The Dusty Feet Mob

You know how it goes for us nomads, we meet kinfolk who find out were heading towards their friends. Then we meet those people who find out our next stop is in the same town as their friends and on and on. And so it was, that we made our way from Melbourne, to Adelaide to the Dusty Feet Mob in Port Augusta.

We were in Melbourne, VIC, Australia with our friends Nick and Anita Wight. We met Nick and Anita in March of 2014 at Surrender Conference, a gathering of all sorts of kinfolk doing amazing things around the globe in their communities, from offering hospitality to refugees, to creating sustainable/recycled goods, advocating for those who are oppressed to living side by side with folks in some of the poorest parts of the world. We were excited to hear about these like-minded kinfolk and wrote Anita (who was one of the directors at the time) and asked if we could share our music or help in any other way and she said yes! And, that was that, we became fast friends and continued to stay in touch, stopping in to see the Wight family at their Footscray home on our way from here to there.

It’s an encouragement to find friends like the Wights because their friendship not only allowing us to anchor when we need a rest or re-supply but their friendship fuels our hearts with love.

img_2531One night we were sharing a meal and talking about our upcoming trek across South Australia and up to Alice Springs, when their friend Ian Dempster called. Ian was from Adelaide and happened to in Melbourne, driving by their home on his way to a meeting. He didn’t have time to stop over but thought of them as he passed and decided to give them a quick call for a chat. While on the phone the Wights told Ian about us and our desire to come alongside and encourage others and he said, “send them my way.”

We were blessed to meet up with Ian at the Central Market for a coffee and hear about his work with the UAICC (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress). He shared about his passion to collaborate with and encourage his Aboriginal counterparts. Although our time with Ian was brief we shared our desire to meet and hear more of the Aboriginal story as we made our way north and he connected us with his dear friends 3 1/2 hours north in Port Augusta.

img_2596As we neared into the industrial town of  Port Augusta we experienced the vast rose-colored salt lakes, broken mesas and massive rock formations that lifted out of the ground commanding our attention and we were reminded of one of our favorite states in the US, New Mexico. Our hosts, The Wallace family, lived on a pink salt lake around the corner from the railroad and welcomed us to their Port Augusta home. They invited us to settle in, share a meal and do a load of laundry. We found them easy to connect with, specially after they whipped out the Settlers of Catan board. Then it was game on. As a bonus, Anna shared her gift of sewing with us and mended up some of our broken backpacks.

The next day, we joined the Congress Port Augusta – Uniting Church, where we met Jesse Size, Auntie* Maria and the rest of the mob*. The service was informal yet reverent. We all sat in the round, taught each other songs of praise and shared in story. They asked us questions about our travels and we shared the practical stories of how Abba cares for us along the way, making sure our needs are met, just as he cares for the birds of the air. A question was asked about how we deal with conflict and betrayal, an issue close to the Aboriginal heart. We shared the story of the betrayal and reconciliation in our own marriage.  As a legitimate victim, I shared how difficult it was to wait without bitterness or blemish, in faith, for my husband to “own his stuff” and finally how Abba liberated him from his twisted thinking; thinking that kept him bound to a false sense of justice.  As we laid down our pride and trusted, Abba did it all. Faithfully the Great Physician put our marriage back together again. We shared another song or two and said a prayer of blessing over them. It was an honor to be with these saints, to tell our hard story and the story of God’s trustworthy-ness.

Afterwards, there was a lightness in the room as folks were getting ready to move to the next part of the day, a Sunday afternoon picnic. Auntie Maria invited us to join in and explained that it was a picnic for the Dusty Feet Mob, a dance troop that her daughter, Wanita choreographed. She was excited to have us join them and for us to see the children dance.

When we arrived, Maria shared the story of the Dusty Feet Mob and explained that Port Augusta is made up of 36 different Aboriginal groups and the Dusty Feet Mob is inclusive towards them all. She stated their dance troop was created in 2014 to provide a medium for elders to pass on their knowledge to younger generations and as a way to communicate about Aboriginal issues, specifically regarding reconciliation.  The group’s debut performance was at the Peterborough Art Cultural Festival in Port Pirie and since then they have been invited to perform at the NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week and many other state and national events. One of their most riveting performances was alongside famed Aboriginal folk singer, Archie Roach, at the Reconciliation South Australia Event in February 2016

Film Maker Dave Laslett. 

img_2628-1What we learned, and what we shared in Port Augusta was life-giving and inspiring. And, even more was the quiet evening that we spent in Jesse and Chelsea Size’s home, sharing a traditional Aboriginal meal of Kangaroo Tails that Auntie Maria made for us. It was during this meal, as the sun setting in the sky and heat lighting was bolting here and there that Auntie Maria shared her personal story. A story of resilience, perseverance, and faith.

Auntie Maria must have been about my age, maybe a bit older, (meaning she was probably in her early 50’s). So she would have been born during a difficult time in Australian/Aboriginal history. Her people were originally from Maralinga but had to flee thousands of Kilometer into Oak Valley, Cundalee Mission in 1955 after the British Government, along with the Australian Government, dropped an Nuclear bomb on their lands. Some went north, east and west after the bomb to find comfort. Unfortunately, some never recovered and many who have lived through the travesty still feel the effects today with sore eyes or blindness.

Many of Maria’s family were taken to Mt Margaret Mission, Kurrawang Mission or Norseman Mission and placed there under the guardianship board when they were taken from their families. This is now known as the stolen generation. Maria’s mum fled all the way to Perth where she had Maria. However, from what Maria was told her mother died when she was 3 months old. A native welfare worker contacted Maria’s extended family and her oldest sister took her under her wing with other family supporting. Maria was born a half-caste and expressed her deep desire to know her connection to country, to family especially around native titles, etc. Unfortunately, for Maria there is not a lot written about her mum so all she has to go on is what family tells her about who is family and where she fit in.

She spoke fondly of her childhood, growing up in and around Laverton, Mt Margaret and Leonora. She said she was a bit of a cheeky child, later returning to her hometown to see her name still etched into sidewalks and buildings. She said she respects and values her culture and has a deep longing to connect with country but explained that her Brother-in-law, who raised her like his own, had a strong Christian faith and for that she was thankful, for no matter what may come her way, she knows that Jesus is her rock. When all else fails, and she’s seen her share of failings, she falls back on her faith as her firm foundation. Auntie Maria’s story was so inspiring and it was an honor to even have heard a small portion of it.

*Mob is a word used to describe a tribe or family group of Aboriginal people. *Auntie or Uncle are the respectful terms to address an elder woman or man

Fox In The Chicken Coop

The hour was nigh, the full moon smack dab in the middle of the sky and the air was thick with the smell of spring blossoms. Amongst the rolling hills sat a little community farm, with a sweet little farm-house, chickens, and sheep. All was quiet, that is until the break of dawn; that’s when the shrill of screams woke the farmer’s wife.

