I’ve been meaning to post or blog about this for awhile, but I’ve had a lot going on…including how I even felt about this, or what I believed. As some of you know, there’s a revival thing happening over at Bethesda church in Lindale, Texas. Just like every revival or “revival” as some say, it’s a subject of controversy and scrutiny based on the person holding the microphone. I visited on the 8th night, not really worried about the guy with the mic, because it’s not about the guy right? If it is, then it’s not a revival, its a concert and a waste of time. A LOT of wasted time because these things go ALL NIGHT. So I went that night, and I wasn’t feeling well spiritually or relationally. But at the very least, Halle loves this church and she would have a nice time. Not only was I not feeling well in my spirit or heart, but there was a very heavy burden of depression and anxiety on my body. This can be a normal part of life and definitely part of dealing with life’s burdens. But it had gotten to the point I could barely function. I tried everything to fix the problem (not drugs because that just masks the symptoms, alters brain function and causes lots of new problems with side effects, but not judging because if I had insurance I probly would’ve used them. But I do prefer to face my problems head on, the hard way or the real way I say). Well, nothing worked. A few minutes after 9pm, after all the jubilant singing (during which I sat in the back with my arms crossed and scowling), Todd Bentley started talking about miracles he saw the night before. Someone watching on Facebook Live had been healed of schizophrenia. Someone else had been healed of another severe mental problem, much more severe than my experience. If you can compare these things. Not really participating in the moment, I just thought to myself, as if I was describing it to someone else, “Oh..so people have been healed of mental illness here.” In that same moment the burden lifted off of me. Like 2 tons of weight lifted. It was just gone. No one prayed over me, or hit me on the forehead, or made a show. It was just gone, the very moment I believed it happened to someone else. I’m not sure if I even believed. I think I wanted someone else to believe, but somehow it touched me and it happened. I didn’t yell or dance around or even smile. I didn’t go to the front and testify, even though I wanted to, I just don’t like being in the spotlight. So we left. It was past Halle’s bedtime anyway. I left with a healing on par with a dead person being raised. My condition had been that bad and the outcome was that good.
The next few weeks I struggled to relearn how to live without that weight and worry. Sometimes it felt like the healing didn’t work somehow. But I knew I had to learn how to live free, just like someone has to learn how to walk again after being in an accident. I also had to relearn how to believe again too. I was constantly searching for truth and answers, so there was a lot of revelation and learning happening every day. It was a long journey to take, even though it was all between my ears and in my heart…too much to describe here. This went on constantly for weeks, and I frequently consulted with friends for perspective. Hurt from when people had hurt me, coming from religiosity that was a big undercurrent that both propelled me forward and also held me back. I found a lot of truth that gave me peace to get beyond the hurt, outrage, and the feelings of religious oppression. Again, friends, even very religious but loving ones helped me through this. I knew I couldn’t just disbelieve and walk away either. I’ve seen and experienced the actual power of actually just saying the name “Jesus”. Even in those who didn’t believe. (Someone in that equation believed obviously though) I’ve seen chains broken and released. I’ve been healed of PTSD, and there is no cure for PTSD, just lots of therapy and accommodating for it. I’ve been set free from pain and fear. I’ve received peace that goes beyond description. All from punctuating a sentence with “Jesus”. There’s no going back after seeing that. But what about everything else? There’s a lot of religiosity and religious, hurtful people that just ruin it for the rest of us. Gosh, that was a bold thing to say. But it’s true right? Religious hypocrites are always the reason given for people not turning to Jesus. It’s a huge turn off to feel hated. Even when they think they are loving or preaching love, we know what hate feels like, and there’s no way going back from that. Oh, but there is. We can choose to look beyond the people and just be the person that doesn’t do that, and keep loving those people because they’re on their path too, hopefully going somewhere with all that. Needless to say now, I had a lot of contention to contend with.
