I am finally getting a chance to share with all of you the best 6 months of this journey for me. Last June we arrived through a beautiful chain of events at SAFE Family ministries in Chehalis, Washington. Its a home for women who desire to come out of their addictive or abusive lifestyles. I have always had a heart for women from these backgrounds but never knew how we, as a family, would have an opportunity to help. As we pulled in, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t have a background similar to any of these women, so I didn’t know what this would look like. I was hesitant at first but couldn’t wait to get to know them. Little did I know that the next 6 months would teach and mold me in new ways.
I started by going in the morning to their devotions. I got to listen to each one share and I became in love with their hearts for God. Their desire to learn and their humility. I began to learn that even though I hadn’t been in their shoes, the answer doesn’t change. Christs example of how to live and his will for all our lives doesn’t change depending on your background. These women, as well as most of the people we meet, have just lost sight of Gods love for them and the marriage relationship with him he has called them to. These women were no different than anyone else. They needed to know they were loved by a holy God and that he had called them to a powerful freeing lifestyle in Him where they die to their fleshly desires and begin finding value and direction within the life and example of Christ.
I saw how their humility and desire to learn, opened the door for powerful moves of God. They began to find freedom and value as God used them to heal, prophesy, to dream dreams, and begin to pray mightily in the spirit (they would see things in the spirit and they learned they could pray against them and take authority over them). Their destinies began to come clearer as they submitted and learned to use the authority God had given them. But I also saw how a persons will, to not submit or fight spiritual truth, hindered them from finding the freedom they deep down wanted.
I will never forget a conversation I had with a young lady, whom I love deeply (I really love all of them like crazy). She began to get real with me and when I asked her why do they struggle with self sabotage and going back to their old ways after being clean for a long period of time. She told me that it can be a fear of the “other” side. They have grown so accustomed to this lifestyle and being controlled by others that even though they know its destructive, they fear living a good life on the “otherside”. I just thought to myself, wow! And here many of us sit in judgment and snub their noses at people struggling and they don’t even realize the deep deception and lies those struggling are dealing with. They have to be told and encouraged that there is more and that they have much more value in Gods eyes then what man around them tell them. And sometimes, we have to walk with people as they go on their journey to discovering this for themselves.
While I was there I also saw the difference in helping the girls when we attempt to use mans way and psychology vs Gods way and freedom in the spirit. I also saw how someone can begin to get freedom but how the enemy can come back if they don’t get fillled with the spirit and align themselves with Gods spirit and truth.
After seeing and learning over those 6 months, I left there with a stronger understanding that following Christ is not a casual endevor. The spiritual battles are real. Demonic activity is very real and following Christ is not about a religion nor is it a game we can just play around with to make us feel good and get us to heaven. I have realized that Christians have become too comfortable with grace and have lost their fear (holy reverence) of a God who holds our eternity in his hands. When we get ahold of this as a body, there is nothing more humbling yet so empowering to go and do the works of Him. If we are comfortable with helping at church occasionally, cracking our bibles open for bible study or following a program, we are missing the mark. We are missing what relationship with God is all about. We miss out on the true transformation as we learn to walk in His ways, obeying his commands, stop following feelings, denying the sinful desires, and humbling ourselves to a mighty God that draws us to holiness and walking as Christ walked.
My sisters at SAFE are a part of me. They will be forever and I miss them dearly. But I also knew it was time to go because some of them needed to fly. You can walk with people but they must also learn to depend upon the holy spirit for themselves. They must step into who God wants them to become within that house. So we passed the torch. And God is still growing them in leaps and bounds. I pray to go back and I know we will at some point. But for now, we are off learning more, in other ways.
Since day one on this journey we got asked how long we would be doing this. After 3 years, this hasn’t changed. People are quite surprised by our story and wonder how long can a family do this. Our answer hasn’t changed, we will stop when God tells us. But in the meantime we go and stay for how ever much time we feel we should. But the scripture that comes to mind whenever people ask how long we will be doing this or staying in an area, the scripture that comes to mind is Luke 10..