“There is a fox in the chicken coop!” she yelled.

The farmer jumped out of the bed, rushed to the door, threw on his gum-boots, grabbed his gun and ran wildly out the door. He crossed the paddock, eyes darting left and right, finally reaching the chickens, but he arrived to late. The fox had been in and out, taking with him one poor chicken. The evidence of the crime laid all over the dirt floor. Feathers, blood and the rest of the chickens squawking up a storm. The farmer tried to calm them down, but they seemed inconsolable. He threw them an early breakfast and figured eventually they would find their way back to the calm. Defeated, he took one more look around and he went back to the house to get ready for the day.

That wicked, wily fox! What the farmer didn’t realize is that this fox was very different from other foxes. Sure, he had a bushy tail and those keen greenish-yellow eyes, but this fox was nefarious and had a super power. This fox could shape himself into the likeness of his prey and was actually still in that coop. What the farmer didn’t realize is that the fox had other plans. He planned to nestle himself in amongst those chickens, enjoying the warmth of the coop and the assurance of a constant food source.

The chickens were even fooled by the foxes cunning abilities to fit in. He ate the seed and feed that the farmer fed them, he roamed around the grassy hills but never wondered to far off. He could bawk like them and he could cluck like them. He even went the extra mile to make the chickens feel like they were really special, speaking sugar sweet words of affirmation.

Life seemed pretty great for the fox. He had even gone as far as to win over the affections of the rooster.

Once a chicken came to the rooster and said, “Rooster, that chicken over there, pecked me the other day, she sat right next to me while we were laying eggs and when I asked her why she didn’t have any eggs herself, she leaned over and pecked me. It hurt so bad.”

The rooster was angry but he really liked the fox chicken as they were good friends, so he was conflicted as to what to do. He vowed to kept his eye on the fox chicken but he never confronted his friend.

One day the farmer brought a new chicken into the coop. This chicken was different from the rest. She was beautiful and very talented. This chicken was red and could lay more eggs than the rest. The rooster knew that the farmer had high hopes for the red chicken and it was his job to watch over that new girl. Likewise, the fox saw that the red chicken was high value. The other chickens meant nothing to him, they were just easy feed, and if he was honest with himself, they were bland and a bit dry. But this red chicken, well she just might be the real door prize. And so, the fox decided he would convince her that he was her best friend and most of all, he would seduce her into giving herself to him without a fight. She would be the best dinner yet, for surely she would more juicy and have more flavor than the rest.

The little red chicken was new and although she was different, all of the other hens welcomed her with open arms, inviting her into the fold. They all became fast friends, sharing meals and roaming the hill-side together. The rooster, likewise, offered up his loyal services and even took a little liking to the red hen. Life was good and everyone seemed to be getting along.

Then, one day, she noticed the fox chicken sitting in the corner and curiously thought, “hmm, she seems nice too,” so she went over and introduced herself.

She said, “Hello, my name is Venus.”

The fox chicken responded in as high a voice as he could muster as to not give away his true identity, “Hi, my name is Foxy.”

Venus was immediately stirred by Foxy’s smooth talking. He looked like all the rest but there was something different and maybe a little dangerous about Foxy and that actually made her excited. She noticed that Foxy had the most unusual greenish-yellow eyes. She’s never seen a chicken with eyes so intoxicating. A sense of peril flooded her mind but she quickly abandoned the thought as he continued to speak his hypnotic words, telling her all about his great adventures and how much they had in common being the “different ones.” He told her secrets and told her not to tell the others, she promised with her life that she wouldn’t tell them. Then one day when they were all roaming the hills, Foxy lead her away from the rest of the hens. At first, Venus felt special and relished in the attention Foxy gave her. However, when the thrill was over, she realized that she was not being wise, as foxes roamed these hills too and it is never safe for chickens to wonder to far off.

And so, Venus, confessed to the Rooster. The Rooster was grateful for the confession and went to Foxy, warning her to stay close and to not lead Venus astray. Foxy was compliant but very angry at Venus and ignored her for days. Venus grew more and more depressed and thought that maybe she was wrong for telling and went to Foxy to say sorry. Eventually, things seemed to smooth out and Foxy and Venus resumed their friendship. Foxy played with Venus like a child plays with a rag doll and Venus loved the attention. In fact, the whole coop noticed how much attention Foxy gave Venus and they all thought it was wonderful, for who doesn’t want a best friend.

Life in the barn yard seemed to be harmonious but the fox was growing more and more hungry and his patients was wearing thin. And so, one night, when everyone had gone to bed, he convinced Venus to come with him on an adventure. She was hesitant but excited by the invitation and decided to go along. They stayed out all night, roaming the hills and pushing past the boundaries of the farm. Venus was scared but in awe of Foxy’s confidence and fantastic navigation skills. She followed him here and there, eventually following him down into his den.

They entered slowly, Foxy lit a candle and eyes wide open, Venus started to realize that she was in a foxes den.

She exclaimed, “Foxy, we have to get out of here, it’s not safe here, what if the fox comes home!”

Foxy slyly answered, “Foxes hunt at night, so never to worry my little friend.”

They explored the den, sat on the sofa, and shared a cup of tea. It was late and despite trying to resist, Venus’ heavy eyes fell asleep. Foxy, warmed up next to her, taking a long whiff of her rousing aroma. He couldn’t wait to eat her. He began to move in for the kill but Venus came to and with a look of panic rushed out of the den, over the hills and snuck back into the coop.

The next day, Venus felt horrible and concerned about the bazaar ways that Foxy had nestled next to her. She knew something wasn’t right but was ashamed, so she tried to keep it a secret.

Some of the chickens questioned her, saying, “Venus, where were you last night?”

She was exhausted physically and mentally as she tied to explain away the late night. Eventually, the truth came out and the chickens were shocked by what they heard. They told the rooster and the rooster was shocked by what he heard. He went to Foxy and had a heart to heart, but in the end, Foxy was able to smooth it all out, using his crafty speech and slick charm.

The rooster also scolded Venus and Venus vowed to stay away from Foxy but it was short-lived. For chickens stick together and everywhere Venus went, Foxy was sure to be there. She couldn’t seem to find any space where Foxy wasn’t. It seemed impossible to stay away except by isolating herself from the whole group. She really tried, but she was so lonely, and she missed the adventures and the exhilarating feelings she had when she was with Foxy.

Later, that same day, the farmer came into the coop and noticed that there was one more chicken than normal, he noticed Foxy and picked him up. He looked him square in the eyes and saw that he was different.

Wondering out load he said, “Well, who are you little green-eyed hen? And, how did you get in here?”

He put Foxy outside of the coop for the time being and went back to the farm-house to consult his wife about the strange little hen.  The fox knew his time was short and by now he was famished. So, that night, when all were asleep, he pecked on the window of the coop and bid Venus to come out and join him. Venus was reluctant but eventually gave into the temptation and snuck outside, careful not to wake anyone. Foxy then gave a provocative speech, holding Venus in his arms, letting Venus know that she was his best friend, and that he needed her, that he loved her. Venus was so touched by Foxy’s doublespeak that she didn’t hear his mention of wanting to eat her. She hugged him tightly and before she knew it he morphed into himself, the fox, and devoured her without a peep.

The next day, the farmer came down to the coop, still unsure of where the strange little green-eyed hen had come from. There Foxy was, laying in the dirt just outside the window, pretending to be asleep. The farmer looked down and thought, “how strange but she must be ours?” And so, he opened up the coop, put out the chicken feed, shrugged his shoulders and made his way down to the sheep pen. All the chickens, except one, came wondering out for a feed and a day of roaming the hills. The little fox chicken opened his eyes and mischievously smiled of the corners of his mouth.

He whispered to himself, “yep, that was the most delicious, and juiciest chicken I’ve ever had.  Now, I think I’ll go have sheep for supper.”

And so, the fox wandered over to the sheep pen morphing into a sheep along the way. The farmer was fooled by the foxes disguise but the foxes victory was short-lived as the farmer wanted a sheep for his supper. And so, the farmer took his knife and killed the fox.

Moral of the story for the fox: What comes around goes around. Evil thoughts have evil ends. 

Moral of the story for the little red hen: Lust is the soul's demand to shortcut a longing fulfilled, this impatience leads to a life unfulfilled. 

The moral of the story for the rest of the cast: Appearances are deceptive,The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.

The fox represents the enemy, whether within or a demonic presence, which tethers with our ego, dancing in unison to the beat of “Another One Bites The Dust.” The enemy knows that the way to destroy us is by causing us to drift very slowly. How the enemy must laugh in diabolical glee to see us chasing the “lions” away, all the while, the little foxes, unobserved and almost unhindered, wreak havoc on the farm. It’s the little things, the things overlooked, that often spoil things of value.

The Farmer, his wife, the rooster, Venus and all the other hens represent all the different way we try to manage the depravity of our own hearts, whether through willful nativity, ignorance, turning a blind eye, cheering it on, or a warped understanding of our identity as god within.

So, consider this. You know well the times you are living in. It is time for you to wake up and see what is right before your eyes: for salvation stands at the door and knocks.  The darkness of night is dissolving as dawn’s light draws near, so walk out on your old dark life and put on the armor of light. May we all reflect Christ, living today the same way as we will in the day of His coming. Do not fall into darkness: wild partying, drunkenness, sexual depravity, decadent gratification, quarreling, and jealousy. Instead, wrap yourselves in Yeshua, God’s Anointed, and do not fuel your sinful imagination by indulging your self-seeking desire for the pleasures of the flesh. But rather, put on Beauty, Goodness and Truth. (Romans 13:8-14)

Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the distorted desires of the ego. Yield to the Holy Spirit, trust Him and rely upon Him to give you the victory. Then there will appear in your life an abundance of fruit –- ““the fruit of the Spirit”;” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:25)

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to James Dean

James,

My grandfather, Donald Price, was a bootlegger, gun-runner and a thief. He was the guy they called in when they needed someone skilled at picking locks. He was a “bad boy” to be sure. My grandfathers life story inspired my father, Jerry Price, to study psychology, specifically regarding the twistedness of our minds. I grew up sitting around the table with these men, gleaning wisdom and understanding the nuances regarding the depravity of the human condition. I set out to try their words and became quite good at conning others but in the end I found out what my grandfather and father already knew; that every con thinks they are unique and that belief sustains their duplicity. What I didn’t understand but do now is that the ultimate con is to con ones own self. My grandfather used to say, “you can’t con a con.”  Meaning, “I’ve been there, done that” and quiet frankly I can see right through you James. 

Even so, what you need to understand is that if you plan to continue to insert yourself into our daughters life that you are also inserting yourself into our lives. You can’t have one but not the other. So all these games you’ve been playing, deceiving one another, as well as, the community around you, needs to stop. It’s short sighted. 

During my pregnancy with my daughter, I glimpsed for the first time in my life, the future. Now mind you, she was conceived during a time in my life that was utterly dark. I was in the thick of my twistedness and like you James, I was short-sighted. I didn’t have a dream for my future, nor could I see past the immediate sense of pleasure and thirst for power that held me captive. None the less, God could see and knew that my daughter would be a life force of love and light and her birth would be my birth out of duplicity and into wholeness. Her birth was divine and from the moment she was conceived God placed his seal on her life for His glory.  

So, James, what you really need to understand is that when you initiate or for that matter, respond to my daughter’s initiation, that you are not just messing around with her, you are not just messing around with us as her family, but you are messing around with God’s plan for her life. And, my hunch is for your life too. The ancient text says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Prov. 1:7). My hope is that you are not a fool but one who is moldable, pliable and becoming all that you were created to be. So, live in the light but know that as long as I keep seeing you pop up in my daughter’s life that this mama is going to keep popping up in your life.

Sincerely,

Mama Holland

 

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

This is a very personal account of an experience had regarding the theme of “the fear of the Lord.” The ancient text says that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge.’ I have thought about this concept, talked about it, sung about it, but it was just that, a concept. This account is the story of how the the fear of the Lord moved from a concept to being the very fabric of my being.

img_0582Before I begin, I will tell you that I am simply a layman in my faith walk. I have not gone to seminary, nor do I claim to be a sage or anyone important. However, I have always been aware of the supernatural and I am intimately seeking connectivity with the Creator of the Universe, also known as Lord, God, King of kings, etc.. whom I call Abba (Father), which represents everlasting love. I’m one who has had an awakening to the grace extended by the person of Jesus to commune directly with Abba. He knows my language and speaks to my heart often. It’s very personal and I usually don’t share to much about it. I am just a voice…

In the ancient text (John 1:23) we see an account of John the Baptist, being asked if he is the messiah, if he is a prophet, if he is someone important? His answer is so profound to me. He says, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness...‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’  I am not John, I am not a man, I am not even a prophet. I have become nothing but the breath of God; moving and communicating completely in accordance with Abba's desire.

My friend Neil Beightol says “To be a “voice” is to be nothing but breath, shaped and formed to the desire of the speaker.”

Oh to have such a calling.

img_0998And so it was that I sat alone, well, just me, two pelicans and the Creator of the Universe, on the beach in the Byron Shire, NSW. It was a warm sunny afternoon in July, just a few months after my encounter with the spirit of death and hades.

I humbled myself before Abba Father and began to praise Him, calling out his amazing attributes and declaring his faithfulness. As I prayed and asked for a word I began to stroke the sand in a smooth consistent motion until a blank slate was created. I picked up a nearby stick and held it loosely, fully aware of the tension between wanting to create my own master piece and wanting it to be used as an instrument of communication. As I prayed, my hand was lead to draw what seemed like random lines and then to slowly to connect those lines. What formed was a picture of a mountain and two horses riding swiftly, in unison. Hovering above the mountain and the horses was a very large aggressive lion. The lion was pouncing on the mountain and the horses.

I prayed and waited for the Holy Spirit to offer an explanation but was directed to draw another smaller picture. This time there were three dots that were positioned at the top of the picture, and two large trenches or shields on either side of the drawing with an arrow and a the sun, in the middle. The passage “Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” came to mind. As I looked it over and prayed I was drawn to the three dots hovering above and recognized them as representing the God head, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and shields were boundaries on either side, with my body being the third shield, opposite the three dots. The arrow and the sun, which sat in the center of the drawing were surrounded on all sides and represented the enemy.

Then I prayed more but was prompted to go home and search the scriptures. So I did, I began to scour any mentions of horses, mountains, sun, or lions. As I prayed and read I was lead to 2 Kings and Hosea. This is what I found…

I believe the mountains represent humanity, specifically those who claim to be children of God. I also think the horses and the sun in the other drawing are connected. Humans have always worshiped the sun, so that seemed like a no brainer, but people have also always highly prized horses. There’s something in the manner of the horse, in its majesty and poise that tends to draws out the pride of man. However, God never intended the horse to be worshiped, only for this incredible creature to draw our praise, admiration and reverence to our Creator.  During the time of King Josiah, the Israelites had embraced “sun” worship.  Out of obedience to God’s direction, righteous Josiah destroyed the remains of idol worship.
 "And Josiah...removed the horses that the kings of Judah had devoted to the sun from the entrance of the house of the Lord...and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire" (2 Kings 23:10a, 11). 

The lion in the picture was fierce and dominate, towering not just above the horses but above the mountains as well. I was terrified by it. My first inclination was to view the lion as the enemy “prowling around, waiting to devour.” However, this lion was not prowling but rather charging, pouncing. So, I prayed and asked who the lion represented. I was led to Hosea 13:7 and believe the lion represents God in his anger towards HIS people.

In this chapter, God basically says, “I’m still your God, the God who saved you out of Egypt. I’m the only real God you’ve ever known. I’m the one and only God who delivers. I took care of you during the wilderness hard times, those years when you had nothing. I took care of you, took care of all your needs, gave you everything you needed. You were spoiled. You thought you didn’t need me. You forgot me. So, “I’ll charge you like a lion, like a leopard stalking in the brush. I’ll jump you like a sow grizzly robbed of her cubs. I’ll rip out your guts. Coyotes will make a meal of you. Crows will clean your bones. I’m going to destroy you, Israel. Who is going to stop me?”

Here read it for yourselves…

Hosea 13

When Ephraim spoke,people trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died. Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people, “They offer human sacrifices! They kiss calf-idols!” 

Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window. “But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. 

So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk by the path. Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open; like a lion I will devour them—a wild animal will tear them apart. 

“You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper. Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?  So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away. The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives,he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.”

As I read Hosea out loud I began to tremble and shake. My breath shortened as if the air was going out of the room and my heart felt as if it was being snuffed out. I literally fell hard to the floor. A deep weight of despair hovered over me and I could not get up. I was scared and thought, “this is it, I’m all alone, Craig and Banjo are out, and this is it! I’m going to die.” I was freaking out and my tongue was tied, but I was able to cry out for mercy. “Lord have mercy!! Lord have mercy on us all!!”

I cried out and instinctually began to confess my junk. Things flooded my mind that I though were already dealt with, things like my desire for power by dabbling in the paranormal in my youth. And as soon I confessed, it was as if the angel of the Lord took his sword and cut that barnacle off of me. I confessed my warped sense of sexuality that I used to gain power over others in my youth. And as soon as I did, it was as if the angel of the Lord took his sword and cut that barnacle off of me. I confessed my lack of faith. And, I confessed the ways that I had used my words to manipulate and control situations. The prophet Isaiah’s words danced in my mind, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a person of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” I continued to cry out, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.” I confessed the sins of my people, their lust for power and domination, and the ways that my people use their faith to manipulate and condone their agendas. I saw the idol of narcissism sitting high on a mountain and their were many bowing down. I cried out, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy on us all.” And as soon as I did, I watched the angel of the Lord take his sword and in one glorious swoop, cut that idol down, lowering it straight to the ground.

I lay there soaked in tears, time stood still, then, a rush of fresh air and a feeling of relief flooded the room. Slowly the pressure subsided and it was only then that I knew that I wasn’t going to die. I continued weeping quietly, “Lord please have mercy on us.” Then I felt Yeshua’s hand stroke my hair with tenderness reminding me of his blessed assurance.

When I was finally able to rise, I was famished. It felt like I hadn’t eaten in days and I walked into the kitchen and ravished a whole papaya! As my strength returned I exclaimed, “Wow! What in the world am I suppose to do with all of that?!”

“Write” Abba said, “write it down, remember, and warn my people.” And, so Kinfolk! Bride of Christ, if any of this resonates with you, PLEASE I beg you to fall, face down, with an openness to feel/express sincere regret/remorse (repent) and turn your faces back to Him, for only Abba can renew a right spirit.

img_0568I can not explain it any better than this; the fear of the Lord has a whole new meaning now! It’s no longer just scripture, a line in a song or a concept but has been deeply woven into the fabric of my very being! Oh man!!

You see, I have looked in the mirror and seen the disgusting depravity of my very own heart. I have seen wickedness in the hearts of humanity and I have come into intimate contact with darkness. I have felt deep fear from humans and from the powers of principality, but the fear of the Lord… takes it all to a whole new level. God, the Creator of the Universe, the Holy One, the King of kings, Abba my father, is the only one worthy of my fear. And, I am grateful for this perspective. For you see, in my own wilderness I have found such an assuredness that I freely surrender my body, with it’s particular agendas, desires, and even needs, to become one with and indistinguishable from the breath and message of God.

This is what I know… Perfect love, casts out fear.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Author, William D Eisenhower says, “When we assume that the world is the ultimate threat, we give it unwarranted power, for in truth, the world’s threats are temporary. When we expect God to balance the stress of the world, we reduce him to the world’s equal …. As I walk with the Lord, I discover that God poses an ominous threat to my ego, but not to me. He rescues me from my delusions, so he may reveal the truth that sets me free. He casts me down, only to lift me up again. He sits in judgment of my sin, but forgives me nevertheless. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.”

Yeshua demonstrated love beyond human understanding when he lived out his words, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” With love like that, what is left to fear but God?”

 

Reflections At Uluru 

The iconic rock named Uluru sits in the middle of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park on Katiti Aboriginal Land, smack dab in the middle of Australia. From a physical perspective, Uluru is a mammoth singular rock taking hold of the eye from miles off and commanding respect. The rock was breathtaking but also quite oppressive in its sheer nature.

img_2955Not far away, in the same national park, sits Kata Tjuta (meaning many heads) which gently pulls the viewer to its many domed shaped mounds. Kata Tjuta in it's communal nature felt welcoming, serene and allowed for a time of contemplation.

From a spiritual perspective Uluru is a most sacred space for the traditional aboriginal people. It is a sacred place of ceremony likened to the Pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar, the Great Temple of Yandi Shennong in China, the Mahabodhi Tree in India, Nuestra Señora de Luján in Argentina,Mount Parnassus in Greece, Sergiev Posad in Russia, Ka’ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Vatican in Rome, Mount Sinai in Egypt, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City Utah, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming and so many other sacred sites around the world. It is a place where “Tjukurpa” law for the Anangu people, is taught. And so, while there we took the time to learn what was offered to us about their sacred law.

On a side note: there is an on-going conversation/ argument about who's and what law should be practiced in this land. More specifically, should Australian law or should the Tjukurpa be the dominate law. Although I believe this is a valid and important conversation, that is not what this blog will focus on. This piece will however address law but from a viewpoint of the spiritual condition that law brings about regardless of the culture.

img_2947While visiting Uluru we followed the directions of the signs posted. We did not take photos in areas where we were asked not to and respected the wishes of the elders to stay off of the rock and kept to the walking tracks provided. Our understanding of the culture and place was limited to the information written on teaching plaques and videos and had I someone with local knowledge, I would have probably asked more questions. None the less, this is what I gleaned.

In the visitors center three stories of Tjukurpa (law) were shared. The first was about two ancestral beings – Kuniya, the woma Python, and Liru, the poisonous snake. In this story Liru kills Kuniya’s nephew. Kuniya enraged kills Liru with a blow to the head. This hit to the head, draws blood, and continues to be practiced during the “sorry business,” which is a part of their mourning ritual. The presence of these two ancestral beings – Kuniya, the woma Python, and Liru, the poisonous snake is believed to still be around the Mutitjulu waterhole and can be seen in the markings on the rock.

The second story shared was of Lungkata, the greedy and dishonest blue tonged lizard. In this story the lizard steals a meal from two pananpalala’s and when caught is put to death by fire. His story teaches the Anangu people what happens to the greedy and dishonest.

The third story was of the Mala, rufous hare wallabies, who came to Uluru from the north and west. They had come for an important men’s ceremony at Uluru. While in ceremony, their women and children gathered and prepared food in a cave at Taputiju (and can be seen on the northeast side of Uluru). During the ceremony the men received an invitation from the Wintalyka men, the Mulga seed men from the west, but because their ceremony had already begun they declined the Wintalyka men. This enraged the Wintalyka men and they conjured an evil monster called Kurpany to wreak havoc on the Mala men.

No one seemed to notice as the monster approached, except for Luunpa, the kingfisher woman who lives at the Ininti waterhole. She screamed out a warning and the women ran to the meeting place called Malawati. The ceremony ceased but many Mala men were devoured by the monster. The rest fled hundreds of kilometers to the south with the monster following behind. It is believed that Luunpa still keeps watch over that place.

Kuniya, Lira, Kurpany & Mala are ancestral beings who help form the basis of traditional law and customs for the Anangu today. They connect Anangu with county in all directions around Uluru. These stories along with many others that are not accessible to non-aboriginals are their families inheritance. They guide Anangu culture in all facets of life, organizing male and female roles in the community, child, adult roles and in the purest form, uncontested, Tjukurpa law should result in order throughout daily life.

As I contemplated the stories at the visitors center and walked around the rock noting the places of ceremony and ritual I noticed a similarly to the many stories I’ve read in ancient texts and stories from other oral cultures that we’ve had the privilege of learning about. The Anangu stories confirmed the age-old story of humankind with themes of murder, revenge, deceit, offense, and curses and was just one more confirmation to me that we are all made of the same mud. Every person, through the sands of time, has had to fight these demons within and the human solution has always been law.

This is what I know about law. Every religion, culture, people group or family has its own code or law to live by which defines the reality of those who live by that law. My father says, “those who define the process, control the process.” And so, some of us have been living by the same code for a very long time and some of us have had revisions over the centuries depending on the powers that have taken hold of the process.

Law teaches us how to navigate through the depravity, how to manage our circumstances, how to bring order but law does not bring harmony nor peace and law does not liberate or redeem the heart from the darkness of death. Law requires a hierarchy where some rule and some are ruled. As a result, the spirits of shame and condemnation run a muck, keeping many in their proper place. All the while, the self-righteous heart grows darker and the divide between creator and creation grows wider and wider.

As I walked around the rock, as much as I appreciated the opportunity to learn about Tjukurpa, the oppression of law in general laid heavy on my heart. I felt a deep longing well up within my soul, a longing to hear the stories of faith, hope and redemption and silently I cried out “Abba have mercy. Liberate us all from law and reconcile us to one another. Show us your grace, show us your glory.”

Abba heard my prayer and as the wind gently blew on my face, he answered, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Me, and I the Word. Through Me all things were made; without Me nothing was made that has been made. In Me is life, and that life is the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone has come into the world. I was in the world, and though the world was made through Me, the world did not recognize Me. I came to that which was My own, but My own did not receive Me. Yet to all who did receive Me, to those who believed in My name, Yeshua, I give the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of Me.” (john1)

My heart was overwhelmed as I reflected on Yeshua, The Word, there in the beginning, all things made through him, made flesh, dwelling among us. We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.

For many of us, the law was prescribed through Moses, for others through Mohammad, Buddha, Darwin, the Dali Lama, the Pope, Plato, Desmond Tutu, Confucius, the Emperor of China, the Government, the Illuminati, the Shamans and Oracles of oral cultures, or whomever else has taken the position of telling the stories of culture and tradition; but grace and truth, this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding— all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.

I believe it’s good to have a healthy respect for law, to understand our histories, every tongue, tribe and nation, to learn the law so that there might be some sense of order. I believe it’s important for us to learn about and respect other religions, cultures and family laws for the more we understand each other, the more it reduces uncertainty and it helps us to communicate more effectively. However, it is also good to remember that law is limited and can be corrupted by the depravity of those defining and managing it. Thus I believe that law can not have the final say. For it is only through the mystery of grace, that Yeshua offers, that we find our way back to Creator, Abba, God and the result of that is we find true freedom.

Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” It is through Jesus that we find our way to peace and harmony. It is through Jesus that the truth liberates us from law and it is through Jesus that death is overcome and life eternal is found.

How that plays out practically in day-to-day life for me is Jesus becomes The Voice that defines my reality. Jesus prescribes and fulfills the law. And we, who are the God-begotten, are bound by this law that first and foremost says “love Abba with all your heart and love others as yourself.” The love mentioned here is not some romantic notion or a teaching of tolerance. No, it is a supernatural unconditional love that comes when we believe Abba is who he says he is and we believe we are who he says we are as sons and daughters.

Yet, there are many who know but do not believe. They call themselves children of God, they call themselves enlightened, they call themselves the originals but they run around this planet conjuring death and destruction, reckless with their words, betraying and forsaking, hasty in judgement, and closed in their thinking. They are ungrateful and selfish children who have bought into the age-old lie that law is all we need.

I purpose that law is not all we need. Law may sustain us throughout the centuries but law without love is hopeless.

Unconditional Love is the key to redemption and Jesus is the tie that binds all of our hearts in that love. He models this knowing through his teachings, miracles, life, death, resurrection, ascension and promise to return. He is unconditional Love and the source of all life. And, that’s what I’m after.

How about you? What are you after?

 

Parable Of The Three Trees

Parable of The Three Trees
There were three trees all standing side by side in a sun scorched land. The tree that sat in the middle was lush and green, and although the land was dry and hot, all who gathered under the tree stayed cool. A small group of people gathered around it, with plenty of room for more. They were humbly offering prayers and song to the King of kings. They were also using the healing leaves to dry the tears and heal the wounds of the broken hearted. 

The tree to the left was barren, offering no shade, yet it was surrounded by droves of people. They were shouting violently, “Justice Justice Justice!”

The tree to the right was also barren, offering no shade, yet it was surrounded by droves of people. They were shouting violently, “Power Power Power!”

Brothers and sisters, take a look up, what tree are you standing under?
If we claim Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, may we find our way to the tree in the middle and may our focus stay on Jesus

Safe House

For most of us, when we think of a Safe House we think of a spy thriller like the Bourne series. Jason Bourne, government operative goes rogue and for the rest of the series he’s running from and fighting off those who want to take him down for fear of being exposed. At least once in each film Jason finds his way into a safe house, a place where he can get back on his feet, recover from any injuries, and refuel. Or maybe you’re more of a fantasy fan and remember the scene in Lord of the Rings when Frodo Baggins and the rest of the crew run for their lives, eventually finding their way into the Elfin safe haven, Rivendell. Maybe you’re a history buff and remember the historical safe houses of the Underground Railroad, the secret system that transported escaped slaves from Southern plantations to freedom during the 19th century. Or, stories during World War 11 of members of the French Resistance who hid Jews running from Nazi persecution.

img_2311For us, a “safe house” represents one of our most valuable resources, solid gold. We aren’t government operatives, we are however on the front lines of intense spiritual battles. Our war isn’t against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities.We trust our cause, our armor and our King. We are well equip with sincerity, righteousness, faith which quenches the darts of temptation, blessed assurance, feet shod with peace, and prayer knitting it all together. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is sharper than a doubled edged sword and used as an instrument of healing for those that are oppressed, down-trodden or just plain stuck. We see an Empire that wages war on the human soul, traumatizing and binding those caught in the cross fire to debilitating lies and vices. We are love warriors and we battle for what our friend, Craig Greenfield calls the upside-down Kingdom. Oh yes! We freely use our gifts and talents, our story, our merrymaking and music, and a win for us is to see healing, reconciliation and restoration. But, sometimes we need a safe house, a place of refuge from the storm.

Over and over in the ancient text we read that the King of kings IS a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary for all times. In fact, there is a beautiful picture in Psalm 91 of what it looks like to dwell in the shelter of Adonai, the Most High.
It talks of the safety that a baby bird finds under the wings of feather and promises that no disaster or calamity will come near;  for angels will care for and guard us wherever we go.

img_2362We know these words to be true in our hearts mind but also by the evidence demonstrated through the Saints, many of whom we were once strangers to, who continue to offer us refuge along the way. One such community in Australia, has become more than a safe house but a sending house. They have offered us not just a place to heal and recover, but a promise that they will always keep the fire aflame, that they won’t quit in hard times, praying for us with steadfastness and that they will come for us, if we ever fall in the field. And, that is worth more than gold. That is priceless. 

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Cutting To The Heart

And, you thought being cursed by the spirit of death and hades was bad… Let me tell you, the heart is deceitful above all things and will lie like a dog. Oh! Those stinking self protective and self promoting old habits of the heart that start out subtle and then scream like the wind.

The author of Hebrews writes that ‘What Abba is after is writing His word on our hearts!’ 

This cutting into our heart. Oh man, it hurts and I’m having a hard time sitting still. However, for the love of Yeshua to be authentic in us, it has got to cut to the heart.

Recently my father, Jerry Price, sent me these words of encouragement to keep swimming upstream and a nugget of wisdom regarding spiritual warfare. May you be encouraged and challenged as well.

“God is in charge, I know. There is one thing to consider. The spiritual battle is not about flesh and blood but about principalities and spiritual wickedness & rulers in high places. It’s everywhere & comes in different formats.

*Physical violence where others would do us harm;

*Social marginalizing where others try to isolate us (and Jesus) as something irrelevant;

*Psychological games people play to confuse the believer and create an emotional sense of danger but is nothing more than intimidation to control our hearts & minds;

*A spiritualism that promotes idolatry to replace God and give a person a false sense of hope through prostituting our souls for personal satisfaction;

*An intellectualism that promotes an arrogance that communicates others are less than the one who prides themselves in their ability to debate;

*And a shaming from religious practitioners who would condemn believers for being hypocrites that don’t measure up to standards – in their view – that promotes a twisted sense of perfectionism, which doesn’t need God.

Take all of that and stir things up with Jesus and an upright life, you have spiritual warfare. Because, you see, the motives of the heart are exposed and people will harm us in any way to keep Jesus from being the light of the world.

ALL of the above comes from the darkness of depravity. Thus, the spiritual battles we face can actually be in the recesses of our own minds which is why David prayed for God to ‘search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me.’

And, this I know, we won’t be able to escape the war if we’re alive in Christ and swimming upstream…. Any old dead fish can float downstream.”

I am finally getting to the end of myself. There is hope in the air and the fog is lifting.

 img_0582Abba, forgive me for allowing my heart to be over taken by weeds of bitter discontent and ego driven victim-stance; for a thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Give me your spirit of discernment to recognize when I am being deceived, thus trading away Your lifelong gift in order to satisfy my short-term appetite. Soften my heart as I reflect on your tender mercy. For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. May the light of the world shine bright in my fragile soul. In Jesus name, Amen ‭‭(Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-17‬, John 1:1-5)

Oh! That we would not rest until the heart is totally transformed!! May you be liberated today to investigate the depravity of your own heart. May you seek the great physician in healing areas that paralyze you in being the Kingdom come. And, may the amazing grace offered through Christ’s sacrifice transform you from the inside out.

