An intercessor’s life is peculiar. We require a lot of quiet and reflective time, praying, fasting, pushing aside things—sometimes important things—in a moment’s notice when the Holy Spirit prompts. We are dedicated, reliable, sensitive, sacrificial, and disciplined. Some of the requests, places in the spirit world the Lord wants us to stand-in-the-gap over, can be wild stuff. We are enabled to see through God’s eyes regarding particular details. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the fruit of our labors, oft times we don’t, but we do this thing called intercession anyway. I love my life of intercessory prayer because it’s more time spent with the Lord. The process heightens how we hear his voice; it expands how we depend on him. And it’s for the sake of others. Heart for God; heart for his people. But we’ve all had our struggles with the calling.
The hardest part for me is finding balance… the fine line between being empathetic while you’re pouring yourself out over an assignment and investing in someone else’s spiritual journey, and remaining objective so that the process doesn’t consume you. Intercessors often operate under a sense of need to help others. It gets heated, intense sometimes, especially when coming against principalities and demonic warfare. It’s emotional. I am an all-or-nothing person. This makes me a committed and fervent prayer warrior; also, a basket-case when an assignment lifts or concludes, where I’m wandering about without aim or inspiration. We have to learn how to trust in between commitments, stay prayed up and not let our guard down, and be obedient in letting go. For it all belongs to the Lord, from the beginning to the end. Occasionally I’ve had assignments I wish I hadn’t, with awful warfare, and felt relieved to get through them. Yet the biggie for me more often is letting go. Because I still feel tied to circumstances and people I’ve prayed for, in a personal way—especially if it lasts for months or years.
An example of this is when, not that long ago, a maritime assignment lifted. My spiritual obligation over this one lasted quite a while, and it was a journey, as some of you might already know. It began with the Holy Spirit alerting me to specific seaports, then ships and crewmembers. And I prayed over a whole gamut of conditions and seafarers (also floating church planting and port outreaches). Near the end of this task, the Holy Spirit would give me the name of a ship and where geographically it was positioned. Found these nifty little apps that can track ships, so discovering each of these named vessels was like a treasure hunt, and a joyous confirmation of the Lord’s lead. Each called out ship was exactly as the Lord said it was and where. He also gave me Words of Knowledge to understand what the vibe was on board, the spirits, the challenges, the sailors… and sometimes who might the Lord want covered in a specific way. I knew via the Holy Spirit when he gave me the name of the latest vessel, that it would be my last—at least within this format at this time. Understood that my prayer voyage here would lift at this ship’s next port. It was so very sweet when I discovered my last port of call would be Seattle. My hometown. I’ve lived in East Tennessee for so long it’s home to me now, too. But I grew up in Seattle. It’s still my home. I prayed, and watched via satellite in real time, as the tugboats came along and assisted this vessel into the Port of Seattle—arrived! It felt like a homecoming party. I celebrated. And these people, this crew, had no idea a crazy intercessor was praying for them, watching them, fasting on their behalf (or maybe they did, as the Lord told me there were firm believers on board). I always wonder, does somebody sense it when a prayer warrior across the oceans has gone up to bat for them? Fasting and praying, fighting and rejoicing? Probably many someone’s, as I’m not the only spiritual-crazy out there. But… then it was sad for me to let go. I felt invested in the task. I also stretch and grow during these times. The Lord takes me through a journey, asking if I’d do this or that, how much am I willing to commit, how far will I follow his lead? I also have to press in sometimes for clarity, just to understand if I’d heard God correctly. By the way, the Lord has a very special love for seafarers. They were his first choice as his disciples.
Well, another commission came fast on the heels (stern) of that last ship. For the Lord clarified that many in my missionary/ministry circle were in or are walking into a new season. We are all in different seasons; rather, varying places within the same season I’m inclined to think. But it seems almost everybody I know has been in a series of whirlwinds to prepare, get ready, and launch or expand into something greater, different, or newer. I’ve been watching and interceding over these launches, committed to holding their arms up like Aaron to Moses and prayed as the Spirit guided. I get to pray often for those beginning new ministries—and I love that. While praying on the phone with somebody recently who was experiencing frustrating hindrances, I got a vision, and in fact had the same vision for a handful of people. We prayed it through, knocking down the demonic gatekeepers and obstacles, and asked for an angels’ charge to carry them onward. We received instant results. Thank you, victorious and glorious God!
Now, many of those I know who are being sent have begun, are all set; at least for now. And I rejoiced. I also grieved. I spend much of my time uplifting others, interceding for others, watching them go, and celebrating with them. And I’ll be there for them when they need a supportive, praying sister. But sometimes, the lowly human in me gets caught up in the flurry and then feels left behind. I wish I was the one going. I wish I was commissioned to go out in the field. I’d had that calling once. Perceived God’s call into ministry when I was a young child. Later answered the call and went into full-time ministry through Christian performing arts and worldwide missions. I really enjoyed the field, thrived in challenging environments and all. It was a good fit for my fundamental nature of yearning to absorb adventure, travel, and that deep love for different peoples and cultures. I flubbed up when I stepped away from that path, when I never should have—and God didn’t ask me to. Rather, I didn’t seek him, just did my own thing.
