Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Loss of Miscarriage

We buried our precious little one today. While our sweet little person wasn’t due to take their first breath until March 24 of next year, this tiny person was already a part of our lives. This baby had graced our dreams and laced our daily thoughts. We were thrilled to become parents yet again and for Benzi to be the world’s best big brother. However, this was not to be, at least not now.

While in Jerusalem we found out that at nearly 11 weeks our baby was only measuring seven weeks and the ultrasound tech told us, “there is no heart beat.” We were crushed. That short sentence seemed to hang in the air while it slowly suffocated our hopes and dreams. Finding out the baby you have been creating wouldn’t see the world is awful in itself; being in a land that is not your home only adds to the heart break and discomfort. But through it all God has been good to us. Through a miracle we had our tickets changed to come home early and while a week before it would have cost us over $1,000, on this day it was only $20. The trip home was difficult. Miscarrying on a plane is about as terrible as you would imagine. But again the Lord was good to us. He sent me flight attendants who were incredibly kind, understanding, and helpful. On one flight my tired little toddler reached up and stroked my cheek and kissed my hand.

 The first 24 hours back in Chicago we were so thrilled to once again be in our home that I thought for sure the grief would be mild. No one could have prepared me for the heart break and disappointment that was to come.

 While I was miscarrying a Facebook friend posted about supporting Planned Parenthood after all of the videos that came out. I was heartbroken to think that babies just like the one I was losing were being disposed of in such a callous manner and there were people who still supported the organization. If those “fetuses” were not babies the implication was mine wasn’t either. This was crushing. How could someone say my grief was not warranted, that my loss wasn’t really a loss?

I passed a baby that at one time had a heart beat, I passed a placenta that at one time protected my baby. What more constitutes a life and therefore a loss? To know that there were people who thought that I was passing nothing more than a glob of tissue devastated me. To hear people speak so flippantly about babies near to my own child’s size as unwanted and therefore un-human, was soul-crushing. I had already begun to rearrange my life around this baby. This baby was already Benzi’s little brother or sister, the one who would keep me up all night, and the baby for whom I shopped for cloth diapers and clothes. The limits that at one time frustrated me like, no deli meat and no sushi were boundaries I desperately wanted because they meant I would one day hold this precious one. Unfortunately the way I wanted to hold my baby would not be the way I eventually did.

The loss has been overwhelming and I’ve never experienced anything like this. My heart is still grieving, my body is betraying itself while my hormones rebalance and I feel like I’m living in someone else’s body. I find myself daydreaming of 18 year old Jessie and desperately wanting to go back in time, back to an era where heart break like this wasn’t known. I find myself talking to that 18 year old, telling her, “you have no idea the things you will face in life but you also have no idea how strong you are.”

This journey is still being traveled, the tears still flow freely, and I’m not sure I’ll ever understand. Seeing birth announcements for March babies rips at my heart. I never thought this would happen to us. Yet even through all of this, the Lord comforts my soul. I cry out to Jesus and He hears me. Not only does He hear me, he listens, and acts, sending me love letters through His messengers and His words. My sweet little baby may never be held by me but he is held by one greater than me, one who’s sandals I’m not fit to tie, one who loved me so deeply He gave up His own life. My strength is in the King of the Universe, the Everlasting God. My soul will bless the Lord and I will worship His holy name because when I cannot stand, I will fall on Him. He is my hope and my strength.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Good News

I've been thinking a lot about the life we have been offered lately. In the Bible Study I am involved in we have been talking about the Gospel, or the “Good News”, and I'm trying to grasp a concrete idea about what these terms may mean and what they may look like. In the New Testament, the word, “gospel”, or “good news”, is used 96 times! I think God must be emphasizing this idea for a reason as He felt the need to mention it so often! Yet even in though we would all agree to the importance of this concept, I believe it is something that we all struggle with from time to time. If we are in fact saints who occasionally sin then why so often do we feel like sinners who fall so easily to temptation? Why are we so quick to forget who our Father is and what His son, Yeshua promised us? Perhaps the problem doesn’t lie within our forgetfulness but rather in our lack of knowledge and understanding.

Yeshua says the, “kingdom of God is near”. What is the “Kingdom” actually and what it would look like if it were actually near. Yeshua mended the divide that occurred in the garden. If we live in that freedom of the relationship with our Creator, we begin to understand what that Kingdom may actually be.

God didn’t need to create us in order to be praised. Within the community of the trinity there is constant praise going on. The Father is always pointing to the Son and the Son continues to praise the Father and the Holy Spirit is there “just working it all out”. If we were created in His image, then aren’t we supposed to be mimicking this in our communities? Perhaps we need to begin to ask this question, “What exactly are we inviting people to?” Are we inviting people to a community that is uplifting and encouraging or are we extending and invitation to bickering, distrust and glory stealing? We are human and we will fall to temptation and we will fail in bringing the Kingdom with us where we go, but we should be encouraging others in the body when that failure does happen.