 

Medicine For The Soul; Fire In The Sky

Not sure if you knew this about me but I’m a human connection junkie. I look for opportunities at every corner to connect whether through a smile, conversation about the weather, sharing of story or deeper moments of spiritual formation. Some circles call people with this trait an empath, others call it extroverted. Whatever you call it, traveling full-time suites my thirst for this connectivity. I know and trust that seemingly random moments are divinely orchestrated and I wake up with great anticipation of seeing and experiencing these amazing moments of exchange. Security, comfort, and money are unfruitful drivers and I tend to spend little time thinking about them, trusting that my daily bread will come. I wake up longing to speak words of peace and affirmation over those I meet and when needed, to share a hard word of truth in love. I wake up open to receive. I have learned over the years, that filtering (discernment) is essential to being healthy in my gift set. I have learned that I must allow for times of quiet and solitude in order for the Holy Spirit to fill up my empty vessel. It’s important for my well-being and those I am surrounded by. 

And so it was, thanks to Abba’s faithfulness in weaving us together with the Saints, that we were gifted a week of solitude on a beach in South Australia. 

We met Jacia, a beautiful young soul, in Northern Thailand and shared a night of song and story. Before we parted ways, Jacia mentioned that if we ever needed a season of rest, that her family owned a little beach shack and would be happy to share it with us. We exchanged info and tucked it away for a time that only Abba could bring; for South Australia wasn’t yet on our routing pattern. However, that timing came to fruition sooner than we thought as it proved to be the soft landing spot after a tender return from the US where I was caring for my mother. 

img_0159We arrived to what truly was the cutest little beach shack, and a warm welcome from Luke and Diane Hopton, Jacia’s parents. They had us over for dinner and we were delighted by their faith stories. We found a few other times to connect with them and with some of their dear friends, but my normal capacity for friendship was low so as tempting as it was to fill our week up with meals and visits, I reluctantly declined.

img_0148The honest truth was that I was wrecked in my spirit, numb really. I tried to force any sort of feeling in the physical, nearly attacking my husband with affection, dancing wildly on the deserted beach, convincing my sweet son to walk miles and miles with me searching for seashells, trying to work up a sweat, just trying to feel alive. But it was in the stillness of the evenings when the sun was setting that benevolent rays of mercy would shine on me. Craig would bring out the guitar and strum gently or make a lovely cheese platter and we would just sit, quietly, night after night, watching the sun set on the horizon. It was in those moments, that I laid down my pride, laid down my sorrow, emptied myself out and opened up. It was in those moments that waves of Abba’s unending love and faithfulness came rolling in; dividing my soul from spirit, exposing the attitudes of my heart, and washing over me with precious words of healing. 

Words like: 

*The Great Physician is a faithful healer and can be trusted with even the most aggressive aliments. Tonight’s tonic included an epic sunset in the South Australian sky.

*In the stillness… in the quiet hour… You are with me.

*Faith is not a feeling. Faith is not an event. It is not a mystical or magical experience. Faith is not hope. Hope operates in the natural. Faith is the language of the supernatural. It the tether between us and the living God.

*Abba sees the things you and I can not see. You are going to recover. There is a level above science, there is a level above technology. It is the level where faith hovers and with the Creator of the Universe all things are possible.

*Faith goes into the future, secures the future, comes back to get you and leads you into that future.

img_0165I’ve written songs about the beach, about the living water that sustains me, and I’m so thankful that my Creator knows that this is a place that really fills me up. I love going to the beach with God! I’m also thankful for kinfolk like the Hopton’s who graciously care for us along the way, allowing us the time and space to allow the Spirit of God to care for us along the way. 

The Season of the Dark Shadow

We all know this fight isn’t against flesh and blood right? Well, this was my reminder.

As it was, while in Sydney, Australia, five months ago I found an unusually large lump on my thyroid. We had only been back from SE Asia for two weeks. My body was well worn from the travel through the seven countries we visited over that two month period. We hit Thailand in the middle of the trip and by that time we were ready for a little break. It was Christmas and we were hoping to spend some time as a family on the beach in Pattaya, catching up with a few friends, resting and refreshing for the next leg of the journey. However, once we arrived we were smacked with the reality of injustice all around us and immediately felt not only the presence but the rule of the spirit of lust. It was massive! And so, we put aside our own personal desires for rest and entered into all that Abba had for us there, being present and fully engaging. Through conversations and interactions with locals, we were given a picture of the state of affairs, exposing the breath of the beasts influence. I felt compelled to write about it and you can read more about that here…  

The enormity of this spirit mixed with the vulnerability of my own past with sexual abuse seemed to trigger anxiety attacks. I’d experience anxiety attacks long ago and knew some technics to deal with them, but these seemed much more severe than previous experiences. We made our way north to be with a community in Pai which offered solace but my heart was weak, I sensed something had been damaged in my inner most being. By Myanmar, my ability to discern and hear from the Lord was cloudy. I felt a spirit of paranoia try to get hold of me but rejected it. Physically I got very sick and was in bed for a few day.

In Singapore, our kinfolk identified a heaviness and laid hands on me to pray for it to be removed. At the time, I believed it was just the weight of seeing so much pain, corruption and injustice. My joy was fading and the prayer encouraged me as my friend Claire reminded me of an initial word that was spoken over our family before we gave everything away and left in the bus five years ago.

IMG_9570"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you. But will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph 3:17

I could just barely make out the still small voice of Abba, whispering “I’m hear still.” I continued to declare God’s goodness, faithfulness and grace to any who would listen, proclaiming the wonder of Christ and the freedom He offers us. Then our family spent a few days with some of our mentors in Indonesia, Ron and Janine Parrish. Bali felt dark and the presence of evil almost suffocated me but the Parrish home was like a safe house and as much as I wanted to go to the beach, I didn’t really want to leave the solace of their home. We did visit a few villages and markets and I distinctly remember seeing from afar a woman who had a large goiter. I remember her vividly because my body shivered and shook briefly as if taking on her condition. I remember the compassion I felt for her and was in awe at her ability to still function in a way that seemed normal.

Anyway, by the time we got back to Australia I was a hot mess. Actually I was a cold mess, as it felt like my internal furnace went out and I could never get warm. Then the lump on my neck appeared. A dear friend in Sydney brought me to see her doctor who eyed the lump and declared it a goiter. She suggested I probably needed to follow-up with an ultrasound.

We went to Bendigo for six weeks to work alongside our friends at Cornerstone Community on a house project. I tried to help, cooking most nights but could never seem to find energy for much more. I struggled with any sort of task that involved going into town or being around to many people (which is not like me). I didn’t want to write and sort of went into coma mode. I would lay in bed for days with Netflix, filling my head with romantic fantasy shows. Which then lead to feelings of shame and isolation. I could feel myself starting to break from reality, longing to live in another time or place. There was a part of me that fought back though and I would cry out, I mean cry out for Abba to heal me, to help me. I knew I was loosing my grip and I felt like I was going crazy yet I knew I wasn’t. I shifted my focus and as long as I was engaged in prayer or worship or conversation about Yeshua I felt alive but as soon as I was alone with my thoughts I was paralyzed.

