Miracles are Real Y’all… I Got new Knees!

I started dancing when I was 9 years old. I saw my sister’s dance team and I wanted to be as beautiful and graceful.

I danced and everyone told me I wasn’t good enough. Even at 9 years old, there was the spirit to thrive and overcome. The next year for dance auditions, I took my place as 1 of 3 captains out of the 40 girls that auditioned.

I’m very loud and expressive but there’s still a part of me where words or expressions cannot express my thoughts and only movement could free me to do that.

When I danced, I felt beautiful, fully me. I loved the glitz, glamour and the spotlight.

Dancing became my idol and everything I did, it was for that. I danced to feel whole. I danced to escape. I danced to hide who I really was. If I could have all eyes on me and captivate an audience, they would only be able to see the projected image. They would be entertained but I never let anyone really know how in pain or how much I was hurting.

Dance was my life. I had tons of friends but no one knew me. I was bulimic and my relationship with my parents was basically non-existent.

When I was 15, dance rejected me and hurt me. I fractured my knee after trying to do a jump split on newly waxed wooden floor with new shoes. I didn’t jump high enough and my knee broke the fall. I was supposed to be out for 6 months. I was out for 3 weeks. Doctors said if I didn’t stop dancing, I would have arthritis by the time I was 21. I kept dancing and surely enough I got arthritis in my knee around the age of 23.

I learned to live with bad knees. My knees could forecast the weather. My knees prevented me from doing many things because I knew that it would just end up hurting too much. They would randomly pop when I walked or they went out and made me fall down. a lot. I was 20 going on 80.

I’ve been a Christian my whole life but I am became a believer and in a real relationship with Jesus about 6 years ago.

Jesus tore down the idol of dance and became King. Ultimately, I learned to find beauty, grace, strength and everything dance taught me.. in Him.

I hurt my other knee while I was on The World Race. I was running and all of a sudden it just gave out. It too swelled up like a baseball and it was a humbling time where I learned to ask for help. I believe in miracles. I’ve seen them. God has used me to release them but I never thought I would be a testimony of one. People have prayed for my knees and there would be temporary relief but the pain would always come back with a vengeance.

2 months ago, my church New Philadelphia sent some mighty warriors on missions around the world. They came back full of even more strength, even more fire, faith and hope. As I prayed for them- I knew that what they received on the field was for me too. It was up to me to claim their testimonies over myself and for my life.

One Sunday, Pastor Anna led by the Holy Spirit wanted to release healing in the house. There have been other times when healing was released but something felt different this time and my heart could sense it was happening. Pastor Anna called on those who just came back from missions to hear from the Lord in one word what healing He wanted to release. I said, “Lord I’ll believe it’s for me if you say it. I heard the Lord say, “I’m coming for you.” One by one they all prophesied what was going to be healed. Sarah was the last and said, “knee pain.” I immediately started crying and felt the Spirit fall upon me. Pastor Brock, Kim, and Alanna prayed for me and I immediately felt fire. Then in the middle of the prayer, Pastor Brock said, ” I feel as though we should be laying our hands directly on your knees.” They put their hands on my knees and I felt and heard tiny pops in my knees and what sounded like bones grinding together. I began weeping knowing that God was instantly healing my knees. Jesus gave me new knees even when I myself was willing to settle for my bad knees. He wouldn’t let me settle. He always raises us up to greater levels.

I was able to fully put my weight on my right knee without any pain and I could stretch it up higher than I was able to without any pain. During service, I was even able to cross my knees underneath for a while without feeling any pain.

The next day I worked out and realized I stopped to rest in a kneeling position- which I haven’t been able to do in about 5 years!

This year I turn 30 (with mixed emotions in about 2 weeks). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that something I had given up on, God restored. I was fully content with janky, arthritic knees but that’s the type of God we can call Father… that he always remembers things that we have forgotten or hidden. Miracles are alive and present just as much as they were in Jesus’ day.

Dance was my everything but Jesus has become my everything. Dance could never heal the hurts the way my God does. His timing is perfect in everything.

My prayer for you as you read this is that you would be filled with the hope of Christ. I pray that you would have a fresh revelation of who He is and what He is doing in your life. I pray that you would rest in His goodness knowing that if the “even if’s” don’t happen you can confidently rest in His perfect love. I pray boldness over you and that you would claim greater miracles in your life. You are beautiful testimony of miracles that have yet to happen.

You are a beautiful testimony.

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2015: Great Loss, Greater Joy

When I think of 2015, lots of things come to mind.

 

I turned 29.

I moved to Itaewon.

I laughed hysterically. (When do I not?)

Some dreams went to sleep.

Other dreams were awakened.

I got to love naked babies in Cambodia.

I wore flower crowns as much as I could.