If we truly see who we are in Him, and what He offered us when Yeshua went to that tree, then we will begin to see our value and the extent of grace. Maybe, there is more to it then a “get out of jail free” card. Maybe He wants to sit with us and let us see a part of His glory. When Moses came down off the mountain he had to cover his face because God’s glory shown all over his face and the Israelites were terrified. I don’t suggest we go around terrifying the nations; however, I do want to push us to find that glory. We are called to be a light to the nations. If we are to be a light showing the love of Yeshua for mankind, wouldn’t it be much brighter if we were to shine in the same way Moses did?

If the gospel is a precursor to the kingdom in the scriptures, then perhaps we are only living out a part of the invitation God has extended to us. We become satisfied and comfortable living in the basics of His love existing merely on His grace and mercy, but never realizing what true communion with Him would be like. Maybe God doesn’t want us to be so concerned with where He fits into our plan but rather where we fit in bringing glory to Him?

This week, may you feel the glory of our Lord shine upon you. May you ask for a desire to commune with Him and may you get a taste of what the Kingdom truly is.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Change of Attitude

Well, I’m back. When I first returned I was so incredibly depressed. My poor mama tried everything to cheer me up. I know that she was so glad to see me but I was just not glad to be back in the states AT ALL! Every time I went to talk about my trip my eyes shined and my heart leaped. I was like a mother talking about her first child sure everyone around her is happy and excited with her but it’s not the same excitement that she shares with the birth of her first child. My poor friends in Israel know this to be true, I called them countless times just to have a piece of that excitement still with me here in the states. People who have had children know this they are so excited about their child that they send pictures and emails and talk about the things their child is doing with such great joy. Those of us without children don’t share in that same level of excitement. That being said when I talk to you, whoever you may be and you ask about my trip. I will probably glaze over and talk as long as you let me about it but I will never be able to convey the emotions and the changes that happened within my heart. So I have learned to turn on my filter.
I started that trip out feeling incredibly inadequate. I have returned feeling like a beautiful woman of God. I am leaps and bounds closer to becoming the woman that God has given me visions of all along. I have been needing an attitude adjustment since I returned. I asked God for the pressure cooker and He has delivered. Every now and then the steam that comes off is overwhelming. Sometimes the steam makes it so hard to see the situation at hand. The reality of the situation not the clouded view. A mentor of mine gave me a sermon to listen to entitled, “A Change of Attitude”. I half listened to it the first time around and found so much anger welling up in me. It wasn’t my fault life just wasn’t fair. I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I wasn’t with the people I wanted to be with. I don’t have the things in life that are the desires of my heart. People have said things to me like you have your health and this and that and it could be a lot worse. I don’t like to play that game because if we are not supposed to compare on the greater side of life than we shouldn’t compare on the lesser either. And you know what life is never going to seem fair. There is always someone with more talent, better looks and an “easier” life than you. I think that instead of crying to God about how we don’t have the things we want we should be crying to God for the peace that passes all understanding.
My family is always going to have it’s quirks, people are always going to disappoint me, there will always be things I don’t understand. The goal is to find peace amidst all of this bolygon (chaos). I believe that Yeshua offers a peace that is constant even when my situations are not. I can either choose to accept His peace or I can reject it and complain about how life is not fair. I am so grateful that Yeshua didn’t complain about how unfair life was that He had to die for my sins, even for my ungratefulness how’s that for irony. Instead he pushed through His suffering, accepted His cup and looked to God for His strength. How much more of an example could we ask for. I believe that life will probably never seem fair. There will be moments in life where things seem to just “fit”. However, I believe that most of this journey on earth is a challenge. Some parts are even just plain low grade suffering. I think this is okay.
I am so grateful that when God wants us to get something He inundates us with it. Lately God has really been wanting me to learn how to “choose happiness”. Rabbi Ben told me this while I was in Israel. I have found that usually when someone says something to me and it wells up a ton of resentment and anger in me it is probably just what I needed to hear. Another mentor gave me that sermon to listen to about changing my attitude. By the 3rd time of listening to it I was finally able to get it. The pastor talked about the Israelites in the Exodus. It took them 40 years to get out of the desert but a lifetime to get the desert out of them. I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to question God in His decisions. I want to be a willing vessel. He talked about taking the fight out of our sacrifice. I have a hard time, I’m a fighter. I have had to fight for a lot of things in my life. I wonder now looking back how much I actually would have had to fight for if I would have just relaxed and rested in God’s timing.
When it comes to God’s timing I have a hard time accepting that “not right now” doesn’t mean “not ever”. I am a motivated, driven person. When I want something I will go after it and I will fight for it. My career in theatre and film was a huge fight for me. I was constantly fighting for something that I believe now God may have never had a hand in. I think it’s fine for us to put our feelers out into many things. I don’t think it’s right when we fight to force things to happen. The pastor was talking about a little girl who was told to put her toys away and when the babysitters finally made her put them away she said, “I’m putting them away, but I’m putting them away rough.” I do most everything rough with God. I think he created me to be a fighter and I am grateful for this. I am a strong and resilient young lady. However, I think that God sometimes wants to teach us things and bless us and we put up a fight. Those of you with children realize this. You may have something great planned for them but if they won’t put away their toys you can’t bless them with it. If they eat the popsicle now they won’t be hungry for their favourite dinner you have prepared. I believe most of us are 4 year olds when it comes to dealing with God in matters of our hearts. We want to hold on to our blankies when God is standing there quietly with a newer, less smelly one waiting patiently for us to hand it over. God doesn’t play tug of war with us. I feel in the midst of this exchange. I have given him the blankie but continue to find temporary blankies of comfort until I am ready. But I have to go through this temporary uncomfortableness to get ready. We are always finding temporary blankies. We are wired to do this, it’s natural. Perhaps your blankie is a hobby, a career, a substance or a relationship. Our blankies are the things that we can delve into and find solace in albeit temporary.
I was feeling very much like God was giving me these things and then ripping them out of my hands. I have to question my theology when I think that way. God has never worked like that in my past or in the scriptures. God may very well be giving me these things my heart is desiring but maybe just maybe I’m not ready for them. Does this mean I’m always going to be happy and excited about seeing something I want and then having it temporarily taken away from me and out of my control to get back? No! Of course not! What it does mean though is that I will continue to lean onto God so hard that I must be bruising Him. He is my only constant in life and He is drilling that into my heart right now. He is giving me the skill set required for the life He has planned out for me. I believe this is what He wants for me to learn to trust Him even when life says I should be running away and fighting on my own.
I would like to thank the people who mentor me for being real with me. For putting up with me when I seem so far gone. And for giving me “real spiritual food”.
God has already shown me that His plans are better than my own. What in us fights against that and causes us to hold on to the old stinky blanket? I have to trust that God did not show me this country, this life only to tease me with it and make me miserable. That is not the God I read about in the scriptures. Instead I will lean into Him and trust that He will make a way much smoother than the ambush, machete wielding attack my heart wants to make.
May you trust that God is already clearing a path through your life and your heart to get you where He wants you. May you be given God’s eyes to see the situation you are in and may you experience a change of attitude and learn to lose the roughness in your cleanup. May you give up the stinky blanket if only to be blanketless for a few moments in order to receive the incredible blessings our Papa wants to bestow on you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

