Will Sacrifice for Beauty

“Let Your Creativity Blossom” Copyright © 2015 Jessica Ostrander, All rights reserved.

A few weeks ago during a preach on true Kingdom prosperity, Bill Johnson was talking about the difference between tithes and offerings. This was not a new concept for me, but my heart began recognizing a new season of giving coming on. Until now, the tithe has been absolutely non-negotiable, but the offering has been relegated to the “I so wish I could, but I can’t even pay bills much less give any additional offering money” corners of my mind. “When I finally am making enough money to support myself,” I reasoned, “Then I will finally be able to be as generous with my finances as I desire to be.” But generosity sometimes means sacrifice, and trust usually means risk.

In the days following the sermon, I was intentional about asking God if He would have me steward my finances differently in this season. I have considerable school debt, and I’m not yet making enough monthly to cover my basic budget, but He’s been so epically faithful that I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something He might be wanting to do. What I felt Him say was, “Your offering is loving those around you well and being a patron of the arts.” I was reminded of a dinner party I hosted for my friends on Valentine’s Day and felt His hand of blessing on it, albeit an expense I wasn’t sure how to cover. I was also reminded of incredible art I’ve been seeing as I’ve been pursuing relationships with other artists for the Parallel Bible community. In that moment, I heard Papa say, “How can I bless and support you as an artist if those I’m calling to buy your work aren’t faithful to my call? Likewise, if you want to see a shift in the culture of appreciating an artist for their work, you need to lead by example. If you want artists to know their value and be paid it for their work, you need to know their value and pay them for their work. Your heart is to pastor and empower artists – do so by helping them support themselves by doing what I’ve called them to do. Those I’ve called will no longer be ‘penalized’ or looked down upon for following the passion and gift I’ve placed within them. It’s time for the artists to arise and rebuild the Tabernacle with Kingdom inspiration and resource. You are no longer survivors but thrivers – you are faithful to steward the dreams and visions and creative projects I’ve placed within you all for such a time as this, a time when the world so desperately needs an encounter with Beauty (My love). Buy art, empower artists – THAT is your offering…and it’s a pretty good deal since you get to surround yourself with tangible expressions of breakthrough and encounters with My love in return.”

Last week, I attended a creative conference at Expression58 Church in LA where I was surrounded by incredible creatives living out their passions and calls. I thought I was doing pretty well by supporting the musicians in cd purchases rather than downloads or Spotify, but my heart became heavy upon seeing a hauntingly moving painting – without even knowing the backstory, I was drawn to an image toward the back of the room but avoided it because I knew I’d never be able to afford what it was worth. “Why even bother falling in love,” I figured, “If it’s going to be one more thing I can’t yet do?” I reasoned it away based on the facts that I dislike “girly” stuff and there were flowers and splashes of pink all over the image – SO not my style anyway.

But then the artist was called on stage and presented that very piece. As she spoke of transitions and seasons and beauty from ashes, I felt my heart turning in complete resonance with her process. The painting is a direct correlation with my own story since 2011, right down to the scattered birds underneath. My heart was both inspired and encouraged to know others are going through (and creating from) similar seasons of vulnerability AND deeply saddened that I am not yet in a place to afford to purchase art on this level. Beauty is always held in tension, is it not?

I stalked the painting from afar, and then I went in for the kill shot – it was just as incredible up close. I grabbed her business card in hopes to connect with her later should I ever get up the guts to make relevant art as well and want to do a show in LA.

Today, I found that card and the bio for the painting. I was just as moved, if not more, reading her words about her process (brackets are my commentary):

It’s a modern twist on My Fair Lady [I LOVE Audrey] inspired by LA street art [I’ve always loved street art, but LA has recently become a huge player in my heart]. It speaks of beauty coming out of chaos and shows a woman blossoming in her identity [my time here at Bethel has been all about just that – finally shaking off the ashes of mourning and trauma and stepping into my identity as a whole, powerful daughter of Papa]. It was created over another painting done in 2011 called “Transition”. 2011 was a particularly challenging season were I was struggling to find my voice in the middle of a lot of change [My life has been in crazy transition since 2011 – I was working on my college senior art exhibition which is what started my bird-obsession, left all I knew in SanDiego, had an extremely challenging desert season in Oakland followed by a failed engagement, and have been ruthlessly pursuing counseling and inner healing for all the abuse and trauma I’ve experienced in my life]. One afternoon at Pihop, I painted birds flying chaotically in different directions as if a gust of wind had just scattered them [How I’ve felt for years until this year]. The Lord was doing a deep work in me [Deeper than I could ever express]. I find it really fun how the finished result of both paintings woven together represent how beauty and order can come out of things that initially feel very chaotic [The chaos of my life has set the foundation for the most beautiful Love and intimacy with Papa]. I love how the birds in the finished painting appear more playful as they dance around the flowers of the blossoming woman [I’m finally becoming the woman God intended, and He’s been calling me to dance as a part of my healing and worship expression]. God does indeed make all things beautiful in his time. Spring has sprung, so let your creativity blossom [one of the final hurdles of fear that I still hold is in my art making – He’s calling me out to create again, healing my process, and calling me to be bold]!
– Jessica O