I ate a cricket.

I became a Kindy teacher.

My friends took a boat out for a joyride and got caught.

I baked and cooked.

My grandfather died.

My other grandfather died.

 

The list could go on. In the beginning of the year, God said that it would be a year of increase and joy. I didn’t think that it would mean a year of increased pain and suffering to get that joy. I’ve never felt heartbreak like I have in this past year. I lost both my grandfathers within months of each other and I was wrecked.

But again, I’ve never felt the presence of the Lord so thick. When I couldn’t even walk another step forward, the Lord lifted me and carried me. My family grew into greater depths with each other and as my grandfathers passed away- my family here in Korea was revealed as they showed their love and support.

I’m thankful for the pain because it gave me a greater appreciation for the joy that would be released. I’m thankful for the times where I had to be so dependent on the Lord because it taught me how to appreciate the increase when it happened.

In the past months, I’ve laughed harder than I ever had. I’ve loved more than I ever could. Every time I fall, I don’t think I have the strength or the guts to stand back up. Yet again, I’ve learned to stand up after falling but that’s when God’s strength has come in and helped me stand up. My deep deep heart’s desires have been re-awakened. I am victorious through Christ who is always the Victor.

On this last day of 2015, my heart is full of gratitude, love and just great expectancy for the next year.

As I prayed for what 2016 would look like, I heard the word ‘intimacy’. I pray that it be a year full of deep, intense relationship and greater depths with My God. I am excited to see more of his greatness unfold.

2016: Let’s go from greater glory to greater glory…

You are Seen

I met a sweet and lovely woman yesterday. She walked into church close toward the end of the service and I could tell she was uncomfortable. She looked a bit disheveled, but I was reminded of my past. I immediately heard the Lord say, “I see her. I love her. That one is my precious daughter.”

We made eye contact during service, I smiled at her and she quickly looked the other way. The sanguine in me wanted to be offended. The old me wanted to leave her be because when I was there I didn’t want anyone even looking at me. But the Spirit within me said, “She will be blessed. We will talk later.” Also, I think that Pastor Marcus’ anointing for more and expecting more for others was ever so present.

I prayed that the peace of the Lord would just fill her up in a new way. After service, I smiled at her again and she quickly turned her head again. I would give it a few minutes before approaching. Usually, I’m not this persistent but if the Lord says, go… I go.

I sat down beside her and introduced myself. After the small talk introduction questions, she kept on responding, “I’m Muslim.” She didn’t look me in the eye. Her arms were crossed. Everything about her was telling me to leave, but the Spirit told me to stay. Here is our conversation…

Lovely: I’m Muslim.

Me: I’m glad you’re here. I really like that green on you.

Lovely: Did you not hear what I said? I’m Muslim.

Me: Yes, and like I said I’m so glad you’re here. How did you come to Korea?

Lovely: My ex-boyfriend. Now, we’re not together and I just don’t know. I don’t know what to do.

Me: I came to Korea with a heartbreak, but let me tell you… you are stronger than you think you are or what you’ve been told. You will stand up on your feet again and you’ll be stronger from before you fell down. It’s hard right now, but trust me you’re a fighter so when the wind hits you in the face when you stand up again, you’ll just get a glimpse of the strength that’s been put in you. When you do stand up, hair blowing in the wind, you will walk into greater things. Do not lose hope.

Lovely: How’d you get through it?

Me: Jesus.

 For the first time, she looks up into my eyes with a beaming smile and says, “Thank you.” We proceed to giggle about BFFs, pizza, ice cream, birthdays and asks if I could get ice cream with her on her birthday because she doesn’t have many friends.. I respond with a “Duh” and again, we break into laughter.

As we were talking, I could feel some of the walls she put up come down and I could see her brilliantly shining through. There were a million things I wanted to say, but didn’t. There was no dramatic salvation or debate. It was just two women laughing and one who needed to be reminded that she could laugh again and that she was seen.

I’m reminded of this beautiful journey the Lord has taken me on. I’m reminded of how he literally carried me out of depression and self-hatred to release his joy. I’m reminded that no matter how much we try to push Him away or go unnoticed, He longs to look us in the eye and laugh with us.

Beautiful people,
You are not unseen. You don’t go unnoticed. You are the apple of His eye. You are seen, heard and fought for. You are fiercely pursued. You are strong. You are a fighter. You are worthy to look straight into the eyes of your Creator. Today, I pray that you boldly look into the eyes of the Beloved and you allow him to lavish you with love, joy, peace, and identity. I pray that you take steps toward becoming the giant-slayer, royalty, man/woman of God that you are called to be, but above all revel in knowing that you are a SON and that you belong. There are too many that are waiting for you to boldly rise up so they can be released into their destiny also. You are seen.

…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives… (Isaiah 61)

Happy Birthday Naphtali!

704011_447206172006800_537033979_oExactly one year ago, I launched Naphtali. On The World Race, in Thailand, month 5,the Lord started giving me dreams and visions about shoes and after much prayer and seeking the Lord, I heard: “Makes shoes, save women. “ Thus starting the beautiful journey of Naphtali.

This journey has been much different and crazier than anything I could have ever imagined. The Lord said it would be and to ultimately just trust him.

I moved to Atlanta knowing that sex trafficking was an issue not realizing that it served as one of the biggest shoe buying events in all of America. I remember a friend telling me that if I could just find a way in that it would open so many doors.

I got a job as a manager/buyer for a shoe store without having any fashion experience. She said she just liked me… FAVOR. I was granted immediate access to the Atlanta Shoe Market. I met shoe reps, designers and even learned about what women like in their shoes over the course of two years. I was given the opportunity to learn about running a business.

July 28. It was a date that the Lord spoke to me over and over for several months and took the step to start a business with only $50 in my checking account. After, it was story after story of the Spirit dropping on people to lead them to give toward Naphtali or to provide for me to eat that day. I remember it when it got to the knitty gritty of $10 and I had a specific vision for a shoe and needed to buy an embellishment to make it. The embellishments were $8 and I remember the Lord asking ”… Are you really trusting in me or are you just saying that you are? “I bought the embellishments not really knowing how the Lord would provide but knowing that he would. The next day my tax return came in. I bawled my eyes out like a baby.1085148_10153096641150150_1610845907_o

Last year I premiered 20 custom designed pairs of shoes among friends and family and shared my heart to stop human trafficking and passion for freedom and justice for all… and my love for all fabulous, beautiful and glittery things.

Within two weeks, everything I had placed my confidence in was taken away. It led to one of the deepest heartbreaks I have ever had. Everything I had known and built up in Atlanta was gone within seconds. Laying in fetal position crying my eyes out, I cried to the Lord, “I don’t know what you’re doing but I know and believe that you are still a good God and more than ever I need you now.”

The Lord responded with, “It’s time to dream big again and walk into even greater glory. I have even more for you but you have to choose it.”

I cried and then cried some more. One of my favorite bible stories is in Mark when all think the little girl is dead but the Lord takes her hand and tells her “Talitha Koum” (Little girl, I say to you get up!) and she rose up and walked around.

In my moment of weakness, I allowed him to take my hand and I rose. I left the little girl of defeat and circumstance on the ground and I rose as a woman of victory and full of hope, knowing nothing except that my Papa would provide and the best was yet to come.

I am so thankful for my time in Atlanta. It had such a huge impact on Naphtali and still continues to do so. There were certain people and certain paths that had to be crossed in order for it to happen and be where it is at now.

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And I know the same will be true for Korea.

When I arrived in Korea, the Lord said, “See I just wanted you to see that you could stand up again. I knew that you would but I needed you to see that you could.”

See that’s the thing about the Lord. He doesn’t allow us to settle for mediocrity. He’s a God who raises us up to His Standards and not allow us to settle for our own standards. His plans and dreams and desires are so much bigger than anything we could ever dream of.

You are so much stronger than you think you are. Beautiful people, I pray that whatever you face that you know and believe that Papa is good and that He never withholds his best for you. Dream big because the dreams he has for you are even greater. Praying that whether you need to stand up or you’re running furiously that you do so in boldness knowing that you are loved and the best is yet to come.

Happy Birthday Naphtali. I can’t wait to experience what lies ahead. 🙂

3 Weeks in!

I have been in South Korea for about 3 weeks. It has been super incredible. For those that don’t know, I am teaching English at a wonderful school to super adorable children who constantly make me laugh. I’m also trying to dramatically rid of my debt along with save some money to further Naphtali and to start looking for factories to mass produce.

superasianphotoI love it here. I know it is still early, but I had a feeling that I would. The people are nice. The fashion is incredible .I feel more inspired here in 3 weeks than I have been in the past 3 months. The food is great (Bring on the Kimchi!). My job is awesome. My coworkers are so nice. I have a gorgeous apartment. I think I found the church I want to be a part of. They are legit, strong, beautiful worshippers after the Lord’s heart.

My Korean is terrible. Despite my awful attempts at speaking Korean, there is so much beauty here.

Every day I get to experience beauty. Lush greenery and mountains surround me. It is a constant reminder that life is exploding and happening. It is a reminder that His blessings are abundant. It is also a reminder of promises fulfilled. This is a view from my rooftop….

viewfromtheroof

 

Just a short update to let you know that I am doing just fine and dandy. This new season of life is going to be amazing. More blogs coming up about life, teaching, beauty and what the Lord is doing here!