I talked with Forrest last night. He’s been in NYC for 11 days now. I got off the phone with him feeling extremely inspired to become even more focused on reaching my dreams, hungrier to stir up the passion in my heart, and eager to rid myself of useless or unnecessary entanglements of mind and body that serve to hold me back from achieving the things that God has placed in my heart to accomplish with my life. He is SO dedicated to becoming the best ballet dancer he can possibly become. He has gravitated to the 3 young men that are year round students at Ellison Ballet; they eat, sleep and breath ballet. When they are lucky enough to get a few minutes break between classes, (Mr Ellison often trains them right through their 10 minute breaks!) they don’t sit down, they go to the side of the studio and practice their turns; if the teacher is occupied with other students, they don’t take that opportunity to catch their breath, they practice variations. When they arrive home after class around 9, they watch better ballet dancers on youtube. Forrest has been working towards his dreams fulfillment like this for a good while, but his focus is being sharpened even further by the people that he is around right now. And when he isn’t dancing, watching dance, or discussing dance, he uses his mind to imagine himself doing dance moves that are beyond him at this point. I pray for this type of razor sharp focus and commitment in the areas God has called me to serve. And the grace and strength to strip off the things that so easily entangle so I can run my race with endurance. Note: Forrest is doing a summer intensive at Ellison Ballet in Manhattan for 6 weeks this summer. We are believing he will be asked to stay for the year round program and that God will provide housing for him. I am staying in Charlotte. I am loving my new job, although it is not without some serious challenges. As I settle into my new life, and get a new routine in motion, I hope to blog more often. I am still reading blogs a couple of times a week. Miss and love you all!
I was so proud of my 18 year old son’s reaction to the Supreme Courts ruling on same sex marriage yesterday. He was shocked and disturbed by the amount of people on his Facebook praising the decision. I didn’t fully know what his convictions were about this issue until yesterday. He has always had gay friends and has not had a judgmental attitude towards them at all. He even becomes defensive if he perceives anyone else has a critical spirit towards them.
Not long ago when there was a gay pride parade gearing up to march through Uptown, where our church is located, Forrest said to me that we should hang a big sign across the doorway that said, ‘God Loves Gays.’ His heart of love and acceptance challenged me to examine my own heart, as I was feeling a bit resentful. His sentiments revealed the hardness in my heart; I repented.
Having convictions and wanting to see the laws of our land reflect God’s heart and intention for humanity does not mean that a person is full of hate or intolerance!
Forrest’s life reflects this truth.
He wanted to post his belief on the matter with the plethora of opposing beliefs on Facebook and wondered aloud if he would be given the same kind of respect, free from judgmental attacks, that he gives others.
I pray for him growing up in a society that embraces other people’s ‘personal truth’ as ultimate Truth.
When I first went back to college ages ago, I got a part in the play, ‘The Emperors New Clothes.’ I played the emperors wife.
In the story, a king was duped by two thieves who pretended to weave magnificent new clothes in exchange for gold. The tricksters claimed that only those that were unfit for their position, stupid or incompetent would not see the magical clothing. While checking the progress of the garments, the kings officials pretended they saw something lovely to avoid being thought incompetent.
In turn, the king, not wanting to appear unfit for his job, and full of pride and fear, put on the non-existent clothing and praised them. Everyone oohed and aahed as he strutted by, parading his nakedness in the streets.
No one dared to speak the truth. Until one young boy stepped forward….
At the audition I asked if my son Forrest, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, could perform the role of the boy in the crowd. He got the part.
I see now it was a prophetic foreshadowing of how God would use Forrest to step out boldly and shine a light into the darkness; to speak the truth when surrounded by a generation that is being deceived into believing a lie, or claiming to believe it for fear of being bullied as a ‘bigot’ or fool.
…The one boy in the crowd stepped forward and proclaimed, ‘But he isn’t wearing any clothes at all!’
In the book, the Emperor cringes, suspecting the statement is true but carries on with the procession, even when others have begun voicing their agreement. However, in the version that we were a part of, the Emperor and other characters realized their pride and foolishness when the truth is spoken and praise Forrest’s character for his honesty.
The truth proclaimed leads them to repentance and deliverance from fear.
The king swooped him up, placed him on his shoulders, and crowned him king (giving him authority to rule) as we all paraded him around the theater hailing him the new king.
I suspect this alternate ending is a prophetic announcement of the call of God on Forrest’s life. It will not be for nothing when he steps boldly forward as a champion of truth, not in judgement, but with purity of heart; captives will be set free; lives will be changed; people will willingly give up their rights to rule their own lives and submit their lives to the Word of Truth.
If you think God will never walk you into a fiery furnace; into trials and situations that rip your heart into shreds and leave you reeling in agonizing pain with no apparent end to your suffering in sight, your wrong.