I’ve since come to terms with my decisions/mistakes that put a cement stop to all the “moving around” kind of ministry. Repented. Made good with serving the Lord in the best way that I can under my circumstances. I’ve sought his face, pursued his heart. I’ve been obedient. Have written a lot. Realized that I’d learned things I wouldn’t have had I not gone through the erring and wandering ways. Found humility in a place of despair, among a myriad of better things from a firmer Biblical perspective. The entire development has made me stronger. For that, I’m grateful. And I feel called again. Actually, I’m not sure the calling ever left… even if one walks away from it for a time (a long time) in life. For in Romans 11:29, it says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Irrevocable: “not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final”
So, no, maybe I’m not picking up on somebody else’s radio frequencies. They’re my signals, intended for me. If the Almighty called me once, the call is still there. And stirring. One of these days, it will be my turn to go, to embark again on a very real-life, real-time, hands-on way, and he’s going to blow my mind when he does it. And instead of my saying with spiritual eyes, “He’s doing that thing over there.” It will be with both spiritual and natural eyes, “He’s doing this thing over here,” and I’ll be reporting about it from somewhere online. When my confession grows into my testimony.
Last Thursday, another call-to-prayer over someone lifted. Right after, a cloud of oppression dropped over me. It was heavy, thick crud, and I couldn’t shake the rot off. And that’s just like the creepoid enemy; when the devil sees a vulnerability, he’ll seize the opportunity. Lasted for several hours. It was all I could do to listen to worship music and utter (even when I didn’t feel like it) “Thank you, Jesus.” Then the attack cleared with a snap (hey, maybe someone from afar was praying for me! Sure felt like I had help, and if so, thank you…) and I praised the Lord freely. But I did ask then of my savior, “Lord, what’s next for me?” And I didn’t mean a prayer assignment from my confined seat or closet.
He gave me a vision. I saw a fortified, thick-beamed entranceway. I’d been in a dark space, and this large, bold door appeared. It was holy. I think it was already there, but it only just became visible to me. There were two tubular neon-ish lights, each distinct, yet wrapped around the door and pulsating together like the aurora borealis. I could also hear and feel the pulsating energy. The one in front was rich red, the one behind was sapphire blue; the thick frame between was white. So it appeared like a living triplet of stripes… two separate and distinct colors welded together and supported by this strong inner/middle white frame. Through to the other side, steps away, was bright, beaming, living light; fluctuating and revolving as if a hundred lighthouses of holy fire. It sliced darkness. Took my breath away, especially with the sense of purpose and joy that came with this powerful vision. I wanted more, to learn more. In one word, I asked him, “Lord?” And he gave me one word for now: “Apostolic.”
And so there it is. You’ve heard it from me here. You’ll hear again from me from there. One day.
The Lord has taken me through a heavy process lately, comprising three topics.
Topic one: Tying up loose ends. Part of this is following through with written works I’d finished or have partially completed in the past and to get them released (another book is coming out in the next few days).
I’m tidying up and getting rid of the excess of things of which I have full ownership. An urge has come over me, that if it’s not nailed down, or if it’s surplus to my daily needs/use, it’s gone (not including books or art). This act has hogged my spiritual life as well.
I noticed that occasionally a recollection of something I’d said or done in the past—sometimes years past—that I wish I hadn’t would pop into my head. It’d make me cringe with shame or embarrassment, and I’d push it down, away, and go about my business. Out of sight, out of mind means gone, right? Not really. Because it was still there and would keep resurfacing until I dealt with it. The Holy Spirit was bringing it up and again because I needed to repent. I had loose ends needing tied; unfinished business to address, excess to purge.
So it came to a place that whenever a cringeworthy memory struck a nerve, I would say, “Oh gosh, Lord, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you, my redeemer, for who you are, for forgiving my sin. And now I ask that you forever remove that sin, along with the shame and embarrassment in the memory of it, and throw it all into the sea of forgetfulness. With your holy blood covering, it will never haunt me again. Gone! In Jesus’ mighty name!” I can almost hear a set of hands brushing together after handling something dirty.
This was happening a lot, because it was a shedding process. Layers removed that freed me from not just the big things, but itty-bitty things that I had no idea that what I’d flippantly said about this thing, or had done, grieved the Holy Spirit. I wanted to be free of it all. I asked God to do a work in me. If it took an overhaul, go right ahead. I asked for it. Because I wanted less of me and more of him. I want to move forward in his kingdom. So stuff was coming up a lot. I had to make room.
