The Power of One

2000 years ago, our world was turned upside down by 1 man … Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  One man claiming to be God in flesh created a wave of disruption that challenged the very core of human authority.  Of course, we know that Jesus was ultimately crucified for this bold stance, but we also know that He rose again and conquered death.

I was thinking today about how powerful we are as individuals.  Our tendency is to rely on church organizations to bring revival.  We neglectfully put this responsibility in the hands of the pastor’s, Sunday school teachers, and other church officials to do the job.  However, Jesus was stirring my heart today to consider some different options.  What could He do with just one soul?  I imagined a couple different scenario’s I’d like to share with you.

Imagine a devout Catholic woman … wise in her years.  She’s painstakingly wrestled with the downfalls of life and yet remains faithful to her duties as a wife, as a mother, as a Christian, and as a member of her congregation.  She has known God’s grace and mercy and she has seen His wrath and yet there she stands, a pillar to her family and friends.  She does so with an air of humility that leaves you walking away knowing … there’s something different about her.  Inside her, a spark was ignited long ago.  That spark has grown from a small light to a raging flame inside her as she watches the world around her cave to the realities of a sinful world.  In the privacy of her prayer closet, she has a burden so deep for her lost family members.  A burden for those around her.  A burden for the dry bones that sit in the seats next to her at church.  A burden for the souls that just go through the motions.

What if God decided that the power of that one praying soul was enough to pour out His Holy Spirit on the entire Catholic congregation the next time she was in church?

Imagine a young man having found himself down a path of destruction and rebellion where his spiritual education has been gained by experimenting with drugs and spiritual demons.  He wrestles with depression and no matter what his best intentions are, he can’t seem to let go of the kingdom that Satan has allowed him to create.  Despite what most people believe, it isn’t simply because of the ‘high’ that his flesh gets.  See, in his world, he has seen the hypocrisy that exists everywhere.  He’s listened as so-called ‘good’ teachers speak of things that shouldn’t be spoken to students.  His education of rehabilitation was how to beat the system and continue in drugs.  He’s seen through the lies of government authorities and witnessed firsthand the abuse of power.  He sees authority as nothing more than a good show of lies.  In his world, he doesn’t have to put on a show.  In his world, he doesn’t have to pretend to be good because in his kingdom, they all know that they aren’t.  Instead of fighting to put on a show, they fight to simply survive.

In his world, he sees real men and women struggling.  Struggling with the same things he does … fighting against injustice.  Why bother fighting when it’s just as easy to cave?  If you’re gonna’ be tagged as bad regardless of what you do, it’s easier to trust those that admit they’re on the losing side than with those who try to put on a good show.  But this young man encounters a problem with this route.  He keeps finding that all the things that seemed to matter don’t.  Money doesn’t matter, the thrill of the drugs, the physical pleasure of sex … none of it matters.  It all seems pointless, even in his little kingdom.  He looks at the women who allow themselves to get used and a pit from deep within wells up in him.  He watches the young men around him and he can see, there’s good stuff in there.  These guys would do anything for him.  There is a loyalty that exists in this place that you just don’t find in the world.  It’s a loyalty that says, ‘We’re all f*ck up’s, so let’s just do what we gotta’ do to survive this.  I got your back, man.’  It’s a loyalty that the world doesn’t understand because it’s too busy trying to look good.  But this young man, he knows.  He sees.  He’s experienced it.

From the depths of his soul this young man searches for someone he can trust.  How can he trust anyone?  Who sees what he sees?  His buddies are loyal, but let’s admit it, they’re screwed up.  He’s always been the guy in charge.  His father doesn’t understand his world.  His father doesn’t see what he sees.  His father doesn’t see the loyalty of these guys.  His father hasn’t seen what these guys have been willing to do for him.

