Wait

Eight days ago, my husband and I experienced Heaven together. Our church had a young adults night and my all-time, most inspiring worship leader, Steffany Gretzinger from Bethel churchwas there helping lead the night of worship. We were right in front of the stage and just experiencing blow after blow from the Holy Spirit’s love crashing into us. I have never had a more intense encounter with God. We left on fire for the Lord and ready to share our experience with the world. There was a moment when we were praying together surrounded by the presence of God and his people, and we put our hands in front of us like a tray. My right hand and his left hand together holding an invisible cup. As we were praying I could physically feel our hands being pushed down, almost as if there was a flow so heavy that it nearly broke our hands apart. Our cup was being pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Luke 6:38). We left that night with one calling ringing louder in our ears than ever before:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Now, I know that all of those who would choose to lay down their lives and follow Jesus are called to this Great Commission. We have been living out this calling over our lives from the moment we accepted Christ. Over the years that we have been married and walking out our salvation, the calling to share the gospel has been a constant whisper telling us to go deeper, to take a leap of faith and go further. We have come to this same exact place, hearing this same whisper from God at this exact time of year every year of our marriage. Last year when we heard it, we tried to make it happen ourselves by starting a ministry called “2+ Ministries” in which we would lead Bible Studies out of our home and disciple whoever was willing to follow Jesus with us. In the end, it just wasn’t God’s timing. So we stopped it and pressed harder into God with our marriage and family. Thinking about it all, it seems that we go full circle through out the year working whatever job is in our path, volunteering and being a part of whatever Bible study and church event comes our way, and yet we still feel that pull that something is missing. We believe God is calling us to full-time ministry. There, I said it!

We have been so afraid to admit that to the world because of the rejection and grief we have received over that idea. What about money? What about providing for your kids? Those are good questions. My only answer is…God. Will He not go where He calls us? Will God not provide for His children as He does the ravens and the flowers in the field? I’m telling you, this is a kind of faith that only comes from God…I wasn’t even close to this place a year ago and I wouldn’t be to this day had I not seem Him show up for my family like a superhero and save the day, time and time again.

Back to this night of worship last Tuesday… the still small voice finally became a shout because it became the only voice we heard. We left and declared to everyone we came across our experience with God. I even sent this text to my friend describing the night:

“Can’t wait to share my Heaven experience. I feel like a fish out of water walking out from that and will live my life to stay tuned into that place of spiritual connection. So amazing. I want to help usher everyone around me there, God is so good!!”

Another friend told me in response to my testimony that I needed to remember this night and let it strengthen me for the time when I did not feel like I was on a mountaintop. That was probably the most ironic advice I have yet to receive. Three days later, my husband called me around three in the afternoon. He said, “Honey, brace yourself.”  My stomach fell to my feet as he told me he had been laid off because his company was on the verge of shutting down. He was laughing, so I started laughing. What?! Are you serious right now, God?! We went from the mountaintop to the valley in a matter of days.

Amidst all of this, the one word we keep hearing as we pray and seek out jobs is “wait”. We are waiting on God to show up and save the day. We don’t want to take matters into our own hands and miss out on the INCREDIBLE miracle God is working in our lives right now. You can’t tell me that God is not up to something big! These kinds of things are not coincidences. So we are waiting patiently. Not for man to come and save us, but for God to get the glory out of this situation. My husband is filling out job applications, working side jobs that our friends and family are offering, and today we have all that we need- provided to us by our Heavenly and Merciful Father who cares for us. We have even taken the huge leap of faith and e-mailed our church about possibly coming on full-time staff with the church! I don’t know what God is doing, I only want to be obedient in doing my part in it all.

Lord, get the glory in our waiting! I know we look crazy right now because we aren’t taking the first job opening that appears, but if we are out of our minds, it is for YOU (2 Corinthians 5:13)! Thank You God for the provision You give to us, thank You for the salvation You have already given us. You are enough for us! Show us the way. Make a way for us right here and right now where there is nothing but ocean before us. Split the sea! Yours is the kingdom, Yours is the power and Yours is the glory forever and ever!

Over the past 2 weeks, myself and my co-leader for our women’s group with Gateway church have been praying and writing prophetic words for all of the women in our group-including ourselves. We had someone write down all fourteen of our names, then put a number between one and fourteen beside the name. Andrea and I didn’t know who was what number. Andrea wrote prophetic words for the first half of numbers and I did the second half. Writing out these words was extremely powerful and intense for me. I kept thinking, “Wow this message is perfect for me” and I knew that all of these prophetic words for other women would also speak to me in different times throughout my life.

“But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.”                (1 Corinthians 14:3-4 NIV)

Genuine prophecy from God will not only come true, but it will edify the body of Christ, His people. Though prophecy may be for one person, it can also speak to another. At ten this morning our friend sent us the list she had made with our group member’s names attached to their numbers. For example, Sally-1, Jessica-2, Rachel-3, and so on. Again, we only assigned ourselves numbers and had no idea which woman had what number. We prayed for a word for the number we were given and knew it would go to the woman it was supposed to go to. I began handing out the numbered letters and found that my name was number fourteen, the last prophetic letter I had written. My jaw dropped! Here was the word:

My beloved daughter,

Deep breath. Breathe me in. My name is Yahweh; Who was, Who is, and Who is to come. I AM who I AM, your inhale and your exhale. I am giving you life. Choose this life! Believe in me and my power. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV)    My whisper catalyzed Creation, My very breath brought you to life in your mother’s womb. And I am still working miracles in you and around you now. Though you may not see Me, let your faith in Me be your evidence of what is to come and your firm foundation. I spoke and the universe formed. My Words are power. Meditate on them and speak them over your life. By the blood of My Son, Jesus Christ, My authority is now yours. Abide in Me and you will transform from “victim” to “everlasting VICTOR”. Circumstances change, but I remain the same. Hope in Me. Trust in Me. I am gentle, I will not harm you. I will not force Myself upon you. Open your heart to Me fully and I will fill you so completely that the fruits of My Spirit will burst forth in every area of your life. You are My beloved and My desire is for you. I love you, know that above all else. – Your Heavenly Father

Wow! How perfect and timely is that? What an encouraging message from God and at just the right time! How could I not have faith that He is at work in my life and will provide? My faith in God is my evidence of what we can’t yet see! God knows our desire to be full-time ministers of the Good News of Jesus. If it means we have to get jobs that allow us to start saving for our future ministry together or if it means an opportunity to become full-time ministers within a church or organization will arises, our faith is not in our circumstances but in our God who is over it all! As of now we aren’t sure what tomorrow holds, but today we have salvation and we are provided for. We choose life and we are standing on Christ our firm foundation. God will complete the good work He has begun in our lives (Philippians 1:6). Please join my family, the Sherrard clan, in praying for a way in all of this to continue walking out the calling God has placed on our lives! We are believing for a miracle that will shout to the world that our Messiah is very much real and very much alive! To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

-Lacey Sherrard

Check out thisamazing worship song that gave my family huge confirmation this week!.

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Flame of YAH

Normally I would be attempting to sleep at this hour (nine thirty in the evening to be exact). Mom life demands such ridiculous things, but tonight was my husband and I’s first night of our young adult marriage group. Disclaimer: no one actually showed up to our group. So we dropped our kids off at our church’s childcare, twiddled our thumbs for exactly five seconds in the lobby, and decided to go to the coffee shop a few blocks away. So you see, my late night espresso is the culprit for my delayed bed time. And yes, I pray that I do not regret my rebellious caffeine choices tomorrow.

As odd as it may sound, I am grateful for our marriage group currently consisting of just my husband and I. I don’t think it is a coincidence that our first official group’s semester would start out this way. The Lord set apart a good hour and a half without distractions (children) in order for the two of us to sit knee to knee, whispering to each other our passions and fears, dreams and goals, scriptures and prayers. We were able to focus on one another and our partnership with God for an unhindered minute, and it was perfect. The love scripture we discussed was so relevant it would almost seem like we planned it this way, but we didn’t. The Holy Spirit is just cool like that.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.” (Song of Solomon 8:7 NKJV)

Love is a vehement flame. The word vehement used here literally means “the flame of Yahweh” or “flame of the Lord”. I believe this principle of love equating God is parallel to 1 John 4:7-19 (definitely give it a read). God is love. We can only love because He first loved us. This love was made manifest through the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah! The world is seeking true love, but we are looking to create something that only lives in one place: the flame of Yahweh.

Quite often we find ourselves burning out or running on empty because we are pouring out our love. That sounds very self-sacrificial and religious, but the emphasis is on our love when we should be pouring out God’s love. Yahweh, the only everlasting flame of love, exists outside of any shadow of love that mundanes could ever attempt to create. True love is God! Yahweh must be our source and the rest will flourish from Him. God is the fire burning in our veins! Everything else is just a spark, a flicker, a shadow of the flame of Yahweh. God must be at the very core of our relationships or they will burn out.

God’s love for us becomes jealous when we play the harlot. The Hebrew word for jealous used in Song of Solomon 8 is qinah and it translates to zeal, anger, envy, passion, and rivalry. God does not like it when we try to be Him. When we attempt to love others with our wooden carvings of what we think love is, we are saying that His vehement flame is not enough. We are saying that Jesus, God’s Love incarnate, is not enough.

God has no rival. Therefore, all mock idols of mankind’s prosthetic love will fail. God is love and His love never fails.

So what now? Dive into the vats of your soul and find the places untouched by the love of God. Let Him fill you completely with His love. Constantly look to the cross to see what love looks like. Root yourself in God’s love, and all of the rest will overflow.

Set Him as a seal, a sign, an imprint on your heart and arm. Put Him everywhere you can think of so that you are constantly reminded of your First Love, Yahweh. Personally, I have key scriptures that point me to God written on little note cards and placed all over my house. It’s not exactly glamorous, but it’s my battle plan to continue having the mind of Christ.