I remembered Papa’s words about offering and art, and I remembered that sometimes offering is a sacrifice. I also remembered the power that Kingdom art has to continue to release the breakthrough and anointing from which it was created and that we are called to keep altar stones for seasons to always remember what Papa has done on our behalf. I decided that, while I may not be able to go all out and buy the biggest one, I am willing to take a risk on a smaller version. Do not despise small beginnings…On the journey towards the best, I’ve been learning to let good enough be good enough because at least it’s something rather than nothing at all. Though I know the last thing I wanted to do was to take on MORE debt, I feel so strongly about this image that I’m making the leap of faith, knowing that, even if I’m only hearing the voice of my own selfish desire and making a “bad” choice, Papa is still bigger than that and oh, so incredibly forgiving.

So, happy early birthday to me as I step out of my 2011-2014 desert season of scattered birds and solitude and surviving and into embracing this new season of spring, growth, finding my voice, singing my song, and bursting forth out of fear and into the passionate creativity Papa’s placed within me! Some people sacrifice for physical bodily beauty as they grow older, but I’m choosing to sacrifice for an expression of the internal beauty Papa is bringing about from my life. Time for Love to bloom in my heart (See: Hinds Feet on High Places), and to boldly place my feet on the promises He’s made.

What are the small risks He may be inviting you to take in this new Spring season?

Healing, Life Journey, Uncategorized

Thus Ends the Dress Saga

“This is the last song that I write
While you’re even on my mind
Cause it’s time to leave
Those feelings behind
Oh, ’cause blue skies are calling
But I know that it’s hard”
Noah & The Whale

For those who’ve been tracking the drama of the wedding dress, I have quite the praise report! I’m happy to announce that I am not only all paid up a whole month early, but the dress made its way to my doorstep on Friday as well. Understandably, this has stirred quite a mix of emotions. The joy of blessing and provision swirled in to deep sadness that the dress will live, unused, in storage. There is no “big day” or occasion. Just a girl and her dress – the most beautiful she’s ever seen.

So, after allowing myself the whole run of emotions this weekend, I’m ready to write. This will be the last spoken about the dress until the day comes to don it. But it’s such a beautiful dress with such a beautiful story for it to pass along into the box without any acknowledgement, so here goes:

In November, when the time came to start the search, I was totally unprepared. As a little girl, I hadn’t really given much thought to a wedding – I guess everyone else had at least some idea of the magic and majesty they’d come to expect, but I was busy worrying about more immediate concerns. My aunt made the first move and set appointments for me to dress shop the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was a good thing, too, because I didn’t even know you had to make them!

I tried to make a Pinterest board for the dress, but I grew increasingly frustrated when internet searches yielded not a single dress I really loved. I pinned bits and pieces from dresses here and there, but I’d yet to see a complete dress that wowed me. To make matters worse, my ex-fiancee saw my board and made negative comments about each part of each dress I actually kinda liked. He’d say he liked everything I didn’t, and my heart hurt a little when he pointed at the coolest remnants I had found and shot them down. Combined with the fact that every other dress search in my life had ended in tears and disappointment when, store after store, I could never find a dress that fit both my body and budget at the same time, I was dreading the day.

Already anticipating failure, I approached the day rather lackadaisically – I knew I wouldn’t find a dress that day, so don’t get hopes up. I threw up a desperate prayer, “Papa God, I know there are so many greater concerns, but could You please help with my dress shopping? I’ve never found a dress easily, and I always get stressed out and cry. Lord, with everything else being so hard to find and plan, could you please just make this the easiest decision about the whole wedding? Please help me find the perfect one quickly and have no doubts about it at all or get stuck between two – let me just know beyond a shadow of a doubt, love it, have complete peace, and be able to afford it.”

