Baltic Capitals Trip – Part Two, Latvia

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The Riga clock at the train station.

13 June 2017

The day we arrived in Riga for the second leg of the OCE[1] Baltics trip I could immediately feel that the atmosphere was a whole lot different from Tallinn.  It was very oppressive.  Both Angela and I saw manifestations of the defeated enemy within minutes of our separate arrivals[2].  She saw a woman on the bus that looked just like a fairy tale witch, complete with a wart on her pointy nose.  She said that the witch stared menacingly at her, but could not hold her gaze, looking quickly away.

Snow White and the Apple - YouTube - Google Chrome 31-Jul-17 140430

How many times have I told Snow White not to eat that apple!

I saw a demonized woman slow-chasing a man.  She might not have been a real woman, but a demon or a demon manifesting in a woman, honestly I don’t know.  She was wearing a light brown sweater that was a size or two too small and didn’t cover her belly, light brown corduroy pants, and nothing else (no bra, no shoes, no purse, nothing on this cold, rainy morning).  The man was clearly scared of her and kept skittering away from her.  She chased him in that slow, huffing, movie monster gait.  It was very creepy.  He fast-walked past me, and she followed, passing no more than a foot from me.  I had prayed that she wouldn’t see me, and apparently she didn’t because she was completely focused on him.

Then he dashed in front of a moving tram, to put it between him and her.  She went around the back of the tram as it stopped and I saw him run back around and behind another tram that was going the opposite direction and get on it.  When the trams both left, I looked for her, but she was gone—that’s why I suspect that she may not have been human.  I know she didn’t get onto a tram, and she didn’t seem capable of moving very fast, so where did she go?

Between these two creepy manifestations, it was pretty clear that there was a lot of defeated enemy activity at work in Riga.  That day my left foot and ankle began to ache and swell, so I sent a message to my home church to pray for me.  At a certain point yesterday I felt a tingling all over my left leg and the foot immediately felt better—which must have been when I got prayers.  By the next day my foot was much better, still swollen, but not painful.

Then I began having a different kind of attack: I became very short-tempered and irritable.  Not with people, but at situations.  On our third day I was alone on a busy street with no crosswalk, no light, and needing to cross—the situation just set me off, grumbling.  Then the morning of our last full day there was not one single drop of hot water for my shower (and despite being the end of May it was not warm at all (in the 50’s and the heating had been turned off for the season).  I took a very fast icy cold shower, complaining to myself the whole time.  These kinds of things don’t normally stir up anger in me, so I recognized it as an attack.  Usually I laugh my way quickly through a cold shower, thinking about how missionaries sometimes only get cold showers.  So this really bothered me because I want to be joyful and grateful, living in such a way that brings glory to God.  It’s not about me or my difficulties.  Finally it dawned on me that both episodes had happened in the presence of water.  I was by the river when I was trying to cross the street, and of course in the shower.  Often there is the presence of water spirits in these old European capitals.  So I wondered if there had been the influence of water spirits making me irritable in situations that normally don’t cause me to get upset.

We had a moment that was very telling about the local spirit: we were praying at the Freedom Monument, for the war of independence[3].  Next year will be the 100th anniversary of that independence.  We had a Latvian worship leader with us, and asked him to sing a Latvian worship song when we finished praying there.  He couldn’t do it!  You could see that he was really struggling as tears formed in his eyes and his lip quivered.  Communist rule kept people silenced, and now that they are truly free, they still struggle to speak up.  Eventually he did sing a song in English and then the Latvian translation.  What would have been really appropriate for the moment would be an original Latvian song—and he has written several.  But in that moment, he just couldn’t do it.  It made me want to cry—not just for him, but for his people, too.

Then we went to pray in the Parliament building.  On other trips to the various European capitals there were times when we have not been able to pray inside government buildings (either because of human rules or heavy spiritual oppression).  God has told me that it’s enough for us just to be there because we carry His presence.

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Selfie in front of Parliament.

In Riga I personally got assurance from the Lord that our prayers were not in vain.  He said that even though it doesn’t seem like we’re able to do much, He is able because we had released Him and His Spirit there.  That’s good to know.  God will accomplish all of His good purpose despite all the odds: the heaviness, demonic presence and manifestations, our weaknesses and inabilities, etc.  We are God’s Secret Weapons[4] after all—at least that is the word that He gave me in Tallinn.  Sometimes we haven’t had great unity.  None of us have any great abilities.  The truth is that we don’t have anything in our flesh.  What we have is God Almighty, and He is the One and Only One who can make a difference wherever we go to pray in obedience.  I am so glad that I’m on His side!  Victory is assured, both here and throughout the world.  I just do my little part here.

We made progress in Riga, but it was hard.  The spirit was so heavy that just walking down the street felt like slogging through mud.  Team unity has been OK, vastly improved by the presence of the South Africans.  Although Riga had some major challenges, it also had some major blessings.  For me, those blessings have been in the form of meeting precious missionaries.  I have always loved missionaries, so this “work” God has given to me is more pleasure than work.  I am so richly blessed!

One really beautiful thing is that Angela was picked out by a local intercessor for special honor.  The woman didn’t know (couldn’t have known) about her gifting and her faithfulness to her calling, but obviously the Holy Spirit gave her that revelation.  I was so happy because Angela has been the most valuable (and yet underappreciated) member of the team from the beginning.  She has been on every single OCE trip since the beginning.  And she is the only one.  Often the Lord has her arrive a day or two early and/or leave a day or two late, giving her special solo prayer assignments.  Sometimes I’ve been able to go with her on these special prayer assignments.

Our last day was spent mostly debriefing, and that night we were invited to participate in an outreach to men who had come to Riga for the sex trade.  Someone with the local Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base wrote a booklet called Buy No More.  It explains in a non-judgmental way about human trafficking and the fact that even those women who “chose” the lifestyle in reality had little or no choice.  I love going along as prayer support for what they call “treasure hunts,” seeking out the prostitutes and offering them a way out of that lifestyle.  But I was fascinated because I had never heard of outreach to the men.  So I went along as prayer support.  They split into two teams, and some handed out the booklets while we followed at a discreet distance, praying.  Ketty and I were prayer backup.  The men on the team approached groups of young men, offering the booklet, saying: “Would you like to learn about human trafficking and sexual exploitation?”  Honestly, it doesn’t seem like horny drunks would be at all interested, but of course we prayed for God to lead us to the right people, and asked Him to assign an angel to each booklet to assure that they got into the right hands.  We also prayed that God would prepare the soil of their hearts and minds to receive the information—and a life transformation.

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On outreach, educating men about human trafficking.

