Ready? Set? Go? False Start!

Apart From MeFalse Start – an attempt to do something you are not ready or able to do; an unsuccessful attempt to begin something.

With a passion to move out in ministry, my zeal often ran ahead of wisdom. In other words, I had a lot of false starts in my life. Timing is everything!

False starts are not failure. God looks at the heart, sees its passion and graces us to start over in a particular endeavor with more wisdom. Failure paralyzes with fear and shame.  False starts? I set out and somehow it just does not work. Perhaps a mistake has been made. Grace abounds in all ways and we learn how to move in sync with God.

I walk back to the starting line to try again. Father God looks at me with great compassion and whispers,  “Wait for Me! Watch me closely this time. Move with me. Live in Me. I have not forgotten you. You got a bit ahead of Me and you weren’t ready. The time is soon.”

Zeal propelled me forward in a self-paced momentum. I thought I was ready so off I went. God smiled and loved me through it all.

Zeal alone can’t set the pace. Wisdom paves the way in God’s timing. Wisdom often requires that we wait a bit until all the pieces are in place. Wisdom is necessary for maturity. While zeal pushes me forward in my own strength, wisdom releases me in the right time. It’s not about a fast paced track. It’s about maintaining passion and focus for the long haul, giving all glory to Jesus.

Zeal without wisdom can be disastrous.. It all starts good as we jump out but unless restrained it causes burn out, discouragement and despair. Zeal alone can’t sustain. Thank God for His grace, love and mercy in the midst of false starts.

PaintbrushAs we grow in Christ and go from glory to glory, there are platforms of breakthrough and breakout. Holy Spirit opens a door and we are encouraged to walk into a new place.

Moving in God is my life. Being in sync with my destiny positions me in that sweet spot where I know why I have been created and set into this time. This is normal Christianity for all of us. In going from glory to glory, we try, we leap, we jump, we learn, make mistakes and have some false starts.

In my life, I so often focused on the future instead of resting in the present growing in wisdom and grace.  I was not exactly a woman of great patience. As I began to think today about false starts in my life, I felt no condemnation, no regret and no failure. None of us are perfect. We are all growing in grace. False starts are part of life and always will be. They enable us to grow in humility as we look to God alone.

Friday, as I was reading a great book,  I received a series of texts from someone who gave me a lengthy accurate prophetic word. The words shot into my heart like an arrow. They traversed the depths of my heart, healing and restoring. It was prophetically stated that the word came specifically on Good Friday because my time being in the tomb, in the darkness of vision is over.

The timing of this word was perfect. It addressed all my false starts in life, healing regret and disillusionment. The word addressed betrayals from people whom I trusted. These words healed rejection from just feeling humiliated that as I tried to step out in God over the years, I was often shut down, blatantly ignored with words of condescension.

I remembered the ministry work in Kenya, Finland, Abu Dhabi……so many false starts with great risk but also great successes too. Because of the regret, I sensed that I had been counted out of the race, a perfect lie from the enemy. There were buildings rented for meetings where money was invested, life poured out and no one came. That was a great source of humiliation and pain for me.

Is God in the pain? Is God in the false start? Well, let me just say my zeal and my flesh jumped out and He didn’t stop me. He knew there was much to learn in these mistakes that would be beneficial for my future. He allowed the setbacks for me to grow in wisdom. He saw the depth of my heart. He knew that with each setback, I ran back to my Father to learn, to cry and to grow. It’s all about grace.

Over the past few months until this Good Friday, I saw a momentum building in my life, step by step, glory to glory.  The prophetic word brought it all to the forefront and closed the past – done. It is finished. So appropriate to be on Easter weekend but God is so perfect in His timing.

TruthWhat about your false starts? Mistakes? Regrets?  When you dare to jump but it may not quite be the time. Walking sheepishly to the starting line again, one is filled with pain, regret and shame. Many want to hide for a bit. That;s normal but I want to tell you that without the passion of a false start, without daring to jump, without success and failure, how can you even come to know God’s grace? God’s grace flows through our weakness to be strong. God’s grace gives us life to take risks and to take chances and to see setbacks as just a part of life. His love for us NEVER changes. It is better to jump at times, risk it all and learn from mistakes than to live life doing nothing at all.

What happens when we jump out in a false start and realize it’s a bad choice? We walk back to the starting line, dejected and a bit shamed but what we see is God loving us through it all. His simply says, “Trust me. Wait. Follow me this time.”