Then yesterday, on the first day of the 8th week of the revival (I had not been back since the first time) I was given a steady stream of signs throughout the day that I should visit Bethesda that night. (Eight has the meaning of new beginnings) Again, I wasn’t in the best place or in the best attitude, but I knew that feelings are temporal and nothing to stake my existence on. So I just went. But really, I wanted an answer. A friend working at the revival had told me earlier in the day that everyone attending that night was going to get a prophetic word. I wanted an answer very clear and loud about my children, the point of all this tragedy in my life, but mostly just an answer about my children. Nothing else really matters to me. Joy, happiness, accomplishment, success, relationships, all nothing compared to the utter exhaustion I felt about seeking restoration and justice for my children. I arrived at the church early, scowled through worship (trying to pretend to be okay for the sake of those around me), scowled through Todd Bentley speaking (no longer trying to pretend), writhed around in agony when my back began to hurt (It’s gotten to be a normal, excruciating part of my life now), and assured Halle “yes it’s almost over’…until 11:30pm when a group of about 10 people went to the front and asked everyone to come up and receive a word. HalleluYah was delusionally tired (even in the summer she goes to bed by 8:30) so I carried her and waited. It was a long line, and the prophets (not a title but a description of their anointing) were giving everyone their all, including all the time they needed. While I was in line, a prophet, a young man with a very warm and caring demeanor, walked in my direction and asked who had back pain. Myself and another person raised their hand. He came to me first, and began describing the pain, which is an odd kind of pain (crunching was the word I settled on). He held my hand and prayed for my back. It felt like a gigantic hand was pushing against my lower back, although no one touched me. He continued on, with more authority this time, and commanded the pain to never return. The pain really was gone. I didn’t care though. I wanted an answer about my children. I tried to pause in my determination to appreciate what was just given to me. Someone just gave me a gift, selflessly, with total belief. So I accepted it. The young prophet went on. He spoke about my writing skills, music, teaching, and what the future looks like for that. I’ve received this word many time before, so it was almost funny he spoke on it again. It was really God speaking though, right? That’s the whole point. Otherwise it would just be a really weird corporate mystical therapy session. So basically God just healed my back, and reminded me about things I would accomplish. I tried to appreciate it. But I moved over in line to wait for another prophet to get my answer. This time another warm, caring, but older man spoke to me. And….HE SAID EXACTLY THE SAME THING THE FIRST MAN DID. There was no way he could have heard the first prophecy given to me. He did use his own words to explain it, but it was the same thing. He also added that I was going to have a long life, and he saw me walking down an aisle. (Wedding, barf) I knew it was God telling me “This present time and circumstance will pass, and you will continue to live a life with purpose and new beginning.” But I grew impatient and the pain in my heart was taking over at this point. I waited for him to pause while he was awaiting another word from God, and just blurted out/demanded/sobbed, “I need an answer about my children!” The man said that he didn’t know the answer, but God did, and God wasn’t telling him. He went on to pray and petition for me, addressing the pain of a mother’s heart, and giving me advise on continuing to seek and declare for my children. It was so sweet and loving. I was bawling big time by now, and had to seek out at least 3 tissues to clean up. And I got back in line. It was probably around midnight by now, Halle was deliriously annoying one of our friends, and I knew it was time to get her in bed. I said, “Ok, one more try.” and walked up to a young woman who took my hands. And….she totally said the same thing the other guys said. I couldn’t help but laugh at this point. I liked the descriptive way she spoke, and these prophecies are really cool and everything I want to do in life. Lots of artsy stuff, helping women heal and empower themselves. But I wondered if she could physically feel the pain that felt like could possibly be pulsating out of my body and onto the innocent people around me. Surely she knew why I was there. Then she said it. “You’re looking for an answer. About one specific thing.” I nodded. She went on, “God isn’t going to tell me.” I visibly wilted and tried not to cry even more. She hurriedly went on to explain, “I see the petition in your heart. You ask with all your being unceasingly. This subject is constantly rising up in your heart. I can’t see what it says. But God sees it. He knows and he wants you to know that you are going to be washed up on the shores of land, where you will live free. You are about to wash up on the shores of revival.” Why was revival the answer? But this is the message I’ve been getting for years. Here again, this same message arrives like a carrier pigeon that changes form and waits for me everywhere, to say, “revival.” She went on to describe the ocean I was in, the land, and the washing up. I saw it clearly in my head, and the meaning of it struck so deep in my mind and heart it was too much to bear. I almost screamed just to get the feeling out. But instead I put my face in my gross tissues and quietly yelled. It was so loud in the church with all the prophesying going on I could have screamed and no one would have thought anything of it.