A few waved them off, but many more received the booklets.  Some even thanked them!  I didn’t see any booklets end up on the ground or go into the trash.  Praise God!  At the end of the night my ankle was very swollen and hard to walk on, but not hurting.  The swelling went down over night and didn’t bother me for the rest of the trip.

Riga was definitely a place where we had a hard-won victory.  I wondered about Vilnius, which Ketty had said had an even more oppressive atmosphere.  One city at a time, I reminded myself.  God is good!

[1] Operation Capitals of Europe.

[2] Angela caught a bus several hours earlier than the one the rest of us caught.  That gave her the opportunity to do some scouting before our first meeting.

[3] Latvia was briefly independent after WWI and before WWII.

[4] See Tallinn.

Baltic Capitals Trip – Part One, Estonia


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The Estonian flag flying from Tall Herman tower.

11 June 2017

To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to come on this trip to the Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  I had plenty to do at home, and I had other, more personal reasons for not wanting to go.  But the Lord told me that He had called me to collaborate with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE).  So in obedience, I went.  And I found that God had several personal reasons for me to be there.  He also had prayer work for me to do that went beyond OCE.  In the end, I’m glad I went.

I got roundtrip tickets to Riga because I had friends to visit there after OCE was finished.  But OCE was starting in Tallinn.  I got a bus ticket online to go from Riga to Tallinn.  My arrival in Riga was at midnight.  And my bus was at three in the morning.  I took a taxi from the airport to the bus station and waited there for my bus.  It wasn’t a bad place to wait, since I could wait inside the building, which had a big guard on duty all night.  Because of the lights and people occasionally moving about, there was no danger of falling asleep and missing my bus.  But once on the bus I fell deeply asleep, only waking at seven as we were pulling into the bus station in Tallinn[1].

Kiki, an American missionary, was supposed to meet me, but my bus arrived a bit early.  So I got a coffee and waited for her to show up.  When she did, we took the tram to Old Town and I checked into my hostel there.  She had some time that morning, so she took me on a brief walking tour, ending at the place where she had to leave me to go for her next appointment.

I finished the morning walking around Tallinn and then buying groceries for supper and the next day’s breakfast.  I arrived a full day before most of the others would arrive.  But Angela arrived before me.  She was already out exploring the city when I had checked into the hostel.  Angela is a supernaturally gifted scout.  And by scout I mean that like a scout, she checks out places before us.  She is exceptionally gifted at orienteering, but more than that, she always finds things that we wouldn’t normally find without her going before us like she does.


Our first meeting was at the YWAM headquarters, also known as Penny’s apartment.  There I met the teammates from South Africa: Justine, Samantha, Bridget, and Virgil.  They had joined OCE for previous trips, but this was while I was in the US for my annual Thanksgiving and Christmas visit.  The South African team came super-prepared.  In the twelve weeks leading up to the trip they prayed, journaled, and collected all their visions, dreams, answers, impressions, etc. in the form of a book, which they published and brought copies to share with each of the rest of us.  All of this really streamlined the initial time of both getting to know each other and getting to know Tallinn and how to pray for it.

Penny put on a video for us to watch called The Singing Revolution[2].  The astounding thing is that Estonia won its freedom from Communist oppression by singing.  Since the singing revolution the country gathers each year to sing.  And a universal favorite is a moving song called Prayer.  The annual sing-in brings over 30,000 singers and an audience of over 500,000.  They hand out songbooks and audience sings along.  They also formed a human chain with the other Baltic countries, linking hands in a protest called The Baltic Way.  The human chain reached from Tallinn to Vilnius—419.7 miles.

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The Singing Revolution singing place.

We went to the singing place to call the country to revival.  One problem that I became aware of was that Virgil had been suffering from the flu since the day of his arrival in Europe (about a week ago).  In fact, I didn’t know that Virgil was sick until he didn’t show up for the second day of prayer walking, when we went to the singing place.  At the singing place there is a big shell like the Hollywood Bowl.  It has concrete risers all the way to the top, and extending to both sides, so the place is clearly made exclusively for choirs to sing and no other purpose.  The shell faces a vast slope with paths that is clearly made for audiences to sit in the grass and enjoy the program or to stand and sing along.

Since the singing event is once a year, you might wonder what they do with the thing the rest of the year.  We found out.  As we approached from the back of the shell we could see a few people wearing climbing equipment (helmets, ropes, etc.) scaling the shell.  We went about halfway up the risers in the shell, gazing out onto the hillside to pray.  As we began to pray we heard a scream and a woman in climbing gear swooped in front of us on a rope, swinging and screaming the whole time.  We continued to pray as we watched her swinging slow enough for her “catcher” to catch the end of the rope dangling below her.  He pulled her to a stop and helped her get out of the rope harness that was around her hips and legs.  Once she was freed he signaled to someone atop the shell who pulled the rope up again.  So as we prayed every ten minutes or so someone would swoop in front of us, swinging on the rope.  Only the first and one other woman screamed.

When we finished our prayers in the shell we climbed the hillside and prayed from the audience perspective.  Bridget saw that I had brought an Estonian flag, so she asked to borrow it.  She had a plan to walk down the hill to the shell, dribbling oil and thus anointing this place while wearing the Estonian flag around her shoulders.  And so she did.  All in all this was a pretty amazing place to pray.  Some places are easier to pray in than others, and this singing place was one of the easiest.  Prayers flowed and it felt like all of Heaven was listening.

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Bridget anoints the singing place while wearing the Estonian flag.

That afternoon we had some free time.  I took advantage of a chance to rest, while Angela did some scouting.  She returned to the hostel late in the afternoon and told me: “I got into several museums because today is the one day in the year when all the museums are free entry.”  Then she mentioned a place where she wanted to go: the Television Tower.  The Television Tower is one of the key places in the Singing Revolution.  The Estonians peacefully occupied the Television Tower until the Soviets withdrew from the country.  So, since it was open museum day, Angela wanted to go see the Television Tower.  “Do you want to go with me?” she asked.  Of course I said yes.  So we took a bus to the Television Tower and found a woman at the door with a clipboard in her hand.  She asked if we had reserved places.  We said no.  So she told us to wait and see if there were any no-shows.  Others without reservations came, too, but none of them had the patience to wait and see if they could get in.  Angela and I prayed for two no-shows, and that is exactly what we got.  When the group came out after their half hour was up, she began letting in those with reservations for the next group.  There were exactly two people who hadn’t shown up.

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Just like my Rapture dream!

We took the elevator up to the top of the tower, and I suddenly realized that this was just like my first Rapture dream.  In that dream I lived in a tall tower like the Seattle Space Needle or Toronto’s CN Tower, and the Rapture part was when I went up in the elevator.  At the top there was a video monitor where you could watch and learn about Estonia’s greatest contribution to the modern world: Skype.  I hadn’t known that Skype was invented in Estonia.

There were Plexiglas portholes about the size of manhole covers looking straight down through the floor—perhaps six of them scattered around the observation deck.  Some were equipped with a button for covering or revealing the window.  Although I don’t like heights, I did challenge myself to stand on one, looking straight down about 1000 feet with nothing but Plexiglas between me and the ground far below.  Spectacular.  Spectacularly frightening, too.

Our last day in Tallinn we prayed in the Estonian Parliament building.  Virgil was healed and feeling good again, almost 100 percent.

We felt like things had gone gloriously well.  And when I saw Angela start jumping for joy (joy that I was also feeling), I knew that we had accomplished our task.  Angela is very serious about prayer work, and doesn’t bust out like that, so it was a real sign.

Then that night we got a chance to encourage a group of local believers by prophesying over them (see Trained Circus Poodles).  The Lord had many encouraging words for them as a group, individually, and for Estonia.  It was a wonderful time.  One word that God gave me for a young woman there went something like this:

God has chosen you to make you His Secret Weapon.  You are a Secret Weapon because the forces of the defeated enemy won’t believe that you could possibly be a threat to his kingdom.  Thus, you will fly under the radar of the defeated enemy’s forces, and they will never see you coming.

You will do real damage to the defeated enemy’s kingdom and set back his plans in many places.  Do not fear, though He leads you into some scary places.  God will be with you all the way, leading you, showing you where to go and teaching you how to pray.

The really surprising thing about that word is that it turned out to be a word to me, too.  I am also God’s Secret Weapon.  But that’s a story for another post.  Stay tuned!  God is good!

[1] If you were under the impression that I live a jet-setting lifestyle, I hope that now you understand that’s not how it is at all.

[2] The link is not the movie we saw, but it tells the story briefly and well.

Barking Hell

There's no place like home (The Wizard Of Oz, 1939) - YouTube - Google Chrome 31-Jul-17 103158

I just want to go home!

22 July 2017

On the next-to-last day of the Baltic prayer trip with Operation Capitals of Europe, we were praying in Vilnius down by the river.  We had spent the day climbing one hill after another.  We had won some glorious victories that day.  But I was tired.  Prayer is tiring enough without adding hill-climbing to it.  It was day’s end and we were just about to split up for the evening.  That was when I felt a spirit slide by.  I should have paid more attention.  I should have prayed.  I should have rebuked the thing.  I should have bound the thing as soon as I became aware of it.  But we had just finished and I was exhausted.  All I wanted was to go back to the hostel and put my feet up.

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In Vilnius, down by the river looking up at the castle.

The next day I started coughing.  Over the next few weeks the cough got worse and worse.  I went to see my doctor and she said that my lungs were perfectly clear, so apparently it had been an allergy attack that caused drainage from my sinuses into my throat and lungs, making me cough.  The strange thing is that I never had a single symptom besides the cough: no sneezing, no runny nose, no post-nasal drip, nothing whatsoever!  She prescribed antihistamines.

When the medication was finished, the cough went away.  I didn’t think another thing about it.  Over two weeks later I went out to run my usual Saturday morning errands: buy a newspaper and get some groceries, no big deal, really.  When I came home I did something very unusual.  I went to bed.  Normally at noon I would have a rest in my bouncy prayer chair.  Instead I went to bed and slept from noon Saturday until about seven Sunday morning.

When I woke up I had goosebumps, which I knew had to be a fever because it was full summer and couldn’t possibly be cold.  And the cough was back.  This time it was a chesty, rattling cough that brought up hard brown cords of phlegm[1].  So I took some over-the-counter cough syrup and aspirin to bring down the fever—for the next few days.  I kept thinking that I was getting better, but I wasn’t.  I had no appetite, and so the small amount of energy that I did feel went to doing other things like starting the process of getting my Permit to Live in Italy, and getting groceries as needed.  But going into the kitchen to open even a packet of crackers?  I had no desire for them, so the effort was simply too daunting.  So I ate almost nothing for the week following the Saturday collapse.  And since I kept thinking that I was getting better, I didn’t see the point in expending the strength to go to the doctor’s office.

On Friday I finally forced myself to go to the doctor, despite not feeling strong enough to do it.  I had to face the fact that it didn’t seem like I was getting better.  She examined me and immediately sent me to the hospital for an emergency x-ray.  I told her: “I have a flight to the US on Tuesday.”  She assured me: “You will fly on Tuesday!”

At the hospital, the emergency room doctor took one look at my x-ray and said, “We’ve got to admit you and start with intravenous antibiotics right now.”  I replied: “I have a flight to the US on Tuesday.”  She assured me: “You will fly on Tuesday, but we must take care of this right now.”  She showed me the x-ray.  My left lung was clear, but the right lung was fully half enshrouded in white with tendrils reaching aggressively into the remaining half.  It was like seeing Shirley Temple (left lung) holding hands with the Wicked Witch of the West (right lung).  I held out my arm and said, “OK, hook me up and let’s get the healing started.”

I'm Melting! - The Wizard of Oz (78) Movie CLIP (1939) HD - YouTube - Google Chrome 31-Jul-17 103436

My right lung!

She had me hooked up to an antibiotic IV drip and I was sent to the waiting room to take a nebulizer treatment while I waited for the admission paperwork to be done.

When the treatment was done an orderly came to take me to my room.  I was in the Emergency Medicine ward.  My roommate was there with severe liver issues.  The whites of her eyes were the color of mustard and she was as orange as an oompa-loompa.  Poor thing!

I felt especially bad for her because I knew that I would continue coughing and spitting through the night—it would be like having an unruly dog in the room that barked throughout the night.  I certainly wouldn’t have wanted me for a roommate.  But she was sweet and kind to me, and so was her whole family.  Yes, even in their concern for their mother/grandmother, her son and daughter and grandchildren were each very kind to me, politely asking after my health.

Being in the hospital is when I found out what great friends I have.  Several friends came to visit, bringing me things from home or things that I needed (but hadn’t realized I needed).  Others sent me messages expressing caring concern and promises to pray for me.  I am so very blessed!

When the doctor saw me, she said that I have pneumonia with a severe pulmonary infection.  I sang her that same one-note song that I had for the other doctors: “I have a flight to the US on Tuesday.”  She assured me: “I will release you on Monday.  You will make your flight!”

Thus reassured by all three of the doctors that had seen me, I was able to relax and concentrate on healing.  I smiled as I realized that I felt just like Dorothy, telling everyone in Oz: “I just want to go home!”  Over the course of the weekend, I found myself profoundly missing my mom.  There’s just something about being sick that makes you long for your mom.  Being with Mom would surely do at least as much for me as all the medications I was taking.

Each day in the hospital I felt stronger and better.  My appetite slowly returned, primed by Italian cooking.  Even though I was assigned what they call a white foods diet (primarily plain rice, mashed potatoes, and applesauce), it tasted good enough to coax my appetite back, and since it was already prepared for me, there was no effort involved besides putting it into my mouth.

I was on strong antibiotics (still am at this writing), and I’m not sure what is in the nebulizer treatments, but each treatment has left me feeling stronger and better.  On Monday morning, the doctor came to see me.  She said that she would see the rest of her patients, then submit the paperwork to release me.  I was thrilled.  I showered and dressed and packed up my belongings.

Meanwhile my roommate got some bad news from her doctor: the MRI showed a damaged place on her liver.  They were sending her to another hospital to have surgery to remove the damaged section.  Her prognosis was said to be good, and she seemed strong and healthy otherwise.  Over the weekend her color had toned down some.  But I can’t imagine having to undergo liver surgery.  Please pray for Marcella.

I went home that afternoon just after lunch.  My friend, Deborah, had gotten the suitcase down out of storage for me, and I met Sam, my guest.  Sam had inquired about a place to stay through MiHOP, the Milan House of Prayer.  As a HOP supporter, known for hospitality, I was asked if Sam could stay at my house.  Of course I said yes.  But all this was before the collapse and being hospitalized.  Since Deborah was there to let him in, I didn’t see any reason to make him change his plans.  People often stay in my house when I’m not there.  So Sam was anxious to meet me, and to find out how I was feeling.

It turned out that Sam and I have a lot of overlap in our ministries, which is always exciting to learn about.  Still, my energy level was not great, and I had to pack and prepare for the trip the next morning.  While in the hospital, one friend had suggested that I make a list of things to pack so that when I got home, it would just be a matter of putting those things in the suitcase.  That was valuable advice.  So I packed and rested, packed and rested, checked in online and requested a wheelchair, finished packing, and went to bed.

I requested a wheelchair because both the Milan[2] and Atlanta airports are very big, and there would be a lot of walking involved while carrying my backpack, which weighed about twenty pounds (almost nine kilograms).  I had never used the wheelchair service because I had never needed help before.  But having just gotten out of the hospital the day before, I knew that I would need help.  The wheelchair pusher at Milan Malpensa was a really nice young man.  When I arrived at the gate, he refused a tip, saying that it is a free service.  He was the only wheelchair pusher that I had ever seen refuse a tip.

The flight was long (ten hours), but uneventful.  I had a window seat and did my coughing and spitting as discreetly as possible.  Since my seatmate had headphones on and slept through most of the flight, it seems that he was mostly unaware of it all.  He was a really nice young Italian who was attending the University of Georgia.  When we landed, the flight attendant had told me to wait until the other passengers are off the plane before disembarking in order to give the wheelchair a chance to get there.  My seatmate, seeing me sitting there while the plane emptied out, asked if he could hand my backpack down to me.  How thoughtful!

Imagine that this whole episode could have been avoided if I had rebuked that nasty little spirit in Vilnius.  But God turned the evil into a blessing.  I did make it home and though I am still coughing and spitting, I am definitely feeling better and coughing less and less every day.  Through it all, I have gotten to meet some really nice people and come to a much deeper appreciation of my wonderful, caring friends and family.  Yes indeed, there is no place like home.  God is good!

Post Script – When the doctor dismissed me from the hospital, she gave me dismissal papers that described my symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment in great detail.  On the last page it explained in very formal language that the cost of my hospitalization was €3,534.  That’s almost a quarterly rent payment.

While I was in the US I came across an old HSA[3] debit card.  I called the bank and found out that there was about $4,100 on the card—exactly the amount to cover the hospital bill.  Thank You Jesus!

So this morning, having returned to Italy, I went to the hospital to pay my bill.  On the way, I thanked God for a full recovery and prayed that the bill would not be that full €3,534, but significantly less.

The cashier looked confused and said, “Why have you come here this morning?”  I said that I needed to pay my bill and showed her the dismissal papers.  She looked at the last page and said, “Madam, this is just to inform you of the cost incurred by your hospitalization.  You don’t owe anything.”  God is good!  I want to shout it everywhere I go: God is good!


[3] Health Savings Account.

[1] Sorry to be disgusting!

[2] Malpensa.

Europe Will be Saved!

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Pray for this man to return to his Christian roots!

10 July 2017

Two years ago when Awakening Europe began, I knew that I had to go eventually.  Europe is my mission field, after all, and Awakening Europe is all about seeking God for Revival.  But that year, 2015, I had a very specific word from the Lord, instructing me to stay home in Milan and curtail my usual travels.  The only travel that I was instructed to do that year was for Operation Capitals of Europe[1].  Last year, although I did more traveling, the Lord didn’t call me to go to Awakening Europe.  So I was thrilled when He told me to go this year to Prague for Awakening Europe.

My friend and cell group leader, Stacy (Anastasia), expressed interest in going, too.  So we got a hotel room together.  Stacy is learning English, but is Russian with excellent fluency in Italian, and works as a translator.  Awakening Europe is always in English (probably because it is connected with, who provided livestream of the event).  And they always present in the language of their host country, which in this case was Czech because of being in Prague.  So the program was English translated into Czech or sometimes Czech translated into English.  Stacy had decided to go because they were offering live translation via the internet in Russian and also in German.

The first morning as we were about to leave the hotel, I had forgotten something and dashed back up to our room.  The elevator was broken, and in the stairwell I met a man who also had the wristband for Awakening Europe.  We exchanged greetings.  A few minutes later as Stacy and I were leaving the hotel, my new friend, Nigel, called us over and offered us a ride to the arena (saving us forty minutes of travel time across town).  We accepted.  He was in a nine-seater van, being driven by his friend, Otto.  Between them Nigel and Otto had five young people with them, so they had exactly two seats for Stacy and me.

The event was held at a basketball arena called the Tipsport Arena.  Awakening Europe made use of the arena’s jumbotron so that no matter where you sat, you had a good view of what was going on.  Those needing translation were directed to sit in one particular area where the Wi-Fi router was located.  So we were surrounded by German- and Russian-speakers.  But then the Wi-Fi failed during the first session.  A nice young Russian named Misha jumped in and began translating for everyone sitting in our immediate area.  Word spread, and soon we were surrounded by Russians who had moved in close to hear Misha’s translation.  Stacy was so pleased that she made sure to introduce herself to Misha and to seek him out in subsequent sessions.  Misha introduced his sister, Lena, to us.  So even if we couldn’t find Misha, we would sit near Lena, knowing that Misha would show up sooner or later.  Through Stacy, Misha, and Lena, I got to know other Russians, including Oksana, who lives in Israel.

That day we were sent out on the streets to share Jesus in the bustling center of Prague.  Stacy admitted to me that she’s not comfortable sharing Jesus on the street with strangers.  I agree.  Being introverted by nature (though extroverted by calling), I make friends easily with God’s people, but find myself often tongue-tied with random strangers.  Still, we made a few brave attempts, though nothing spectacular.  I managed to give away a ticket to that evening’s meeting at the arena, which featured Todd White giving his amazing testimony.  Did he come?  I don’t know, but I did pray that an angel would go with the ticket and make sure that the person who got it would hear and receive the Gospel.  So one way or another, God has reached that young man.

Meanwhile, Stacy had the worst thing happen to her that could happen on outreach[2].  She felt led to go speak with an older woman who looked Russian.  So she approached the woman and said, “Do you speak Russian?”  The woman growled, “Russian!” and spit on the ground.  Stacy felt so sure of the urging of the Holy Spirit to speak with this woman that she brought in a translator to help.  Through the translator she apologized for what her country had done to the Czech Republic.  The woman told the translator to tell Stacy: “Just go away and leave me alone!”  Now do you think that was Stacy wrong about the leading of the Holy Spirit?  I don’t think so.  I believe that God wanted both of us (and also our young translator) to see what was the worst that could happen if we take the chance and talk to someone who is hostile.  Stacy was kind and respectful to the woman at all times.  And when the woman told Stacy to go away, she did exactly that, blessing the woman as she walked away.

On the tram ride back to the arena, worship spontaneously broke out, and it was joyous.  I’ve never experienced anything like that on public transportation anywhere in my life.  It was wonderful!  It was like a flash mob on the tram, but it was completely unplanned.

That evening when Todd White spoke, easily a hundred people gave their lives to Jesus.  And after the evening session we saw Nigel (what are the chances in a crowd estimated at 7000 people flooding a dark parking lot?), and again we were able to catch a ride with him and Otto.

The next day Stacy and I went out with Oksana because she had told Stacy about miraculous healings that occurred with their group.  We didn’t go far from the arena because one person we needed to pray for was with us at Awakening, and couldn’t walk far.  So we found a bench near the arena and prayed for her.  She was Petka, a Czech lady that was crippled because she had one leg about an inch and a half shorter than the other.  Petka told us of being in constant pain, whether sitting or standing, and she walked with crutches.  So Oksana prayed for her—indeed we all did.  Then Oksana said, “Now get up and walk.”  She did, without crutches and with much less pain.  But the legs were still not quite the same length.  So Oksana had her sit on the bench again, lifted her feet, and we saw that instead of an inch and a half difference, there was only about an inch difference.  So with Petka’s feet in her hands, Oksana prayed again.  And before our eyes, the leg lengthened.  It took about a minute.  Petka described a feeling of warmth in that leg.  Again, Oksana told her to walk.  Petka walked without even the hint of a limp and no pain at all.  In fact, she now complained because of the lift she had in her right shoe.  So she took out the lift and walked as if there had never been any issue at all.  We rejoiced madly.

The bench we had used was near a sort of permanent fairgrounds next to the arena.  So then we turned our attention to the people who came by the bench.  We told them about Petka’s miracle and offered to pray for them, too.  But sadly, we had no takers.  One elderly woman was so angry at God that she was actually offended by our offer to pray for her, Petka’s miracle notwithstanding.  I don’t know if she could tell that most of us were Russians, but that might also have played a part in her vehement rejection of prayer.  There is a lot of anti-Russian sentiment in these former Iron Curtain countries, but I’ve never seen it played out more dramatically than in the Czech Republic.  So we weren’t able to pray for or with anyone else that afternoon, but we were still riding high on Petka’s miracle nevertheless.

Stacy and I got a hotdog for supper and went back to the arena for the evening session.  The arena was packed solid, so we found Misha and the Russian contingent way up in the highest balcony.  We were actually higher than the jumbotron.  The speaker for the evening was Reinhard Bonnke.  I had seen videos of some of his evangelistic crusades, healing miracles, etc., so I was very excited to see him.  He has been battling cancer, but is not willing to let go of the ministry.  So he has named Daniel Kolenda as his ministry successor.  Still, because of all this, Bonnke has cut his appearance schedule way back, so this was a rare privilege, indeed, to hear him speak.

But before Reinhard Bonnke came out to speak we had a lovely worship session.  Then the presenters (Ben Fitzgerald, Todd White, and Daniel Kolenda) came on stage and a chant broke out spontaneously across the whole arena all at once: “Europe will be saved!  Europe will be saved!  Europe will be saved!”  It grew louder and louder: “Europe Will Be Saved!!!  Europe Will Be Saved!!!  Europe Will Be Saved!!!”  Until everyone was shouting as loud as they could: “EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!  EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!  EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!”  The presenters and the worship leaders all prostrated themselves on the stage as the crowd thundered on and on and on, everyone shouting with growing conviction: “EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!  EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!  EUROPE WILL BE SAVED!!!

When the shout finally died down, Fitzgerald gave some announcements and then tried to get the chant started again before introducing Reinhard Bonnke.  His effort fizzled, having not been Holy Spirit motivated like the spontaneous chant had been.  Still he was eventually rewarded for his efforts with a little bit of chanting again, though nothing like before.

When Bonnke came on stage to speak, he started by saying, “I am not here to tell you a story.”  Instead, he gave a clear presentation of the Gospel message, and at least a thousand people responded.  In fact, it was so many people, and they just kept coming and coming, so that they had to get people to leave the arena floor area in order find a place for all the new converts.

The next day was Sunday, the final day of Awakening Europe.  Stacy had a flight back to Milan that afternoon, but wanted to go look around the city that morning.  She asked me what I was going to do.  I said, “There is going to be worship and preaching in Czech by local people.  It’s their city, so it seems right.  But I would rather spend the morning with you, looking around the city.”

So that’s what we did.  Our first stop was the Dancing House.  I had only ever seen the Dancing House from the other side of the river, so I wanted to see what it looks like up close.  We went inside and found out that there is a coffee shop in the top (appropriate for a house that looks somewhat like an Italian moka-style coffee pot).  We had cappuccinos and prayed, blessing the city from above.


The Dancing House looks like an Italian Moka coffeepot.

God’s Secret Weapon

Stacy and I came across a Marilyn Manson poster, advertising a concert in November at the Tipsport Arena—the same arena where Awakening Europe had been meeting.  The poster was particularly repulsive.  In the past, MM had always worn geisha-type makeup: white and smooth to accentuate a certain androgyny.  But in this poster his makeup was white, but all caked and crumbling, with uneven slashes of black and red going down his forehead, around the eyes, and around his mouth.  His eyes were at half-mast and he looked drugged and zombielike.  He was posed with his hand, long fingernails resting on his cheek, as if he was in the process of clawing the flesh from his face.  Immediately we began to pray, prompted by the Holy Spirit.  And as we were praying each of us remembered that MM had come from a Christian family.  So we prayed for him to return to his Christian roots.

Then we wandered the streets, finding street markets in various places, including an artisanal market, with lots of beautiful handmade clothing and jewelry.  Neither of us had any room in our luggage for purchases, having flown low-cost carriers that allowed hand luggage only.  One stall was selling homemade essential oils.  The Holy Spirit prompted me to buy the smallest bottle I could of Lavender oil, which was about 100 milliliters.  Stacy’s eyes widened.  She said, “You’ll never be allowed to take that onto the plane!”  I smiled and said, “This oil is staying right here in Prague.”  And I told her of the inspiration I had just gotten from the Holy Spirit: to go back to the Tipsport Arena and anoint the whole place with oil so that the good spirit left there from Awakening Europe would stay and not be replaced by something from Marilyn Manson or anything else.  She loved the idea.

When I was in Tallinn, performing prophecy as a “Trained Circus Poodle,” one prophecy that I gave for a girl there turned out to be for myself as well (though I didn’t realize it until about a week later).  The prophecy more or less went like this:

God has chosen you to make you His Secret Weapon.  You are a Secret Weapon because the forces of the defeated enemy won’t believe that you could possibly be a threat to his kingdom.  Thus, you will fly under the radar of the defeated enemy’s forces, and they will never see you coming.

You will do real damage to the defeated enemy’s kingdom and set back his plans in many places.  Do not fear, though He leads you into some scary places.  God will be with you all the way, leading you, showing you where to go and teaching you how to pray.

As the Lord began to lead me in making solo attacks on the defeated enemy’s kingdom in various places, I began to understand that this prophecy had been for me, too.  So this plan to go anoint the Tipsport Arena was another in a growing list of assaults on the defeated enemy’s various European headquarters.

In continuing our wandering, Stacy and I found ourselves in the Jewish Quarter.  Both of us have a love for Israel and the Jewish people, so we immediately felt both comforted and encouraged by the happy God-incidence of finding ourselves there.  And even more God-incidentally, we happened upon an Italian tour group.  Stacy was thrilled to find people touring the Jewish Quarter in Italian.  We mixed ourselves into the group and listened to the tour already in progress.

But soon it was time for Stacy to head to the airport.  We said our goodbyes and she went into the subway to head for the airport.  I took the tram back to our hotel to rest and wait for the evening session, when I would anoint the Tipsport Arena.

However, things didn’t work out at all like I had thought.  I took a short nap, but when I woke up I had a severe cramp in my gut and could hardly stand upright.  The cramp turned into diarrhea, which went on and on and on.  Finally it was time to go to the arena, and I thought I was well enough to go.  But I got only about halfway to the elevator when another wave of cramping hit me, doubling me over.  So I stayed in the hotel and slept instead of going to the final session.

The next morning I felt drained, but otherwise much better.  My flight was at noon, so I had the morning to go anoint the arena.  I prayed for wisdom and an open door.  I got both.  Wisdom had me look at my return ticket again, and that was a good thing because my flight was at 10:30, not noon as I had thought.  So I checked out of the hotel at about eight, and took the tram to the arena, praying all the way.

When I got there, the Holy Spirit directed me to go around the left side to start.  So I walked as far around the left side as I could.  Starting from there, I squirted oil in front of every door, using the squirt applicator the oil-maker had given me, and praying the whole way.  I quickly found out that I was never going to have enough oil to go all the way around the arena that way, so I squirted some oil into my hand and anointed each door and ticket window by hand.  On the far right side of the arena, around by the back, I found the VIP entrance where the performers all enter—and the door was standing open, just as I had prayed.  When I had finished all the other doors, I came back to the VIP entrance.  Just inside there was a man at the desk.  So I turned my back to him, squirted a good amount of oil into my hand, and poured out the rest onto the ground right in front of the entrance.  Then I threw the bottle away and rubbed the oil onto both hands equally.  I entered the door and leaning both hands on the desk, I asked the man: “Is this the Tipsport Arena?”  He said yes.  I thanked him and left, leaving behind those two oily handprints.

I took the subway across town to get to the airport, and flew back to Milan feeling pleased that I had been used again as God’s Secret Weapon.  Mission accomplished!  God is good!

[1] 2015 is also the summer that I broke my arm—right after Awakening Europe (see Summer in a Cast).  I know that it was right after Awakening Europe because the two friends staying with me when I broke my arm had come here straight from Awakening Europe.

[2] Well, socially the worst, anyway.  She wasn’t kidnapped and beheaded, of course–that would definitely be the worst.

Husbands used by the Defeated Enemy


Jesus’ bride will be a spotless and victorious bride!

I want to start by saying that I don’t hate men.  Men are not the problem.  The problem is society.  The problem is Christian culture.  The problem, ultimately, is the fallen state of this world.  So the fact that the defeated enemy uses husbands to stop their wives from fulfilling their destiny is not the only way he works against the marital relationship.  I’m sure that he also uses wives to stop husbands from fulfilling their destiny, too.  I just don’t know this scenario from the man’s point of view.  That is a post for a man to write.  But I have both seen and personally experienced wives being literally robbed of their ministry and destiny by husbands who refuse to allow them to obey what God has told them to do—even Christian husbands—and it doesn’t always end well for the marriage.  And I wish I had the solution, but I don’t.

The Blacks

Ann has a powerful prophetic gift and a calling for evangelism.  Her husband, Bob, is a hard-working Christian man.  He can’t always make it to church because of his busy work schedule, but he is not anti-church or anti-God in any way.  Honestly, he’s just tired.  Ann works, too.  But Ann manages to make it to church on Sunday and Wednesday night.  Bob doesn’t spend time reading the Bible or in prayer like he knows he should.  He’s too busy.  Those times when his work schedule would allow him to go to church, he often chooses to stay home and watch sports on TV.

