Life-change

“Christina” . . . “Hannah” . . . “Charis” . . . “Tiffany” . . .

As we sat in silence, most eyes closed, and just about every head bowed to the earth, the girls began to name their friends names, one by one. Not just any friend but the instruction they were following was to name out lout, as a prayer to God, the names of their loved ones who needed to have heard the same message they had that weekend.

“Heather” . . . “Molly” . . . “Taylor” . . .

The Revealed Ministries team had been summoned to the Georgia woods for a weekend event. We stayed in cabins and had our quiet times on the edge of a hill that led to the camp lake. The cabin that our team stayed in was just about unbearably stuffy and humid and the chapel location that we held our big group sessions in was the smallest building around. It was still beautiful . . . Just more rugged than we had envisioned.

“Terri” . . . “Sarah” . . . “Beth . . . “Jessica” . . .

As our Revealed team sat in the almost silence, you could hear tears hit the unstained wood floor between each spoken name. The girls that were speaking, sometimes one at a time, sometimes unintentionally in unison, had experienced something that weekend that they had never expected coming in. Life-change. Life-change had happened in the first night when they were introduced to a love that they had practically never felt or known before. A hope they had almost lost, even at young ages. A passion that they never even realized they were allowed to possess.

“Valerie” . . . “Megan” . . .

Sometimes the names came quickly but hardly ever was there an extended pause. Shocking. Stirring. Wrenching. The names kept coming. The girls had awakened that Saturday morning to a beautiful and healthy spread. A breakfast of champions! After their first small group session, they began to get a grasp of what this weekend would hold for them, a chance to be real and not be judged for it. The mothers and youth leaders along for the chaperoning portion of the trip began to question the team about the rest of the weekend. They too had experienced something new the night before and because of the vulnerability displayed by a loving Revealed team, they were hesitant and yet curious as they moved forward in the day. People like status quo, even if they spend their whole life complaining about it.

“Theresa” . . . “Monique” . . . “Deanna” . . . “Erica” . . . “Stephanie” . . .

After some time the Revealed team began to look up, expecting the girls to be silenced and for the service to move forward, after all, we didn’t have a lot of time to “minister” to these girls. We knew this wasn’t a part of the “plan” and well, I think we all just came into the weekend with our own set of rules for how it should go. As we met eyes, teary, mascara stained eyes, the message among us was clear. We were unified. This sincere cry unto God . . . This intercession as it was, would last until the last name had been spoken. God was here. Here we would stay.

“Laura” . . . “Jenine” . . . “Jordan” . . . “Mia” . . .

The evening service on the second night followed a powerful day of fun mixed with what I like to call “Forever Lessons” . . . The kind that last and are applied. It was amazing to watch the girls and their leaders surprised at every turn by the ideas of the Bible that they had never seen as fresh, useful, challenging, interesting, and  motivating, being applied to their everyday lives anew. Upon their arrival into that tiny space called our meeting place, they were amped to see what God would “teach” them next. So were we! By this time, all insecurities had left the woodland and we had grown to love each other in 24 hours like only the female gender can do! There was a particular girl in attendance that weekend that our team felt especially drawn to and spent specific time in prayer for . . . that night her life changed forever. She had been suffering greatly and came forward and gave that abused life over to the only One Who has the power to conquer and redeem it. The entire group celebrated alongside our new sister and the night that started in conviction and honesty was transformed into a big dance party for Jesus. Oh the joy!

“Becky” . . . “Tamara” . . . “Liz” . . .

It was actually the last service that led us to the prayer that changed everyone’s lives forever. There was one point where my neck was so sore from the constant heaviness it felt for each of these lifted names, that while I attempted to stretch it out a little, I caught a glimpse of the church leader’s and mom’s faces as they sat in reverent shock. They were FILLED with anguish. The names that were being spoken were foreign in essence to the Revealed team but to these adult women, they represented their daughter’s best friends. The friends and sisters that they approved the girls in this room to spend time with weekly and even daily. The women in this tiny building knew the mothers of the girls spoken about and even might have had the opportunity to minister to them and hadn’t. They also had never seen their daughters so real as they did in that service. It really wasn’t a service anymore. It was . . . Life-change. 


“April” . . .”Taylor” . . . “Jenny” . . . “Mary” . . . “Meg” . . .