Standing at the starting line is a place of growth. It’s hard to stand there and see others running ahead with what seems like great favor in whatever they put their hand to in life. I was there. I stood still. I watched day after day after day. In my heart, I was resolute. No false start this time at this point in life. There is this release upon my life to travel to the nations again – to preach, to build up leaders, to impart a revelation of creativity…..and so much more. After years of jumping out, learning, going back to try again, I feel free. No regret. No shame. Only a clear path. The power of this prophetic word Friday shifted my life. May these words I write to you today give you hope to try again, to release the past and to believe God. He is faithful! My life is my message. I walk and talk it so you can be ministered to by it. I tell my story….. without any pretense of trying to look perfect. 🙂

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!

Hidden? Prepare To Be Provoked

Einstein WomenWhen I am hidden (and it is for a season) I must discern the times. Discern = to separate, to perceive, to recognize. To discern the times, I look at this season through the eyes of eternity. I perceive its purpose in my life. I separate the truth from the lie.

Eternity’s sound: I am hidden in plain sight to prepare me.

Earth resounds with a lie: I am disqualified, hidden forever in obscurity because, let’s face it, I can’t cut it.

Hiddenness is a good thing. It’s a place to breathe, to rest and to gain a clear perspective. All around us, there is a tension between what heaven says and what the earth realm says. In the earth, tension is rewarded, busyness, business, and moving, constantly moving. In the eternal, rest is the greatest commodity. Resting and hearing the heavenly directive to move as Holy Spirit opens up the path. I choose the latter way, even if it hurts at times.

Discernment is critical in the season at hand. How do I perceive all of this? Being hidden in plain sight. Is what I am going through from God’s hand or someplace else? Is it a time of preparation or provocation from the enemy? Well it’s both.

I am reading Steven Pressfield: Do The Work. He talks about ‘resistance’. The resistance that comes from the universe itself each time we undertake to live a creative life: it’s all around us. I prefer to call this resistance by a name: the devil. Do what you like with the term or concept. Many may laugh at this or discount it but that does not negate the reality of evil to try to subvert and destroy our destiny in Christ. To a Christian, the enemy is real. His purpose: to steal, kill, and to destroy.

The enemy ALWAYS seeks to get you out of God’s timing.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJVS)

Jesus knew this and discerned this. He stayed in sync with God and in the timing of heaven. Yet, the enemy was ALWAYS, in some form, attempting to pull Him out of His eternal path. Jesus often said, “My timing has not yet come.” Stay in time with the sound of eternity and we will reach our destination.

Hiddenness move into our time to prepare us. This preparation runs side by side with the provocation of the enemy, which I blogged about in the last post.

Don’t give in to the accusations, which only serve to hinder your forward movement in time. In the midst of being hidden, while being prepared for a moment of breakthrough into greater responsibility and authority, remember we have to focus on the big picture that is before us. We then take steps, day by day, one at a time, to get to that place in the Spirit that is ordained for us to walk out in the earthly realm. How many get out of sync because they want to break out, come out prematurely? Not a good thing.

There is much preparation being done for breakthrough before breakthrough. That is why I can declare breakthrough and not yet see it. Behind the scenes is where so much is going on. I have to believe that. I do believe that for my God is faithful.

That is why I must discern the time, the right NOW that is leading me away from the past into the next step, the future. It is not a good thing to get bogged down in what happened in the past. I can look at the reality of what happened in the past and take it personally as an indictment against me and the reason as to why I am standing in this hidden place. I place condemnation upon my life because I am being chastised for what I did or did not do in the past.

Hiddenness in plain sight is a promotional time for me, even if I do not quite get it or see it. It is. Even when the accusations hit strong and hard, even when I am at the edge of not being able to take being passed over one more time. What keeps me going? It is Jesus and my love and passion for Him and His plan for my life. I submit to His restraining hand…totally blind and perhaps in the dark in my own understanding about the time. I submit out of love. No other reason. I love Him and I know He loves me. It is in the hiddenness that His love reveals itself to me, strong and sure. His love. Not as I understand love to be, but a love that is sure and real. A love that prepares the way in front of me (even in the darkness) in the midst of provocation and says, “Keep on walking.”

Thanks for following me in this blog. I am writing as I am walking and seeing, one step at a time. I don’t know where this is heading but I trust Him. Will I look like a fool if nothing works out and yet, I am writing all of this? Well, that may be one way to look at it but I can’t look at it that way. I know it will work out and this testimony will build all of our faith.