Over two specific nights, all night long, I was in what I like to call the “half-state”. This is that place between wakefulness and sleep. To an observer, you’re asleep and aren’t moving, yet your level of awareness is sharp. You can try to call out, but your body doesn’t respond. It used to be the place where demons would torment me; now it’s the place where Yeshua sits with me, and I listen (or I pray while wrestling snakes off of people—but that’s another story or more). Anyway, during these two nights, the Lord sat with me while in the half-state and he brought up one thing after another, and I was in a constant place of repentance for every single thing he wanted me to address. One might think this would be dreadful, and expect to wake up exhausted and feeling terrible. But this was not so. The Lord is so gentle, and kind, and loving, and merciful. As soon as a memory of something came to my conscience, the moment dread filled me over an issue or incident, the Holy Spirit was right there, instantaneously removing it and filling that void with volumes of his holy love and forgiveness—to overflowing! It was both a shedding process and a filling up of the goodness of God. I woke up refreshed and high on the buoyancy of joy! He is so good.
Topic two: Making amends. To be free in the Lord is not necessarily to be free in circumstances if you are in a situation that’s choking, difficult, or proves a constant trial. While I believe that if the Lord said to you he’s going to do a thing, deliver you from said situation, then he will. He fulfills his promises. He can change a nation’s position and outlook and deliver. Just look at how he delivered the Israelites from Pharoah. He can do the same for you, because don’t we all have pharaohs in our lives? But what if he hasn’t delivered yet? Or he has and yet you wander the desert for forty years before you are able to cross over to the promised land? Do we hold on to resentment, complain, or keep a string of bitterness in our hearts? Maybe we’ve done a pretty good job forgiving others who have done us wrong, such as a pharaoh in life, yet it’s a constant battle, a daily struggle to push down resentment, or keep bitterness from growing, and it lashes out sometimes.
I think of people such as Corrie ten Boom, or Eva Mozes Kor, who had a lot to forgive, having been under the cruel hands and unthinkable conditions during the holocaust. They came to a place of peace, healing, love, and genuine forgiveness toward their perpetrators.
My parents were stunning examples to me of having lived under unfair, unjust, cruel conditions, and not allowing it to fester or deepen. They shucked the damage as they could, allowing Yeshua to do his will to help and keep them. Their love and forgiveness toward those who hurt them was a great example for me. Damage is not irreparable. God can take it all and put something remarkable and beautiful in its place.
AND YET, I’ve had my own difficulties with coming to forgive the persecutor or pharaoh, if you will, in my life. I’ve exhibited anger and frustration. But my desire is to have a supple, mendable heart with which the Lord can use to help others. So I strive to make amends. And the Lord has been bringing things and people to my awareness that/who I have needed to make amends with. We aren’t to push down resentment (hidden but not gone), but to give it over; release it for good. Which leads me to the next topic.
Topic three: Cutting the line. Last night I had a dream where a pharaoh in my life sat on the ground and said, “I owe you an apology. I’m sorry for ___________.” And the blank was filled with an entire issue, a disappointment that has hurt me, that has held me back; had become a hindrance without my understanding that it was a hindrance. I thought I’d forgiven, yet here it was before me last night. And I said, “That makes all the difference. I forgive you.” And it wasn’t that the pharaoh in the situation (for lack of a better way to call this) in waking life had apologized or ever would. I realized you can’t expect apologies from people even if they’re deserved. Again, look at survivors of genocide who have found the path of freedom to forgive. We can’t control or change people (or the spirits within or beasts that drive them). We can pray, but their conviction comes only from the Holy Spirit. We are accountable for our own reaction, our response. In my dream, Yeshua, the Waymaker, became the one sitting on the ground. Not the one who apologized, but the One who now sat in pharaoh’s place, so to speak, and said, “Will you forgive? Will you do this for me?” And this is when I said “Yes.” The Lord made all the difference. And when I forgave, I saw in my spirit what was like a blimp or a hot-air balloon. It had been tethered down. And all the tethers had been released, except for one. The airship was so buoyant and ready to fly, but this caused that one remaining line to get so taut, pressure so tense, that it couldn’t be released. There was no give or slack in order to do so. I had to sever the last line in order to let the thing fly.
Cut the line, the remaining little or big thing you hang onto, that you think you need to keep because someone’s hurt you and owes you an apology, or you have a single strand of resentment or bitterness hidden deep in your heart. May your prayer be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Cut that line, and fly the way you’re meant to fly.
Weighty topics for sure. Yet the love language from the Lord has been sweet. A few incidents I felt compelled to share, and so I wrote updates at the end of a couple of blog posts I did last month (June 10 and June 15) because they’re connected. Check them out if you have a chance.