This guy is not even sure he would trust God if God showed up in front of him.  So he does what he always does, relies on himself.  He doesn’t know how, but he knows that he can make a difference.  He feels it so deep in his core that it screams at him.  He knows that somehow, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.  He’s angry with the world for shutting out so many, and yet at the same time, he doesn’t trust the world enough to do things their way anyway.  Why would anyone want to submit to a world of hypocrisy?  He doesn’t see himself in bondage.  So he chooses to continue down his path searching for the answer.  He doesn’t even know what it will be, but he’s not ready to let go of his kingdom yet.  Not because of what it does for him, but because he just can’t bring himself to jump into the hypocrisy.  He’s not ready to let go of those that he knows, he can make a difference for.  Somehow, he just knows, he can help these guys.  If he could just find the answer, he knows, he can help these people figure out what really matters.

What if God heard this young man’s soul crying out to be heard and decided to use that  passion to not only lead others out, but turn Satan’s rebellion against the powers of darkness?

Yeh!  That’s what I’m talking about!  The Power of One!  What God can do with just ONE soul!  Never underestimate the power of One!

Feeling called to pray?

I have been feeling led to get a message out there about prayer and last night, instead of having a normal service with worship, prayer, then preaching … it was ALL worship and prayer with a powerful move of God!  During this service, I had a vision of thousands of women gathered together forming what was to become a prayer platform as God began to draw men up through this platform.  I was impressed that God is raising up Holy men of God and these men would be not only sustained, but shielded and protected from the prayers of the bride of Christ.  REVIVAL IS COMING!!

How important it is for us to realize the importance of our own individual prayers!  This vision really impressed upon me that when we pray, we aren’t just putting something out there that may or may not happen … we are putting out requests to Almighty God and He is directing our hearts to pray the prayers that need to be prayed to unlock doors and pull down walls!  These prayers are the very tools God is using to tear down strong holds!

Not that I’m an expert on prayer, but I do feel I have a few things that I can offer to assist those who may be looking for some prayer tips.  I don’t believe in formula’s because truthfully, prayer and worship for me has always been about relationship.  As a wife, I can tell you that I need to connect with my husband.  I see my worship and prayer with Jesus the same as my need to connect with my husband.  If I don’t get that connection time in, things just aren’t flowing right ….  I get cranky, off-balance, and not at all in sync.  The funny thing is that once I get that one-on-one connection time with my husband, I’m like a little school girl talking about a mile a minute.  I’m in my happy place.  It is exactly the same with Jesus.

What I have found is that the more that I spend this one-on-one time with Jesus, the more He has opened my eyes to see how my silent prayers are important.  He has shown me the importance of being alert and paying attention to the move of the spirit and discerning the message being heard … and this is no matter where I am at.

Specifically in church or a group function, He has taught me how to pay attention to the person on the platform and understand how vulnerable a position it is.  Our pastors, preachers, evangelists or anyone taking the place on the platform need our prayers to minister effectively.   Jesus has taught me to pay attention to the environment of the church and notice my surroundings.  He has shown me how there is so much happening in the spiritual realm and if we are in tune with Christ, we can assist the process in going much more smoothly through prayer which will in turn, get out the message God wants to be heard.  And not just before the service, this is throughout the service as well.

It’s amazing how He works too.  Jesus has this way of tying things in.  I see it happening all around me!  I am watching how He somehow takes what seems to be chaos and on a dime, will turn it to complete order!  Everything in sync!  He is an awesome CEO!  This is the great part of being in a relationship with Him versus simply showing up to do His work though.  I’m not just an employee for His kingdom showing up and putting forth my best efforts, I am part of His body!  Maybe I am crazy, but wherever I’m at, I notice the things around me and I just can’t help but be in awe of what He is orchestrating!  THIS is what I am a part of?  How can I can I not be completely honored to be part of such a magnificent creation??

You know, Jesus has taken the time to teach me how to be effective in prayer and other gifts because of my relationship with Him.  When you begin to transition from simply praying prayers to really having a conversation with Jesus, it takes on a life all its own!  Jesus will lead you and teach you and it may or not be the same lessons He taught me.  But He WILL teach you.  He will begin to open the gifts in your heart.  He will teach you how to be effective in those gifts too!  The best part though, is that you’ll be scrambling to do the work of God with excitement and soon … the work of God isn’t work at all!  It’s being a part of His kingdom and understanding how everyone should have this!  Joy like this is something that was only meant to be shared!

