Friday, October 17, 2008

BREAKTHROUGH...IT'S A NEW SEASON!

It was exactly three months ago today that I wrote this post to my blog readers, asking you to pray for me. I chronicled each day of my darkness for three months here on the blog. I shared the veil of hopelessness that seemed to be draped over me. Not all the details, just the overwhelming sadness in my heart. It has been a rough season in ministry and I have been pretty transparent here about it on the blog.

I thank God for the strength of my family - my husband, children, my sister and mother in law in particular. Without them, I never would have stayed sane. My husband was going through his own pain but he was always there for me.

I went to the office and worked, and of course I was at church services. However, any moment I wasn't doing that I stayed in my bed. If I wasn't such a responsible and committed person by nature, I would have just quit. I did delve into God's word, prayer and worship like never before. Aside from those three things, I just wanted to sleep my life away. For something to take away the ever present pain in my heart.

Bed used to be a fun and restful place for me but for three months it was a place to hide. One day my oldest son came in and said, "Mom, you're getting out of this bed today and that's all there is to it!" I said, "no, I can't." And he said, "yes, you can and you're going to." And he pulled me out into the kitchen but I just couldn't manage to stay there for long and we ended up going back into my room. He sat on the bed with me and read a story with me. He said, "I'm not going to let you be alone." And I wasn't. There were also some incredibly good friends who reminded me constantly that I wasn't alone. Some would always end their emails or calls with, "remember...you are not alone." I can't even tell you what just that one phrase has come to mean to me.

My friends knew the details and after listening countless times, they listened some more. Never underestimate the value of listening! Whether it was in person or at 1 am on the phone or 3 am in an instant message, or in person over coffee -- they were there. Tara went so far as to call a prayer meeting on my behalf. I was stunned that 50 people participated! One thing's for sure, you don't mess with Tara. She's a fellow co-pastor and my dear sister in Christ who takes off her high heels and her earrings and gets down to business of her family and close friends.


Many of you I have never met in person but you read here and comment or e-mail a response and are so loving and supportive. You have said things that have encouraged me over the past three months and on many days gave me the hope to go on. Don't ever think when you click on somebody's blog and leave a comment that it is inconsequential! Sometimes it's absolute life to that person. A group of ladies at a church in Miami committed to fast and pray for me everyday until the breakthough! I'll never forget that. There were days I could literally feel those women's prayers.

Three months ago I was crushed by some things that happened in the church. I am still not going to share the details publicly, for others' sakes. Suffice it to say: criticism, disappointment, betrayal, finances, giving and investing in others to an extreme degree only ending up in failure, rejection, heartbroken over sinful and immoral choices people made, it was all there. No one realizes how shepherds hurt when these things happen, unless you are a one. If I didn't love so deeply and care so much, it wouldn't hurt. This is part of the price of loving and giving. Sometimes, this happens. At any rate, one big gigantic blob of pain is what it was and it just made me heartsick. Like the post I wrote about Ezekiel, things just seemed to go from bad to worse.

On the worst day one of our staff members already knew it was a difficult day and hated to even tell us, but they came up to the office and told my husband, "Pastor, I need to tell you this...the sanctuary is flooded." To make matters worse, it was on a Wednesday. I will never forget Pastor Craig Sloan calling that same night 30 minutes before church (obeying God's prompting) and giving me the word, "When the enemy comes in LIKE A FLOOD the spirit of the Lord will raise a standard against it!" The same day, without knowing any of the circumstances, Nancy Seelow who is one of my blog readers emailed me and said God brought me to her mind. She had been praying for me for days and God had given her a specific words for me THAT DAY which was...WHEN THE ENEMY COMES IN LIKE A FLOOD..THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD...." THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE WHO OBEY GOD!!!!!!!! Words like this were what I held onto. Some of you also sent me songs that were my lifeline. I listened to those songs countless times.

It really seemed to just get worse and even during the week of Unstoppable I wasn't even going to preach and was preparing to have Tara take my place on the night I was supposed to speak. But I decided to push though and I spoke on Ezekiel and "Wrecks" -- a message based on this post. Many people told me it was absolutely life changing for them. I told the ladies I hadn't come to the breakthrough yet and was still waiting for the dry bones to live again. I was so encouraged by the support that weekend and all that we shared. I still miss everyone from that weekend terribly ~ we were bound together in such a profound way.

There are a ton of places in God's Word where we see that he SUDDENLY changed something. A few weeks ago, something different began to stir the waters. I detailed the word I received at women's breakaway in this post, when our WM director, Marsha Woolley prophesied over me at Breakaway and said, "THE TIDE IS TURNING, DEANNA, THE TIDE IS TURNING!" At that point, it did. That very weekend, the tide turned.

