Check back for updates on my trip to the UK and the amazing things God is doing in the city!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Here it is....

Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Part of this stemmed from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and part of it from genetics and the fact that my brain wasn't producing enough serotonin. I struggled with insomnia, night terrors, panic attacks, and a feeling of anxiety all the time. There were days when I couldn't get out of bed. It's effected relationships I've been in and my ability to function at work. It's been embarrassing at times. I've been on and off medications. Twice I've weened myself off the medication and prayed for healing. Twice I've had to go back on it.

God brought so much freedom over the course of the two weeks I was in the UK. God is so good! Here's my story:

Belfast was amazing! I met so many amazing people and it was so moving to finally see, first hand, the things God has been stirring my heart for. It was surreal to stand next to the peace walls. It was heartbreaking to see the division and denial. I got to pray for two men who are planting a church in West Belfast. (The worst and most dangerous part of Belfast.) This happens to be the area that stirs my heart the most. I cried and prayed and shared my heart for this broken city. It was encouraging to hear their heart for that area. I also got to pray for two young girls (just out of high school). As I was praying for them, my heart started to break. I wept. I could sense the desperation in their hearts. I wanted so badly to hear their story and to know more about them. I knew, however, that they probably wouldn't want to open up too much since I just met them and I wasn't even from that area. As soon as the pastor that was praying with me left, I started to say my goodbyes and they pulled me back and started pouring into me. They told me their story of heartache, pain, division, and hope. My heart broke...even more than it already had. These two beautiful sisters had been through so much and yet had so much hope for a better future. They wanted nothing more than to flee this culture of bitterness, pride and brokenness. I began to wonder how many other young women feel the same way. I wondered how many young women live with this and feel so alone. Towards the end of our conversation, I really wanted to ask for their information so we could keep in touch, but then thought that might be kind of weird since I live in another country and we'd just met. Again, I started saying my goodbyes and one of them asked for my information and said that they would both love to keep in touch!

There's a lot I learned on this trip, but one thing that was really influential was at one of the conferences when Jay said, "The encouraging thing about ministry is that we can't mess it up. If God wants to use us, He'll use us and there's nothing we can do to mess it up." There is so much freedom in that! Even if we say something a bit "off" or forget to say anything at all, God has a way of using these things and making them His. Here was a moment that I could have missed because I dismissed it as "well, I'm not from here and they might think that's weird." God, in turn, used these girls to show me that I really can't mess it up. And, sometimes, all you need to do is just listen. Sometimes God uses our ears and our hearts without ever requesting the use of our mouths. That was a stark realization for me since I love to talk. Humbling to say the least.

We spent only two short days in Belfast and then left for Coleriane, Northern Ireland (Causeway Coast). We put on a leadership conference at the Causeway Coast Vineyard. We participated in "Healing on The Streets" where they set up chairs in the center of town and offer to pray for people. We also handed out free tea and coffee and provided free face painting. I got to pray for a man who used to be in the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and is now a police officer in Northern Ireland. It was incredible to hear his story and all he's been through and seen. We also spent two days gutting out the new church office building. We spent a lot of time cleaning, painting, and finding a lot of random things through the process.

On our walk home, I found a note folded up on the ground. I thought, "Oooo. That would be fun to read." But walked on. The next morning, the note was still there, so I picked it up. It was from a man who was writing to his girlfriend or wife. He was apologizing and asking for forgiveness. He told her how he wants to be a better man. How he doesn't want to beat her anymore....and on and on. It was a moving letter. I wondered if she ever got it. If he dropped it or if she dropped it or if it was intentionally tossed.