It’s no wonder people turn their back on God and misunderstand Him. Even after having spent countless hours, days, weeks, and years at a time basking in the light of His Presence, thinking myself fully convinced of his love and care for me, ever so often the weight of my yet unanswered prayers and my prolonged hope deferred crashes over me like waves, suffocating my already dashed hopes until what remains is the deep realization that I have not surrendered all.
I come to the place where I see that although I refuse to totally abandon my faith, for a time whats left of my faith is utterly useless to convince me that God really is good. I know self-pity is pointless and does nothing to assist one in rising above the harsh circumstances they may find themselves in. I know its wrong and pointless to despair, to focus on my own pain when there are so many others hurting without hope, but today I can’t bear to walk through on more day of submissive acceptance of God’s will. My heart has been revealed and has come up wanting. God is not enough for me. He’s just not.
I started my new job today, It took a Lot longer than I could have ever imagined for this door to open. I know this job is a blessing from God but this afternoon a cloud settled over me as I pondered another area of my life where I have been waiting and had my hope deferred.
I have been wrestling with God some lately and have come to realize I am not 100% submitted to His will.
-Diary May26th, 2015
I have had a ‘whirlwind of change’ these last several weeks off the blogosphere; highs and lows; faith soaring and then souring; been blessed by doing a moral inventory of where I am in some areas of my life- I’ve still got a ways to go ya’ll.
I knew that I was finally being placed in the job I have been waiting/praying for when, during my 3rd and final interview with an organization, I spotted a giant turtle shell and a large turtle figuring in the office of the executive director that was interviewing me. You can read about the significance of the turtle here: https://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/emmanuel-god-is-with-us/
Several days later I noticed a turtle sticker on the file cabinet in my new office.
Today I feel grateful that I am moving forward, even though I am only slowly plugging along. The new beginnings that God has been speaking to me about have begun materializing. I am hoping to find my groove in my new responsibilities and busier schedule and begin blogging more regularly soon. Good things are happening and even greater things are ahead. God’s revealing and removing what is no longer necessary in this new season.
In letting go I find again that God really is enough.
Even though many would never admit to themselves that on some days they didn’t feel like God was enough, let alone put it into words on paper, their attitude and choices would prove this sentiment to be true in their lives as well, at least on occasions.
God help us to examine our hearts and lives for any ungratefulness, addiction, fear, worry, or ways in which we seek to control our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Touch and heal our hearts and use us to bring the comfort and healing we have received from You to others.
God gave me the photo in the header through a friends fb page during my first week on the new job. I knew it was a representation of how He would use me there. You can read this post to make sense of it if you haven’t already: https://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/how-to-be-what-your-heart-longs-for-you-to-be/
No judgement. No fear. No dread. No doubt. Walk in complete confident assurance of My sovereignty in your life and in the world around you. No chaos. No rushing. Sit with me in heavenly places. All rest. All trust. Give up your need to control and question. Focus your eyes on the cross. Remember that many things are not as they seem. I am setting the stage for new life. I am the Master Builder. Your view is limited. You are but one part of the whole.
There are blockages baring the flow of your purpose being fully realized and accomplished. Let nothing impede your progress. Let go of things that are behind. Keep your eyes on the prize. Bury your talent no more. Banish all thoughts of defeat and condemnation.
I died to take away the sins of the world. Take your eyes off of sin and place them on Me and the finished work of My cross; sin will lose its control over you. I died to set you free. You are free. Walk in freedom by casting out thoughts and reasoning that contradict the Truth of My Word. Stop listening to the voice of the accuser, whom seeks to infiltrate My Kingdom by retaining or gaining ground in the hearts and minds of those that I have called redeemed.
There is no lack. There is nothing to worry about. Pray. Trust. Obey. One step at a time. One day at a time. March forward taking authority over everything that I have given you. Claim. Claim. Claim. Do not give up one inch of ground in your heart to the enemy. Your heart belongs to me. Believe this. When thoughts arise that do not spring from the fruit of my Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, know that you are dealing with arsenal from the enemy of your soul, or your own flesh, and cast them aside quickly.
Breathe deeply, inhale the depths of my love for you, and for the world, and release yourself, others, and the circumstance of life, into my hands of grace and justice.
Take time apart with me to rest. So many of your problems stem from your refusal to care for your mind, body and spirit through proper nutrition and rest. Realize I do not begrudge you what is your need. I am a Good Father and delight to give My children what they need.
Rest and be refreshed.
If you feel your energies are depleted, rest. If you believe you do not have time to take care of yourself in this way, you are not living the balanced life I desire for you to live. I long for you to walk with me in peace and quiet confidence. A harried life, full of responsibilities and duties, must include ample times of rest and play. If you do not believe you have time to spare for yourself and nurturing your relationship with me, you are spending time doing some things I have not asked or required.
