Friday, September 27, 2013

Overcoming Fear and Claiming Victory

 Lately, I have been dealing with fear. This is a new thing for me. I mean yeah, I had the typical phobias; spiders, snakes, blood, the pitch dark, but nothing so crippling as what I have experienced since my move here.

Some of you are aware of the fact that I battled some very strange health issues in Oregon, and that for a period of time I had to give up my license and wear a heart monitor. For those of you who didn't know, well, you do now. Long story short, God used that experience to reveal to me that the physical symptoms I was experiencing were not at all related to a physical ailment, but were in fact a physical manifestation of my spiritual surroundings. It was God's way of shaking me up and opening my eyes.
Obviously, Texas is very different than Oregon, so the physical and spiritual environment is going to be different as well. Music sets me off now. I was sensitive to this in Oregon too, but not on the level that I am now. A group of my friends took Kristy and I to the Hard Rock CafĂ© back in August for our birthday weekend, and I literally had to get up and walk out of the restaurant. The music and the videos stirred something so ominous and wicked up in the atmosphere, and it was all I could do to avoid losing consciousness in front of my friends. I was literally holding my head in my hands and on the verge of tears in the middle of my birthday dinner.

Perhaps some of you are also familiar with my story of encountering a demon on my mission trip to Switzerland last year. For those of you who aren't, please feel free to read my post from August 13, 2012, titled, "Friday the 13th".
I had another, more intense experience on Monday night.
I got home from work on Monday, September 23rd feeling ridiculously exhausted. I started reading a book, and when Monica (my roommate) got home at around 6:30pm, I was already dozing off.  I finally decided that I would go into my room and take an hour snooze and then get up and get some things done. One hour turned in 15 hours. I was in a hallucinatory state the entire night, I felt off, yet I couldn't bring myself to wake up. I had a few kooky dreams, but nothing alarming. I have no idea what time it was, but at some point in the night, I woke up, rolled over onto my right side, and looked around the room. I remember looking out my window, realizing that it was dark outside and debating whether or not I should try to wake up. Suddenly, I realized that there was another body in the bed, laying directly behind me. I could feel the body heat and I could hear the heartbeat. I reached behind me and I could feel a solid mass, but when I turned to look at it, I could not see anything. It was as if my eyes stopped working altogether. The atmosphere suddenly changed, and I immediately became aware that I was in danger. I began to sit up in my bed, when I was pushed down by another entity , and the solid mass that was previously behind me, began to push itself down on top of me. The room was now pitch black, and I could not see anything at all. The air became dense and I had a hard time breathing. I immediately began to open my mouth to cry out the name of Jesus and rebuke it, but my mouth couldn't seem to form the words. The words came out broken and in a whisper. At this point I began to worry for my life. I tried shouting the words, and thinking them over and over in my mind, "Jesus, Jesus, In Jesus Name. I rebuke you, I rebuke you!".  I then began to back up out of my bed, in order to push whatever was behind me out of the bed. I backed up out of my bed into a standing position, when suddenly my vision was restored. The demons were gone, and my room was normal, yet here I was standing in the middle of my floor, saying "Jesus" over and over again at some ridiculous hour in the night. There is definitely power in the name of Jesus. No one can tell me otherwise. After this horrifying ordeal, I calmly jumped back into bed and resumed sleeping, because that's totally normal...

Little did I know, the enemy was aware that God would do something amazing the following night, and wanted to instill fear into my heart as if to stop me from doing God's will.
Tuesday night after Connect (youth group bible study), I went out to McDonald's with one of the girls to talk. We got to talking and she began to open up to me about some things going on in her life. I felt impressed to pray and I told her so. She looked at me and said, "Uh...okay, but right here in the McDonald's?". I said, "NO, I think we should go out into the parking lot".
So we did. We went out to the McDonald's parking lot and we began to pray. At first, not much was happening. Then we rose our hands, and God told me to open my mouth and that he would give me the words to minister to my friend. I turned to my friend and simply opened my mouth. God completely took over and began to quite LITERALLY speak through me. It was a night that neither of us girls will ever forget. Seriously, what a humbling experience. Also, I think it was great entertainment for the people picking up food from the drive thru that night.

Why I am I telling you all of this? I don't know. I just felt to. Honestly, it's too good not to share. Also, I am having to learn how to deal with spiritual intimidation and the fear of my own flesh. If we can just push past these fears and trust in God, he could really use us in a way that we never thought possible.
I'm not used to being attacked in this way, and I hate it. However, my God is so much bigger than that. He is not the author of fear, but the author of peace. I am learning how to claim victory over fear with the help of my creator.