House of Blessings

I have had a lot of requests in the past few days for another blog. Lately I have also received a few emails suggesting I write a book or look into journalism. With that pressure this email may wind up a literary disaster. I apologize if you joined this email purely to see pictures of Israel or to hear about what is going on here. If you did indeed join for pictures please feel free to check them out on my facebook page which should be open to the public. www.facebook.com/jessyhollingshead If this doesn’t work let me know and I will find a way to get them to you. If you would like to be removed I ask again for you to send me an email because, I would strongly dislike being that person that fills up your inbox.
Yesterday marked a full four weeks for me here in Israel. During those four weeks God has made some drastic changes in my heart. I struggle to find words to adequately describe what my soul feels so profoundly. When I last wrote I was missing the dynamics that the group offered and questioning my decision to come to Beit Bracha. I was finding it difficult to find my niche which is not a feeling I know well. Beit Bracha means, “House of Blessings” it took my mama pointing this out to me to grab my attention to what was going on. I am being surrounded by blessings some being conceived but some being birthed at this very moment. I am surrounded by active Christians, even prayer warriors.
Christine, is one of the Australian ladies here. She began motivating me to become more specific in my prayer life. I told her that I felt God wasn’t giving me any answers to things that were happening. She asked me if I was asking specific questions. I realized that I haven’t been. I have become so used to being in the waiting room that I completely forgot that I am able to ask God a specific question. I believe that God loves our honest questions.
So on Tuesday I began to get specific. I prefaced my questions with the full knowledge that if I wasn’t at the place to be asking them that He would gently let me know. I also asked that if I wasn’t able to have knowledge of the answer that He would give me peace in my spirit about that. I feel that God was just waiting for me to just ASK! I have a few questions written down in my prayer journal. One of the questions was, “are you proud of me?” I feel that I am striving so hard just to make my Creator smile with my life that I worry so much about “screwing it all up”.

I had also asked God about journalism. One of the gentleman (PHIL!) on my email list had sent me an email back telling me that he thought I was a journalist. This is something that I have toyed with from time to time. I used to think that as an actress becoming a writer would be giving up, settling for a lesser dream. I spoke with my cousin and her husband the other day. Joe told me how he thought I had grasped onto my acting dream for so long that I pushed away other opportunities in the process. I don’t think he is too far off. Writing this blog has helped me realize a tremendous amount of talents and dreams I never knew were there. I stifled so much by clenching my fists onto a dream that had my hand print all over it. I’ve said before that I always wanted to be great at something. I have no ability of being great unless I hold my hand open and allow my Creator to drop His desires and blessings into my palm. By signing everything over to Him a few weeks ago He has allowed me to realize so many things that my heart wants. I never realized that my heart wanted these things. My desires are truly lining up with the plans my Father has for me.
While on the trip I had met journalist and ex CNN reporter, David Dolan. Mr. Dolan has written three books about prophecy. He lines up scripture with what is going on in the world today. He came to speak to the group while we were in Jerusalem. After receiving Phil’s email about journalism it began to feature in my thoughts. I got David’s email address from Justin and sent him a quick email on Wednesday. I told him how I was thinking about going into the field of journalism and I wanted to schedule an informational interview with him to pick his brain and ask for advice. Within an hour from receiving my email he had emailed me back. He said he would be more than happy to set up a phone interview and help me all he could. This man is a published author and successful journalist via CNN and freelancing. I was honoured that he would even consider speaking with me.
After receiving his email I went outside to my balcony and was overwhelmed by a sense of joy and peace. I looked out over the Galilee. The sun has a way of reflecting off of the water that is magnificent. There is a view of the mountains right behind it and Tiberias off to the right. There are palm trees and a small stream in front of my bedroom. This is truly the most beautiful place I have ever been. I felt so engulfed by blessings and God’s love. I don’t deserve any of this from the wind that caresses my face to the sun that shines upon me or the dazzling views that dance in front of my eyes. Nothing in my life would merit the heaps of blessings that my Father is throwing upon me. I truly felt that God was proud of me in that moment. Within one day of asking a specific question He answered in the most intimate way. I realized in that moment that I have let my Lord romance my heart. I’ve never understood that phrase before. It encompasses me now.
I have no idea what God will bring about for me. He keeps telling me that it’s going to be quick. I have asked to be prepared. I began asking six months ago that He would put me in a pressure cooker. I am having a hard time being the potato in the pressure cooker. The potato does no work but allows the pressure cooker to soften it. I am good at being the pressure cooker always going, always doing. God has a new role for me to fill at the moment and it is one that is relaxing in Him. I know that He is faithful. He has shown me every moment I look to Him that He is in control. There is a Brooke Fraser song that says, “for we are not long here, our time is but a breath so we better breathe it, I was meant to live, I was made to love, I was made to know You.”
I am content knowing that God’s plans are ALWAYS better than mine. Per my plan I would be a starving actress in Los Angeles right now with a motorcycle that was way too big for her! I am quite happy that somewhere deep inside my heart was this passion for Israel. I am glad that I submitted to my Father so that He could evict my obsessions and reveal His desires for my life.
If I could ask you to pray for me on a few things. First thing is a situation that may provide a way for me to stay in Israel for another three months possibly longer. Secondly, there is a situation that I am not at liberty to talk about just yet. I would like you to pray for this person and situation. This has grown near and dear to my heart. I am constantly seeking God’s guidance in this and welcome your prayers. I also need prayer in paying a few of the bills that I did not expect having to cover. I assumed that I would be back in the states and working the month of August not still here in Israel serving. I have a need of $560. I have no doubts that God has placed me here and He will provide. I have alters of gratitude written all through my life. I thank you in advance for your prayers.
May you find the places where you have clenched your fists and allow God to loosen the grip and drop blessings into your palms. May you begin to become specific in your prayer life and await our Papa to answer you with the breeze that kisses your neck. May you let the Creator romance your soul in only the way He knows how and may you feel blessed beyond words are capable of describing. May our Saviours love make you speechless.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tisha B'Av

Today is Tisha b’Av. This is the 9th of Av in the Jewish calendar. This is a grave day for the Jewish people. This is the day that both temples were destroyed some 600 years apart. It is also the day that the 12 men that Moses sent out came back, Joshua and Caleb being the only two that could see God’s vision. This day is said to be the first day that the trains deporting the Jewish people were sent out of the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. You can feel the sadness of this day through these historical events. It is tradition to read Lamentations and Job and to fast. I am doing all of these things. As I sit out here on my patio I feel so gracious to be so close to the temple. Just a few hundred kilometers south stands Jerusalem where just a few days ago I walked the temple mount and cried at the Western Wall praying for these people and this country.

In reading Lamentations I know how hopeless it all may seem. Jerusalem has been crushed. Lamentations 2:16 says, All your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and gnash their teeth and say, “We have swallowed her up. This is the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.” How heartbreaking. The enemy has done just this. Many anti-semites have come so close to accomplishing their goal of annihilating this group of people. I find no rest in knowing there are still large groups of people who subscribe to this ignorance. I believe it all stems from a deep seeded jealousy.

In Lamentations 2:13, just a few verses before it reads: “What can I say for you? With what can I compare you, O Daughter of Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O Virgin Daughter of Zion? Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?” Amazing! This is the beauty in Tisha B’Av! The temple is already here! The Temple came down 2000 years ago and walked this earth. The Temple 50 days later at Shavuot or Pentecost sent the Holy Spirit to dwell among us. The Temple lives within you and me! This saddens me in the same respect it saddened me to pray at the wall. These people are anticipating and anxiously awaiting the Messiah and the Temple. I know both. God bridged the gap to Him 2000 years ago when my Saviour came to this earth as a little baby boy and grew up into a sinless man. Who then later paid the highest cost for me and you.

When we were at the Temple Mount they said that in the year 30AD the Western candle that is in the middle of the Temple Menorah began to go out. This candle was pointed towards the room that housed the Ark of The Covenant. In Leviticus God commanded that this candle would never go out. In 30 AD the candle went out and would not stay lit. On Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) they would make a sacrifice of a scapegoat. This scapegoat was tied up and led outside of the camp when the goat was pushed over the cliff the cord that was tied around the door to the Holy of Holies would turn from crimson to white. In 30 AD the Babylonian Talmud records show that the cord stopped turning white. There were also large doors that closed off the entrance to the Holy of Holies. It took many men to open these doors. In 30 AD they would not stay shut. The Talmud quotes all of these occurrences. I believe they point straight to Yeshua. Some people say that Yeshua began his mission in the year 30AD and some say that He died in the year 30AD. Neither of these dates point me away from this. When Yeshua began His mission he began bridging the gap between us and God. There was no longer a need for a scapegoat for Christ took that position. Nor was there a need to close off the room that God dwelled in.