About 45 minutes into this spontaneous act of grace, smiles began to break across the faces of all those who had spent so much time and energy planning this event. It wasn’t an event on a calendar far off any longer; it was a moment that no one in the room would EVER forget. Why? Why was it such a big deal? The answer is simple, it was selfless and it was a reality check. The girls could have bypassed the opportunity to lift their girl friends up to their Creator but no, in those long and glorious moments, they LOVED. their friends as Christ had shown His LOVE. to them that weekend. Nothing mattered but sharing what they now knew. They believed the Word of God for themselves and they knew that others, like them, needed to believe it too. 1 John 4:9 was no longer a verse in a “Sword Drill” but a way of life. Mistakes will continue to be made by everyone that was present in the woods that day but that’s the AWESOME thing about 1 John 4:9 and the rest of God’s blessed Word, it’s all about Him and not us. It’s Who He is and what He has already accomplished for our sake.

“Cara” . . . “Lena” . . . “Kyndal” . . . “Jana” . . .

The names went on and on because the need goes on and on. As the last name was spoken and the pause, that by this time no one wanted to occur happened, the service was closed with a challenge and a time of praise to the One we all knew was worthy. The challenge was this, go and tell. Do it. Nothing in this world could stop one of us in the room from speaking to those we named about God’s perfect love for them . . . Except fear. I can tell you as sure as I’m sitting at my laptop right now writing this that fear was NOT in that room. Satan held no dominion in any heart that day. Christ was center and He held the victory. Carrying that spirit of victory to those in our lives that need to experience it most, was the goal in every heart. The worship leaders played a chorus that I don’t even remember, except that it was praise in its’ purest form and a few more words were spoken to close out the weekend but NOTHING in that incredible time even compared to the selfless prayers of somewhere around 45 teenage girls that had left all of their frivolous every day drama behind on the side of a wooded hill in blessed Georgia.

Life-change can happen anywhere. Everything in me says, “Go and tell someone about this love you know” when I think about that morning in the tiny cabin. The LOVE. Of Jesus is so real . . . Tangible as Kim Walker would say! The greatest point being that it is unconditional. I don’t have to earn it and I can never disappoint Him and make it lesson or go away. God’s love is eternal. What in this world . . . Who in this world . . . Can provide a promise like that? Life-change can happen every day. Life-change can happen today! Does your life need to be changed by the power of God’s love? Seek His love today. If you know it, tell someone about it. I’m sure you can think of a few names of people around you who need to hear . . .

“_________” . . . “_________” . . . “_________” . . .
If you would like more information about Revealed Ministries: http://www.facebook.com/#!/revealedministries
Find us on Twitter: @Revealed_LOVED
(Our website is currently under construction)
You may also watch the following videos to get just a tiny glimpse of what our events look like. These videos are all out of date because of how quickly God is growing this ministry so be sure to keep up to date with the above contact avenues! We are praying for the right person to come along that will create a new promo video for us ASAP!

“I thank my God . . .”

He Has Made Me Glad

My joy is full.

This weekend has been glorious and my joy is full.

My weekend was glorious because my joy is full.

Full. Gloriously and deliciously full.

Satisfied. Full.

Not over done. Nothing over the top.

Just full. My joy is present. My joy is Christ.

He wooed me and won. He made my joy full.

God, who is divine, filled my heart with joy. Songs and dancing.

Very speakable. Joy.

Unknown are all reasons. Imperfect as life is.

Nothing has altered it. Joy has made me smile from within.

My toes feel crinkled as anticipation waits. This joy must continue.

It is fabulously sinking into who I am. I’m back. I’m His.

He has made me glad

I wrote the above script as a sing/songy way of expressing my heart in the moment. I used to write poetry but now every time I try, it sounds like a “teen-ager” as my friend so sweetly and honestly pointed out! Haha! I loved it when she said that because often times, I feel like a teen-ager still. The grey hairs that are beginning to spring up on my 26 year old head, in the same fashion and placement as all Blalock females before me prove this notion as incorrect but it’s still there. What is “it” you ask? That inner youth. The gumption that only a teen feels. Do you know what I’m talking about? The need to rebel a little, at least in the solitude of your head, with only the consequences of your talk with Jesus? Well, I do . . . And sometimes, often.

My post today has nothing to do with poetry, youth or even grey hairs! That was for free! I actually want to write a post in “My story, His story” as dedicated to my friends who are on mission locally and abroad, for the cause of Christ . . .

Yesterday, I had the privilege of surprising one of my best friends at the close of a WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) bi-weekly meeting, where she was honored with the opportunity of being the key-note speaker. I had joked with her about showing up at the start with a foam finger and a sign that boldly read, “Vote Henderson – 2012.” I did have the sign but I decided to ease the possibility of nerves and arrive after the closing prayer. It was a fabulous moment. We had only seen each other once in the last 4 months or so and so our reunion was special but that was not the fabulous part in all. After our initial embrace (Always a little overdone and perfect for our “out of control” friendship), I had the great blessing of watching woman after woman, walk over to my friend, place their sometimes feeble hand on her arm, look into her eyes for the strength of her youth, and tell her what a blessing her message had been in their hearts and how she was gifted among women. Wow. What a blessing for me to even behold. As I referenced, some of these women were in their 80s and had heard hundreds, if not more, women speak. Her message had been special to them and she had accomplished her goal in coming, to reveal God’s message to their hearts, motivating them to shine as they are able for Christ in their everyday lives. My friend, the speaker, singer, comforter, motivator, and all together Godly example . . . Is 23 years old.