Luk 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luk 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Luk 10:4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
Luk 10:5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
Luk 10:6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
Luk 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Luk 10:8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
Luk 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
You see, sometimes people equate doing what God has on their hearts with finances and this being Gods blessings and his “green light” but if the money runs low for a little bit the questions within and sometimes from the outside begin, “maybe God just has you doing this for a season” and “Maybe this is him telling you to stop and settle down?” But I have realized time and time again that Gods blessings come in many different forms and if what was in our bank account determined how long we would be doing this, we would have been done long ago. God tells us to walk by faith and not by sight and when we feel a call on our lives to begin serving him instead of ourselves, it would be in our best interest to listen. YES, even if it seems impossible and doesn’t make sense. But this scripture above is what its about. As we have gone, we have not been welcomed by some and others we were welcomed but we knew only for a short time. We have shared the kingdom only to be rejected by some and embraced by others. We have also prayed for the sick among those whose paths we have crossed. Each stop holds some learning and greater understanding as to how the kingdom works. Our desire is to be led by Him and learn as he leads us. This is our journey and its for the rest of our lives.
Right now, this scripture holds a special place in my heart because we are seeing it in a much different way. We arrived here at SAFE Ministries in Washington and planned to only stay a couple weeks. We pulled in and they had a campground behind the facility on the property. There are newly installed electric boxes and full sewer and water. But the spots were overgrown and we weren’t sure what this was going to look like. Joe got the weed wacker and began clearing our spot. We pulled in and were welcomed with open arms. We knew we would be here for a little bit. There was peace. They have welcomed us into their home and some meals are provided and we began building relationships with the beautiful women that live here. They come from various backgrounds and are here to get their lives back on track after living addictive lifestyles. We have seen some women healed of physical ailments and we have seen others not healed. We have shared testimonies and had incredible conversations and times of sharing what God has done in our lives. The most beautiful times are when women come and share with me that they went to the doctor and were offered narcotics for pain and they turned them down….or…when they are offered a cigarette and instead of taking it, even when they won’t get caught, they say no thank you. Then there are the times when they do take it and God convicts them of it and its tastes horrible and they confess. All these times are huge victories and such glorious times.
I have had the privilege of getting to know one young lady since we arrived and to see the light within her get brighter and brighter each day. To walk with her when things were hard and she wanted to quit and walk out. But you know what is key to each girls success? They are choosing to be REAL, both with God and with others. They are making daily choices to surrender themselves to God and let him do the work in their lives. Deciding daily to choose Gods way over the enemies. These girls are no different than any other person we have met, but as with everyone, true change comes when we surrender EVERYTHING to him. And you can see those who don’t want to and they stay in their struggles much longer. There is a huge difference to knowing scriptures, going to church, doing the program of life and TRUE surrender. And true change won’t occur until we are willing to let go.
I laugh within sometimes to think about how people who aren’t working with these girls look in and judge. They assume they need God and are afraid to step in and help because of their own judgements towards these womens past. But I can attest that these ladies are so amazing. They have incredible hearts for God and a true willingness to transform their lives. There is a hunger for truth that in our 3 years of traveling we just haven’t found in many places. Some of these women hear from the Holy Spirit so clear and but years of turning the other ways left the Spirit buried beneath their choices. But as the clutter clears, they really shine and its humbling and powerful all at the same time.
I want to share a testimony about how God provided for us while here. A few weeks ago, I began being in charge of the girls medications. I love this opportunity to pray over their medications and over them each week. Part of this job is that I have to go into town 2-3 times a week to pick up the medications. Well, our tank was empty. The light was on and I knew I had to go pick up the meds the next day. I kept thinking of ways we might be able to come up with some money, but I didn’t want to ask because we haven’t had to since we have been traveling. I tossed and turned and woke up in the middle of the night and God told me he had it handled. I went to sleep and got up at 6:30 for devotions. I went and came back home and crawled into bed. I thought, God, all I need is $20. God again told me he had it handled. I fell back asleep. There was a knock on the door and one of the girls had an envelope and said another girl gave it to her to give to me. I opened it and there was $20. There was a note with it that said God woke her up at 4:00am and told her to put $20 in an envelope and give it to me and tell me that God would continue to provide our needs. This was so humbling and amazing to me.
And the truth is, God has provided all our needs. The other day I was in town and found $10 on the ground. Someone even blessed us with a container of emergency meals they had sent to us here. God continues to show up in many different ways.
I can’t even begin to share all the lessons we have been learning. But maybe in a future post. But the biggest thing we have seen is that a persons desire to surrender to God in every aspect greatly influences the change within an individual, whether it be physical or spiritual healing. I am still leaning to release things myself. But Its wonderful and worth it.
As you know we’ve been doing a bit of moving around here at GodsFunnel.com and have finally found our resting place. We have decided to keep our original blog spot here on WordPress and have added the link to facebook for those that would rather keep up that way. Thanks for the likes and encouragement! Hopefully we can be just as encouraging to you guys as well!