I was shocked at the incredible treatment I received that day (at Trudy’s Bridal in Campbell for those who need a fabulous experience). I had my own personal dressing room and helper; no racks to rummage through, just me and my aunt on a bench while our assistant retrieved what she thought I might like based on my Pinterest board and insistence that it be lace. After I tried on a dress at the helper’s request so she could estimate my size and be sure I didn’t want satin, she brought in about 5 lace dresses.

The very first dress I put on, I knew I’d found it.

I did try on several other dresses that day to make sure, but I kept coming back to this one. I couldn’t believe it. I’d found the dress in less than an hour and it was $100 less than our estimated budget.

Or so I thought.

When I got home, I looked at our wedding budget and realized I’d just committed to double what we’d allotted. Slightly panicked, and getting major gruff from my intended, I prayed and the peace returned: I’d asked God for this dress, and He’d hand-delivered it to me down to the last desire of my heart before I could even articulate what they were. He’d provide.

But then my engagement was broken and a call to the bridal shop revealed that I was still on the hook for the full amount. The ironclad no-cancellation policy had me in a chokehold; I was unemployed, in transition, had exhausted all my savings, on my own, and had 4 months to pay off the $1200 balance. Each month, I made the $300 payment, I was not quite sure it would go through – the anxiety of it all brought so much anger and stress and resentment. What had been a blessing and a gift seemed now a burden and reminder of my deeply broken heart.

Then, Papa stepped in. Each month, the payments miraculously cleared until I came to the halfway point. As I made my second-to-last installment, a quick figuring told me that, unless I found a job soon here in Redding, I would not have enough to finish paying the dress, much less drive down and pick it up. I became angry because I’m also trying to save to pay my BSSM tuition, and this was draining resources that could be going to that.

What I learned is that Papa’s resources are endless – they cannot be drained! The day after I made the payment, I got an email from a man I had met in passing one time back home in Indiana, circa 2009. Our interaction couldn’t have lasted more than ten minutes, and I’m honestly not sure how we were Facebook friends. Long story short, he expressed that he would be paying off my dress:

“From your postings it’s evident that you always give so much of yourself to everyone, for so many great causes, and to God. You pour your heart and soul into everything. You leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet. Just wanted to give you something back, just to say thanks Lindsey from everyone.”

And just like that, I realized I had been complaining and totally missing the point God was trying to make. How often do we allow Satan to come steal our victories, kill our hopes, and destroy the miraculous blessings and testimony God’s writing in us? God had given me the dress of my unarticulated dreams, one that was never intended for my ex (he pointed out and expressed distaste for each feature without knowing it), and He’d given me a double-portion since I doubled the cost on accident. And, He’d paved the way to pay for it both through my own finances (completely independent of my ex) and gifts given by a few other people. When the final payment was made by a near stranger, I heard Papa say, “I do not bless to curse. I would never give you this dress if I didn’t intend to give you a reason to wear it. I know there’s a part of you that believes pursuing Me and the call I’ve placed on your life to serve the least of these means silent submission to a life of singleness. I see your pain of M’s broken promises to love, protect, and cherish you. But I have not broken My promise. This is not a reminder of an end – this is a promise of My love, provision, and a beautiful future. Just rest, and let Me continue to provide for your every need and heart’s desire while we work together to restore your spirit.”

As an added lil kiss, the bridal shop offered to ship the dress to me in Redding, free of charge, to spare me the trip. Boom. God even sent my neighbor over to my house, beers in hand, the moment I opened the box and started the mix of sorrowful sobbing and overjoyed “Oh, it’s even more beautiful than I remembered.” Blessings on blessings, glory to glory.

So, thank you to the people who chose to give so generously to help me receive this healing gift. You know who you are, and I know I could never fully express my gratitude. I thank God for you every time I see my dress hanging in the hall.

And praise be to the One who is the Giver of the best gifts, Promiser of great promises, and only One who truly knows my heart. Thank You for reassuring me that blue skies are calling and for holding me close while it’s still hard for me to see. Thank You for the grace & space to grieve what’s been lost and for marking the time to leave all those feelings behind with such a beautiful milestone.

Music, Thoughts on God, Uncategorized

I & You

A short musing (for once).