A return of my Hearts in Africa series is here with installment #3 in a four-book sequence. Can also be read as a standalone. I’d written and completed this book years ago. Advice from an earlier publisher I had contracted with, to drop the romances and focus on their forte of suspense and thriller, had me file the manuscript away. I thought for good. But I’ve determined recently to resurrect this novel, along with others I’d completed and/or started yet never launched. In hindsight, I should have published this work back then and in order. Not that the advice given to me was off beam. I understand the marketing incentive, and also avoiding possibly polarizing my readers. The focus on one style or genre works well and for many people. However, I’ve felt hemmed in when I’m inspired to create in a variety of genres and voices (even POVs) yet have believed I can’t or shouldn't. I started wondering why I have to stick to a specific style. If God plants ideas and inspirations in your heart and soul, they need to be able to grow; not kept buried underground. Sometimes it’s a timing issue; sometimes it’s a choice. Maybe sometimes it’s both. Be faithful in the things over which you can choose. I’ve not allowed some of my works to grow much. If I’m compelled to write, finish, and edit a book, I ought to bring it to completion and release it, too--even if it's ten years later (knock on wood). Maybe that book is not for everybody, but it’s for somebody. So I’m following through by reassessing my stash of romance titles and more. Still working on my latest speculative fiction books, as well. They’ll all make their way down the pike, by God’s grace.
If you’ve held back on some once-upon-a-time creative pursuit, maybe it’s your time to take another look at the possibilities, too.
Without further ado, please welcome, Return My Heart, made available at online bookstores worldwide. If you don’t see your favorite bookstore listed after you click the button below, my distributor is working on it. The launch is that fresh. More outlets are being added each day, so be sure to check back.
About the story:
Lorelei moved to Kenya when she married Hugh Berrand, an animal behavioral scientist at Tsavo West National Park. After a year of marriage, she feels abandoned when she takes a backseat to her husband’s first passion, the maneless lions. Rejected by the field’s family of researchers, she suffers from loneliness and discord, especially when her husband is never there to support or defend her.
After Lorelei is assaulted and left for dead at Shetani, the devil’s lava, she struggles to put the pieces of her existence back together; namely, the fragments of her fragile marriage. But her effort proves futile with a man who seems to prefer an independent lifestyle. When an unwanted child enters the equation, the Berrand’s separate. Each tries to rebuild life from broken strands apart from each other. However, God has something else in mind and works on the hearts of Lorelei and Hugh for restoration and love anew.
Love, adventure, tragedy, redemption—all is at stake in the inspirational romance series, Hearts in Africa.
Have you watched as others have been set off, promoted, while you’re still waiting in the starting gate? Maybe you’re moving along in the race of life, but the pace isn’t what you’d thought and everybody is passing you up. Racehorses, brave, long-limbed, shiny, and brisk speed by in a furlong, two, three… eight… yet for all of your preparation, you haven’t even finished one. And your mount is not a racehorse at all, but a donkey. A beast of burden that has more whoa than go, no matter how you dig your heels in to spur it on. Sometimes the animal lowers its hind and sits on the track, refusing to budge. The amount of effort it takes for you to get the donkey off its rump and going again, moving ahead, is exhausting. And the breeze fanning your hair, caused by the magnificent horses whizzing past carrying their lightweight riders, doesn’t help. It doesn’t even inspire; in fact, it bums you out if you watch them for too long. Because everyone’s gotten a golden horse while you’re still riding that donkey.
Well, at least you’re on the racetrack. Just remember, Yeshua chose for himself a donkey to ride. The King of Peace will promote you when it’s his time. It will be unique and most outstanding, a surprise from heaven. Well worth the wait. You might even overtake all the other racehorses. I mean, God made a donkey talk to Balaam (Numbers 22:28-31). Donkeys are special. Who says yours won’t sprout wings like a Pegasus and fly you to the finish line? Ahead of all the pretty horses, even. Boom-boom and you’re there, just like that. Nothing is impossible to the all-things-possible God. Bada-bing, bada-boom; His timing is perfect. And if mythological flying animals aren’t your thing, then maybe your advancement looks more like this:
Keep on keepin’ on… You’re still in the race. The win is yours.
One of my personal favorites in The Brother's Keep novella series, Wind's Aria, has been rereleased and offered at a lower price. So, if you have not yet read this story, grab yourself a copy. You won't be disappointed if you like romantic, lyrical, allegorical fantasy. This also happens to be novella #1, the launch in the 8-novella series - so, it's a good place to start. Here is a recap of the overview:
Elected as the Songstress, Aria takes her place on the sacred platform to sing before every dawn. As long as she does so, peace and abundant life belong to her people. One morning, amidst a strange wind that brings with it a curse in its eerie howl, Aria loses her ability to make music. But the encroaching death that transpires isn’t her biggest tragedy. It’s that she adores the cause of her blunder, for he’s a magnificent winged creature who’s stolen more than her voice.
Get your copy on: