My New Normal: Life’s An Art, Not A Science

Paintbrush“Maybe knowing God is less a science and more an art.”
Divine Nobodies/Jim Palmer

(I have hit a wall. I desire to walk the walk I am talking, living an authentic life and being true to myself. Yet, I hit this wall filled with a bit of unbelief and doubt. In my humanity, I look at God with eyes that question at times. There are days like this but they don’t last long. I thank God for His unconditional love that accepts my questions in the midst of my struggling humanity. These questions do not demean my Christianity. They strengthen it.)

Science has it all down. Each step is quantified and qualified into a predictable result. I know this well. My major in university focused on biology, chemistry, calculus, environmental sciences, algebra and more and more and more. My life was a bit preplanned by my father and in wanting to obey him, I simply took this route. Yet, my heart consistently lived in the tension of loving the arts – music, painting, and more.

At first, in my Christian life, I approached God this same way. Each step, if taken the right way, will lead into a predictable result. Trying to please God, like my dad, I wanted to do the right things. Trying to be the right person, in the right way, walking a predictable path hoping a predictable result would ensue and life would be lived happily ever after.

Life is not predictable and neither is God. It’s best we learn that quickly. When life comes at you in violent storms, major upheavals and just plain silence, not knowing which way to go…………your Christianity is deconstructed down to the bare minimum. Who are you God? Do I even know you after all these years?

Tension keeps rising in me because there are twinges of fear and doubt in the process while at the same time an innate hunger and desire to be me, the ‘me’ who God created me to be. I can’t find me in the predictability of religion or religious surroundings. Hence, There Is No Room For Me At The Inn.

The tension of wanting to be ‘me’ is greater than wanting to be (liked, accepted, favored, honored)___________ fill in the blank. When you are confronted with yourself, as I am right now, I decided that who I want to be is me, not anyone else. So a lot has to go and be healed. This is right now in what we are walking through.

I followed the plan for so many years of what was expected. In fact, I not only followed it but I was excellent in trying to be something I was not because who I am was generally not highly sought after. Please read a few of my other blog posts to keep you updated. Wandering and Waiting. And Looking at the Horizon. This prophetic walk is keeping me on the edge.

Tension escalates and peace is on the horizon some days. Right now in the place I stand, there are no apparent answers and they don’t seem to be coming in my timing and in my way. I can opt out for safety and comfort as a viable alternative by choosing whatever is out there. But, instead I wait for the voice to speak.

“Remember, without hearing the voice of the Lord, you cannot move. After you hear the voice of the Lord, you cannot stay. Trust the cry of your heart; love the cry of your heart. The Church Jesus is building will move forward with the sound of a voice.”
Don Nori

Knowing God is less of a science than an art. As much as I hate to admit it, I have majored in the predictable over these past years of hurt and pain and the tension to break out is intense. I don’t want the science; I want the art side of discovery. That is how I am created to be.

I got up today a bit askew. I am being weaned away from the ‘should do’ and the ‘must do’ into the silence of His presence again. And, let me tell you straight up. God is soooo silent right now. I read, pray, worship – all the quantitative things to produce a predictable result and guess what? Nothing. Not even a whisper.

Since He is all wonderful and loving and kind and real, gracious and merciful and faithful, He knows the time and the place and the way to speak into it all to remind me that I am not alone in this prophetic walk. There He is. In the midst of my moment, God whispers,“Read Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer.”

I immediately downloaded the Kindle version and could not put it down until I got to this quote above. I circled around it and finally settled on it knowing God would speak to me through it.

“Maybe knowing God is less a science and more an art.”

That’s it. That’s for me. That IS me. This journey for me is not a science, trying to figure God out, trying to do it right and not make any mistakes. This walk is an art – movement and flow in creative expression based upon the flow of Holy Spirit in my life. It is not built upon predictable calculated movements. My life is the creative expression of Christ Jesus in the earth right now, and so is yours. That is why our path seems to be a bit up, down, and all around in our eyes. But, not in God’s eyes. He knows the way He is taking every step.

Reality: Still no place to rent – we call daily to various rentals. They either don’t answer at all or else we are turned down because someone jumped in with an application ahead of us or they are too expensive.

Reality: Marvin is an excellent project manager. I not only love my husband but also admire him in every way. Yet, numerous interviews and being narrowed down to just two people and each one – well, no job.

So what now? I will leave this an unanswered question. I don’t know yet. If I did this blog would not be written for the predictable result would be at hand. I want you to enjoy this journey with me and see God get all the glory in what is coming. We can all laugh and smile together and perhaps it will build up your faith to take God out of any box you have put Him in!

Thanks for walking with me in this!