The last couple of days we were in Coleraine, we put on a leadership conference for the church. The second night of the conference, I found myself getting rocked by every word that Jay spoke. He spoke about depression. He spoke about pain. He spoke about freedom. I was so overwhelmed and all I could think to do was to stuff it down and deal with it later. I was there to pray for people. I convinced myself that praying for people needed to be my focus. I prayed for a few people and sat down to soak in the last bit of worship/ministry time. A friend of mine on our team came over to me and asked if she could pray for me. As soon as she started praying, I broke down. I realized that I can't just choose when to "deal with" what God is stirring in my heart. When He wants to do something, He'll do it. Not matter where I am or what I'm doing. I had been feeling depressed all day that day. I had been having anxiety about the different things we had on our agenda. (For no reason in particular.) I felt numb and empty. I was broken. I was suddenly very aware of how much I say, "I don't have time for this. I'll deal with it later." I was suddenly very aware of how unhealthy that is. How painful that is. I missed our late-night pub outreach that night. I was so rocked and didn't know how to begin wrapping my head around what was happening. I was exhausted.

From Coleriane, we traveled to Harrogate, England (by way of Bus, Ferry, and Train through Scottland...with a 50lb back pack) for the New Wine Leadership Conference. THAT was an experience...and a LONG day. We made it to Harrogate just in time to have a quick bite to eat and head to the first session of the conference. Whew. But, HEY, I got to see Scotland! Beautiful country!

On May 18th, I arrived for the second evening of the New Wine Leadership Conference. I was feeling pretty worn down and a bit fatigued. The session started with a lady from the Salvation Army who was speaking about prayer. She had everyone take a moment to wait on the Lord and ask Him for words of affirmation for themselves. Then, she had us all speak out those things over ourselves. As this was happening, I was wanting to badly to hear the Lord. I was so desperate for His voice. For his presence. And, yet, I felt nothing. I heard nothing. I looked around and saw people worshiping and proclaiming these things and shouting with joy. I felt nothing. I felt numb. I was suddenly very aware of how joyless I'd been. I felt such desperation in that place. I wanted what these people had. I didn't understand why I didn't have it. Then, the lady asked us to ask the Lord for words of affirmation and encouragement for our church. She then asked us to get in groups of three and pray for our church. I staggered over to two girls on our team as we began to pray. Each proclaiming things over our church. They looked to me and said, "Ok Tia. Your turn. Do you have anything you'd like to proclaim over the church/pray for over the church?" I broke. I started weeping. I told them I had nothing. I was empty. I felt useless. I couldn't hold it in any longer. We went into the hallway to pray for quite some time. I expressed how frustrated I was and how much I wanted to experience all that God has for me. I told them how I'd gotten prayer for the anxiety for years and nothing has happened. It's seemed that it's only gotten worse. One of the girls got a picture for me. She said she saw a bunch of people jumping on trampolines and I was saying, "I want to join them! I want to play!" (which is so totally me) Then God said, "I have wings for you. Wait for the wings. Trust me, you want the wings." WOW. That sobered me a bit.

We then went back into the auditorium where the speaker was just finishing up. He asked leaders to come forward for prayer who had been struggling with doubt. I was convicted in the fact that I doubted God's ability to heal me. I doubted God's power and provision in my life. I went forward, fell on my knees and wept. A woman came and laid her hand on me and began to pray. I began heaving as if I were throwing up. I realize now, that this was merely spiritual darkness coming out. I didn't quite understand what was happening.

I couldn't hear what the woman was saying until she leaned in closer to my ear and said, "You're delivered."

Then she was gone.

At that moment, I felt a heaviness lifted off of me. I felt a freedom I've never felt before.

Then...I burst out laughing.

I was weeping and laughing...which felt a bit odd since everyone around me was weeping and I'm cracking up. I was so filled with Joy. They Holy Spirit fell on me and I knew something big had happened. Even still, I sat up and started to doubt. I thought to myself, "What's going on? Is this the Lord? Is this just me trying to make something happen? Have I been healed?" Then I started feeling anxiety. I started hyperventilating. My hands started getting tingly. I was having a full blown panic attack right there. The laughing stopped. I started weeping. I couldn't breathe. I didn't know what was going on.

Then, as quickly as a flame goes out with a abruptly stopped.

I heard a still small voice say, "It is finished."

It was in that moment, I knew I'd been healed.

I, again, was immediately filled with joy and could not stop laughing. It was joy like I've never experienced before. I didn't know what to do with myself. 9 years of anxiety and depression and it's over just like that. GOD IS GOOD!!

Now, you remember this all started with the words of affirmation thing? Well, this lady (whom I'd never met before in my life) came up to me as I was sitting there. At this point, I'm laughing and crying and my jaw is shuttering like crazy. This lady said, "I have a word for you! Can I tell you?!" Of course I said yes. She continued to say, "I saw you from across the room and I heard God say that He is going to give you prophetic gifting for the lost generation. You are called to work with youth. God wants you to know this is real. The reason your mouth is shuttering is because you have encouraging words for the youth and those words need to come out."


I'm still processing this. Wow. God is good. He is faithful!

I was on cloud 9 the rest of the night. A friend of mine on the trip said I looked like I was high. Ha! I honestly haven't been the same since.

The rest of the trip was amazing! I survived my first solo trip on the underground. I got to see a lot of London. I met so many amazing people. The people we stayed with treated us like we were their own daughters. They were so wonderful!

Now I'm back and still processing all that happened and all that lies before me now. It's bitter sweet being back. Reality always hits hard, but things look different now. I can sleep. I can breathe. I can process. God is good!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God is faithful!

Yesterday, at about 2pm, I was notified that I had 24 hours to decide if I am going to be able to raise the rest of the money for my trip. At that point, I was stressing about having 5 days, let alone 24 hours. So I was on my knees. I was praying and begging to hear God's voice. At work last night, I was distracted. I couldn't help but wonder what the next day would bring....what the next week would bring. Before I went to bed, a friend of mine prayed with me and asked God to speak and to reveal His plan for me for this trip. As we prayed, I got a vision of wine bottles in a factory getting ready to be shipped out. I thought, " Wine!" God has brought New Wine to the front of my thoughts several times in the last month and I have a feeling He's going to do some pretty awesome things while we're there! I went to bed asking for His confirmation if this was Him telling me to press forward and wait for his provision over the next 5 days. I was desperate to hear Him. I was at the end of myself.

When I woke up this morning, I had a message from a friend on the team and she informed me that she wanted to give me some money for the trip. I sat up and thought, "Does this mean I'm going? I still have a ways to go." Then, my friend that prayed for me the night before called me and said, "Ok. We can do this! Send texts, send emails, let's see what we can do before the deadline this afternoon." I immediately had my reservations, but was encouraged (even more so after getting the message I woke up to). So, I got up and I started sending texts, and she started sending emails. Within minutes, I started getting responses: "I'll give $100!", "I'll give $50!". That went on for about an hour! Within an hour, I had about $400 raised!

Then the responses slowed down and there was a lull. I sat...and I waited. And I waited. And I prayed. And I waited. Then, a friend of mine sent me a text and said, "How much do you need?" I promptly sent him a text back and told him how much I needed at that point. He wrote back and said, "Done. I'll do it all. You're all set! Where do I send it?"


I called him immediately and could barely get the words out of my mouth. I told him how much of a roller coaster the last 24 hours had been and how much of a blessing this morning has been. He then said, "Well, God actually put this on my heart last night. So, I was planning on giving at some point today, and then I got your text this morning." WOW.

Within 3 hours, I had ALL the money I needed.


God is so good! SO GOOD!!

After this, I was still getting phone calls and emails and texts of people who wanted to give! (Which was a huge blessing because I still needed a couple hundred for the time off work I won't get paid for to pay my bills.)

Guys, I am now fully covered to go on this trip! What a difference a day makes! Praise God!!