In the same way I have created your body to benefit from times of fasting; resting your digestive system. Seek Me for guidance on the length and type of fasting from food that I want to use in your life. You will be blessed and become a greater blessing to others by this discipline I call my disciples to practice.
Come away with Me.
Learn to receive from the storehouse of my goodness every day. Stop anticipating failure and defeat.
Sometimes it feels like my journey to healing and wholeness has moved at a snails pace. Had I known what I was stepping into that first night I ran away and stepped into a strip club at 15, I would have been running in the other direction. Maybe one day I’ll write about the years of deception that eventually led me into prostitution, but not today. I just wanted to write ‘into working as an escort,’ as if that would somehow defuse the horror that was my reality. The truth is, no matter where or how prostitution happens, it is dangerous, vile, and not at all glamorous.
Monday I crossed paths with this turtle:
I was wandering if it was an omen of sorts. The turtle is a symbol of peace and wisdom, steady effort and determination. I was thinking yesterday that it was God showing me I am moving forward; slow and steady. I definitely retreat into my shell often, but its okay! It is a powerful form of self-defense. The turtle has longevity because it has so few predators.
I spend a great deal of time alone. I believe my solitude has been God ordained for my protection, even though I have sometimes second-guessed myself about the emotional healthiness of this tendency.
If you receive my blog via email, you know that I posted and erased this yesterday. WordPress was glitchy and kept putting it up 5-6 hours in the past. I finally decided that I wasn’t meant to post it for whatever reason. Within an hour, I realized that the confirmations were still coming in. At someone else’s house I looked down and saw this turtle that I had never noticed before. I noticed it from this angle:
I was thrilled; picked it up, examined it, and couldn’t stop smiling. God was all, wink, wink, wink.
A bit later, I went back to take a photo of the turtle, and was super thrilled and impressed with God’s communication style for the day when I saw directly behind the turtle the goose. Remember the geese?!
You can read about the meaning of the geese here: https://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/how-to-be-what-your-heart-longs-for-you-to-be/
God has been going above and beyond to reach me with Himself; love, healing, acceptance, and confirmations of my identity and new beginnings. Just last night, after missing our turn, putting us miles out of the way, my son Forrest and I realized God was having us drive back in the other direction to show us a beautiful full rainbow. This happened right after we saw 8 (number of new beginning) geese.
I often dream ‘as’ another person, assumingly so that God can reveal to me what a person is experiencing from their perspective. Last night in my dream I made a phone call from 3 years in the future to myself. Three in the Bible means divine fullness or completion. I wanted to let the person I was calling (myself in the present) know that, although I was in the future, I was simultaneously here in the now.
After reading the linked devotional (below) yesterday, I now see that I was actually dreaming as God; experiencing thoughts, feelings, and actions in first person. I know how I felt making that phone call. I knew that the person I was calling would believe me, that I was calling from the future, but also in the present now. I felt love and intimacy and trust towards this person. I trusted they would know my voice and believe what I said. “I am here now.’
…The mystery of God is not in what is going to be— it is now, though we look for it to be revealed in the future in some overwhelming, momentous event. We have no reluctance to obey Jesus, but it is highly probable that we are hurting Him by what we ask— “Lord, show us the Father…” (John 14:8). His response immediately comes back to us as He says, “Can’t you see Him? He is always right here or He is nowhere to be found.”
…I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.
-Read the complete Utmost for His Highest (short) devotional here: http://utmost.org/don%e2%80%99t-hurt-the-lord/
Earlier this week I joined the porch party of my new neighbor a few houses down on my way home from a walk. Last night, his door was open and as our dogs were barking their greetings to each other we began chit chatting again. We ended up moving the conversation to the kitchen while he prepared his dinner. I couldn’t help but squeal with joy when I looked down on his counter and saw his new turtle bottle opener.
Without going into too much detail, I explained that the turtle had meaning to me at this time. He insisted that I keep it. Sweet! Not 5 minutes later I noticed his unique cheese grater.
God presented me with Four turtles. Four, those things that follow the revelation of God, namely His creative works; creation; man in relation to the created world.
I believe that many of the things that have been real to me in my spirit, visions and revelations I have nurtured through the years with prayer, fasting and faith, but that have yet to materialize into material creation, are going to begin manefesting materially.
What are some of the ways and things that God is encouraging you about in your life this week?
One hour later….I have been having a time trying to post this again today. WordPress keeps posting it 5 hours ago and if I try to post it immediately again, it sets it for some future time. I’m not sure if and when this will post but in the mean time I just opened the paper to find turtle number 5! The number of Grace. I know it is by the grace of God only that I will see my dreams materialize.