Recently Ann was invited to speak at a church four hours away from home.  In the past, Bob has expressed his desire for Ann not to go.  This time he forbid her to go.  She went anyway, making the long round-trip in a single day.  The church that had invited her had offered her a place to stay, but Ann felt like it was more important to get back home to Bob as quickly as possible.  Of course, Bob was asleep when she got back home long after midnight.  Things have been very tense between them ever since, but Ann knew that she had to obey God and go.  Ann feels torn because she loves Bob.  What can she do, but obey God and pray that He will make things better between them?

The Whites

Zoe also has a powerful prophetic gift, and she has a calling for intercession.  Her husband, Walter, is also a Christian, both of them have been out of work for several years now.  At first Walter was very diligent about looking for a job, but the economy where they live is so depressed that there is literally nothing at all for either of them.  And the situation is even worse because Walter and Zoe are foreigners, so it is doubly hard to find work, even when it does become available.  Zoe knows that they were called to their host country.  Zoe lives by faith, looking to God as their Source.  She never knows where the money for rent or groceries will come from, but God is faithful.

Being out of work for such a long time has sunk Walter into such a deep depression that he has retreated into the internet.  He spends entire days watching End Times prophecy and Christian conspiracy videos on YouTube and playing video war games.  These things have taken Walter to a very dark place, indeed.  Now he interacts with the real world with deep suspicion and mistrust.  Walter leads daily family prayer time, but only because Zoe insists.

Recently Zoe felt called to go on a prayer trip that would take her away from home for a week.  Walter was enraged.  He accused Zoe of everything from running away to having an affair.  In his rage, Walter smashed Zoe’s family heirloom vase.  The sound of Walter’s shouts and the broken ceramics brought their children rushing into the room, in fear for their mother’s safety.  Zoe went on the prayer trip, but of course she returned to a sullen and suspicious husband.

The Greens

Mary also has a powerful prophetic gift and a calling to encourage the saints.  Her husband, Luke, was a Christian when they married.  After their Sunday school teacher cheated him out of $300, Luke left the church, saying that he would rather hang out with sinners because at least they were honest.  Luke tolerated Mary’s Christianity but certainly did not encourage it.  Not long after all this, Mary began finding pornographic websites on the computer.  When she confronted Luke about it, he apologized, saying that he was just curious.  But rather than stopping, Luke just got better about hiding it, erasing the browser history when he finished using the computer.  But pornography kept turning up in their shared email.  Finally Luke accused Mary of being cold, saying that he needed to find release somewhere, and at least he wasn’t going to prostitutes.

Mary’s church was preparing for a short-term missions trip, and seeing her interest, someone anonymously offered to pay Mary’s way.  Mary was thrilled, but at the same time she worried, knowing that if she left Luke alone at home, he would spend his time looking at porn.  She felt such deep shame about the issue that Mary didn’t ask for prayer, as she would for anything else going on in her life.  When she returned from the mission trip, Luke told her that she should go stay with her mom for a while.  So without unpacking, Mary left their house and went to stay with her mom.  They have remained separated now for several months.


These are certainly not the only circumstances that the defeated enemy can use against women to derail their calling.  I am sure that there are probably many other stories in which the wives have chosen to obey their husband instead of God, in the hopes of keeping the peace.  As I observed in my last post: The Defeated Enemy Fights Dirty.  He uses the people closest to us, people we trust, to poke our wounds or to stop our ministries.  In each of these cases, the husband had abdicated his position as the spiritual head of the household.

Unfortunately, this is a problem of epidemic proportions that has necessitated women becoming strong.  And lest you think that this is just a result of feminism, there is actually a Biblical example of a godly woman who obeyed God despite her husband’s wishes: Abigail (1 Samuel 25).  Her husband, Nabal, was a Jew.  But he certainly wasn’t listening to God about David, as Abigail was.  The story of Abigail and Nabal comes to a swift conclusion, with a happy ending for Abigail, but who know how many years leading up to this that Abigail had had to go against Nabal.  Perhaps at every Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles for years Abigail may have gone alone to Jerusalem as Moses commanded, while Nabal stayed home sulking and working his fields.

This abdication is probably a factor in many Christian divorces.  It certainly is in mine.  Some people tell divorced women (and men) that they are not suited for ministry because of divorce (citing 1 Timothy 3:2).  If that’s the case, then explain the Samaritan woman—one of the very first evangelists—who was divorced five times and living with a man (John 4).  God is not rigid and legalistic, as many of His people tend to be.  As I’ve observed many times: it takes two to make a marriage work, but only one to wreck it[1].  And although God hates divorce, He loves divorced people and Jesus died for them.  Divorce doesn’t have to mean the end of ministry.  In the case of 1 Timothy, Paul was talking about overseers (or bishops), men who lead more than one church.  Their lives need to be beyond reproach.  This rule doesn’t apply to every person called to ministry (and guess what: we’re all called to ministry in one way or another).  Furthermore, in first century society, women didn’t have the right to divorce, only men could divorce.  So a divorced overseer would have been a man who had sent his wife away for whatever reason.  He didn’t have to have a “godly” reason (like infidelity), he only had to desire to send her away.

So don’t put God in a box, and don’t limit His women, either.  Jesus certainly didn’t!  God is good!

[1] And that one is never a third party, no matter what some people think.  The other woman is called a home-wrecker, but she could never wreck a marriage without the full and willing cooperation of the husband.  He is the one who broke his vows, not the other woman.

The Defeated Enemy Fights Dirty!


This is a picture from my early days as a traveling missionary.  Except for the hair, I don’t think I’ve changed much.

I refuse to use the defeated enemy’s God-given name, which translates as “light-bearer,” because he has forever forfeited the right to be called by that name.  Besides that, the Bible says:

Pay close attention to all my instructions.  You must not call on the name of any other gods.  Do not even speak their names, (Exodus 23:13, emphasis mine).

I also refuse to use his generic title, which means “accuser.”  Devil makes him sound frightening (though I am not afraid of him), and enemy makes it sound like this is a fair fight—it’s not!  The odds are so completely stacked in our favor that there is literally no way that we can possibly lose.

That’s why I only refer to him as the defeated enemy.  I want to remind myself of my position of victory.  I also want to remind him of his defeat, which is sealed.  The Holy Spirit reminded me one day a few years ago that Jesus is the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world[1].”  And He revealed to me that since Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world, the enemy’s defeat was also sealed from the foundation of the world.

Therefore, we cannot possibly lose.  That is unless he can get us to give up.  This is why he works so hard on discouraging us.  He chooses someone who is close to us, someone we love and trust, to poke us in the place where it hurts the most.

Make no mistake about it: although his defeat is a fact, nevertheless he is still capable of wounding.  He can wound us gravely, even unto death.  He is behind Christian divorces.  He has even provoked Christians to suicide.  I can guarantee that the defeated enemy was behind the scenes, using that person’s loved ones to poke a wound that hurt so badly they simply couldn’t take it any longer.