“For I am Yours
and You are mine”
I & You

Technically, it should be IOU.
I OWE You all, everything, forever.

But He tore up the slip when He tore the veil.
Stop trying to paste the note back together and living under a debtor’s shame.
In doing this, you are the one who retreats, not He. You recreate the barrier, drawing a veil between you and His loving grace.

Set yourself free.


Set the Record Straight and the Women Free

Absolutely everyone needs to hear this.

When I sat through it on Sunday, a little piece of my heart came back to life.

Women in the church are NOT to remain silent, we are instructed to prophesy and teach (yes, IN THE CHURCH..even to men *gasp*), and we were never relegated to children’s ministry. I went to a church in liberal capital of the US, San Francisco, for two years that still taught that women couldn’t be pastors or hold board positions; these beliefs caused great strain on my relationship with my ex-fiancee who genuinely believed I could never be a pastor or that God wasn’t calling me to preach internationally because I was a woman. Now, hear me: I’m not slamming that church – they love Jesus and are doing great things in SF! I’m only saying that doctrine always rubbed me the wrong way, is misguided, and is causing people pain. I continue to pray, as I did then, that they find truth and freedom in this area so they can continue to grow and thrive and change the face of SF forever!

But for right now, it’s time to set the record straight and the women free to be all God intended us to be!

Watch “The Theology of Empowering Women, Pt. 1” by Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church, Redding): HERE!


Diggin’ For God Gold

The new men in my life...

The new men in my life…

After a good but somewhat discouraging week, I was feeling quite depleted Saturday. Anxiety was creeping up with its usual racket of “what if you misheard God about moving into this place” and “you only have today to get all this stuff done before heading back to the Bay for a week” and “wow, it’s been a whole week and a half and you’ve accomplished nothing.” But I knew none of those voices was Papa’s, so I chose to stop and soak a little. Spending time with Him always seems counterproductive when you have a lot to accomplish, but man, is He faithful!

I didn’t feel 100% better after spending some time, but I did gain a little clarity of thought. If I wanted to start producing art work, I needed to set my house up. In order to set my house up, I needed tables, desks, and shelves. In order to have those, I needed to build them or find them. To do that, I needed a hand sander and a power drill (I’ve been collecting scrap wood and pallets all week) or to find them. For that, I needed to hit the garage sale circuit. So, I whipped out craigslist, scoped out all the sales in Redding, made an elaborate map and plan of execution, counted my cash so I knew my limit, and hopped in the car.

And that’s when Papa stepped in.

On my list of items I was looking for, I had things I needed (like a power drill, hand sander, wood shop tables/benches – or materials to build them, bungee cords, etc), and things I wanted to keep an eye out for that I didn’t need but would love to have (like a sink for my back room so I can make it into a darkroom, anything else for my proposed dark room, old window screens to use as print drying racks like we did at PLNU, oil pan so I can change my own oil, a hose since I have to care for a lawn now, other cool power tools, etc). I input the first sale address in my GPS and started driving.

But then I remembered there had been a listing for a bunch of free stuff on lawn of a house not too far away – my initial thought was, “It’s been there since yesterday, probably junk that is already gone anyhow,” but I know better than to assume anything is junk without first checking for treasure with an artful eye. I rerouted last minute, and pulled up a few seconds later. At first, all I saw was a big pile of mess no one would want to dig through; I almost kept driving. But, something told me that all gold must be mined, and curiosity got the better of me. I parked.

Thanking God that I wore my thick-soled, closed-toe shoes, I walked onto the property. I was greeted by some very kind, but very flurried, people who said they’d been digging through this hoarder’s house for two weeks and only had til tomorrow to have it cleared out. One of the ladies had been the deceased’s daughter; I immediately felt terrible. They had no small task before them – imagine working two whole weeks in a disgusting home and still having 4 bedrooms of stuff to get through! They told me to take whatever I could find, ask about anything else, and take an ice water if I needed it. And so I set to digging.

First, I found what appeared to be four 8ft rough wood table tops. Further inspection revealed that they were ready-to-go wood shop tables! They had folding legs and tops made for my chop saw! AWESOME! I called my friend with a truck and settled in to wait for his arrival. As I did, the man randomly approached me and said, “Do you like birds?”

Do I like birds? HA! If he only knew (See the write-up on my senior show, “I’ll Fly Away”, HERE).