The past few weeks have been a miraculous breakthrough. I can't even describe it all but let's just say that the Lord is restoring absolutely everything the devil tried to steal from us. When you get right down to it, you can't call it a restoration because to be restored means that you get something back that you once had. We haven't really gotten something back -- we've gotten an EXCHANGE. It's glorious! We are much better off with an exchange, so that's what God is giving us. Sometimes what God does is show us that what we were holding onto so tightly was not best for us, and He wants to exchange it, not give it back. That's because He is all knowing and sees the big picture . When you're in the midst of something you can't see the forest for the trees. You are blinded because you don't have the "other thing" yet. There is no replacement for what you were holding onto -- there is just uncertainty. You are in limbo wondering what in the world is going to happen. But then...GOD! But God, but God, but God!!! He causes the new to unfold and then you realize, it was His plan all along to get you where you needed to be. God has to do things we don't understand to get us to a place of new revelation and anointing. When the breakthrough comes, oh my, my, my! SHOUT NOW, SOMEBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is happening in my life and in our church is amazing. And it's very unorthodox. We are heading in a whole new, completely different direction. It's coming in a way I never expected. The tide has turned. I'm not drowning anymore, I'm surfing. My husband and I are so expectant of what God is getting ready to do in our church we can hardly stand it. We are not having a 360 turnaround, but a 180 -- turning our backs on our old season and walking straight into the new spectacular season. It is not restoration to the same, it is restoration to the completely NEW. The word in our church right now is FREEDOM. We are finally becoming free to be what God has destined us to be!

Sunday was such a great day and afterwards several of our leaders approached my husband and said, "we could have never experienced the possibility of our new season without some of the changes that we had to go through over the last few months. These specific things needed to happen for this new level of freedom to come to us, for us to get to the place God wanted us to be. He had to turn our obstacles to opportunity."

Also, our incredible board of directors  has something special in store for Larry and I! I can hardly wait to tell you about it!!! But I can't yet because they haven't announced it. As soon as they do, I'll tell you!!! I'm so excited I could burst! (But I won't, that would be kind of gross.)


I love waking up in the mornings! I love who I'm living life with! I love what I'm doing! I love my family and my church more than I ever have before! I am moving FORWARD into a new level of understanding and authority.


On my birthday, I shared this post about the plant I pruned and how yukky it looked after I did, and the subsequent word God gave me. After pruning he told me that my situation and my life would flourish again when the plant did. As I looked over several days ago I noticed it was sprouting again! It is time for the plant, and also for me...for us. IT'S A NEW SEASON!

I have learned new things in this season I never could have otherwise. I am closer to the Lord. The Lord has made Isaiah 45:3 reality in my life: "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."

Throughout the past few months I have talked repeatedly here on the blog about the darkness that seemed to cover my life. It was very real. But now it is reality that God has given me TREASURES because of this darkness, and RICHES that would have never come to me in any other way! I also know more than ever that He knows my name. My faith is higher than ever before.

Look out Tampa, look out Africa, look out world!!! Deanna is out of bed!!!!!!!!!!!! I am baaaaacccckkkkk!! Devil, be afraid, be VERY afraid.

7 comments:

DaNella Auten said...

Wow, D. I am so happy for you. I am sitting here reading this in tears. God is awesome. I am gonna post a shout out to you on my blog today, so more people can celebrate with you, and some of my readers can be encouraged to know they too will make it.

btw... I think you will be getting a car soon.

Love ya,
DaNella

Toots said...

I am so happy for you!!! I could see this coming and I knew when it did we(the church)and you would be unstoppable. The devil has no idea what is in store for him. We are on the move and are ready to take Tampa back from him. He no longer has a hold on this church or the people!!!!!
I love you and I am so glad that I can stand with you in the good and the bad times(and the bad are definitely far behind us)!!!!
We are FREE!!!

Melissa said...

WOOO-HOOOO! Praising God, still dancing and jumping with you! (well its more of a hop cause although I am crutch and caneless I still hurt). But I am shouting wth you my friend! I love it when God exchanges things! IT's much better than restoration.
Love ya my friend!

Aaron said...

Surf's up!!! It's hard to believe I've been through the whole process. I started reading your blog just before 3 months ago. Your story needs to be told. You encouraged me every time I read your blog. Some days I would wonder if you were still depressed, then you had a rough day. But through it all you never gave up and ACTED on your faith. You knew what was real beyond the today you were in. You believed God would bring you through it. You prayed, praised, read your Bible, and preached and spoke what you couldn't see or feel. I don't read or hear of 'living out your faith' until the breakthrough in real life. You get the answer of doing it but never anybody actually doing it. I realize the day to day telling of it on your blog made it real, but I think God could help you word it so a book could do the same thing. People need to hear testimonies from real people with real problems getting victory! Especially depression because it affects so many people. People need the hope you demonstrated.
Hang on Africa:-)

Pastor Shelisa Hull said...

I am rejoicing with you.....I smiled the day you posted the picture of the plant you had pruned blooming again. It was just a picture...but a picture of pure hope!

Billy and are experiencing such anticipation ourselves right now!! I can't tell you the excitement that is in the air. God is up to something....and I can't wait to see the manifestation in our lives as well as yours!

Continue in His blessings,
Shelisa

A Hoosier Family said...

Praise the Lord.

LAURIE said...

Deanna,
How wonderful that you have seen light in your darkness!!! God will never take you to it without leading you thru it. He said He would never leave us nor forsake us and I am encouraged to know that your faith has been increased during this difficult time. God bless.