This is exactly what he did to me today.

Here’s my story, so that you understand this place of vulnerability (and trust me, it’s not an easy story to tell):

From the time I was very little, I wanted to be a boy because I thought boys had more fun.  I didn’t like playing with dolls or even sitting indoors coloring.  I spent my childhood in trees or on my bike, having adventures[2].  I believed that being a girl meant that I was boring, and that means that I have always had a lot of body shame.

As a teenager body shame expressed itself as it does with many teenaged girls: obsessive dieting and crash dieting interspersed with periods of binge eating.  I look back at pictures and realize with a shock that I wasn’t fat at all.  But the defeated enemy used my friends to tell me that I was fat.  Often he would whisper in my ear that I was fat.  And sometimes a boy would compliment me, saying something like: “I like girls with curves,” which sounded to me like he was saying: “You’ve got a big butt.”  All of which put me on a hunger strike until my mother would nag me into eating, and bribe me with fried chicken.

In high school I was in a semi-professional ballet troupe.  My ballet teacher was extremely thin.  She had been a ballerina with the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine.  She encouraged us all to lose weight if we dared to think of a career as a dancer.  In fact, “encouraged” is far too nice a word for it.  She badgered us constantly about our weight.  She bullied us by putting the “fat” ones (including me) in the back line—both on stage and during practice.  Looking back, there was nobody in the class that I would say was fat.  But she convinced us all that we were.

So all this adds up to intense body shame—lifelong body shame.  On the positive side, body shame did keep my dress modest compared to other girls my age.  But of course I dressed modestly for the wrong reason.

What happened today is this: last night I was invited to Monica’s apartment for dinner.  Monica is Italian, about the age of my mother, and a new believer.  In other words, Monica doesn’t have the same cultural experiences I have as an American.  And Europeans really don’t have the culture of body shame or fat-shaming.  So after a lovely dinner, and after offering me two desserts, Monica says: “My dear, you have put on weight.”  Her tone was one of concern for me, but what I heard was: “Wow!  You’ve really gotten fat!”  I didn’t know how to respond because I don’t think my weight has changed at all in the past year.

That one line was enough to send me into a spiral in which I only wanted to go to bed and sleep the comment away.  Then today Monica called me and repeated what she had said two more times.  After getting off the phone I spiraled into despair, self-hatred, and even had thoughts of suicide.  Happily, Nina was here and prayed me through the pain.  Monica is plump, while Nina is actually underweight.  But it is Nina who understood how those words had hurt me.

Understand, I am not angry or upset at Monica.  She was just the stick that the defeated enemy had used to poke my wounded place.  The whole thing caught me off-guard because I had thought that I had dealt with this issue.  Rejection, abandonment, and self-hatred are things that I spent a great deal of time working through with the Lord.  But obviously, body shame remains a core issue that I need to deal with.  I don’t even know how to begin to heal from body shame.  It is a wound so deep and so old that it almost feels like it’s a part of my identity.

What I’ve decided to do is to go back to what God says about my body:

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well, (Psalm 139:14, NIV).

Who am I to argue with the Potter?  I’m going to let Him love me through this until all the hurt and body shame are gone.  God is good!

[1] Revelation 13:8, KJV.

[2] Thank God I’m a Boomer!  Can you imagine if I had been born these days?  I might have had parents who “supported” my right to be a boy, using masculine pronouns, and insisting that I be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom at school.  I’ve even heard of parents who have let their young teens get hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery.  Although it’s what I wanted at ages four through eleven, as an adult I’ve always been glad that I’m female—especially having given birth to my two sons.  I still think dolls are boring, though.

My Heart’s Cry


I don’t want the safety of the harbor.  I want to swim out to the deepest depths!

I was at a prayer meeting on Monday night.  We had a specific focus for our prayers, so I was somewhat surprised when the facilitator turned to me and said, “And you, Alisa?  How can we pray for you?”

Although I was caught off-guard, nevertheless, I blurted out my prayer request—no, not a request!—my heart’s cry: “I want more of God!”

All eyes regarded me curiously, so I explained:

I feel like I’m on the beach, and I’ve waded in up to my ankles.  But I want to go farther and deeper.  I want to be completely immersed.  I remember reading about someone who swam so far out into the ocean that they lost sight of the shore.  I want to do that!  I want to lose myself in God!

Changing metaphors, I further explained:

In 2011 I received a prophecy in which God told me that He had set a table before me, and that on the table is everything I could ever want or need.  A few months later I was weeping before the Lord as I faced the very scary task of speaking to churches about Europe as a mission field.  I knew that I needed to do it because the burden was immense, but so was my lifelong fear of speaking in public.  So I was on my knees, weeping and begging God to be there with me as I speak to the churches.

When I calmed down, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the table in the prophecy.  I cried: “I don’t want a gift, I want You, God!”  And I wept all the more.

When I calmed down again, God gently spoke, saying: “My child, I am in every gift, and every gift is simply more of Me.”

That’s what I want: I want every gift!  I want more of God, every bit of Him that He will give me.  I want to lose myself in Him!  And I don’t want this Holy Dissatisfaction to ever end.  I want to stay Hungry for God, and for more of Him!

One of my friends tried to “talk me down off the ledge” by assuring me that it’s okay to live a normal life like everyone else, and that we all want to live in the supernatural.  But I didn’t want to be reassured.  I don’t want to live a “normal” life like everyone else around me—like people who don’t know Jesus.  We were called to be different and to live differently.  Finally the facilitator said that she understood, and she assigned herself as the one to pray for me.

Another one of my friends asked for prayer so that there would be no more misunderstandings about her calling—that she would understand her calling better, but also that her church would understand her calling.  I volunteered to pray for her, and what I prayed was that she would become more secure in her calling so that she didn’t need the stamp of approval from anyone else.

Honestly!  Sometimes other Christians are like crabs in a pot[1], pulling you back down so that you can never escape the “normal” into the supernatural realm of God Almighty.  I think the issue with her church is that they don’t want her to do anything that doesn’t fly under their banner.  She longs to do what God has called her to do, but this opposition (which she has called “misunderstanding”) has made her doubt her calling.  So I also prayed for her to have the holy boldness to obey God no matter what her church thinks about it.

So my heart cries out for more of God, and that this precious friend can experience more of Him as she obeys despite opposition—even the opposition of her pastor.  There is more, if you dare to reach for it.  God is good!

[1] A lone crab can easily climb up out of a pot and escape.  But a pot full—even overflowing—with crabs will not lose a single one.  Why?  Because the others will grab ahold and pull a potential escapee back into the pot.