I told a few close friends and family about my symptoms and asked for prayer but was too embarrassed to send out a mass request. My family was in shock. They didn’t understand the waves of trauma that would rise out of me, the uncontrollable tears, so many tears. They prayed and cared for me the best they could but also were still trying to engage and come alongside our hosts. On top of that Graciana was getting ready to leave the nest. I was useless in helping her make her last preparations, as I couldn’t think beyond my own pain. Then I got a call from the US to come home and help care for my mom.

I wasn’t sure I was fit to help, but the call mustered up in me a furry and I was able to step outside of myself and rise above whatever this crap was that was pulling me down to the pit of hell. I went and for six weeks, I cooked and cared for my mom as well as myself. I was barely better than her and the slow pace of the days actually gave me time to breath and focus, pray and worship. As much as it was helpful for my mom, it was even more life-giving to me. Oh to focus on life! Everyday became about finding harmony, peace and solace. Any disturbance to this harmony evoked a lioness in me that would roar at whomever broke the code. Seriously, you can ask my dad. Even so, the house found harmony and as mom began to return, so did I.

I saw a doctor who did a blood test and an ultrasound on my thyroid. I saw a therapist who worked with Bio-energetic resonance and learned about the benefits of acupuncture, Vit C treatments, diet, etc.. According to all of their tests, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (near failure), a virus in my endocrine system that some call cancer and found that the lump on my thyroid was from heavy metal toxins. Not so bad right? Ha!

I left the US with knowledge about what was physically wrong with me and began a regiment of supplement and diet changes. I learned about ways to care for my adrenals through reducing stressors, rest and heart coherence. However, something was still off deep down. There was a fracture deep in my psyche and my joy was gone.

By the time I made it back to Australia, I was so happy to see my family but the dark shadow was even worse than when I left. My sorrow was intense and the suffering almost unbearable. I kept praying for clarity to understand where it was coming from. Was it some unspoken sin? Was it some deeper area that the Holy Spirit wanted to heal from? Was it my pride? I knew I struggled with spirits of condemnation and shame, I wrestled with them at different times in life, but this was different. It felt like I was chasing a fox. I would glimpse its shadows but then it would be gone. I cried out, “What are you trying to teach me Lord Jesus?”

Then we made our way north, our short-term plan was; a season of rest somewhere warm (seeing as my internal furnace was broken). Then a hint of a dream to build out a bus and prepare for what Abba has next for us. However, the dreaming was stifled by my cloud of internal discord. Despite my efforts to care for my body physically, I continued to manifest new physical problems and the emotional breakdowns began to dominate any moments that my mind weren’t completely focused on Christ.

Then, on a Tuesday morning, I heard a voice that said, “just kill yourself.” I immediately rejected the thought understanding that it was not my own but felt crippled by the blow. That day, we did a few workshops at a school on history and creativity and by the grace of God, I made it through. Then that evening we arrived in Glenrowan. I stumbled into the Duursma home, grateful to be in a safe place. I took a few deep breaths and found my footing enough to share my struggle with my friend Diane. She stated that is was OK for us not to lead their house church that night and just rest, but I assured her that I needed to stay focused on speaking the truth of Yeshua’s love. We worshiped with all of our hearts, shared in community and covenant, taught on the Sons of Thunder and God’s transformational love in their lives.

Then after the service there was an intense time of prayer. Many words were spoken over us but the one that stuck out was a picture of a dark murky lake and a pier that went out into the middle. I was walking to the end of the pier and asked by Abba to step off. I was hesitant but took a step off into what seemed like the abyss. However each time I stepped out a step would appear. And so it was that each time I stepped further into the darkness, God made another step and held my footing. That’s exactly how life seemed to be rolling. Another picture of a freshly pressed key was given. Then Psalm 91 was read over me.

After the service a woman named Michelle came up to me. She said, “I don’t really know you but I feel compelled to pray for you tonight when I go home and when I pray, I mean I really pray. So, tell me everything you need prayer for.” I was shocked but grateful. I told her briefly about my physical aliments but that the thing that really had me bound up with some sort of shift in my inner most being. I couldn’t put my finger on it and it was terrorizing me. She listened and then left. The night continued on with beautiful fellowship and finally our heads hit the pillow. I still couldn’t get warm and my sleep was unsteady but I was filled with a small measure of joy and hope.

In the morning Michelle called and said she had a word for me and let us know she was coming by. She arrived with her notebook and bible and got straight to it. She said that when she saw us five months ago there was such a light and joy beaming from me but this time I looked like the life was zapped out of me and that is why she felt compelled to pray. She said when she had come up to me the night before to ask if she could pray for me that she laid her hand on me and that when she touched me she nearly had to run out of the room because the pain she felt on me was more than she could bear. I began to well up with tears. She said that she went home and spent all night interceding on my behalf and this is what The Lord God Almighty showed her. He gave her I John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  Then He showed her a great sadness upon me, a deep sorrow, a terribly dark shadow, harrowing pain and anguish, endless sorrow, weeping and gnashing of teeth. I started to weep as that’s exactly how I’d been feeling.

She said God showed her a moment in my near past of an interaction that took place in Thailand between myself and a Thai man. She said he was very unsuspecting, super smiley, friendly and even hospitable. She asked if anyone came to mind? A few interactions came to mind but no one specific. She said this man was a shaman and during our exchange he secretly touched my inner most being with the spirit of death and hades! As soon as she said it, I knew it to be so! That was the voice… “You should just kill yourself.” Then the cold, always feeling cold, and all of the health problems that just popped up suddenly, and then the damage I felt internally but not understanding what could have caused it!! She continued on that throughout the night on multiple occasions she would hear God say, “I see you Jana.” She let me know this wasn’t something I did to myself or deserved and that God was my strong tower, that I would be released from the grips of this spirit and my body would be healed. She asked God for more details on the “how” but he didn’t give her much, just that using the word “stop” whenever I felt the attacked kept coming to mind. She encouraged me to continue to use my voice to declare my inheritance as a daughter of the King of kings. She then said to all of us with great enthusiasm, “start dreaming again and dream big, because when this lifts and your strength is returned that God has much work for you to do!”

Abba is good and faithful and although I’m a little pissed off about the whole thing even happening in the first place, I’m relieved to know that it was nothing more than a lame attempt by the enemy to shake my faith. The little cockroach of a spirit has fled but the residue of damage needs to be dealt with so until I hear more from Abba about my health, I will continue to utilized all of the knowledge and resources that I’ve been given.

I’ve also begun to declare blessing over that shaman. He has no idea what love and grace is coming for him!

And so, here I am in a season of healing, rebuilding and renewal.

I ask that if you are the interceding type that you would direct your prayers towards Psalm 91 for me. Heck, I’ll be praying it for you too!

Here read it for yourself. Read it out loud. Savor it, allow the words to wash over you and offer comfort. Allow the words to build you up and give you strength. And may these words become a reality in our time of need.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at mid-day. A thousand may fall at your side, then thousand at your right hand but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will life you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because He loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

IMG_0353"You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow....Or a cackle of cockatoos" ~Mama J quoting Proverbs‬ ‭