On a much lighter note, I did face one of my biggest physical phobias on the 19th, when I allowed an examiner to take 2 vials of my blood. I didn't even pass out! How crazy is that?!?
Here I am, just learning every day and doing weird stuff I never would've done back home. It is what it is, homes.

*9 weeks and 2 days in, and I'm still loving Texas. Loving it more every day. Oregon, you may have some competition. *

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slightly Sick for Home

I experienced my first official feelings of "home sickness" as of last week.
It only took me 7 weeks, after all.

As some of you know, I work at a call center that schedules life insurance exams for applicants of  various insurance companies. Last week I took a call from this guy with a 503 (Oregon area code) phone number. I took down the address for the exam and suddenly realized that he was from my home city of Hillsboro. Before I knew it, my eyes experienced  a strange stinging sensation accompanied by light wateriness. In the same week, I heard news that my good friend, Raymond Mason and his wife, Iryna, were planning on moving back to Oregon. This motif of Oregon got me thinking...I started missing the trees, the insanely fresh and clean air, the mountains, the sky, the rain, the weirdness, the art, the adventure, the hippies, my friends, my FAMILY.
I miss asking my parents for advice, I miss my dad's weird sense of humor and my mom's amazing cooking, I miss my strange and yet awesome bromance with my sister Kristy, I miss weird scifi movies and videogames, I miss my bratty cat, I miss my lumpy bed, I miss my hipster clothing and giant hipster glasses, I miss it all.

So much missing Oregon in one week. A lot of these emotions have transferred over to this week as well. It's weird though, I haven't actually had a sit down, break down, cry it out moment. Instead, I experience a trigger, a reminder of home, I feel a twinge of pain in my normally icy heart, and then I move on. I think it helps that I haven't really had the time to sit down and process what I'm missing. I have been too pleasantly and hectically busy.
I plan on going back to Portland to visit sometime in December, at which point I am sure I will become completely overwhelmed by emotion and will finally realize just how much I have missed everyone and everything. I plan on bawling like a newborn.

So, here I am, a survivor of 8 weeks and 1 day in the state of Texas. I will admit that I have fallen in love with this place. So, I guess half of my heart is in Oregon, and the other half is here. For now, this is my home. I don't know how long "now" is, but I do know that I belong here and that God has brought me to this place for a purpose.

For those of you who are reading this in love and support: Thank you and you are awesome.

For those of you reading this to be nosy, and who are still hoping for my imminent fail (you know who you are, and I know who you are): You will be waiting for a very long time. I suggest you do something productive with your OWN life. Oh, and Jesus Loves You.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Happy Happy

Alright everyone! I'm finally taking the time to sit down and update you all on my transition from Oregon to Texas.

I tend to be a pretty crazy and impulsive person, but even I will admit that this is by far the craziest thing that I have ever done. Leaving my family and friends was one of the most gut-wrenching experiences for me, and I questioned the validity of this decision up until the morning that I left Oregon.

Truth be told, God gave me plenty of notice. I knew the moment that I landed here in 2009, that I would eventually return. I just didn't know how or when. Moving here was something that I have looked forward to since December, and I knew it would change my life, but man...I didn't expect this much goodness in one place. I honestly don't even know where to begin.

I have been here 6 weeks now, and was blessed to have Kristy here with me for my first month here. Together we experienced kindness, love, and acceptance amongst the youth here that we very rarely  experienced in Oregon. We made a solid of group of friends who have already changed my life in the short 6 weeks that I have known them. I believe that God has ordained these friendships. I feel more than blessed.

I attend a church congregation of 1400 and counting. The Holy Ghost moves every service, and multiple people are baptized every service. It has been upwards of 100 people baptized in this year alone. I have involved myself in as many youth oriented programs as I can at this point, and have joined the youth praise singing group. I also had the unique opportunity to help cook breakfast for the discipleship program for new members (called Foundations) with my roommate, Monica, up until last week when the class ended. So, I'm pretty much at church related events at least 3-4 times a week. It is truly amazing to be a part of a church in revival and I can't wait to see what God has in store. I already feel changed and I know that God is just getting started.
I believe that I have finally left the valley and have reached my mountaintop. It's a strange and enlightening experience. I love my roommate, I love my friends,  I love my God, I have a job. For the first time in a very long time I am happy. Truly and unequivocally joyful.

OF course I miss my family very dearly and I miss my friends in Oregon. For those of you who supported me in this, I just want to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude. Without your prayers I wouldn't be where I am. I was dying, and you breathed life back into me. For this, and so much more, I thank you.

I will try to be better about updating you all about my life here in TX. I can't guarantee anything, but I will definitely be making a more concerted effort.