So tonight as I fast, I fast not for the rebuilding of the Temple or the expectation of the first coming of the Messiah. I fast for the Jewish people, for the nation of Israel, for the knowledge that their eyes will be opened and God will reveal himself to them through the love of His son, Yeshua. I fast for these chosen people. I fast because I know the Saviour. I cannot begin to understand the depth and breadth of His love and I long to share that.

Monday, July 27, 2009


“This is my desire, this is my return. This is my desire to be used by you.” This Jeremy Camp song is playing as I sit out here on the patio of my home for a month at Beit Bracha (house of blessing. It truly is beautiful here. I am by far very moved in this place. From the porch I can see the Sea of Galilee and the lights of Tiberius. It is peaceful here. I am somewhat mourning the loss of the group dynamic though. I shouldn’t say somewhat. I am having some major withdrawals. I would like to take a few paragraphs to wrap up the last few days of the trip.
The last I wrote to you I was headed to hike Masada the next morning at 3 AM. This is the place where the Jewish rebels ran to in 64 AD when Rome began to overtake Israel. They lived there for 7 years before the Romans conquered them. However, they never retaliated because the Romans were sending Israeli slaves up to fight them and the religious zealots refused to take the lives of their own people. In 73 AD the Romans finally breached the walls and took over the fortress. However, when they arrived they found that everyone except for 2 women and 5 children were dead. They had cast lots and committed suicide. It is a fascinating story and the sunrise from that place is indescribable. The hike usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and I would like everyone to know I accomplished this in 27 minutes. OH YA!!! It was a great life lesson to climb this mountain. I was able to break off from the group and climb it alone. This is a big thing for me because I am very much a people person. I enjoy being in the thick of things. I love people! I was passed up by two guys who ran up the mountain. It upset me because they passed me. The competitive side in me runs deep. Then a few yards later I passed up some other people then again some others. It reminded me that in life we are often passed and we often pass. For the last few years in my career I have felt passed a lot. It makes it difficult. I realize it is not a game to see who finishes first it is a journey. On that hike I realized that God never promised to make our paths straight or clear out all the rocks or take away the looming danger of a steep drop off. He did however promise to be there with us. Guiding us if we look to Him.
Later that day we went to Ein Gedi and it was beautiful. It has made reading the Psalms that much more exciting. I know have a visual of where David may have sat as he poured out his heart to our God.
We then moved onto the Dead Sea. It was fantastic. We got a few pictures of us floating around and covered like mud monkeys! Justin told us that the spiritual significance is that the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea but nothing flows out of it. This is the same for us, if nothing is flowing out of us we too will become dead. We all decided this was the toilet bowl of the earth. It was so incredibly hot here. You could swim through the air, not because of humidity but because of the thickness of heat.
On the way to the Holocaust museum the next day we passed some sunflowers and Justin pointed out that a sunflower is ready for harvest when it is bowed to the sun. God is amazing how his nature points right to Him. We then arrived at Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) I knew that this was going to be one of the hardest parts of the trip for me. I knew this from the minute I saw the itinerary. The Holocaust is one of those things I have a very hard time dealing with. I don’t think I will ever understand how someone could have bought into that. However, I don’t think things are any different now. These things are going on all over the world and we all let them slide. I am not better than the population of these axis countries in the 30’s and 40’s. I would like to think I’m different but I’m not. I pretty much broke down throughout the whole museum. I have such a heart for these people and to see what had been done to them broke me. I wanted to approach every Jewish person there and hug them. I wanted to apologize for the fact that almost no one helped them. Hitler almost won. However, I do believe that this is a testament to God’s existence. There is a story that an ancient French monarch asked Blaise Pascale to prove the existence of God and Mr. Pascale answered, “The Jewish people Your Majesty!” I think this quote could not hit closer. This is a group of people that have had constant opposition. Many times large armies or governments have gone after them with the motive of annihilation and the Jewish people have always managed to survive. This is God. The whole time through the museum I kept asking God how he could have allowed this to happen. His answer, “I didn’t. This is what humans do.” We are a fallen people. We are not perfect nor are we sinless. We need a higher power, we need Yeshua to bridge the gap between our inability to become blameless and God’s inability to touch sin. I was able to witness a miracle while there. I was behind a group of IDF (Israeli Defense Force) female soldiers. The miracle: Israel is a nation, they have an army! Not only had God never allowed them to be wiped out He has given them a nation, a defense force. That my friends is a miracle.
That night we went on a walk through the Biblical gardens at Yad Hashemona where we stayed while in Jerusalem. Saba walked us through and gave us a lesson. There were many great lessons but the one that stuck out the most was the watchtower. Fields in Israel are full of rocks. This is an incredibly rocky area. When farmers were cultivating their fields they would take out all the rocks and build their boundaries with them. Then they would dig into the land and when they did that more rocks would come to the surface. They would take those rocks and then build their watchtower with them. Saba compared it to our hearts. When we begin cultivating our hearts we should take those “rocks” and build our boundaries with them. Whenever you begin to dig deep in there you always find more junk that comes to the surface that you had forgotten about. We should take those and set up a watchtower to keep watch for those things that will cause “heart problems” in the future. It was in also in the watchtower where Ruth came to her kinsman redeemer Boaz and slept at his feet. I find that story so beautiful. She had some major guts.

We then made our way to Jerusalem the next morning. By this time I had cried so much that I was able to mentally grasp the area. It wasn’t an emotional waterfall for me it was a grateful longing to be closer to my Saviour. We started out at the Western Wall and then we went to the Temple Mount and he Dome of the Rock. It was a hard day. The Western Wall was beautiful. I was able to spend a good amount of time on the wall praying and leaving my prayers there. I am grateful to have a saviour I can go to every day. I am so grateful that I know the Messiah. It was sad as well as beautiful. The Dome of the Rock was a difficult thing. The atmosphere automatically changes there. However, I was reminded later in worship that God loves these people as much as He loves me. That is a difficult pill to swallow sometimes but it is the truth. The temple mount was also sad. Here was this area that used to be this great temple for these people. However, the temple now lives within me. That was thrilling.
We went to the Temple Institute after that. Strange. This is a museum of the future. This is a place where they are preparing for the building of the 3rd Temple. They have the menorah made of solid gold that is huge. They also have the priestly outfit that the High Priest will wear as well as the bread racks for the consecrated bread. They have so much stuff done and ready and just waiting for the 3rd Temple. This is the real stuff also made to the specific requirements told by God in the Torah. If you know anything about prophesy this is really exciting. I am by no means saying that the end of the world is near, I am however saying that it’s interesting and exciting. We have never been this close to the 3rd Temple.
The last day we spent at the place where Jesus was held at Caiphas’ house. We were in the dungeon that is said to have held Christ in his final hours. We saw the area where they would have cast lots to play a game called, “Kings”. The Roman soldiers would play a game much like Russian Roulette with the prisoners. Most prisoners did not actually make it out of this game alive. Yeshua did. This is why He was crowned “King”. As we read Psalm 88, the Psalm that Yeshua would have prayed to God, His Father. I will not copy it down but encourage you to look it up in your Bibles. It was extremely powerful to hear Justin read that as we were in the dungeon where my Saviour was, alone, scared and humiliated. It reminds me that there is not a single feeling I can feel that is not understood.
We then walked the path He would have walked to the crucifixion site. One of the guys on the trip reminded us that WE all did this to Him. I don’t like it when people accuse the Jews of killing Jesus or the Romans. We all pierced His hands, we all put the sword through His side and hoisted Him up on that wooden plank. Every time I have ignored someone who needed a friend, every time I did something straight in the face of God that I knew was wrong. That’s a hard thing to swallow, it’s so much easier to just blame it on someone else. When we got to what is said to be the crucifixion site, Golgotha. It is near the beautiful garden. A bus station is there now. What I found great is that it is perfect that a bus station is there. First of all, it is not about the crucifixion, what a terrible thing to build a shrine around. Secondly, Christ told us to go out into all the world and share the gospel. How perfect that there is a means of transportation there. We then walked over to the Garden tomb. This is where I believe Yeshua was buried only to rise again 3 days later. It just felt right. The tomb was very small. The garden was beautiful. We had a fantastic little Englishman as our tour guide and he continued to remind us, “It’s not about the place but about the relationship with the Christ.” He is right. We were able to take communion and praise Yeshua’s name through worship while there. While we were singing there was an African choir next to us singing as well. Then there was the Muslim prayers going out of the minerets. One of the girls pointed out that this is what heaven was going to be like. The blending of all of these cultures. It was truly magical. Because of my Yeshua, I have the hope of singing with all different peoples in all different languages and here on earth I got a taste albeit a very small one of what Heaven will be like. We joined the African choir in singing the same song but in English. I believe that was a gift from God.
It has been difficult leaving this group. Justin pointed out on our last night together all gathered around the bonfire that this would be the last time this group of people would be together until the kingdom of God. It’s a strange feeling to know that that statement is true.
I am here now in Galilee at Beit Bracha volunteering for the month of August. It is exciting but scary in the same moment. The enemy is trying to bring up old chains in my heart and working hard on isolating me. I know that the power within me is stronger than him. God is in control. He worked this out too smoothly for me to have had anything to do with it. I know that amazing things are beginning to happen. I have been in such a waiting place for so long and now it seems to be changing. After many long talks with Justin I am considering going to Bible College at Moody. We will see. It is something I have been interested in for awhile now but kept telling God that I didn’t want to waste anymore time. Funny huh! Studying the Bible and wasting time just don’t belong in the same sentence! Oh the limits we put on ourselves, to believe that at 27 I am getting too old to be going back to school. I think we all need to focus on what it is God is calling us to do not what the timetables of other people are. I love that God is a gracious God who is slow to anger and abounding in love. He has showed me so many little things and huge things these 3 weeks I have been here. Things that He has been preparing my heart for this whole time. God is faithful. Every time I have started to think that things are not in control or being handled He gently reminds me that He is in control. I got the email about Beit Bracha the day I was immersed in the Jordan making a public profession of faith that God had ALL of me now. I had cut that last chord I was holding onto and I had nothing. Through giving God ALL of me I gained everything. Amazing how that works. I began freaking out about money for the next month and each time I was thinking about it I checked my email and had news about money there. God is working even when we don’t see it. He will never allow His children to go without if they are chasing after what His heart desires. Great question: How do you know God is speaking to you? When you know His voice. The more time you spend with someone the more you know the sound of their voice even when you can’t see their face.

May you bow your head towards the Son and prepare for your harvesting. May you build the boundaries around your heart and build your watchtower high enough to see incoming potential disasters. May you tune your ear to His voice and know the sound of His smile. May God fill your world so much with His presence that you find it impossible to ignore Him and may you open your eyes to the abounding love the Father has for you.

Attached are the lyrics to the song I was listening to by Jeremy Camp:
You want to be real, you want to be empty inside
You want to be someone laying down your pride
You want to be someone someday
Then lay it all down before the king

You want to be whole, you want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind

You want to be set free today
Then lay it all down before the King

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire to be used by You

You want to be real, you want to be emptied inside
And I know my heart is to feel You near
And I know my life
It's to do Your will
It's to do Your will

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire, to be used by You
Oo yea
This is my desire, this is my desire
To be used by You

All my life I have seen
Where You've taken me
Beyond all I have hoped
And there's more left unseen

There's not much I can do to repay all You've done
So I give my hands to use

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire, to be used by You
Oo yea
This is my desire, this is my desire
To be used by You

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Israel Blog # 4
I have been waiting for this. I’ve written about how last year I began asking God for an adventure. I wanted a huge adventure and what I thought that would look like is much different than how God’s vision of my life is manifesting. I also began praying about six months ago that God would pressure cook me to be ready for what it is He created me for. I always thought that would look like Broadway or Hollywood. Whenever people told me growing up that God had something big planned for me I always thought that meant my dreams of stardom. At the time those dreams were filled with musical theatre and film. I could not begin to imagine my life taking any other direction. I have said this before but feel the need within the context of this blog to reiterate. I have always felt like I was good at a lot of stuff. I’m a good actress, good singer, good teacher, good writer, etc. . Yet, I never felt like I was great at anything. I realize now that great is when God’s hand reaches down and touches your hip like Jacob and you are forever changed. This means that you have to wrestle with God to get that. I have been wrestling with God.