In Christ
Debra Westbrook

10511315_794327653940721_886065626280149819_nGod breathed Rivers of Eden Ministry into my life many years ago. I have tried to define it with the typical Christianese language. I can’t. All I know is that our heart’s cry is to focus on Christ, the Tree of Life – to show forth His grace and flow in His glory wherever we are sent. Holy Spirit flows through us (Marvin and I), in creative expression, through preaching, teaching, prophetic flow – people are healed and set free. Divine connections are the norm for us. We go where God leads us – wherever and whenever He wants us to go. The reality of Christ in me, the hope of glory, is alive and well. Now, I am ready to move out again. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter. God may want to lead us your way – to your home group, church, gathering.

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

 

 

 

Story Week: Part 1/5 – A Young Man with an Ear to Hear

There was a young man who labored under the sound of acceptance. He tried to find his own sound, yet amidst the constant undercurrent of the prevailing sound of normality, the young man often found himself tired and weary. The sound called out to him each day, loud and clear. It was as if that sound was set into time itself, constantly reminding him throughout the day that the sole purpose of his life was to fit into the universal norm. He rose to this sound in the morning, worked in the midst of its consistency throughout the day. In the evening, he tried to rest in its presence swirling around him but each night he went to bed amidst its reality. The sound indeed was persistent.

Heart Monitor Every few hours, on a consistent timetable set by some external source, the sound issued forth into the atmosphere. The sound used specific words that sought to contain and restrain creativity from flowing from his life. The words coming from the sound were simple and pure, hitting the mark of the young man’s heart, which was steeped in insecurity and doubt. Insecurity laid a foundation within him, consistently telling the young man that there would never be anything more than this in his life. Doubt laid the perfect foundation for hopelessness to thrive. The sound indeed was purposeful in penetrating this young man’s life.

The sound:

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

The sound would come in threes – a spiritually perfect number. Over and over those words numbed the soul of the young man. Those words consistently sought to penetrate the young man’s heart. Their purpose: trying to cause the young man’s heart to actually beat in tune with its mundane rhythm.

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

The young man could not help but be resistant at this attempt to nullify and make void the individuality within his very being. The battle for conformity raging around him grew stronger and stronger each day. The warfare, unending and unceasing, was relentless and resolute in capturing the young man’s life. He became tired and worn out in time.

New SoundHe was not even acutely aware that a new sound was rising up within him, contrary to the sound that was trying to overtake his life. It was soft and distant, not seeking to immediately overthrow the current condition of his heart with violence but intent on creating a habitation of glory.

The new sound:

“I AM.”

More to come………….

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

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.

Creative Expression – Revelation Locations – What Do You Think?

San PanchoMarvin and I spent the last week in San Pancho, Mexico, a wonderful village about 40 minutes out of the ‘mega-tourist’ destination called Puerto Vallarta. I love the ‘out of the way’ places and find myself thriving in these locations. I feel dull in Valencia, hence I sense our move out of here soon, very soon. I felt alive in San Pancho.

This led me to start thinking about some things, thoughts that I have written about before and preached about in years past. Revelation locations. Sounds a bit strange but that is the word that I came up with as I thought about my trip this past week. We rented a beautiful house (quite cheaply) and had almost what would be considered a private beach. Each day I sank deeper and deeper into a settled peace which allowed me to take my mind off of what I considered inevitable chaos while in SoCal.  I found myself dreaming of the impossible. The what-if’s faded into oblivion and the possibilities starting moving into view. I loved it. This became my revelation location in which Jesus downloaded some amazing things into my heart. Where will there creative thoughts take me? Well, writing for one thing. Moving for another thing. And adventure is a sure thing. Marvin and I are surely up to it, most surely.

Have you noticed something in Scripture? Have you seen that people were in distinct locations when a heavenly download took place? I know that this may not always be the case but I am looking for some extraordinary exceptions in my life right now and not the same ole same ole.

John on the island of Patmos – vision after vision after vision – we call it the book of Revelation.

Paul on the road to Damascus – struck down by God, which then led to blindness and finally eyes opening on a street called Straight.

The Ethiopian on the road at a particular time and place and then along comes Philip. Go figure what happens next. The heavens opened.

The Samaritan woman – life changing encounter.

There are more that I can find but I will limit myself to just these few above. My point?

Well, for me the point is that sometimes a change of physical location lends itself to some incredible revelation.

Sometimes getting up and moving out from a boring complacent position opens a window in heaven. And, sometimes, as I can well attest to, staying too long in one place for too long, leaves one empty, drained and without vision. Thank God for restoration in this sense.

I am not saying that we should always look ‘out there’ to receive, but I am saying that God makes it pretty clear that I should obey His directives in Holy Spirit when given. Why? Because ‘out there’ there is something waiting to be poured out that may not happen where I currently find myself standing.

San PanchoFor me, it was San Pancho. Something shifted in me, again. These months of turning are quite excellent indeed. That shift followed me home to LA where I realized that this place, Valencia, is not where we are supposed to be. Sometimes in order for that first domino to fall, you have to move out, find yourself positioned in the place that God has for you and suddenly, things start falling down in a forward progression in time. Perhaps I may call it breakthrough. Perhaps I may call it progression. In any case, it works for me in my life and perhaps you may want to consider if where you are is where you are supposed to be.

Now meditating on this may require incredible leaps of faith in which you throw caution to the wind and launch out into the deep led by Holy Spirit but He who calls you is faithful and He will do it. He will do it. Surely and truly.

Now based upon what I have just written, how do I put this into practice in the physical realm right now? Well, there is something intense stirring in me. Yet, i can’t interpret it with natural senses for it is a spiritual shift that will cause me to move out in faith. So, I realize that God is faithful and will speak forth words of wisdom to me one step at a time. How does that work?

The dream lies before me in which I long to travel out to the nations more frequently. It does all begin with one step. What do I mean? Well usually when I am seeking direction and the necessary download of wisdom, I pray and worship from a position of rest and I wait and He is faithful to always answer and direct.

I will talk more about this in the next blog. What about you in all this? Any thoughts?

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraRivers of Eden Ministry is called to prophetically minister into the nations, challenging people to a life of creativity in Christ. We (Marvin and I) travel into gatherings, home groups or churches as led by Holy Spirit. in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. We look forward to hearing from you if you sense that Rivers of Eden is called to minister in your area. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

Creative Expression – February Is A Turning Month!

PaintbrushFebruary is a ‘turning month”! I kept hearing this over and over in my spirit for the past month. It was confirmed this past weekend in Canada. I had a glorious time of refreshing. Thanks, God, for this Holy Spirit ordained trip from start to finish. My journey in February is a creative journey, step by step, led by Holy Spirit into a personal breakthrough in life, going from glory to glory, faith to faith.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NKJVS)

In my other blog posts  and other blog posts, and still other blog posts about Holy Spirit led movement, I have discussed how our lives are creative expressions of His rhema word to us – His word in which we live, move and have our being. So, as God said, “February is a turning month”, I must first acknowledge I hear His voice prophetically and then I respond to His voice with obedience to walk in the reality of that word, step by step, revealed and laid out by Holy Spirit. That is called Prophetic Lifestyle and it is our Christian life.

So, this journey led me to Canada for  the past 5 days – Calgary to be exact – where I spend it with a good friend Theora. (By the way, Wooo-hooo, congrats for that gold win in the Olympics in hockey.) From stepping off the plane, I acknowledged that God was totally ‘in’ this trip, since He ordained it, so instead of trying to figure out the plans and direct my own steps, we simply followed Holy Spirit, in the rest of God, with eyes wide open to see and ears wide open to hear.

There was a woven thread through each meeting, each venue, each outing – Holy Spirit was that woven thread that was simply saying “Look, watch, observe and listen. I will confirm what I have been speaking to your heart.” And it happened. Here is a few examples.

Theora takes a great art class and so I attended and just sat in the back. At the end of the class, I began to see by Holy Spirit, that Sharon, the teacher, seemed out of sorts, a bit down and perhaps a bit discouraged. That sense led into a vision where I saw her changing her medium in art to a more vibrant style. So in laying on of hands, prophesying over her, encouraging and challenging her, she received the word with joy and gladness. I gave out of my spirit on this journey, breaking the attempt of the enemy to keep me silent. The turning was in process. Turning from years of living in a cave, to breaking out to BE in Christ, fulfilling destiny and purpose.

Our steps also led us to a particular home meeting where the leader had a specific word that shot like an arrow into my spirit, healing, restoring and renewing me as people laid hands on me, breaking years of ‘stuff’ that had built up in my life. It is indeed a ‘turning month”.

In a conference we attended while there, one of the first things the speaker said was that this “February is said to be a ‘turning month’ by many prophets!’ Over and over things like this happened. So, you see, I walked in the reality of the word given to me by Holy Spirit. And this is Holy Spirit Christianity – moving and living in the Spirit! My creative expression lived in His Word to me, and I moved out in obedience to see that Word to me come alive. The Living Word of Christ restored years that were dull and lackluster, placing me in His way, turning me to see that His promises to me and to you are real, true and alive in Christ. More coming………..

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.