I am now a part of the Corps de Ballet, a volunteer group serving the Charlotte Ballet. It’s great fun; we raise money, feed the dancers meals on the days when they have more than one show, and host ‘Sneak Peak’ previews of upcoming performances for ballet donors.
Last night, prior to a Sneak Peak performance, as I was adding the brownies I brought to the hors d’oeuvres table, Forrest comes strolling through the lobby with two of his fellow company members. After spotting me, he seemed as eager to rush past me as his friends were to greet me with a hug and accept my brownie offerings. All I got from Forrest was an obligatory return of my hug, and a quick, ‘I’m not done yet. We’re going for food,’ before he rushed out the doors.
(I know these guys because they have come for dinner. Forrest is the only one of his coworkers still living at home, or even in the same city as his mom.
I feel blessed that Forrest has matured to the point of presenting me proudly to a few of his coworkers and asking me to have them over for dinner. I even had the opportunity to pray with one of them when he was devestated after finding out he was not being offered a contract next year here. He said he had no one here to pray with.)
Later, Forrest, when I teased him about his curt response to seeing me in the lobby, confessed that its still a bit of a shock when he has an unexpected encounter with me while he’s at work.
(Typically when I am there, I am waiting in the car to give him a ride home.)
Watching part of the upcoming performance, which was essentially a rehearsal, and hearing the inspiration for the pieces from the choreographers, was amazing!
If you live in Charlotte and haven’t been to the ballet here yet, Contemporary Fusion is the show to see!!!
Afterwards, Forrest comes into the lobby where the supporters and Corps members are gathered, and I introduced him to a few of my fellow volunteers.
If ever there was a moment of motherly pride, it was last night watching him interact with true ballet enthusiasts.
He’s a superstar to me regardless, but it was cool to watch him get the recognition he deserves for the dedication and hard work he has put forth to develop his talent as a dancer.
Professional dancers in general aren’t as esteemed as athletes, and are certainly not as well paid, even though they can have the same level of talent and train just as hard. It’s nice to see that at least for those that truly appreciate the ballet, they are highly honored for their contribution to the arts.
To them its obvious, he is a celebrity. 😌
It’s probably best for his spiritual life at 18 that he doesn’t have throngs of adoring fans waiting at the stage door for his exit. I’m thinking that his mom, and a few other middle aged women glowing and complimenting, eager to talk to him after a show, aren’t going to cause his ego to expand to unmanageable measures.
I believe anyone that dives head first into their purpose and gifting deserves to be appreciated and acknowledged for their contribution to the world by someone, even if it is just their mother.
May we all be inspired to press on through injury and pain, (he’s had broken bones, sprained ankles, disc issues in his back, and most recently a backdrop lowered on his head-Lord knows he’s spent way too much time in the ER over ballet related injury) when we feel like it and when we don’t, training diligently, day in and day out, preparing and waiting to offer our talents when the opportunity arises, and becoming the best we can be at whatever God has called us to do.
Let us live our lives with passion and drive; with or without recognition and accolades; doing everything we do with excellence for the glory of God.
Thank you Forrest for the example and inspiration!
I am SO proud of you.
Are you being attacked by another person? Is there someone in your life that the enemy is using to tempt you into unforgiveness?
If we are not on our guard, ready to defend the ground in our hearts already won, the root of bitterness in the heart of others can defile our inner sanctuary.
We must fight back. The weapons of our warfare are not merely human weapons.
Prayer and praise are essential!
Prophetic action is often required to sock it to the forces of evil controlling others thoughts, feelings and actions to bring harm to us.
We can not always stop attacks, but we can render the attacks powerless to permanently harm us. God can turn what is meant for evil into something that is good, for ourselves, and for those around us. (You better believe others are watching!)
Do not forget: We overcome evil with good!
Are you despised and hated?
‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you’
Pray and anoint the room, car, door, and/or gift. Write a letter of grace and forgiveness-to give, or just for your own heart. Let God show you. The action, led by God, can thwart your enemies thoughts, emotions, words and actions away from you.
Have your open advances for reconciliation or peace been met with resistance? Perhaps an anonymous gift being sent, as unto The Lord, by faith, can break the yoke of bondage that holds your thoughts and emotions bound to the situation.
When the power to control you is defused, often the situation dissipates.
Pray. Forgive. Give. Repeat.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.’
Praise God in the midst of what is coming against you, for He is giving you the opportunity to grow in grace by allowing what is coming against you to bring up the dross that is in your heart.
Allow the trial to do its work! Acknowledge God. Acknowledge the truth about yourself and reactions. Acknowledge and obey the truth of His word, it will set you free.
‘Love your enemies, do good to them…’
No one is getting one over on us! That is the lie of pride. God is a God of justice.
‘…Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’
‘Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The enemy wants to deplete you. God wants to use enemy plans to replenish you.
Bitter or better? The choice is yours.