This is just one example of the many people God has placed in my life as not just acquaintances but friends, on mission for Him. Some have chosen to make careers of this mission work, carrying the message of the cross to their homelands, upon graduation from seminary and some have been called to work in the secular workforce, making the most of their stories in the break rooms of their offices. My friends are warriors. A large majority of my friends have been gifted with the art of worship through music. They bring tears of joy and sorrow as they play or sing melodies that could bring kings to their knees. Some teach children Bible stories or even math in a way that helps them see Jesus as REAL and ALIVE! Many of my dear friends will be, or are already, pastors in local churches across the country. These people are facing the trials of the church, not an easy task as many of us know firsthand. Foreign missions is a call on several of my closest friend’s hearts. Year after year, they continue to go as Christ commanded. I am inspired by their tenacity. A few of my close friends are still training . . . Seeking the Lord for His next steps in His journey for them.

Very few of my friends have turned away from the passion God has given them. For those few, my heart wrenches. I can imagine they are miserable . . . at least on the inside. My head lifts up and my eyes seek the sky and the Creator of it for answers as to why they have fallen away. Those few are in God’s hands. I love them and I pray. They belong to Him. He loves them more.

Most of my friends have yet to meet the apex of their potential . . . We’re all still really young for heaven’s sake! I am amazed because of this fact. God has called them out so young. They are afraid. All of them. In their own way, they tremble, doubt, and worry a little over what’s next and about who they will do this life thing with? But they are all still Moving Forward. And I’m proud. Grateful is my heart as I peruse Facebook and witness the cries of their passions for Christ’s glorious Gospel. The spreading of His message meets many different forms but all are built on a daily surrender to His call. I could never reference to all of the ways my friends continue to serve their God in ministry to people, so much of it lies even under a humanitarian effort and could go on in explanation for years, but God sees them. As do you and I. We see their hearts via social media. And for the few of us that have the awesome opportunity to witness their gifts firsthand, we leave inspired to do great things with our lives, yes, and with our every day.

What are you doing to change the world for the better? If you don’t know Christ and are reading this post, and many of my posts prior, you may have questions. Feel free to e-mail me at laurenac84@gmail.com or find me on facebook, send me a message and I will be happy to explain anything you would like to inquire about. For those who know Jesus as Lord, feel free to dive into this post and its’ message. Yes, it is to exclaim a little over the servants of God that I am blessed to know well but it also is to challenge the lazy believer. Christ called us to care for the orphans and the widows. I do not claim to have accomplished this goal by any means! I do desire to be inspired myself for greater works of good.

May His refining fire make my salvation bear fruit in the form of service for my fellow man. May His love portray grace in my speech and actions and may His Spirit pour out from my being as He fills to overflow. What good is learning if we don’t continue to teach what we know.

Philippians 1: 3-11

“I thank my God(in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz5ONtrfXhE