Again and again and again I have been receiving dreams, visions, and prophecy about water. Gushing, raging, torrential water. Even in real life water is everywhere in my life, in ways that are dramatically in my face. After all the dreams and visions about water, the water signs in real life stick out to me that much more. The other day I was defrosting my freezer, and none of the water went into the correct place, but instead poured out like a waterfall all over me and the floor. There’s a leak in my vehicle, so that every time it rains, the water pools over the driver’s side somehow, and when I get in and start driving, it gushes all over me. I find that one particularly ridiculous. I mean c’mon, really?! I have a whole list of things like this. In one of my repetitive dreams, it is not raining outside, but water like from a fireman’s hose breaks through the roof, and into a coffee cup I’m holding. The force of the water should destroy the cup and me, but it doesn’t. It gushes. And I laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And the other people in the room look at me like I’m crazy because I’m laughing. Water symbolizes revival. What is revival anyway? A bunch of people turning their hearts toward God? A bunch of people turning their hearts in love towards their fellow man? A bunch of people choosing to live in balance, transcendence, outpouring, selflessness? I think it means a lot of things. I think it means something very simple too. I gravitate towards the simplicity I see in my dreams, visions, and prophecies received. And somehow my exhausted self is going to wash up on the shores of this. And somehow that’s my answer.
I’m still mad, still not giving up, and I still need to know how my children are going to find restoration and justice. Is there restoration and justice in revival? I’m going to keep seeking. My back is still healed. I usually wake up and hear all kind of crunching sounds to the beat of excruciating stabs of pain I have to breathe through. This morning I felt like there were new muscles in my lower back that needed to stretch. No pain. I’ve been sitting in a hard metal chair for the duration of typing this post, and no pain. I have this new sense of revelation and knowing about my life, the same kind of knowing a person has when they set plans in the future , like enrolling in school or booking a flight. It’s not a concrete knowing how the semester or trip will go, but you did your part to get there. It might be frustrating to some that after years of therapy, counseling, and suffering, it was someone yelling, “be healed!” that healed me of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and a really messed up back. Actually, I was healed of the depression and anxiety with no prayer or yelling. And I never even tried to get medical help for my back. It was just a low priority compared to everything else. I can’t give anyone a formula, a reason or explanation. It’s more human to recommend the latest pill to pop, right? Or is it? Were we created, designed, or evolved to avoid the bigger picture and pretend it’s all taken care of with a pill? Even herbs and oils are on this carnal level that works with, but doesn’t directly address the rest of us…whatever makes us, the entity, the soul, spirit, energy, higher energy, ect.
At this point I’m grateful for a day to wake up without physical pain, and a balm placed over the pain in my heart. Maybe not a balm. If feels more like a alarm clock that’s set to go off at a certain time, but unknown to me. It’s just enough to keep fighting through and pushing for the moment I wash up on the shore, and start running.
If this speaks to you, get in your car. Get on the plane. Come and see what is happening here. I hear this is happening all over. And to be clear, I’m not a member of Bethesda church. I’ve never been a member of any church. It’s not just at Bethesda, but this fellowship is the most focused, pumped up, obsessed, hungry, thirsty, and desirious for revival of any church I’ve been to. I actually prefer the House of Faith in Tyler if we’re going to nitpick my church attendence. I like how HOF doesn’t have a stage, it meets on Friday nights so I can go to Bethesda or another church on Sundays. I like how the preacher at HOF speaks like a mixture of Tupac and Daniel Kolenda. But there’s really just ONE church! We’re all connected and networked and unified as one body. We affect each other and respond to each other even if we’re not cognitively aware of it. There isn’t room for opinions or judgement. I love feeling free to spend time with all my fellowship families. There’s just as much revival and prophecy and supernatural at HOF as at Bethesda. But if you walk in the doors of Bethesda, you look at anyone there and they know. We all came for the same reason. Have you heard rumors of healings and miracles somewhere? Yes, THAT kind. Dead brought to life, blind seeing, deaf hearing, bum knee working, lost lives finding life. When Todd Bentley goes home, it’s not over. It’s not the dude, it’s our hearts uniting in love and looking for more. We need to get ready to REALLY unite, to work together, love together, forgive together, and learn together. As one church. The Lindale area churches are already on this level. They get it, and probably don’t even realize how good they are at it. But *we*, the global church, all the colors and flavors, we gotta get it together. I’ve had a vision of revival in East Texas since I was a teenager. Why hold it back, why keep it restricted? Let’s let it flow across the globe. I had a lot of faith for revival when I was young, but now after I’ve been knocked down, knocked around, beaten down and barely dragging myself along, I can actually see it around me. Plus, a little bird told me.