Praying was never meant to be a chore.  It was meant to be connection time with a mighty God who humbled Himself to come to US and say … I want a relationship with YOU!  Wow!  Yes!  Your voice matters!  If you belong to Christ, you are a part of something wonderful!  I believe that my vision is absolutely prophetic and it will be Your voice that is part of that shield/platform of prayers that will be used to sustain the Holy Men of God that Jesus is raising up!  YOUR voice matters!!!


Have you ever felt … exposed?  I’m talking where your conscience is screaming at you and it feels like your flaws are simply … out there … as though everyone else can see your flaws too?  Of course, I attribute much of this to having the Holy Spirit which is like having a conscience that is magnified 100x.  Having been through some things, I’ve learned to appreciate that hypersensitivity, but other times, it leaves me feeling pretty … vulnerable.

There’s always those times when we mess up, right?  Oddly, those are the moments where it’s easier to just shoo the voice away.  You simply fess up, repent, and move on.  But then there’s those other times.  Those other times when maybe stress has been mounting and time and time again, you have really done your best to do it God’s way and you’ve done pretty well, but are getting pretty fatigued from the battle.  It seems as though there is no end in sight to the endless barrage.

Then … BAM!  It happens.  The straw that broke the camels back.  You find yourself in a situation where you just give in to the battle.  These are the moments where you are tired of trying to do it right.  The moments where you are tired of the fight.  The moments you are tired of missing the victory.  The moments where you are tired of taking the short end of the stick and giving in and seeing the enemy win.  The moment where you are just tired of being tired.  So you cave.  You cave to the anger, the hurt, the pity … to all the ugly emotions that have been pounding to get into your dwelling place.

Ugh!  I hate these moments.  These are the moments that sneak up on you and make you deal with stuff that you have been doing a pretty good job at dodging.  These are the moments that make you … gulp … fess up and confront how you really feel about stuff.  The anger, the resentment, the mounting bitterness .. it’s all swimming around in your head now.  If you are one of the lucky ones, Jesus keeps you from acting out on those feelings.  This is the very place that Satan has been trying to take you and now, you’re there.

I’d love to tell you that there is a magic formula to get out of these situations, but unfortunately, there isn’t.  All I know is that when God has gotten me in these moments, I can’t always say that I’m proud of how I respond.  It’s in those moments where I feel like Paul … ‘oh wretched man that I am.’  It’s like being in a current of ugliness that even though I know I’m wrong, there’s no simple switch to flip and turn it off .

Up until that time, I felt like, ‘Cool!  I got this.  I’m good.  I know God’s brought me through some things, but that’s okay … it’s all good.  I know it’s gonna’ be okay.’  But now, it’s like, ‘This sucks.  I was trying to do it HIS way and now THIS?’  I could go on, but if you’ve had any Christian walk at all, you get what I’m talking about.  And the worst part is that you feel like you can’t say anything because you KNOW you are in the wrong spirit.  UGH!!!  The insanity of walking the walk!

For me, this wrestling continues until finally, I break and begin to puke all over God.  NOOOO!!  This isn’t what I wanted to do!  But out it comes … all the hurt, the anger, the mounting bitterness, and list of unfair things you’ve been dealing with.  Some people feel better after puking.  Not me.  I feel sick for the next 3 days.  Man.  I just gave a bunch of crap to God.  I don’t think I blamed Him, but honestly, I was angry with Him and I’m not even sure that’s allowed and now .. Great!!  I’ve messed up again.  Sigh …. ever feel like you just aren’t going to get it right?

My  husband, he’s different.  He can get mad, blow up, then 5 minutes later he has a smile on his face like nothing ever happened.  Me?  I’m a woman.  If you know anything about women, we just don’t work that way.  Ugh!  So I walk around humbled and pretty quiet for the next several days.  I know Jesus’ blood covers my sins, but this is different.  I’m not always the best at just picking up and getting back to ‘happy’ so quickly.  I feel like a jerk and I wouldn’t blame Jesus if He lightning bolted me for my behavior.  ….. But He doesn’t.

Somehow, He just lets me be and then, slowly, He gently finds a way to let me know He still loves me.  How could He do that?  I mean .. after all I said and did, He’s taking time to minister to me?  He’s taking the time to let me know that no matter how mad, angry, and ugly I felt that I was, He STILL thinks I’m worth something?  Okay, it’s all over ….  I’m undone.

Only God!  Only God can do this.  Only God can allow us to be such jerks and then take the time to not only allow us to pound on, scream, and even blame Him and THEN take the time to whisper …. I still love you.

When this is the God we serve, how can we not be totally devoted to Him?

And we think we have this figured out?  Ha!  We haven’t even scratched the surface of what He has planned for us!

Yep … that’s right … exposed.  And still … Satan can’t snatch me out of God’s hand.

Difference between a vision and a dream

I just awoke from a dream.  I must have been standing in a dark corridor because I couldn’t see anything but blackness as night.  Then I heard the voice of a woman who was crying out to God.  However, she only knew to call Him ‘Alla.’  Her voice had an element of fearful distress … I knew in my spirit that she was seeking a confrontation with a living God.  Before I awoke, I had the impression that I was somehow witness to this as though this were a private place.  I was also aware that I wasn’t the only witness, that there were others that had access to this private place.

When I awoke, I had the distinct feeling that the private place was somewhere in the body of Christ.  I can liken it to the brain in that, we perceive many things from our senses, and our brain then decipher them, however I would say that it felt more like the heart because it was more than just mere perception I was experiencing.  I’d like to believe that this was the place of Christ’s heart.  It was as if He was revealing to me that there is a place where we can only get to when we truly seek Him with all our heart and once we get there, it’s a place where true ministry takes place.

However, my message isn’t so much a heart message.  I prayed for the unseen woman and by faith, I know that Christ will reveal Himself to her.  After all, it is only by personal revelation that you can gain a proper understanding of who God is.  I trust that Jesus will give this woman a correct understanding of who He is in a way that she will understand that she needed a course correction.

My message is more so about the dream itself.  I felt impressed to look up the story in Acts 16:9-15 where Paul had a vision in the night of a man beckoning him to come to Macedonia.  The next day he went that way and lo and behold, the man turned out to be a woman named Lydia.  Not only Lydia, but her household, were baptized.  What a work of ministry!

I know we are in the days of apostolic revival and just like in those days, we are seeing things like this happen today.  The cool part is that we have the benefit of learning from those that have gone before us and we have tools like the internet, books, sermons online, and other media that make it so very easy for us to get the proper training and knowledge to be truly effective in building God’s kingdom.

Let me share with you something I just learned that may perhaps help you.  In looking up this scripture, I found that there was a distinct difference in vision vs. dream.  A vision comes from a root word meaning to discern clearly, to attend to, to behold.  According to Webster, ‘vision’ in scripture is a revelation from God whereas a dream is a series of thoughts not under the command of reason and hence, wild and irregular.

Whether the vision comes in the night as Paul’s did, or during the day, the beauty is, the men in the bible knew without a shadow of a doubt where the message came from, even if the details of direction weren’t completely spelled out.

Back to my vision in the night … I wonder, why would God show me a secret place and give me indication that others are witness’ there as well?  I’m certain the answer will become clearer as God leads and guides my steps, but for now, I walk away with a strong feeling that God is revealing just how connected in the spirit we really are.  I felt He was showing me the importance of the body being in one mind and one accord.

I believe this is the place He is taking us too, a place of unity and understanding.  A place where our attention isn’t so much on the other workers in the secret place, but the voices of those that He is wanting to bring into His kingdom.  While He will do the work of revealing Himself, He will need us, His body, to attend to, teach, support, encourage, and love those spiritual babies that He is scooping up in His arms.  How blessed are we to be a privy to a time when it’s all ‘coming together!’

Wow!  How exciting it is to be a part of Christ’s kingdom!  Apostolic revival, here we come!

You’re probably wondering .. who is this girl anyway?

You probably don’t know me.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m not anyone special.  Just some Christian girl from a small town in Wisconsin.  I hold no official church position.  I’m just a girl who feels an overwhelming presence inside of me to share the glorious things God has shown me.  Things that He is already putting in place!

Last night, our town hosted a Gospel night.  This is an annual event where a handful of Christian worship teams get together and give a concert to glorify Christ.  The teams consist of people from all different denominations and backgrounds.  The beauty of it was that for one night, we all put aside our swords and united together for the sole purpose of worshipping and glorifying Christ.  No one got caught up in nit-picking the organizations we belonged to, the beliefs we hold, and no one poked fun at the difference in how some worshipped quietly while others were more exuberant in their worship.  We were truly one body .. the body of Christ.

It never ceases to amaze me how when we focus on finding Christ in the situation, we can really see Him.  I seen Him last night.  Not just in the group as a whole, but in individuals.  The teenager playing guitar as his grandfather sang gave me hope for my own wayward teen.  Jesus was there!  And  Jesus peeked His head out in the little woman who stood behind a wall of stern insecurity telling us, the audience, that she would remind us to stand for the last verse.  I smiled as she then bravely squeezed her accordion to the glory of Christ!  I saw Jesus again as a group of woman wrestled with a faulty sound system having to start over and over again and finally, observably nervous, moved forward belting out their best voices all for the sake of honoring Jesus.

I don’t know what your conversion was, but mine was similar to what Saul had.  While many had told me about Christ throughout my years, it was a personal encounter with Jesus that stopped me in my tracks and changed my direction forever.  Despite my need to know, ‘who was right,’ Jesus put a man and woman in my path who would teach me that it was Jesus I needed to focus on listening to.  I am so thankful for that!  I feel grateful that I was allowed to grow and not just learn about, but truly experience Christ.  I feel grateful that God put people in my path that took the time to not only teach and nurture me about the importance of knowing Christ’s ways, but also allowed me the room to grow, make mistakes, and the grace to recover from my many falls.

I’m grateful for the voices that God has put on the pulpits I have sat before.  I’m thankful for the men and women of God who have spent personal time seeking the Lord because I have always come with a spirit of expectation to hear from God and I have never been let down!  I am thankful that God has used not just those on stage, but those in the audience to speak to me.  I am thankful that God has shown me the miraculous.  I’m thankful that He has taken the time to show me that the same miracles that happened in apostolic times are happening now!  I’m thankful that I was witness to my father getting delivered from drinking and smoking and coming out of a coma speaking of how he had been talking with Jesus!  I’m thankful that my little brother, who was skeptical of tongues being from the devil, called me and excitedly told me how not only did he speak in tongues, but that he prophesied!

I’m thankful that Jesus approaches people today just like He did back then … on an individual basis.  Yet, at the same time, He’s able to reach all of us simultaneously through the same message.  How does He do that??  He amazes me!  I’m thankful that He has shown me that He is orchestrating a beautiful symphony and drawing His church together.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in my path.  I’m thankful for the godly husband God put in path to lead, guide, and protect me from mostly, myself.  I’m thankful for my Pastor and his wife and their faithfulness to follow Christ’s ways.  I’m thankful for their willingness to step in and offer a course correction only when it’s necessary, instead of trying to control my every move.  I’m thankful for the organization I’m a part of.  Not because I feel we are the only ones with truth, but because I recognize a group of men and women who understand that organizations are created to support Christ’s church.

I’m thankful for the voices of authority that have spoken from their pulpits.  I’m thankful that the messages I keep hearing are consistent with exactly what I saw last night!  A message of grace, mercy, and unity in the body of Christ!  A message of letting Christ take the lead.  A message that God is raising up individuals and giving them the strength, wisdom, and boldness to step out and act on the very gift that Christ has put in them!  A message that we as a church, are being drawn together in unity and that Jesus is the focus!