Words

You know, words are really important to me. Actions sometimes speak louder than words, however . . words have no replacement either. I like words. Words and their meanings. I like that the spoken language, whatever it is, defines a day, a dream, a life. As the book of James in the Bible dictates, words have power. Power. So many people seek power on an every day basis. To possess it. To dethrone it. To idolize it. I do it. In my own way, I look for that person or thing around me that has “power” and I try and attach myself to it or embrace possessing it. Sometimes this is a humble search for me . . . God!
Sometimes God and HIS WORDS are my sought power source and in Him I rest my attention, heart, and security. Sometimes it’s in something trivial such as my caffeine intake . . .no really! Sometimes I just don’t feel the get go, the “power” in my day, so to speak without my coffee or Vanilla Coke/DP! Sometimes that power is in a seemingly secure person that is in my life. My excuse in that as a believer is this, “God brought this person to me as a part of My story, His story, surely this person can aid me in this or that way and can share a piece of their power to make my day, my dreams, my life . . . Better.” Whether Godly or not so Godly, my search could be rather short.
Words. Words have power. I believe with all my heart that God made our mouths capable of speaking because He placed power in words. His apparent intention being to spread the truth of WHO HE IS and HOW ONE CAN ACCEPT HIS FREE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE, HAVING FORGIVENESS OF SINS BECAUSE OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION (Talk about power!). Although the power He placed in our words doesn’t just end there. No, it becomes every day practical.
 I have the power to change your life. Does that sound arrogant? Probably. The thing is you have that power too, and at any time could also change mine. As to HOW we change it . . . Well that’s where the bridle comes in. What? The bridle? Yes, the bridle . . . Our Holy Spirit driven conviction. James speaks of the bridle on a horse as a necessary form of discipline to keep the horse on the right path. Allowing the Holy Spirit to tame our tongue is the practical interpretation of this analogy.
I’ve ridden a horse. I’ve owned a horse. I’ve barrel raced in fact. I know, this city girl? Shocks me even still. Anyway, there was nothing that was more important to me when I mounted my horse than that the bridle was correctly placed (sometimes forced, depending on the orneriness of the horse) into the exact slot that causes the horse to be sensitive to the rider’s lead. Let me stop here and tell you a little about my horse. My horse had a great name, Sky. I LOVED sky. A Palomino with a BIG heart and a will to win. My horse, Sky, was a brilliant follow. He and I grew close and when I touched his bridle in any special way, he moved wherever I asked him to. He was a special horse. He was special to me and he was special in another way as well. Sky was blind in one eye. Yes, you read that right but you can go back and check if you wish! Sky amazed us all as he weaved his way around barrels with great speed and unimaginable agility, all the while compensating for his disability. As awesome of a horse as my horse was . . . His bridle made all the difference.
My tongue can get away with me. I know this. Others know this! I smile just thinking about how well some others know this. Even now I have the heart to continue my ongoing apology for my mistakes in this sensitive area of my very verbal existence. For the better and sometimes the much worse of it, I’m a truth-teller. My bad behavior should never be excused by this fact. It’s just that, a fact. I’ve been thinking about my verbal “freak outs” a lot recently. It’s something the Lord is pointing at and nudging my heart to find His Holy Spirit’s discipline in. Because of my searching for power in this area recently, I have come across the fact that many of my “freak outs” have been in the midst of some blindness to my circumstances. In some way, I have either allowed myself to be blinded by the truth or just from the love I should have in my heart despite the truth.
Truth hurts sometimes. I think of God’s proverb where he says that it’s better to receive a slap from a friend, than a kiss from an enemy. Hm. True. Hard true. A not so fun kind of true. My moments of verbal explosion are in essence an attempt to have power. Whether right or wrong in opinion, power makes me feel secure. In those moments, my bridal has slipped from it’s perfect place around my tongue, possibly because of my blindness to my own condition or someone else’s. What I need, is my Master’s hand to slide it back into place. Or sometimes, force it back into place, if I’m fighting Him as an ornery horse might.
Words are powerful.
I remember a few words that were spoken to me atop a cool metal bunk bed in one of my many childhood homes by a dear friend who so obviously was “on fire” for God. LOVED. her Savior. My friend spoke words of life to me. Words that would stay with me for the rest of my life. Was she a perfect person? No. Did she make mistakes after that day . . . Haven’t we all? Have I spent a lot of time with her, being reminded of those words? No. Did God use those words to light a spark that would soon fan a flame that will (I pray) continue to stoke the embers of others hearts for years to come? Yes. Yes, yes He did.
Have you ever had a person come up to you and say, “Do you remember when you said. . .? That just spoke to my heart so much so, that I have been blessed and have used that in my own life more than once. Thank you for that.” Have you? The funny thing about that moment is that sometimes your original statement seems either trivial or possibly was altogether forgotten by you long ago. Words have power.
I’m looking at today. How did I speak to you? How did I “share my heart” with my loved ones? Did I talk about Jesus? Did I talk about my passions? Did I just talk about me? Did we engage in a lasting bit that we could both be blessed and challenged by . . . Or did we squander our minutes talking about what we don’t know or worse, what we don’t need to know?
Can we change it tomorrow? Yes. There we go! There’s the answer! Short and sweet. Will we? Will I change my dialogue tomorrow to attempt as a flawed human being  to glorify my God and to build up my brothers and sisters, along with people in general? I DON’T KNOW! I know this . . . I’ll think about it more. Awareness is the first step. I want to run a mile. No one can hold me accountable for every word but me.
I’m taking my own challenge. Pray for me and with me if you like, for God’s discipline to ignite my tongue with His praise and to defeat my flesh of it’s ugly verbal swagger.
God’s power, defeats all other. By claiming to host the Holy Spirit in my life, I have also claimed His control over it. Accessing His powerful movement and discipline is actually quite simple, submission. I must submit my will to the bridle of Christ in me. Words are powerful.
Words can define a day, a dream, a life. May the power of my words define WHO CHRIST IS and HOW HE LOVES YOU. Blessings.
Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing to you, Oh God.”