I have been raising support for three months and God could have easily provided that earlier on, but I literally have come to the end of myself. I was humbled. I was in need of HIS provision. HIS word. HIS presence. I believe there was purpose to the way this worked out. God knows what He's doing and I can't wait to see what's in store for us on this trip!!

There are other people on our team who still need money, so if you would still like to give, you can.

THANK YOU for those of you who have been praying and THANK YOU to those of you who have given so generously! I am truly, truly blessed!!

I now only need $700!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I need to raise $1,500 in 5 days.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 weeks and 50% to go!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

There's Still Time to Give!

In 3 weeks I will be boarding a plane for the UK. I can't believe it's only 3 weeks away!! I still need to raise $2,585.09! I'm working like crazy and trying to sell things (to no avail) and I know God will provide what I need! If you'd like to give, there's still time! Click on the "Give" tab on this website for details on how to give. Thank you SO, SO much to those of you who have already given so generously! I am truly blessed by your love and support!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Faith and Vision

I realized, recently, that this trip may sound like less of a missions trip and more like a fun and expensive trip to London. While this trip will have moments of fun, it will be challenging and life-changing for me. I anticipate big things and I know God has so much for our team on this trip. So, please read on. I want to share with you WHY I'm going.

I am at a crossroads in this season of my life. I lost my job. I now have a job that I don't have to commit to long term. I feel and see God moving in my life now more than ever. In the past, I've made big decisions based on what I wanted and then slapped God's name on it to get people's approval. I realize, now, that it would be hard to take this seriously as many times as I've followed a "dream" or "longing" and failed. However, I'm human. We all make mistakes. And, for the first time, I can honestly say this is God and not me. God is stirring me in ways I don't understand. He's pushing me in directions that are uncomfortable and challenging me to believe in the seemingly impossible.

I'm going to Northern Ireland in May. I'm going. And my hope and my prayer is that I won't come back the same way I left. I'm praying for God's clarity and vision for my future. I'm praying for insight and confirmation for the things my heart burns for. On this trip, I will be stretched. I will live out of a backpack for two weeks. (If you know me, you know this is a challenge in itself.) I will pray for people I don't know in a place I don't know. I will stay with people I don't know. I will be challenged to share my story with people I don't know. My pastor recently informed us that, "When I'm on, you're on. At any time, I could call you up on stage and put you on the spot. Be ready for that." GULP. There will be very little down-time and I foresee there being some stressful moments with such little down-time.

This won't be a trip I take and come back to "life as usual". This will either confirm or deny my future in Northern Ireland. I don't know what God has for me, but I know there is a reason my heart stirs the way it does about this place. My heart breaks to hear about the 20 foot walls that continue to build in the city of Belfast. A mere band-aid to a much bigger problem. I hear about youth so angry and bitter that they have no hope or care for their own lives or future. The last name they want to hear is "Jesus". The last place they want to go is "church". This nation is divided by a history of politics, pride, and prejudice. God wants reconciliation. Matthew 12:25 says, "A city divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can this kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

God calls us to be disciples. "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20

In a time when my life feels so out of control, I'm reminded of how much I need to just let go and follow what God is doing in my life. So many times, I've started to follow a direction God points me and then I veer off on another path because I decided my desires were more important than the direction God was taking me in.

This Easter, I was watching my little cousin fill her Easter basket as she wandered around the back yard looking for fun things. Patrick leaned over to me and pointed out the fact that my aunt was pointing at something in a bush but my cousin kept walking forward looking at the immediate area around saying, "I'm looking! I don't see anything!" Patrick then said, "It kind of reminds me of how we are with God sometimes. God is calling us to do something and yet our eyes are fixed on the immediate things around us and we're frustrated saying, "I'm looking! I don't see anything!"' How profound that was!

I'm in this place now. I'm being challenged to look up and trust that God will take my hand and lead me. I know that God will take care of my immediate surroundings. I'm fixing my eyes on Him and the direction He wants me to go in. I'm standing on the ledge, I'm taking a deep breath, and I'm jumping.