After I just about burst with excitement, he took me into the house into a room that made me actually appreciate the level of cat smell my house currently has and there, amongst about ten cages, were birds, everywhere. The woman had begun a collection before she fell ill and was moved to a facility, and these poor lil guys were left to a “caretaker” who obviously had failed. My eyes darted from cage to cage, praying that there’d be a small one, a finch or canary, or anything like a sparrow. My artwork centers heavily around sparrows, and now that I have the lighting studio, I’ve had dreams of photographing live sparrows/small birds in flight with full setup. I just thought I’d have to wait until I was all set up before throwing any pets into the mix. Long story.

In the back corner, there was a cage – in it, a small brown and white finch and a parakeet. They said I had to take both, though I had no interest at first – I just wanted the finch! However, when I looked closer, I saw that the poor parakeet’s beak had grown so long that it was puncturing his little neck! I knew I had to get him out of there, and my heart kicked into full “rescue” mode. Now, this was not the people cleaning’s fault – they didn’t know! The poor lil guys had just been neglected too long since their mom had gone away. I knew I couldn’t take on all the birds, so I had to leave 4 cockatiels behind so I could best care for the two that I had chosen.

In the end, I walked out of there (without spending a dime) with two new friends (who I’ve since named Sir Downton Finchley I and My Boy Bleu), a whole box of extra bird supplies for them, a power drill, a hand sander, 2 hoses, 2 wood shop benches, 7 hardwood slats perfect for building a bookshelf AND shelves in my wood shop, bungee cords (for future hauls in the ol’ Beetle), an oil pan a sink, 2 old screens, a jigsaw!, a Jumanji dvd, and a sense of purpose in helping to rehab these precious little ones. I’d asked Papa for help with this house and confirmation that He sent me here and that it was safe to nest and settle it into my heart as “home”, and He took care of everything and MORE.

All of this might sound dumb, or sound like I’m being cheesy or trite, but I’ve actually learned a lot already from this experience:
– We need to know our limits; they aren’t “bad” or “shameful”, they are good! If we try to help where we are not equipped just yet, we will end up not being any help at all. There is always someone or something else in line to step up and help if only we get out of the way. If I’d just brought all the birds home, I’d have been overwhelmed, overspent on food, and probably be in trouble with my landlord. But because I knew my limits, each cockatiel will now have a loving home and I’m able to really enjoy my new friends.
God really does care for the sparrows and the birds; so much so, that He’d send a random stranger with just the right passions to where they were being held captive in neglect. I took what I could handle, and I think the owners took the rest to a pet store so they all will have safe, loving homes. If then, the verse says He loves us more, how much more would He do for us? He really does send random strangers to us in times of desperation – the strangers just have to be open and willing to go when the Spirit wants to detour their well-mapped out plans.
– God knows the desires of our hearts. He knew I needed things that I could not afford to buy right now, even at garage sales. I went home not only with what I needed to settle in, but also the extras I’d hoped for and even some that I dared not dream about just yet.
– He knows best for us, even when we don’t. I didn’t ever want a parakeet; I wanted “every day” birds to fit the scriptures I cling to so tightly. Upon looking closer at him, I realized he was my favorite color teal/green. Not only that, but he is brilliantly colored and looks like he was hand-painted with watercolors and acrylics. I looked at about 30 more parakeets at the pet store, and not ONE had my favorite color on them or were as beautiful as My Boy Bleu. Papa hand-painted him for me as a constant display of His intimate knowledge of my heart, likes, and desires.
– He also has a sense of humor. I named Sir Downton because I love the show and thought he needed a very regal name since he’s not all big and flashy like Bleu. Then I realized “down” is feathers, and I laughed. But then, the pet store told me he’s a SOCIETY Finch. HAHA! His name screams Downton Abbey society chap – touché, God.
– Spending time with Him is NEVER a waste. Because I sat with Him for just a little while, He structured it so that everything I needed and wanted was in one location – no need to spend my whole day going from sale to sale.
– We never know how and when He’s choosing to provide. Seek Him and His presence first, and He will take care of the rest (stuff) and the REST (rest/energy).
There is ALWAYS treasure, never junk. It just takes the right person to come and call out the value.


Does God Give and Take Away?

Escape to Reality

Job_by_ArtistXeroCreationsThe entire Bible is good for you, but you won’t get much out of it unless you know Jesus Christ. To understand the written word, you need to know the Living Word. If you try to read the Bible without an appreciation of Jesus – who He is and what He has done – you may end up taking someone else’s medicine. Some verses will appear to contradict others and you will get confused.