Question? Comments? I would love to hear from you. Are you hidden in plain sight? In your job, ministry, day-to-day life? How does it make you feel? Do you see it as a time of preparation or a time of disqualification? Comments?

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

 

Hidden In Plain Sight – A Time of Preparation Amidst Provocation

Apart From MeTrying to force myself to be seen at the same time that God’s hand was holding me back me for a season is not wise. A growing inner tension within my being left me increasingly tired. But, it’s not me to quit without a fight. God was happy to oblige but the funny thing is that I was the only one fighting. Kind of like boxing into mid-air, wearing myself out along the way, while all the time God waited for me to give in and just rest in being hidden in plain sight.

Amidst the whining, the complaining and the fear, God could have given me what I wanted just to shut me up and to teach me some lessons, like a good Father does. Thank goodness, He just waited patiently as His child (me) wanted her own way in her own time. My continual cry:

“Oh God, release me, pleeeease! I can’t take it any more! I hurt. My heart hurts. What do you want from me?”

Lesson learned in hindsight: My sense of timing is never God’s sense of timing. In this season, I learned to walk in a daily learning curve where day by day, I simply rested in the perfection of His plan for me, His way.

One more thing.

These times of internal preparation while being hidden are also times of provocation by the enemy who loved to harass me. (God on one hand placing me in obscurity and the enemy on the other, continually harassing me.) He loved to tell me that my life was being wasted and forgotten. He maligned the character of God and then had the audacity to wait for me to agree with him.

His accusations:
God can’t be trusted.
God has left you in this place to rot.
You can’t cut it and have been disqualified.

It’s the same old garden trick: “Has God indeed said?” (Adam, Eve, the snake – Genesis. Read it. It’s good.)

Flustered, totally frustrated, whining, crying, shouting, I was worn out, and sick of myself. What now? How could I believe that God, who I thought I knew, would place me in this painful season? Is this love? My accusations hit a crescendo. I leveled all kinds of charges at God for a while. And, when I was not accusing Him, I walked in a void, unable to see His hand in all of this hiddenness. I truly believed that somehow, in some way, God failed me.

Being hidden in plain sight was indeed a time of provocation but it was also a time of preparation. My hiddenness had a purpose but I failed to see it from heaven’s perspective. How could I when I was accusing God of not knowing what was best for me? The revelation began to unfold and then here comes this blog topic, which I continue to explore. God’s ways are not our ways; they are so much better but not always easily understood, at least not for me and definitely not in a place of being hidden in plain sight.

I repented (complete change of mind, change of heart to see and to know). I fell for the enemy’s line: “Has God indeed said?” (The ultimate accusation spoken by the snake in the Garden. It still works today for many of us.)

What went wrong? Thinking God’s ways were my ways. Not truly understanding Him, knowing Him. My being hidden in plain sight had a purpose, yet I failed to actually see it through an eternal perspective.

At that place of total submission in the midst of not truly understanding, God says, “Are you done yet?”
And I say, “I’m done.” I look at Him, sheepishly and somewhat askew. “Am I still hidden?”

And He says, “Yes.”

And I say, “Okay. But…….”

He interrupts my need to know and says, “I love you. You may not understand this now, but it’s good for you. Trust me.”

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

If you would like Rivers of Eden Ministry to come to your home group or gathering please see our Contact Page or contact us on Twitter. Read Our Timeline to get better acquainted with our lives.

Hidden In Plain Sight – So Much To Learn

In seasons of my life when I am transitioning from one place into a new place, I am often hidden in plain sight. Not a fun place to be. Funnier still is that God Himself initiates and maintains this time for me. He waits for me to stop moving so much and just sit still for a bit. If I don’t discern the time, I will find myself in great pain trying of my own will to wiggle out of it. Not understanding the ways of God’s love for me, I can consider it a divine chastisement or deep rejection by some heavenly courtroom passing a verdict that says: “Unqualified.”

Hidden in plain sight teaches me to trust God and God alone. He knows me and has my best interests in His heart. And, He wants to see how I respond when He is all I have to define my life. What happens as I am stripped of so much that forms my identity according to the world’s demands? How do I handle the pressure of being constrained by the hand of God to submit to this place even when it hurts? How do I handle being passed over when I know I am the woman for the task and there’s some great stuff within me?

