Jesus cares about kittens! 

Hi friends!! I have another little story about my 15 days at Hillside. But I want to begin with some facts:

Allison Hill (also known as The Hill) is a neighborhood in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is located directly east of downtown Harrisburg on a bluff overlooking the older original borough (now city) along the Susquehanna River. The Hill comprises many sub-neighborhoods with nicknames such as “The Ville” and the “Third Ward”. The majority are low income and one third are under the age of 18. The many cultures represented in Allison Hill include West African, Vietnamese, Indonesian, diverse Latin American, African-American, and European-American populations. The Hill is home to many businesspeople, artists, and social justice and community activists. Many of Allison Hill’s once pristine homes and buildings have fallen into disrepair and been condemned. The neighborhood presently struggles against issues including delinquent land-owners, drug-dealing, litter, robbery, increased homicide, and prostitution. 

The mansion sticks out like a sore thumb in that neighborhood, teeming with life, hope, joy, and peace. They know the mansion very well, they know Christians live there, they know His presence dwells there. Every Monday night they host “Monday at the Mansion” with the Hermans (wearethehermans.com) – side note their first album came out and it’s AMAZING.

So our first Saturday there we had a food pantry and gave away somewhere around 300lbs of food (maybe more? I don’t know for sure) and the rest of us were sent in groups to dive into the neighborhoods and spread the message of hope, to pray for people, to share stories, to listen to their stories, to cry and laugh with them but most of all to love them, truly love them. 

This was daunting for me, because I am white, I only speak English, I am middle class, I am privileged. I have never gone one day hungry or without. I have a job, a car, and all my necessities. So how would I relate? We started walking down the streets, smiling and saying hello to everyone we stumbled upon. We engaged in small talk. But no success. We prayed and asked God to direct us, and just kept walking. Still nothing, most people denied us. But I wasn’t disappointed in the least, just walking thru the neighborhood was eye opening, I prayed as I walked. Asking God to heal hearts, to bring restoration to the area. 

Then we ran into another group of students talking to some people on their porch, so we came over to say hello. I stood in the back and assessed the situation, seeing that the other group was fully engaged in conversation I thought; “ok it’s time to go back to the mansion.” Nothing happened, no one wanted prayer, no one got healed but at least I tried right? I took a step of obedience. But sorta out of no where this tiny little ball of fur slowly made its way out from somewhere unseen, it crawled to the middle of the porch (of an abandoned/condemned house) and collapsed as if to say “I give up.” Head down, eyes not even opened, I asked around; “is this anyone’s cat???” They people that lived in the adjoining apartment said that it belonged to no one and for us to just take it. I looked at my group, and I looked back at the kitten, and I said to my group leader: “we HAVE to do something, I can’t leave it here” literally I was in tears. It looked gross, and I’m not a cat person, and I really didn’t want to touch it, but I knew it needed help. Thankfully my precious friend and teammate Victoria scooped it up without thought and off we went! We were determined to save the kitten. That much I knew. I found a local shelter, and thankfully had my car on hand, so off we went! Apparently there are a ton of hoops to jump thru to surrender an abandoned kitten but we had favor with the shelter worker (she was from Rochester ☺️) and finally able to leave it. 

All that said, we didn’t have any crazy testimonies about our time in the neighborhood – but we took care of a kitten. Because well, Jesus cares about kittens too. 

Advertisements
Published in: on July 9, 2016 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

I have found JOY in this journey!

Harrisburg PA, you have my heart. 


My friends!! Jesus is ALIVE!!

I haven’t written in two years, but recently I had an amazing encounter with Jesus that’s just too good NOT to share!! 

I spent two weeks (16 days actually) with 60+ amazing young people in Harrisburg PA. 

AND I FELL IN LOVE. 

I fell in love with Jesus, I feel in love with His children, I fell in love with a beautiful city! 

But the best thing I found while I was away was my JOY. Not even kidding. 

I’m generally a happy/positive person. I love Jesus, He loves me, and I know this. But pure unadulterated untainted blissful joy? Never heard of it. Til now. 

I’ve walked thru some extremely tough seasons – seasons of extreme brokenness, relationships failing left and right, people turning their backs on me, walking out of my life, feeling like nothing will ever change, and then my physical body failing, I just started to really question myself, and God. Why were all these things happening? Why was my life crumbling down around me for no apparent reason. 