My friend called me today with another example of setting God’s love as a seal in our lives. (I won’t share her name, and will use ‘P’ for the example). P and her husband have been dealing with a hurdle in their marriage. Yesterday they decided to write out a battle plan for the upcoming week: what they will do and what they won’t do in order for their household to serve the Lord in unity. Then they signed the bottom and prayed over it. P told me that she put this written vision on her bathroom mirror and also set it as her screensaver on her phone. P and her husband plan to do this once a week as they work on this hurdle and as they develop new goals so that they will stay rooted in God’s love. I believe this is P and her husband’s seal. Isn’t that amazing?! What a story of victory!

 

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)

 

I do not believe that this is a to-do list. I think this is our Table of Contents of the fruit that will spring forth in our lives once we allow the vehement flame of Yahweh to burn within us. We can only love because He first loved us (1 John 4: 19) and we must stay in His love if we hope to love others with true love. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

 

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One of the worship songs that really spoke to me this week is Unstoppable Love by Jesus culture; listen to it here.

Slay like Shamgar

My writing has been a mostly private passion these past weeks. Just God and I. Pouring out my praise, crying out my complaints to Him, and then listening for His response, which usually sounded something like, “This too shall pass”.

Now I am trudging out of the valley with new battle scars and strengthened spiritual muscles. My vision is clearer, heart humbled, and newborn fawn legs remembering how to walk again. Helping my kids (ages 2 and 11 months old) battle the flu for nine days was not easy. Especially not as I endured my own draining, cold sickness. By day five I had finally thrown in the towel on my hopeful outlook and laid on the ground crying in defeat. I didn’t even have the strength to try to have hope. I was expecting hope to be a feeling, and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. It took me 2 hours of laying on the ground in physical pain and spiritual desperation to really learn what hope is.

That morning of day five my dear friend, Katelyn, texted me and told me to try singing out to the Lord to get healing. Something about her text made me mad. Probably because a part of me was throwing a pity party and Katelyn was wanting me to trade my self-pity for praise. I thought she was crazy. But then as I laid there on the floor and realized nothing was changing (if anything the situation was getting worse because mommy lost her hope), I decided to open my mouth and sing out to the Lord. As my scratchy, painful and completely out-of-tune voice sang the words, “Whatever has come, whatever will be I’m held by the One who’s Name is Perfect Peace” a stirring began within me.

I sang it again.

I started to feel it that time.

The peace of God, like a wave washing over me slowly at first, and then- whoosh – a tidal wave. I was swept under and into the Lord’s current. An infilling of peace provided the perspective to see/taste/touch/feel the hope. It was like God put His hands on either side of my face and said, “Look me in the eyes”. As I stared with silver lined eyes, I could see the endless promise land of my hope fulfilled in the reflection of His eyes. See I think that hope is not an emotional feeling. I think hope is an action. Hope is an arrow soaring through the sky until it meets its target. We can only have hope, we can only be hopeful if we continuously see what we’re hoping for.  The moment we lose sight on that which is hoped for, the moment we lose our hope.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)

I was trying to feel hope, I was trying to be hopeful but I could not see the end in sight. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel gives us the hope to move forward. We have to fix/glue/stick our gaze on to the absolute truth that is Jesus Christ in order to walk out life with the action of hope. Hope is more than a mindset, it’s a way of living.

Here we are 48 hours post-fever and completely healed. Thank you Lord! Two lessons  were taken from this nine day illness:

  1. Do not lose hope in your desire’s fulfillment
  2. Use the weapons you have been given

“After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.” (Judges 3:31 NKJV)

An ox goad is similar to a cattle prod, a big stick with a sharp spur on the end to get the animal to go where you direct it. This Shamgar, I don’t really know who he was or what he did for a living, but he managed to kill 600 Philistine men with a pointy stick! There could have even been some giants in that band of men. All I know from this one verse about the guy, is that Shamgar grabbed what he had, something not typically used as a weapon, and did what he had to do to get to the other side of his problem. We think we need shiny swords and golden shields, we think we have to muster up something fancy that looks good on the outside to others. But I’m here to tell you that all David had was a sling shot and some stones. All Shamgar had was a oxgoad. And there is something in your reach as well.

I don’t know what enemy you’re facing this week, but we all have something before us whether it be a trial, goal, dream, etc. If you feel like you don’t have what it takes to fight through it, look around. The Lord has given you weapons for your warfare and spiritual gifts to glorify Him with. Grab what you have and annihilate the task at hand! Not only did Shamgar save himself, but he delivered an entire nation from captivity. For me, it was singing during the storm. Ephesians 6 gives us the armor of God to battle spiritual warfare. 1 Corinthians 12 gives us a list of spiritual gifts imparted with in us to glorify God, build up ourselves, and build up His people. Build relationships with godly friends to uplift you and speak truth to you. Find your weapons, hone in on your gifts, and live out your hope. Get off of the ground and slay 600 enemies. Today is the day for victory, my friends!

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Check out the song quoted in this blog here!