Birthday Favorites: Spiritual Growth

Hey, Friends! It’s that time again – this week is my birthday, and it’s tradition around here to share everything I’m loving right now, and the things that have made this last year enjoyable/delicious/successful/positive in any way.:)

Leave a comment sharing YOUR favorites, and you’ll be entered in a draw for a prize….

Today I want to talk a bit about the spiritual growth opportunities I’ve been exposed to over the past year. Some exciting, uncomfortable, awesome things happened in my 35th year of life! Here’s what impacted me the most:

1) Taking a Prophesy Class at Church of the Rock

I’ve written about this a number of times before (like here and here), but I’ll say it again: This class changed me. I didn’t want to go at all, but I’m so glad I did! Here’s to taking risks. Let’s see what this next year holds!!

2) Leading a Prayer Class at my Church

Another uncomfortable experience that ended up being one of my favorite things this year! I’ve led that class for a year, and by the time it ended in June, I still didn’t feel like I had a clue what I was doing. But God is so awesome, and did so many amazing things in that class, we were just all glad to be a part of it, I think.

3) My “December Challenge”

Another one I wrote about a number of times in the past (here and here). Probably the most life-changing experience of my year. If I hadn’t taken that leap of faith, I would not be sitting here today with our little baby boy in my belly, kicking me repeatedly as I type! Still can’t believe it – God has done what seemed impossible, and I’m blown away by it all!

4) Beth Moore’s Bible Study on “Jesus, the One and Only”

This was such a powerful Bible study! It’s always hard for me to drag myself out of the house on a cold, dark winter night, to get over to our church for a Bible study. But every time I do, I’M SO GLAD I WENT!! Learned a ton from this one. If you ever get the chance to do it, go for it!!

Jesus, the One and Only

5) Speaking About Moses at a Ladies’ Retreat in Spring

You know how they say the one teaching always learns the most? True, yet again! I loved learning about the life of Moses and Egyptian history as I prepared for this retreat. There was an absolute TON on information I devoured but never shared, and I would love to find a way to share it at some point. Not sure how. But much of what God taught me during that time about faith and believing God to do the impossible held me together in the months after that retreat.

Any awesome classes, Bible studies, or books you took in this past year? How has God been challenging you? Give me some new book ideas!!

God Goes Before Us (Or “My Last Prophecy Class”!)

Oh, friends!! I have so much to share, and don’t even know how to put words to it all, so we’ll see how this goes…:)

Way back in September, I shared with you that I was going out of my comfort zone, and attending a prophecy class at Church of the Rock. It has been such an amazing, stretching experience, and I feel as though I’ve learned and experienced so much. I could go on and on with all the stories, but the one experience that stands out the most leads up to the last class we had, yesterday evening.

About a month ago, I was paired up with someone I didn’t know, and we had to pray for each other. God gave this person an absolutely amazing message for me about how He is always with me, even if I pass through the flood and the fire.

About a week after that, my friend Sarah felt as though God was leading her to give me this song as His message to me:

It’s an incredible song, but when it got to the part about God being with us in the fire and the flood, I just burst into tears. I cannot even begin to describe that moment!

Well, last night I arrived at our prophecy class with eager expectation.

My secret wish: to be prophesied over by the pastor leading the class. And by “secret wish”, I mean a wild, passionate longing to hear from Jesus. I was really, really, really hoping something great would happen.

The pastor had casually mentioned a few weeks back that one time, he ended a class by prophesying over everyone in the class, and from that moment, I wanted the same thing! Really badly.

So it’s our last class, and he wraps up the teaching time, and says, “Now let’s move into the practical application part of this class.”

And I lean over and whisper to Sarah, “And….let’s prophecy over everyone in the class! Hooray!!”

She said, “Yeah, right, you wish!!”

Yes, I did wish!!

The pastor said we were all going to circle around one person from the class, and pray over them, asking God to give us a word for them. And then he called up a lady I didn’t know. I knew it was totally wrong to be jealous of her, but honestly, I think I felt a little bit like Charlie from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, when the other children kept getting golden tickets, but he didn’t….

I tried to set everything selfish out of my mind, and just focused on that dear lady in the chair. God did speak in awesome, powerful ways, and had all kinds of really great things to say to her through the rest of us as we prayed over her. So amazing.

And then….the pastor said, “Kendra, why don’t you go next?”

AHHHH! It was the moment I’d been waiting and hoping and longing for! I could have burst into tears on the spot.

But then….THEN he started praying and prophesying, and OH, MY WORD! God is so amazing!!

I cannot describe what it’s like to be surrounded by a bunch of people who don’t know you, yet they are saying all these things that have to be from the God who knows all. There is NO WAY they could make up anything that would fit me and what I’m going through right now, so perfectly.

The pastor and some of the people in the class spoke a lot about healing – not just physical healing, but all of me becoming new and changed. So much of it had to do with incredible new things happening in me and through me. And they didn’t know!! They did not know what this December has meant for me.

Then, the pastor started speaking those words from Isaiah – about passing through the flood and fire. WHAT?! That’s the third time those specific words have come up for me. I’d been crying straight through it all, but the flood and fire made me lose it.

And then, he started talking about how I would find so much beauty in the little things. He said I was the kind of person who found beauty in the bark of a tree, and in the shadows of a snowdrift.

Sarah said she lost it at the tree bark! And all I could think about was this:

treeAnd this:

snowAnd God said that I will find that beauty in the small things, and it will speak to the people around me, and they will see the beauty, too.

There was so much more, but it was pouring over me like a flood, and it was like I was cupping my hands under a waterfall, trying to capture even some of it, but there was just so much of it, I couldn’t hang on to it all, so I prayed, “Help me to remember this, God! Don’t let any of these words slip away! Let me remember…”

I could have cried all over again when, at the end of it, I saw that the pastor had recorded it all, and said he would send it to me. I feel like I can’t even fully chew on yet, because there’s so much I don’t remember.

Well. You’d think after all that, I would be flying. At first, I felt as though I would explode with sheer joy, but on the way home, it felt like I hit a brick wall. Suddenly, every horrible, awful lie that has ever crept into my mind was raging in full force. It was like this huge battle in my mind, and I knew it was all lies, but I couldn’t even get above it enough to remember any truth.

I felt so broken down and worthless, without one good thing in me worthy of love. I felt so insecure, I hardly knew what to do with myself, and suddenly I was questioning absolutely every good thing in my life. It was insane to go from so much good, to so much horribleness, in such a short time, and yet it makes sense – it felt as though Satan was trying to squash everything that had just happened at that prophesy class.

I needed Scripture to hang on to, and suddenly it hit me: the passage in Isaiah about the flood and fire. It’s been given to me three times, so you’d think I’d have looked it up by now!

Well, you’ll never believe what it says:

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

And then further down, it calls God’s people “precious” and “honored”.

Not only is He with me through everything, He has formed me, created me, loved me, and calls me precious.

How amazing are His ways! How awesome are the words that He speaks! I am so filled with joy because of His promise to bring about new things in my life, and I am so thankful for His presence in the midst of fears and doubts – He is with me! He summons me, and calls my name.

And He does the same for you!!

He speaks to you! He knows you – everything about you. If he can tell a complete that I find beauty in tree bark and snowdrifts, imagine what He can speak into your life!! He made you, and holds you, and delights in you being exactly who you are. I need to hang on to those words today, myself!

And that’s the end of the prophecy class…for now. The second level happens next fall, and you better believe I’ll be there, with bells on.

So that’s my story, and I have no idea how that can impact you, but here’s hoping that somehow, you can live vicariously through my experience, and that we’ll all keep our ears open for the things God longs to say to us!