But there was a reason, it made me desperate for something to change, to shift, to break. I had to do something DIFFERENT. 

Enter Hillside2016 – 

60+ crazy fiery talented anointed Jesus loving people all colliding together into this huge mansion in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city, living together, serving together, learning together, praying together, and worshipping together. We basically worshiped NONstop. If we had free time, someone had a guitar and a djembe and everyone was getting swirly (I even got some new lingo lol) it was unlike anything I’ve experienced. The JOY and the love that poured out of every single person I had the honor of getting to know. And the amount of respect and honor each one carried for one another was also something that really moved me. 

Anyway to get to my story, 

One of the leaders had prayed and prophesied over me that I would be a fountain of joy, that my worship would lead people into the river of joy – and as I’m hearing this I wanted to stop him and ask him; “how does one obtain this kind of joy?” But I didn’t want to look foolish. 

So I wrestled with it, I prayed about it, and I tucked it away. 

A few days later we had what was called “Holy Ghost” night. (Yeah it’s probably what you are picturing in your mind) after worship the guest speaker started talking about being filled with the Holy Spirit and of course joy (aka holy laughter, etc) and as he was praying and ministering to the group, people were erupting with joy. There was lots of laughing and dancing, singing, and crying all over the place. Except for the storm cloud over MY head. Yeah that’s right, I was not into it, and I began judging everything going on in the room, and in turn judging myself. I was frustrated and confused. I wanted joy, but I did NOT want to be out of control (can you hear me type A peeps?!). I sought out my small group leader and she talked with me and prayed with me, and I felt better. 

Fast forward a couple days and I’m really wrestling with some things that have been coming up, specifically some wounding, and some hurts from a couple of years ago. Also bitterness and anger towards those that wounded me. I realized I never fully grieved over what was lost, over the broken relationships, over the hurts. So the Lord was taking me on this little trip down memory lane to allow me to really grieve (and boy I cried) over some things. So I walk into small group and everyone sees I am visibly upset but I wasn’t ready to share, so I sat there, but I felt the wave of grief come over me again and I started sobbing and I ran out of the room to get tissues, knowing it was going to be a snot fest.

WELP something changed in an INSTANT. As I walked back into my small group room I had a vision! Jesus showed me the state of my heart, it had a tree on the top of it, with roots going down deep into my heart. But it wasn’t a pretty tree, not at all. Jesus said to me “these are the bitter roots” and then I saw his hand grab hold of the tree and yank those roots out, every single one of them. As SOON as that happen this weight lifted off me and I was FILLED with JOY UNEXPLAINABLE! I was crying and then I was laughing like a crazy person, that deep gut wrenching laugh that leaves you hurting for awhile. Not even kidding, I could NOT stop. Laughing and crying, apologizing to the group, and then laughing and crying all over again. It was UNREAL. I had the most beautiful encounter with Jesus, and it was what my heart was longing for, to experience true JOY. From that day on, everything felt joy-filled! I couldn’t stop smiling, I laughed so much. I felt free and light and full of light (and still feel that way!) I truly know joy like I have never known, and now the hard part is to steward it, to keep that tender heart open before the Lord so I can feel everything. 

I really had no idea I wasn’t free, until I was FREED. Until I felt the weight lifted off. 

Now I’m not saying I was in all sorts of bondage, because I don’t think I was, but I definitely wasn’t experiencing true freedom. Now I am. 

I have a good Father, He delights in me. I have a wonderful Savior, His affection is on me. I have the King’s eye, I am always on His mind. 

I have found JOY! 

Published in: on July 7, 2016 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Surrender

You are looking for total surrender. I know You want every area of my life, my heart, my thoughts, my emotions. You want me to be totally dependent upon You. Not leaning on my own strength and what I am capable of doing. But leaning into Your strength because Your strength is making me perfect through all my weaknesses. When I lay it down, in total submission and surrender, that’s when beauty is revealed. That’s when strength is portrayed, that is when my heart is made whole.

Surrender

I am a very stubborn woman, bull-headed if you must know. I have this constant itch to fight for what I think I want and deserve. I have this constant urge to prove myself to the world. I’ve struggled and grasped at every other possible outcome except leaning into the sovereignty of God. Leaning into His Divine Nature. Knowing and trusting that He knows the beginning from the end. That He knows how this story is going to end.

So I should be looking to Him daily in how I walk, talk, act, think, feel. Surrendering my rights and understanding I am not my own. I have been bought with a price. I’ve been redeemed and set free by this Man Jesus who calls the captives out of captivity, who restores sight to the blind, who unlocks deaf ears, who raises up the dead. This Man is the One that should be holding my gaze. This Man is the One on whom all my affection is poured out. This Man is the one in whom all my love is lavished upon. Not the things of this earth, not man, not my own fleshly desires. My lifelong calling is to behold the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple, all the days of my life.

This is my story, this is my song.

Published in: on April 14, 2014 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

I agape you. .

Last night in our bible study we touched on the two types of love in the bible. Agape love and Phileo love, both different yet equally important. Agape love is that love that gives out of a selfless place. Humans in general are naturally selfish. Practicing agape love is hard, it’s stretching. But I believe if we begin to change our mindset and remembering; “what you do to these ones you also do to Me.” knowing that when we extend love, a selfless love, not expecting anything in return, it pleases the heart of the Father, and our reward is in heaven. 

Perspective is also important, as a believer I know I should be showing love to those around me on a daily basis. I should be showing that agape love to everyone I come in contact with. I should be developing that phileo love with the people in my life around me. But if there is not a right perspective in that, we won’t be able to do it. 

Our minds need to be shifted in knowing that we have that agape love from the Father – always. It’s a given, God loves us. Unconditionally, relentlessly, passionately, God loves us, He loves us unto death, He loves us when we don’t love Him. He loves us when we don’t deserve it. He loves us in the midst of our weakest moments, and our strongest. He loves us when we weep, and when we rejoice. His love is constant, never changes, always prevailing. His love never gives up on us. 

Perspective – when we have this revelation of this kind of love that’s lavished on us, it will make it almost impossible NOT to pour that kind of love out on others. 

I was listening to various stories of how people extended love towards others and I was so challenged and encouraged. Personally I find it hard to walk through the grocery store and notice the expression on a person’s face, because I am so into myself and wondering what that person is thinking about ME. If that love was rooted deep within me, I wouldn’t be worrying about what every person around me is thinking about me, I would be willingly pouring out love to everyone I encounter. 

Perspective – we need it. We need it bad, we need to go into places and situations knowing; “I am loved by God, therefore I am successful.” Having that perspective will cause us to be unstoppable. 

God let Your love go DEEP in my soul, cause me to be confident in knowing how much you love me. Amen

                                                                        .Image

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Our Great Physician

I saw a quote the other day that said; “Time doesn’t heal wounds. Jesus heals wounds, He is our great Physician.” 

I was thinking about that for awhile and realizing the truth to that in my own life. You think that because a length of time has passed since you’ve been hurt that everything is okay, that the wound healed, that you’re a survivor and you can move on. In some instances this is true, but when it comes to those deep heart wounds, it takes more than time to heal. It takes heart surgery by our great Physician. We need to let Jesus go to those deep places of our hearts that are broken and hurting and allow Him to come in and bind up those places. We need to understand that its only by the washing of the water of the Word will we find healing. Talking it out won’t heal, forgetting about it won’t heal, getting angry won’t heal, but by the grace of God, allowing Jesus to search our hearts and minds He reveals areas of wounding, deals with it in only a way He can, then we find total freedom, joy, peace, and comfort in His care. 

Every wound bears a scar, every scar proves healing, every healing births victory, every victory brings testimony. Don’t be ashamed of the scars you bear, those scars will bring hope and life to someone who has just been wounded the same way you were. 

I love knowing that God doesn’t wait around to deal with our hurts, our wounds, our betrayals, He comes in like a flood, performs surgery and binds up those open wounds quickly. I have recently experienced this in my own life and I am truly thankful for the way He leads. He doesn’t want us sitting in our own hurt and despair, not moving. He wants a confident Bride, whole, pure, healed, and totally devoted to Him. So He will do what needs to be done to get her there. 

He binds up the broken hearted, He sets the captives free. We are called oaks of Righteousness.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment