Creative Expression – Missing Pieces and Restoration Part 2

Life can often be like a puzzle. There are often missing pieces blocking our vision from seeing the ‘whole’ picture. Again, this is reality, not a cliché. Just because there are missing pieces, it does not necessarily follow that you have to stand still before you venture out in faith, walking towards the “whole’. Yet, on the other hand, we have to realize that those missing pieces are pieces that only Holy Spirit can only put together and creatively orchestrate so we should not attempt to make anything fit. That won’t work either.

I have done both in my life. For Rivers of Eden Ministry, I looked at these missing pieces throughout the years of waiting and have attempted to help God fulfill the vision in my life. I tried to get these pieces to fit by having meetings, networking, renting buildings, etc. Yet no one came and it seemed not many cared or even saw us. The ministry did not grow. And, I still was looking at a puzzle with missing pieces.

Then I backed out of it all. I got angry at God and judged Him as being unfaithful and unloving.  With all my stomping around with fists raised to the sky, it did not help.  When the dust settled, there were still missing pieces. What to do now?

Trust and believe God.  While carrying the seed of promise inside of you, continue to trust and believe and live. Not always easy but for me there is no self-induced abortion of the vision through anger or regret. There is also no premature birth, trying to sustain in my own time what God has fully promised for another time. It is all in God’s hands.

This is a time of restoration for many of us. It is real and it is true and it is now.

This post pretty much sums it all up for me. There are hidden promises ready to be revealed in His time. Timing is crucial and is used to build up my faith and trust in God. My problem was quite simple. Can I say it like this? Because I did not trust my own father to follow through, I did not trust God the Father to follow through. So perhaps my accusations aimed at God in times past were really accusations coming from the depth of my own heart at my earthly father. Hmmmm, that is  true. I am happy to say that there was complete restoration and healing and love before my dad passed away. That is a true miracle.

So I am throwing out a lot of random thoughts that have been stirring in me for some time. Perhaps it will help your own journey into your promise. I surely don’t think I have the whole picture, yet, but I am walking in a current revelation of belief that what God said to me many years ago will come to pass and is coming to pass because He is faithful.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers 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 Rivers of Eden Facebook, Facebook or Twitter.

Creative Expression – Missing Pieces and Restoration Part 1

This week, I want to sound forth some ‘random thoughts’. These are like puzzle pieces, coming at me from all different directions trying to find their place to fit into the bigger picture. I want to start seeing the whole picture for this ministry that I am carrying inside of me. I want to see that perfect picture that God has ordained for my life and Rivers of Eden Ministry. My thoughts are prophetic in nature, breathing life into me by Holy Spirit. I pray they do the same for each of you reading this.

When God plants a seed in your life, and when that seed is indeed God, it cannot be aborted, denied, or disregarded when you are passionately in love with God and what He has planned for your life. For me, there is no way I would or could disconnect from His life growing inside of me. Carrying this for so many years, I have learned to live in the tension of waiting, wondering and at times, losing hope. The tension of carrying it within me but seeing no outward manifestation according to the promise, gets tiring.

It has not been until  today, this very morning, that the ‘light’ went on. I don’t say that lightly. I have been in charismatic circles long enough to know that much was declared forth and sounded forth that was not necessarily God over the years.  In my life right now, if it is not God, it is better for me if I just look at it from a distance. But, this ministry, Rivers of Eden is a seed inside of me. I remember the exact moment in time when I received its name by the Holy Spirit. I was on a plane from San Francisco to Atlanta when I heard, “I am giving you a ministry and its name shall be Rivers of Eden.” Immediately I turned to my friend and repeated these words, not even knowing what to make of it.

For years I pondered and reflected on what Rivers of Eden meant. I knew that it was unique and creative, dependent on a team concept of people entering into the river with their creativity and their process. I am called to mentor creativity in Christianity, challenging people to break out of any template imposed by religion. I will go forth and minister anywhere God wants to take us. In other words, I challenge people to break out their clone mode and to find their creative bent in life in Christ. To me, that task seems outrageous. I feel the least qualified due to intense shame in my life over the past years. Yet, it is a new day and God chooses the ‘foolish things’.

I knew instinctively that I could not do this alone. Yet I also did not see it coming to life after years of rejection, anger and insecurity. Oh yes, also fear. So I kept trying to birth it on my own for many years. So many years later, I was still trying. I stopped. And, it hurt. And I was disillusioned and feeling abandoned by God and alone. Did I leave anything out?

Then God said “February will be a turning month for you.” Yes, that proved to be true with new connections and new doors – even an opportunity to relocate. We are contemplating that right now.

Then God said (since He does talk to us, you know). He said, “For you, March will come with a restoration of missing pieces.”

Something is innately different this time. I am just entering in to these words with faith, not striving. I am seeing God bring them to pass. That is why I wrote what I did about Rivers of Eden on Facebook. It is shifting, changing and coming into view right before my eyes, right here and right now.

Each child that is brought forth into life comes with unique characteristics and DNA. There is no one person like another person.  In regards to ‘ministry’ and I say that word without any religious connotations, God also births unique out flowing of our lives in Christ.  Perhaps you are waiting on a promise. Perhaps you don’t want the standard fare that is ‘out there’. I surely don’t. God not only puts the pieces together. He arranges connections and relationships between people. Then, He positions you in the right environment where there is community and celebration of what is in you. I am ready. Let’s see what the rest of March brings my way.

Can you relate to this in any way? I hope you can and will share some comments below. I pray that this challenges you to know that God is faithful to fulfill that which He promises each of us.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers 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 Rivers of Eden Facebook, Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Creative Expression – It’s Been A Long Time Coming!

NowPeter denied Christ. Paul persecuted Christians. Yet, there is marvelous restoration in Christ for everyone who receives Him.

And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 Message)

Before Peter or Paul captured the beauty of their life in Christ, they saw their own glaring frailties and complete failures. They each failed miserably. Then they encountered the reality of Christ. In their weakness, He came into their lives with awesome encounters. It was at this point – their point of absolute weakness – that they are awakened to their absolute need of Christ to make them whole. Things have not changed much for us today. In fact, it has not changed at all.

About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.” Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him:” Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried. (Luke 22:59-62 Message)

The piercing eyes of Jesus, eyes filled with absolute love and mercy for Peter. Peter looks and is suddenly accosted by regret, guilt, and condemnation.

That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem. The believers were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. All, that is, but the apostles. Good and brave men buried Stephen, giving him a solemn funeral––not many dry eyes that day! And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail (Acts 8:1-3 Message)

Paul brazenly defended his religion, without mercy and without regret.

Both of these men soon hit rock bottom. It was at that point that Jesus reveals Himself to each of them. His grace is made perfect in their absolute weakness.

Transformation comes with confrontation.

Peter’s revelatory moment.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!” When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. (John 21:7 Message)

Then he said it a third time:” Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:17 Message)

Paul’s revelatory moment.

He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. (Acts 9:3-5 Message)

Restoration flows through each life in the wake of revelation – the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. His mercy. His grace. Jesus comes to restore and make whole, anointing men and women for His purpose, not in their relevant strengths but in their blatant weaknesses.

That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency:” Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight (Acts 2:14 Message)

He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. 6 I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next. (Acts 9:5-6 Message)

One day as they were worshiping God––they were also fasting as they waited for guidance––the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do. (Acts 13:2 Message)

There it is for me to see. Failure, utter failure, discouragement, regret and wholehearted restoration in Christ. This past year, in my own self-indulgence, always thinking about me, I discounted His love and mercy, His grace and forgiveness in my life. I often hurled accusations at my God for being absent, uncaring or an unloving Father. Over the past year, my faith in crisis, often felt like Peter standing close to the fire, blatantly saying, “I don’t know You.” I discounted all those past years when He met me supernaturally and loved me unconditionally.

Yet, today, after some God ordained supernatural days, transformation is flowing into my life. I did not ordain the time. I did not ordain the season. It is God.

February is a turning month for me. God spoke that to me, yet hope deferred blinded my eyes from seeing its truth and reality. Healing touches my heart. Hope is restored and faith gives me eyes to see what I could not see even 2 weeks ago. My encounter, my reality.

I failed miserably in many ways in my life. Yet, His grace is sufficient. I have stumbled and offended. I have allowed anger to rule my emotions. Yet, His grace is sufficient for me, in my weakness.

It’s been a long time coming. It seems as if scales are falling off my eyes to love and be loved. My spiritual voice is being restored with authenticity and honesty flowing forth. If you are reading this and have followed my journey, I would not be saying this just to have a good blog. God shows no favorites. He loves His children. What He does for me, He can and will do for you.

There are still good and bad days to come but here’s the difference. There were cracks in my foundation, blatant cracks in my life. I often felt like I have destroyed so many things – relationships and more – that there was no hope. Then while walking a few days ago, I kept thinking about Peter and about Paul. Jesus’ strength made perfect in blatant weakness. This strength is for me, right now in my life. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Seeing the reality of my life without Him. Seeing that I cannot go further in my own strength, I fall headlong into my own life. Then, He comes at that point and restores and renews and refreshes.

How did this happen? Well as I said, it is God’s unique timing and purpose. He led me to a conference where I encountered an anointing in the Holy Spirit. Hands were laid on me and freedom came. God’s timing. God’s way. Out of the cave, one step forward – in my weakness, He is strong. It could have come another way, but it did not. It could have come years ago, but it did not. It could have but His timing is perfect, NOW.

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. Feel free to contact us on Facebook, or Twitter.

Some Great Posts

Prophecy!

New Sounds Break Old Cycles!

Some Great Quotes

QuoteHere are some great quotes challenging my growth in Christ. They comfort and assure me, challenge and confront me, and most of all let me know God is in control, even if I don’t understand it all at this time.

“You can’t have authority over what you don’t love.” Shawn Bolz

“Become a safe place for the supernatural to happen in people’s lives.” Shawn Bolz

“2014 – Restoration of the method, the message and the messenger.” James Goll

“Prophecy is high-tech love.” Shawn Bolz

“Faith and hope work together. Hope is the seed bed that faith grows in.”  Kris Vallotton

“Hope feels, faith sees.” Kris Vallotton

And here’s mine:

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. Feel Free to contact us on Facebook, Twitter.