In the first part of this study on God’s gifts, we looked at a sincere lady in the Bible who mistakenly believed that God gives us bad gifts like death and poverty. Today I want to look at a man who had a slightly different problem. He believed that God gives us good gifts only to take them away again. You can probably guess that I’m talking about Job. Job had this one really…

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Your Song Made it Worth It

Tiny thing of only three
Golden pigtails all amiss
She swings and swings
Swings and sings
Flinging little legs with passionate kicks

Here she can finally be
She clearly sees her Papa
The higher she flings
The louder she sings
He can hear her at this height

Little verses from little lungs
Breathed with the beat
In her little bird heart
All else melts away
Like crayons in the sun
When she kicks and flings
And swings and sings

“I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul,
Take joy my King
In what you hear
May it be a sweet,
Sweet sound
In Your Ear”

No care in the world
But her Lord and worship
Unaware of the evil next door
Of the man who would come
For her innocence and song

Tiny thing of only four
Knows more of the world than she ought
Her song silenced in shame unspoken
Now, she kicks and flings and screams
For survival
Not for fun

Twenty-some odd years later, the broken little girl was emprisoned in an adult body, ruled by shame. Half of her heart longed for Her Lord to return to her, hold her close to His chest, and show her what love was supposed to look like. The other half, revolted; where the hell was He when these things happened? What kind of Father leaves a three year old in an old garage in the hands of lustful men? Men who held her to their chests, suffocated and abused her. Those who got close took all they could til she was a carcass of dry bones. Love? Well, what the heck is that? Does she even know what love looks like? Or peace? Or trust or joy or safety?

Her actions were her own, yet not. Her heart buried in chaos and shame and control. She knew she had to get back to her Papa, but she had no strength for the journey.

That’s where He found me. All the fragments of me, strewn across moments and personas and locked levels of closeness. My spirit crying out, my mind and body failing at every turn. He met me there.

About two months ago, I found an old photograph of my three year old self on my old swing set – the one I had before “the incident.” Before I even made that connection, I would weep, like, uncontrollably even time I happened upon that photo. I never quite knew why – I was dangling from the monkey bars, huge grin on my face. That was a happy time. Yet somehow, my soul knew something my head had forgotten.

When I was given the revelation of why this photograph hurt so much, I was also reminded of my aspirations to be the next Amy Grant. Even at three, I just knew I had the vocals to lead people to Jesus by the millions. I’d sneak away to my swing set, swing as high as I could, and sing at the top of my lungs, feeling like He really could hear me better since I was closer to Him on the up swings. And it was always that same, 80s cheese ball Vineyard song. Always. Repeat.

It’s been quite a journey that started when I was about 20 and intensified when I started serious counseling 3 years ago. But, about three weeks ago, God stepped in and completely healed these memories. He stripped away the shame that has insulated me from intimacy with Him, and shortly after that, He gave me a powerful revelation of my salvation – a prayer of mine for YEARS, that I would feel what Jesus felt, know He was really real, and physically feel His love and forgiveness. It’s all had a domino effect trickling deep into every other crevice of my being. I was set free, and I stepped into my true identity for the first time since I was three years old. Since that day, I have been singing. Loudly. About everything, all day. He restored my song. I even received the gift of tongues, which I suspect has always been there, but it’s in singing form, not spoken. I sing in the Spirit, but my song needed to be redeemed. I feel His peace for the first time – in fact, the feeling was so foreign to me that I couldn’t even name what I was feeling when the lady praying with me asked. Someday, I’ll share these stories.

But for now, I want to share is what happened last night. Watching the Son of God movie for the second time, God showed up. I felt my heart responding powerfully to Jesus’ torture and crucifixion. I felt my sins nailing Him to that cross. I felt His compassion for me, and my little heart cried out, “Jesus, what were you thinking in that moment before death? Oh, Papa, please tell me you gave Him comfort, gave Him hope, gave Him relief!” In that moment, Jesus spoke clearly to me:

“Little One, I was seeing you.
I was watching you swing,
and I passionately loved you.
Your song made it worth it.”

And then the Jesus on the screen cried out to heaven and released His spirit.

As he hung there, fully human and grasping at life, Papa God showed Him me.

And He decided my song was worth every moment.