He waits until I release. Release what? All of my life into His life, His plans, His purpose, and His way. Obviously that is taking awhile. I still feel somewhat hidden, no matter what I do, but I know that this will not be forever. This does not mean that I stand still, not doing anything but waiting and wondering where I am heading. Each day is a journey. I just don’t try to make things happen anymore. I don’t walk ahead of His purpose, but I do keep walking. And, when someone forgets my name for the 100th time or forgets the name of Rivers of Eden, I can smile now. Heaven knows all the necessary details.

This is a good season, one filled with a growing wisdom in me. Continual downloads of wisdom fill my being, transforming my life and my accompanying actions. I am learning to listen more and speak about me much less. I am learning to quiet down to see and hear in the Spirit with greater accuracy.

Lessons are learned through tears. If I even look sideways to see the immense favors on other ministries or other people, I lose my focus and can easily fall into a hole for a bit. So I don’t. I keep looking forward, focused on Jesus and His plan for me, not some one else.

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “ Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “ If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me. (John 21:20-22 NKJVS)

Yep I am a lot like Peter. Peripheral vision at this time is not a good thing.

You know, it’s true what God said to me.

“Time is not working against you. Time is on My Side. Follow Me.”

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

If you would like Rivers of Eden Ministry to come to your home group, church, or gathering please comment below, or contact us on the Contact Page or on Twitter. Read Our Timeline to get better acquainted with me.

Creative Expression – Without What?

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. What kind of faith? What does that mean? Do I have to work something up within myself to believe something to be pleasing to God? What if tragedy strikes and I simply fall apart and can’t believe? Am I pleasing to God? What if life throws me a curve, out from left field and I am not prepared to handle the stress simply because I am human? What if sorrow or discouragement comes? Does that make me less spiritual? What kind of faith is necessary to please God?

When my sister was murdered in 1980, I fell apart and crashed in the midst of the ‘why’s’ and the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘how come’s.’ I could barely breathe for a few years let alone have faith in God. I felt betrayed. I felt alone. So I hid out in the midst of life, pretending that all was okay. But, inside, I was falling apart. You can say that I had a crisis of faith. That would put it mildly.

I asked God all the right questions. It’s just that He never really gave me a satisfying answer. Why did this happen? It was hard to talk to anyone about this pain. Christians often retreat into cliches and platitudes when questioned about pain or sorrow that can’t be explained or Scriptured-out. The equation kept coming before me. Without faith it is impossible to please God. I had no faith therefore I was not pleasing to God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. There is more to this verse than just that.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJVS)

What is faith? At my lowest, I had none or at least I did not think I had. Yet God says that it is impossible to please Him without it. So what kind of faith is that? I had done everything I knew to do and yet, I simply didn’t have that mountain moving faith to get going and live again. Is there something more to this than meets the eye? It actually is quite simple.

The faith that God finds pleasing is faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Faith = a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.

The simplicity of faith in Christ for salvation is wholeness- healing – physically, emotionally and spiritually. The faith of the Son of God, who gave His life for me, is the faith that God finds pleasing. I enter into that reality. Faith in Christ when life is impossible. Faith in Christ when questions are not answered. Faith in Christ when I am so low that I can’t rise up. When I am weak, then He is strong in me. It is not my faith but His faith. I believe in Him and that is where the journey starts.

I can breathe and rest in Him. I stood in the simplicity of that revelation, trusting Christ with my life. I relinquished my ‘right to know’ or even understand to just BE in Him. If anger, fear or grief rose up, I stood in His grace and mercy and love. That is hard for us as humans to swallow at times. Life is not packaged into manageable components. Life is filled with unanswered questions. Life also gives us the opportunity to disdain God simply because there are these unanswered questions. Years have gone by since my sister died. My faith is active and alive and moving again. Why is that? My life still has it extremes and its trials.

My faith rests in the finished work of Christ Jesus, not in me. I live and move and have my being in Him. That’s not an easy way out. It’s the only way. Life moves and I move with it. I don’t cope. I live. I don’t strive. I rest. I don’t control. I abide. Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

When I write these blog posts, I usually want to come to a bit of closure. Then, I realize that is very unrealistic. My life is a journey. If, through my experiences, I can stir questions up in you, that is a good thing. I have always believed the purpose of the prophetic is not so much giving answers as it is stirring up questions.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraPlease 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 us on Facebook or Twitter.

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