Jesus is coming!  There is no doubt in my mind!  Right now, He is drawing us.  He is raising us up … we, His bride.  He is tearing down strong holds and breaking down barriers that have prevented us from truly being one up to this point.  He IS raising up the five-fold ministry.  He is raising up intercessors and laying on the hearts prayers that will be prayed … and answered.  He is giving out visions and dreams of meetings that will take place, just like in apostolic times.  He is preparing hearts to receive messages of understanding and opening doors that before, seemed impenetrable.   His spirit is being poured out and people are experiencing miracles, signs, and wonders just like in apostolic days!  He is sending forth men and women of God and giving messages that will be heeded.  His message is being heard.  His message is being acted on.  His bride is being raised up and the gates of Hell will NOT prevail against her.

Last night was just a glimpse of what is to come!  I have to laugh a little because maybe you don’t do this, but I know I do.  I’ll put all this pressure on myself to ‘build the kingdom of God’ and to ‘get it just right.’  It’s times like this when I have to just smile and shake my head because I realize, Jesus really is pretty good at putting things together .. even above all my silly pressures and attempts to help Him.  Ha!  Oh, that’s right!  Almost forgot for a second … He is God!  :-)

Be blessed!

The Healing Place

A couple of years ago, I attended a ladies retreat where there was a tongues and interpretation.  The room was filled with 2000 ladies.  I recall that despite that there were so many women in that room, I knew in my heart of hearts, that the message spoken was for ME.  Of course, when God speaks to the body, the message is for everyone.  Maybe its pride, maybe it’s arrogance, or maybe it was really just something that spoke in my soul that said .. I want this.  I want this message to be mine.  The message spoke of listening, really listening, to the ladies on the stage because God said … they had been to the healing place.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t really know what that meant.  What exactly was the healing place?  Was it a specific location?  Could anyone go there?  Was there a cost to go there?  Where do you even begin? …. So many questions and not many answers left me with a deep-seated desire to get to this place.  Despite that I was Holy Ghost filled and blood bought … despite that I had spent many hours at several alters pouring my heart out to God … despite that I had spent hundreds of hours in prayer … there were still things inside of me that I just couldn’t get away from.  I’m not even sure I can accurately put my finger on it other than to say that there were holes in my heart that hurt.  Things in my life that haunted me that while God knew, I somehow didn’t know how to let go of.  Some people put up walls and call it being free, others put on a smile and hide the hurt, I seemed to be plagued with my hurts seeping through at the altar behind unspoken words and sobs as my soul begged for mercy.  This was a couple of years ago.

I sought pretty hard for God after that.  I wanted the healing place.  I wanted to know what true freedom really is.  I found out that healing and freedom were none of the things I thought they were.  I thought that once I had reached that place, that it would be nirvana.  I thought that I would finally be able to walk around and not feel insecure.  I thought that I would finally be able to feel the joy non-stop instead of continuously having life frustrate me with challenges.  I thought I would always be able to handle every situation with a smile and calm and know that it was real instead of feeling that I was hiding behind a wall of pretense.  Nope … the healing place was none of those things.  Neither is freedom.

We had a guest preacher in today that spoke of the healing place.  He didn’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it was.  I’ve been there now, so I know.  He was talking about the healing place.  It’s the place where we are confronted with all kinds things that we never expected.  It’s the place where we are forced to face some of the most dreaded things in our lives.   It’s the place where you life seems to be falling apart.  It’s the place where you are certain, you can relate with Job.  It’s the place where you find out people will fail you .. even family.  It’s the place where you find the world will fail you.  It’s the place where you find out that yes, the church too will fail you.  It’s the place where you learn …. complete dependence on Jesus.

But it’s not just learning about being let down.  It’s also learning about trust and confidence in God.  Not just in God, but His ability to restore.  His ability to rebuild what He had just torn down.  His ability to work in others and regain your trust in those who may have let you down.  It’s about learning to depend on God for finances and health and trusting that even if it doesn’t look like you thought it should, God’s got it all under His control.  It’s about learning to fear the power of God and not take it for granted.  And somehow, through all of this, at the same time, He pulls you in closer and lets you see HIS heart.  I’m sorry, but if you want to be close to God, there is absolutely no way to do it without jumping in the fire.  You can get close and feel His heat, but until you allow the fire to consume you .. you will never get to the place where you see Him standing in the flames with you.

