, acceptance, love, anger, and total brokenness that forms our life right up until today as I write this blog.

We are now outside the walls, so to speak. Outside in the sense that we don’t attend a church every Sunday. But, we are looking and visiting, asking the Lord for a place where we fit to give and receive life from other believers.

Another qualification to forgo persecution from this blog:  I am not against the church and whether one meets in a cathedral, a home, a park, a coffee shop, or an office. The form is changing and we discovered that when we left in 2000, we wanted to be part of the change that God is bringing worldwide.

Last qualification before I get into the ‘stuff”. By writing this, many leaders will write me off perhaps calling me uncovered, not accountable, or some such thing. I am speaking this now to untangle myself from the assumptions people have of me and what I am and what I am not. I will write in an unscripted honesty to be free and to move out in what God has called Rivers of Eden to be. Let’s start.

I can remember the day discontent began to rise up in my spirit. It all began when the cry of my heart went something like this:

“If I go into the city, I will die. If I stay here, I will die. So I have to move up and out, but where?”

Where was that in Scripture? Oh yes. Here it is. It may be a bit obscure to some but the story sounded a lot like my own heart cry.

Image2 Kings 7:3-5 3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city, ’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” 5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. NKJV

That was how I felt. If I went into the city, the current condition of the church, there was a famine. Building on form and formality and fear of man, there was little if any actual flow of Holy Spirit. If I stayed where I was in discontent, looking at the church, standing outside the walls, I would die in a place of tension. The only answer was to move out. But where? It was scary being outside the walls. Religion had trained me up so well. I did all the right things. I said all the right things. Looking back. Looking around. Looking forward. There really was no alternative to moving out.

Little did I know then what the journey would entail. I thought everyone would understand. They did not. I thought I would still maintain relationships that I had in the church. I did not. I also thought that the ministry to which God called me would continue to grow. It did not. My journey begins right now. Thirteen years later, here I stand. So much has happened between then and now. Here goes………….