Wow. How do I begin to blog about this weekend? I just got home from a weekend in Indianapolis, hanging out with almost 1600 teenagers and youth leaders, hearing God’s Word, worshiping and singing, and seeing God do His amazing work in hearts. There were so many times when God proved that what was happening could only be because of Him and it humbled me. It blessed me. It awed me. I just keep saying “wow” and “thank you” over and over again.
I think the biggest moment for me was last night during the message. A dynamic, anointed pastor named Michael was sharing about the Holy Spirit and how we have to be filled with God’s Spirit to be healed and changed forever and have power. We don’t want just a visit from God we want Him to live in us and through us. We want to be saturated, overcome, and renovated by Him. We can believe God when He says that once we ask forgiveness our past is behind us and we are given new identity in Him. We are free, we are loved, we are changed, we are empowered, we are on mission to help other people.
I’ve blogged about my youngest’s struggles lately and how she has confessed to living a double life, so to speak. God has been bringing about some beautiful changes in her heart, but it seemed she was having a hard time completely letting go of what has been to embrace what she can be now and what God has planned for her. She was still feeling a bit restless. At one point during the message, the speaker was talking about this very thing: that we can be changed forever and be new, set apart and clean. He then turned toward the right (which happened to be the section where her youth group was sitting) and said “God is saying to you, ‘You’re not the same Krissy you used to be!'” Then he turned to the other side and said, “You’re not the same Johnny you used to be” etc. But when he said “Krissy” I almost fell off my chair. Could it be that for my girl? How many girls in this room are named Krissy? I mean He could have just picked a name off the top of his head, but I thought it was unusual. Could it be that God would speak out to my Krissy like that through Michael? Evidently she heard it, too, and it affected her. I heard from her sister later that night that she shared with her youth group during their recap and processing time through tears that she was her real self again, that God had changed her.
Michael didn’t know her or her name. I got the chance to tell him at lunch today how God had spoken to her and his eyes grew wide. With a big smile he leaned back and said, “Oh my!! I remember that moment! That name just rose up at that time in my mind! Praise God!”
How loving of God to call an individual name out in a crowd of 1600 people. It happened to some other kids during that service as well. During the prayer time at the end, Michael felt compelled to call a teen named “Luke” to come forward. A big guy raised his hand when his name was called and walked up onto the platform next to Michael. Michael put his hand on Luke’s shoulder and told him “I hear God telling me that it’s your time. You’ve been struggling with some things…” At this Luke bowed his head and began to cry. Michael continued, encouraging him by saying God has big plans for his life and that Luke needed to ask God to fill Him up completely with His Holy Spirit. He asked Luke if he wanted that and Luke nodded. Michael prayed over him and then Luke grabbed Michael in a big hug. All over the room young people were coming forward, ready for more of God, ready to surrender more fully, ready to be filled up with God’s Spirit and live a life empowered.
I was so struck by God’s love – that one person is important enough to be drawn out and invited personally, that He is constantly wooing and drawing us close – waiting to hear our request to be completely filled with His love and presence in our lives. He never refuses an invitation, Bro. Michael said. He doesn’t force his way into our hearts, but He always comes when we ask.
As I thought about what happened, back in my hotel room before bed, I was so moved with gratitude. Any hardship, or tough time, or time of limbo and waiting, any uncertainty – it is all so worth it if it means my daughter can be saved and healed and made whole by God. I would go through harder times, I would endure anything. Nothing is more important to me than to see my girls living in God’s grace, forgiveness and power. If I feel that strongly, imagine how strongly God feels and how he yearns and longs for each person to come to him open-hearted and inviting Him in.
I heard him say to me last night, “Have I shown you enough times now? Enough evidences that I am working in your life and the lives of your girls, that I am good, that I love you, that I have good plans for you? Can you trust me completely now?”
It’s all more than enough, God, especially considering I don’t deserve anything at all. Thank you! I do trust You. Fill me, too. I don’t want just a visit from You now and then, I want to live surrounded by all that You are! I love You.