## Kingdom Math (part 2)

In Kingdom Math part 1 we established a few fun facts. First, I have no concept of math whatsoever. I have no grid for it. I have no grid, PERIOD! Grids are linear and I am circular-ish. Second, math in Gods Kingdom requires the heart, not the head. It is like the gospel. You can know ABOUT Jesus by reading the gospel with your mind. Actually KNOWING Jesus requires reading the gospel with your heart. Lastly, God multiplies, the devil divides.

(Random jump to a topic that seems random but will tie in nicely)

A couple of months ago a dear friend asked me how I was partnering with rest in this season of my life. Rest? Please! I will rest when I’m dead! Between my FOMO and the fact that I have 4 kids, there is no partnering with anything but adventure and chaos. It is happy chaos, but it is not restful. Indeed, rest is about as foreign to me as math. Like math, I remember being forced to do it as a child… but I don’t use it every day as an adult. So when my friend brought up a foreign concept to me, naturally I had to study it.

Of course I first approached the subject with my head and my mind. I looked up the definition of rest. I looked up “sabbath”. I looked up how much sleep I was supposed to get a night. I bit of advice…don’t ever look up how much sleep you are supposed to get a night. The stress from knowing that you are failing at sleeping will keep you up at night. I wrote down a “rest plan”. I applied logic. I don’t rest. I need to rest. Here is how I will rest. But rest became just another thing I had to check off of my massive to-do list each day.

Am I the only one who is guilty of seeking God on something only after I have exhausted all of my mental resources? So once again I attempted to approach the subject of rest…but this time with my heart. “God, what is it that you want me to know about rest?”

Remember, Kingdom math is heart math. It is 5 smooth stones + one boy = 1 dead giant…with a remainder of 4 smooth stones. It is Gideon + 300 men + trumpets and torches > 135,000 Midianite soldiers. It is 5 loaves + 2 fish = dinner for 5,000. God takes what we have and He multiplies it. This is what He spoke to my heart:

“Rest = Jesus. Period.
Jesus + anything = you – Jesus.

Striving requires expenditure. Expenditure requires rest. Rest is just Jesus. Don’t add anything. Don’t subtract anything. You are not just a faith machine designed to spit out miracles, signs, and wonders. You are a human being. You are a daughter in need of rest. When you abide in Jesus, miracles, signs, and wonders are simply the overflow of intimacy. They are the biproduct of relationship with Him. If you attempt to do anything outside of relationship overflow it is you NOT ME. If it is you without me then you aren’t in relationship and you aren’t in rest.”

If the Y axis was “ouch” and the X axis was “freedom”, I was located at the exact intersect point. After a response like that you’d think that I would have known better than to open my mouth. Nope. I had the audacity to put my sassy pants on and defend myself…to God. Don’t. Just don’t. Don’t be that girl.

I said “But God! I have healed the sick. I have raised the dead! I have cast out demons in your name! I would even cleanse the leper if I knew what that was! Isn’t that a sign that I have “arrived” as a Christian in relationship with you?”

To my surprise Gods answer was gentle and gave me such hope! I was half expecting Him to say “Dial back the moxie, sass-mouth!” Or maybe I expected Him to remind me of Matthew 7:21-23 and tell me to depart because He never knew me. Maybe smite me on the spot?

Instead He said “My daughter, miracles, signs, and wonders aren’t a stopping point! They are merely Version 1 of what I have planned for those who know me. I am transforming you from glory to glory. Therefore I have infinite versions ahead of you! The best is yet to come!”

Woah. Did you catch that?! Did your heart just leap? Mine did! More! I want more of Him! Thinking about the infinite possibilities God has for those who know Him and abide in the restful position of relationship with Jesus made me so hungry for more of Him. Im so glad I finally took a heart approach to rest. I get it now.

“Let us, therefore make every effort to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11)

## Dark Nights of the Soul

Light SHINES in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Shhhh! Let me tell you my top secret strategy. My story telling strategy has been to first introduce you to my Trinity before introducing myself.

Weird God, Friend Jesus, and Hank are the reason I’m alive to tell you my story. It is vital to have an understanding of who yanked me out of the darkness before I vulnerably share about the depths of my darkness.

Yes. This is my story. I’ve been strong. I’ve been brave. But I have had a lot of supernatural help along the way.

I’ve been very very lost before. I have seasons where I’m not okay. In the days ahead I will be sharing stories about these times. I believe that we can’t appreciate the magnitude of someone’s victories if we don’t first have a revelation of the depth of their struggle.

Please follow me in the struggle, for it is there that you will also share in my redemption, recompense, and healing.

In the days to come I will be sharing vulnerably about what I have walked through. Some of these topics include:

Childhood trauma and PTSD, Cancer, The car accident that earned me the nickname “Christmas Miracle”, Suicide, Infertility, Postpartum depression, Having a child with special needs, Miscarriage, and Loss

If you feel lost, it’s okay. I do too sometimes. I haven’t arrived yet. But I do hope that my transparency will help light the way for you when you can’t find the path out of the darkness. I’ve needed the encouragement of others to light my way too.

After all, light and darkness can’t coexist. When we walk in a dark room we don’t say “Hey! Could somebody please turn down the darkness”. No. We simply turn on a light and the darkness is extinguished.

May my stories help to extinguish some darkness in you, my fellow warrior.

## The Spirit That Destroys Chaos

I thought I was pretty rooted and grounded in the concept of peace. I’ve had lots of practice knowing peace in the midst of chaos. So when the world started looking different, I didn’t lose my peace. Covid didn’t give me my peace, so it couldn’t take it away. When rioting broke out in my city I was sad, but I didn’t lose my peace. But, I found my breaking point with peace. When my kids went back to school…AKA I had to learn how to do virtual school and teletherapy with them…my peace went right out the window. No really. It flew out the window so fast that all I could do was curl up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor and beg God for mercy. That left me open and vulnerable to the accuser. And OOOOOOOOHHHHH did he accuse.

You say you know God but you abandon the hope that you proclaim the minute life gets hard. You don’t know Him. If you loved Him you would know His peace. Yet here you are, reduced to a crying baby. Not much of a General, are you?”

How did I get here? It was probably the slow fade of replacing time in Gods presence with time in front of Zoom. The demands on me and my time because of virtual learning had sucked the very life juice out of me. There was no time for intimacy with My Father. I knew that I needed to take back my time with My Father at all cost. It was there that God prompted me to examine that very peace that was in question.
What is peace?

Why is it gone?

How could I get it back?

This is the journey that He is taking me on with peace. I am learning this right now and learning to walk this out in small steps taken with shaky legs. I feel like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She had fins all her life. Suddenly she had legs and had to learn to stand on them and begin taking steps. Her legs trembled too. But if Ariel can do it so can I! God is giving me revelation, and I am learning to walk in it. Here is some of what He is showing me…

Romans 5:1 tells us that we are at peace with God through Christ Jesus. That is now. Because of Jesus we are at peace with God. Not just that, but The Prince of Peace (Jesus) lives in us! The more we are aware of the Prince of Peace inside of us, the more our internal reality is one of peace. We cant get more peace. It was already given to us (John 14:27). However, we can walk in greater reality and awareness of what we already have. It is not peace that increases, but the reality of that peace that increases.

Peace isn’t the absence of something. It is presence of someone.

We don’t simply have peace because we do not have pain, conflict, suffering, etc. We have peace because the Prince of Peace is in us and present with us. Therefore we have the ability to have an internal atmosphere of peace in spite of an external atmosphere of turmoil. When our internal reality of peace is greater than the external reality of chaos, we can actually release the peace of Christ into the environment around us and shift atmospheres.

I know this because I watch my husband do this all the time. When he comes home from work every conflict, agenda, anxiety, or issue suddenly falls flat. My entire family walks in peace because the father is in the house.

We have the ability to release more than just the feeling of peace. The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom”. I cant begin to understand Hebrew. It is super difficult for me. However, the Hebrew equivelant to the archaic definition of Shalom is “The spirit that destroys chaos”. Peace is much more than a peaceful feeling! When released, it has the power to destroy the chaos in a person and an an atmosphere!

Jesus was our example. In Luke 8:22-25 we find a great story where Jesus released peace and shifted the atmosphere. Jesus was in a boat with His disciples. He had been preaching all day and was tired. So, He fell asleep in the bottom of the boat. While He was sleeping, a storm came up.

This is how I see it going down… Peter was a bit of a loose cannon. I bet he began panicking and asking John (the mature one in the group) where the life jackets were. John didn’t know he was responsible for remembering to pack the life jackets. He just brought the fishing gear and Luke brought the medical supplies. The waves got bigger and so did their fear. The disciples began yelling at each other and straight panicking, but the wind was so fast and furious that it drown out their accusations.

They began shouting “Where is Jesus?”. John had probably left him back on shore with the life jackets. But, no! There He was, sleeping through all of the chaos. Both the internal storm of the disciples and the actual external storm raged around Him, yet He slept. He was at perfect peace. When the disciples woke him up He simply rebuked all of the storms.

My take away from this…

We will never have peace in a storm that we are not comfortable sleeping through. When our internal reality of peace is greater than the external storm, we sleep through it.

If Jesus was my example, than why was I in the fetal position begging for mercy? There was no sleep. Period. Especially there was no sleeping in the pandemic virtual schooling storm. My external reality was greater than my internal reality. I had reduced myself to a cat chasing its tail. Around and around I went trying to catch peace, when really I already had it attached to me. I just needed some time in the presence of The Prince of Peace.

It is from that position that my realities are beginning to shift. I’m going after this thing. I long to have my internal reality of peace be so abundant that I can walk in to a room and diffuse peace. I would like to walk the streets of DC and Chicago and just diffuse peace. I have a friend in Australia doing that very thing right now.

Will you take this journey with me? Maybe we can release so much shalom into our world that the worldwide atmosphere reflects our internal reality of peace.

## Jesus (friend forever)

I’m learning how to be a friend to Jesus. Simple, right? It isn’t for me.

You see, I know the song “I am a friend of God”. That implies we are friends, right? The Bible tells us that Jesus calls us His friends (John 15:15). I believe the Bible is true. Therefore logically I am Jesus’s friend.

But I didn’t realize that the title “friend” isn’t just bestowed on me. It’s not a badge to wear. It’s not credentials to frame and hang on my wall. Friendship with Jesus takes RELATIONSHIP. I am learning this one the hard way.

Every day since our world shut down from Covid 19 I have been spending my mornings with God. I get up at 5:00, go outside, make a bonfire, journal, pray for my friends, read scripture, and listen to podcasts about Him. I have done this for weeks now! It has been great quiet time and so have learned a lot.

During this time I have even started asking Jesus questions that I have learned from having had leadership coaching. “Jesus, check in! How are you feeling? Is there anything you need? What is on your mind? What are you dreaming about?”

This morning I felt the warm familiar presence of Jesus. I know it’s Him because He is the one who walks with me in my garden. His presence is unmistakable. He has a sense of humor. He laughs with me at silly things that nobody else would get. He lovingly provokes and instigates comical verbal sparring with me sometimes. He’s a hoot! The religious Jesus I learned about in church is so boring compared to my friend Jesus!

This morning I asked Jesus to check in. He actually said “you know, I like bon fires too”. I wasn’t sure I heard Him right. Ok, so Jesus likes fire. Now what? “Jesus what do you need?” He said “I’d like a seat at the table”.

That cut through me like a blade. Here I was spending all of this time outside praying, listening, journaling, and learning, and I never invited Jesus to join me. I completely left Him out. The realization that Jesus was a friend to me and I was a lousy friend to Him crushed me. There was no condemnation in His voice. He just asked for a seat next to me by the fire.

There is a table by the fire pit. There is one chair there…mine. So I pulled up a second chair and invited Him to join me. There was a large and exceptionally creepy spider in His chair. I laughed and asked Him why in the world He would ever have made such a thing. Then He sat down and began to poke the fire with a stick. Epic morning.

So if you drive by my house in the morning and see me talking to a chair, just smile. Jesus and I are just “checking in” with each other. And don’t judge when I start offering Him s’mores…

Does He have a seat at your table?

## Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

It’s a very good place to start!

Thank you for visiting my blog! I’m so glad that you are here! Since this is my first “official” blog post, I want to paint the Project SHINE blog landscape a bit for you.

This is my 5th year blogging. Historically I have posted whenever God lays something on my heart to share. He gives me a lot of material, so I plan on posting here several times a week. I plan to continue to use this blog to share my stories of adventure with Weird God.

Keep in mind that I am not teaching or counseling, just sharing my true stories with you. My goal is that through my stories you will encounter the love of The Father and you will be inspired to go live your adventure with God. Some of my stories sound more like fiction than memoires. I assure you, all details are true. I don’t need to inflate or exaggerate God…He is already bigger than life!

The rest of my blog will make more sense if you get to know my main characters. I will begin by introducing you to Weird God, Jesus, and Hank. They are the main characters…The Trinity. With apologies to the Bible Belt , my trinity is NOT The Father, The Son, and The Holy Bible.

Are you ready to meet Weird God? It is a long post because He is an important character. I encourage you to not get lost in the length of the post. You might miss the adventure that He is setting up right in front of us!

It all began one ordinary day when a small gold snail started climbing our pool wall…

## What The Blog?

I don’t blog. I craft weapons that inspire and equip armies.

Welcome to my blog! You have probably never read a blog like this before, because you have probably never met a person like me before.

Get used to different.

WARNING! Do not read this blog if…

-You miss the heart of a message if grammar and editing aren’t perfect. I don’t bother with perfection.

-You are afraid of being challenged.

I am a wife, mom of 4, and adventure enthusiast. My career was as a Leisure Professional…but not the kind you think. I was a white water rafting guide, climbing and rappelling instructor, high ropes course facilitator, team building coach, backpacking trip guide, and specialized in wilderness survival. Surprised? Most people are.

I “settled down” when it was time to have kids. I’ve learned over the last decade that a relationship with God can be the biggest adventure of all. He longs to take us to new places and teach us the wonders of the supernatural world! But sometimes we have to surrender our deeply held religious beliefs to experience relationship as an adventure.

Get used to being challenged.

This blog is not:

• Meant to teach or counsel
• Specifically political, or religious.
• A devotional.
• Specifically about marriage or parenting.
• Pro-church or anti-church
• Completely reverant
• Going to leave your beliefs unchallenged

Get used to adventure.

This blog absolutely has an agenda. I will be up-front about it so you wont have to wonder.

My agenda is to illustrate through story that a relationship with God is the most amazing epic adventure! It is time delineation, dreams and visions, healing the sick and raising the dead. It is translating to other places, seeing in to other realms, loving the unlovable, hearing His voice, speaking His words, and having reality be completely redefined.

(Hmmmm. She sounds like a mystic new-ager.)

Well, you had better read my blog to find out for sure! And just in case you need to hear it, I believe Jesus is Lord. There. Glad we addressed that.

Get used to transformation.

I was one way, and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between was HIM.” (Mary Magdalene, The Chosen)

I encountered the unmistakable, paradigm shifting, life changing, identity revealing, true love of The Father about 6 years ago. My adventure began that day, and hasnt stopped since. The day His love got ahold of me I began living christianity as a lifestyle instead of a religious preference. I still went to church, but I also BECAME the church. I stopped believing that Jesus died to get me in to heaven, and began believing that Jesus died to get heaven IN TO ME. I started living FROM the cross instead of TO the cross. I stopped focusing on what I was saved FROM and began focusing on what I was saved TO.

Get used to weird.

Not long after I began living my epic adventure with God, I realized something profound. God is weird. God is really, really, really weird. He is not at all what I had been taught, He is not at all what I had believed. He was way weirder!

(If you are waiting for God to smite me for my disrespect, you may also need to get used to disappointment.)

WEIRD: Adj “pertaining to destiny” (archaic/original definition)

If God is weird and weird means “pertaining to destiny”, then I want to be weird too! And that is what this blog is about. Me being a lifestyle Christian, living relationship as an adventure, and being transformed in to His weird image.