A few months ago I felt called to give up my dreams of my acting career. There is a lot of me in that last sentence and that was my life. I have began to pray on this trip that God would have me die a little bit more to myself each day so that I may look more like Him each day.
On Erev Shabbat (Friday night) we had a worship service in the prayer chapel at the guest house we were staying at. Justin, Saba Ben and Matt set up a beautiful place of worship for us. There were tea light candles that lined the path to the chapel and then inside there were candles at every corner and a large cross made out of candles was in the center. We had been asked to enter in silence and when we arrived Crystal, one of the many talented women on the trip was playing the piano. It was absolutely beautiful. Matt began playing guitar and we began to worship. He talked about praying without ceasing. He had us do an exercise where we breathed in and out prayers. The first prayer we did was from Luke 18, the parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee goes in and prays about how wonderful he is and how much pride he has to not be like other people. The tax collector in the back wouldn’t even look up. He beat his breast and cried, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner. Christ said this man went home justified. So in the exercise we breathed in, “Jesus Christ Son of God then (breathe out), Have Mercy on me a sinner. The second one he taught us was, “The Lord is my shepherd (breathe out)I shall not be in want. Then one from Samuel, “Speak Lord, (breathe out) your servant is listening. And finally, “Be still (breathe out) and know that I am God from Psalm 46:10. This exercise was incredibly cathartic. I began to hear God speaking to me about letting go, being still.
On Saturday we went to Megiddo and to Jezreel Valley where Armageddon is supposed to take place. The air force base is here and my friend Opher works there, he has requested we quit calling it Armageddon since this is in fact where he reports to work. ;) The reason this area is so incredibly important is because whomever owns and occupies this land is the power who is in control of the major passages. This area connects Asia, Africa and Europe. This is an incredibly powerful land mass. This is synonymous with our hearts. Whatever owns and occupies our hearts is what owns our minds and bodies. Justin compared us to the characters in The Wizard of Oz. They were looking for these things that they had with them all along. We are looking for these things that we already have through Yeshua. The thing that matters is that we surrender our lives to Him. Yeshua came from a place called Nazareth, in the Bible the question was asked, “Nazareth? What good can come from there?” However, they never wanted to remove the title Nazareth from his name. Yeshua is able to use us no matter what situation we come from, what our past is like.
The next morning we were asked to wake up at 5am and go down to the Sea of Galilee and have some quiet time with God. I got down there and a few verses were opened up to me, Psalm 106:4, Remember me O Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation.” Psalm 33:4, For the word of the Lord is right and true, he is faithful in all He does. Psalm 34:4, I sough the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 31:3-5, Since you are my rock and fortress for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit redeem me O Lord the God of the Torah.
It was in this time that I heard God telling me to let go. I felt as if I had let go of everything. I have given over not knowing what’s in store for me in the next year, I’ve given up working on achieving a career in acting, I’ve given up the ideas of a “normal” life and sold out to the fact that I may never have anything else brand new and I may be entering into a life that is extremely frightening and probably not “successful” in the world’s view. BUT, there was one thing I was refusing to take my death grip off of. It is a cause of much stress, tears and fear. It was holding me back from fully surrendering myself to Him. As I was sitting there where Yeshua had walked, close to where He may have called Simon and Andrew to be fishers of men I knew that I wasn’t completely following Him. I was holding out on Him. I had to surrender and let it go. I finally realized that He wants me despite of my inability to get Him, in spite of my failures and my fears. I knew that I had to cut that last rope. That last thing I was holding onto. These things have taken years to shed. But 5 years later and I have finally gotten rid of all of the cords that were tying me to myself. God is enthralled by each of us. He finds our beauty to have no comparison. This was the morning of my 27th birthday. This birthday had so much more meaning than just turning a year older. This was a brand new birth.
Justin also talked about how we treat the people who are so different than us. In the two stories where the thousands of people were fed with few loaves and fish there is a huge lesson here. The first time it happened the disciples were in their own land, the Jewish side of the Galilee. One day had gone by and the disciples were worried about getting food for the people who had been listening to Yeshua teach. Yeshua gets the two fish and the five loaves and feeds the 5000 people. Then they cross the lake and go to the Gentile side. THREE DAYS PASS that Yeshua teaches and the people listen. The disciples are not even the least bit concerned that the people have not eaten in three days. It takes Yeshua asking how much bread they have. He says that He has compassion for them and that the disciples should feed them. The disciples ask the dumbest question, they want to know where they can get that much food they only have 7 loaves of bread. Yeshua just a few days before had fed 5000 people and this was only 4000 and this time the disciples at least had some food to work with. I suppose they had just "forgotten" that it was Yeshua who had just a few days before taken some bread and some fish and fed 5000 full with leftovers. God knew there would be leftovers, He wanted us to know that He will always provide. When God provides there is always leftovers. We need to learn to go out of our way to provide for the people who are so different from ourselves.

Justin also taught on when God spoke to Moses and said His own name. Moses recorded it as YHWH or Yahweh, the Hebrew letters of this are י (yud) ה (hey) ו (vav) ה (hey). There has been some speculation about when God said His name if it wasn’t actually His breath. That Moses actually heard God’s breath. Is God in the rustling of the wind in the branches? Is that actually God dwelling amongst us? Is that His presence when you hear the leaves shake?

We also talked about the woman who was healed of bleeding by Yeshua. She was unclean and therefore she couldn’t touch anything. This made her an outcast. She couldn’t sit anywhere, touch anybody, nothing. She pushed through a crowd, touching everyone to get to the one man she knew could heal her. She had massive faith. Sure there had to be some moments of fear. She had to have thought what if this didn’t work? What if He isn’t who he says he is? What if I’m stoned for this? In this day she would have been killed for touching a Rabbi with her state. She made a huge leap of faith because she believed He was the only one who could heal her. She believed touching Him alone would heal her. She was right. Because of her amazing faith she was healed.
On Sunday we did immersions in the Jordan River if you so chose. This was one of the things that really led me to want to go on this trip. I prayed about it the night before and I just knew that this was something God was calling me to do. That night I began to have small nightmares before I fell asleep where I was falling off of a cliff into a deep abyss. This assured me that I had to let go. I had to trust that when I stepped off of that cliff God was going to be there to catch me. If I didn’t take that step something may come along to push me off. I let go and I wanted it to be official. I wanted to show God that I was committed. I was His, all His. I thought that I had given it all up but I knew deep down that this thing was holding me back from being used the way He wants to use me. So I released it. I submitted myself to Him and His will. I publicly professed that I had nothing now, God could finally use me the way He wanted to. I am no longer holding myself back.

While we were at the Sea of Galilee we went to a retreat center called Beit Bracha. There were two ladies there from New Zealand. They both had such a peace about them. I want to be that woman in Proverbs 31 that is peaceful yet strong, vulnerable yet protective. I want to be the woman that can bring honour to her household. When I do get married I want my husband to be looked upon highly. I want to bring happiness and adventure to every day of our lives. God is slowly changing my heart and my desires to match His. I see glimpses of this woman and the glimpses are slowly turning into my reality. I put all my trust in Yeshua for He has rescued me before and I know that my life is best in His hands. He is my saviour, my romancer and the keeper of my heart. There is truly no one like Him, and I choose to believe.

May you discover God’s abounding love. May you know that He loves you whether you don’t feel worthy or whether you don’t believe He’s even there. May you have the courage to step forward when the risks are too great and the “what if’s” outweigh your faith. And may the love of Yeshua fill your life with great joy and hope for all your days to come.