Please don’t be afraid of the healing place.  Please don’t be afraid or refuse to go through the valley.  If you look at your circumstances and think you might be there, please be encouraged.  It’s a frightening place but this is the place where you learn to discern the hand of God.  This is the place where you learn to discern God’s touch.  If you are looking at the fire and have been afraid to jump, be encouraged, He’s at the door waiting for you to ask Him to lead you through.

This is the place where you learn that God will truly never leave you nor forsake you.  There is so much beauty there!  There is so much that God wants to salvage from that place!  But He will only salvage those that want to be salvaged.  He will only rebuild those that choose to go through this process.  We, the church, have been blessed so much.  It’s time for more of us to be willing to enter in to the healing place.  There is a world out there crying out to God to show them just how real He is.  There is a world out there crying to see Him alive in others.  There is a world that wants to know the true blessing of serving a God that is alive and holy.  And there is a God who wants to guide you through this place to show you just how beautiful it really is … just how MUCH there is to salvage!

The healing place is where God teaches you to close your eyes and listen with your heart …… it’s only then that you hear the lost souls crying out.

You don’t belong here.

Before I knew Christ, I spent a couple of years as a bartender.  I never really felt completely comfortable in that environment.  Honestly, it was an odd place for me to be because I was never much into drinking.  However, I had gone through a divorce, was a single mom, and had started a new business.  I seen it as an opportunity to help me support my family and my new business.

I remember feeling sick to my stomach every time I was there though.  I remember the emptiness I felt inside as I’d watch people coming in to have a good time.  It wasn’t just the fact that they were drinking though.  I didn’t see alcohol as an evil unless it was in excess.  Watching the people come in having such a good time, and there I was … working, serving, and something inside me just didn’t feel right.  I felt like I needed to be home.  Like I needed to be with my kids.  But then, I was divorced, so there weren’t any kids to go home to anyway.  There wasn’t a relationship at that time either.  It was a very lonely time in my life.

I tried to make the most of it.  Somehow, I recognized that there were many other people in my same predicament.  They didn’t  have anyone at home and had this intense loneliness so it seemed that this was the gathering place to run away from the emptiness.  Oddly, when these lonely souls walked in and I had a chance to lift up their spirits with my friendly conversation and a smile, it somehow made my nights working there bearable.  Of course, those conversations were always early in the night.  As the night progressed, the scene would change to something very dogmatic and ugly.

As I look back, I remember a comment made one night by one of my local patrons.  He was a regular and his comment stuck  with me.  This was a young man who could have been my little brother.  I could tell he drank a little too much, but I really liked this kid.  I could see that he had a lot of potential.  I would often spend my time encouraging him like I was his big sister.  On this particular night, he was a bit toasted.  He had just been telling me his troubles and out of the middle of nowhere, he stops and looks at me and says, ‘You don’t belong here.’

Somehow, in the middle of his misery, he recognized something in me that I was really feeling.  I didn’t belong there.  I knew it, but my circumstances were such that I didn’t have many options.  It wasn’t but a year or so after that I was finally at a point where I could walk away from that environment.  Shortly thereafter, I had my encounter with Christ.

But this isn’t a story so much about me as it is about this young man.  I don’t know where this young man is now, but I’m fairly certain that he doesn’t frequent the bars anymore.  I know that by the time I quit, he had stopped coming in.  In hindsight, I believe that night Jesus stepped inside this young man’s soul and spoke not only to me, but also this young man.  I’m fairly certain that those words he spoke to me that night resonated within himself.  How could he recognize that I didn’t belong without seeing that he didn’t either?

I know now that this was a stirring in both our souls.  A stirring and a drawing from Jesus.  A stirring and a drawing to come out of the darkness and towards Jesus.  This is what gives me so much confidence in our God.  He doesn’t give up on us.  He shows up in our lives when we least expect it.  He teaches us the way of love.

He will never lead you astray.  It’s us who get ourselves lost along the way.  He knows just when to show up and tell us, ‘you don’t belong here.’