Take A Walk

Road in a beautiful forest in the morning

Blog by Kristen Hicks

I woke up this morning with a heaviness on me. Have you ever woken up and felt that? Ugh it’s terrible. I started crying out to the Lord,”What is this? Can you please help me understand? Can you please show me what to do? Show me how to get out of this once and for all?”

I was finding myself in the middle of a circle that was far too familiar. Do you have one? A circle? I’m pretty sure we all do in one way or another or at least we have all experienced one at some point in our life. An attitude that we can’t seem to get under control, an addiction we can’t seem to give up, a habit that we just can’t seem to break, you know what I’m talking about, you can fill in the blank. Just a vicious cycle.

And then there’s the lies that comes with them. The enemy isn’t going to miss an opportunity to make you feel worse, no way! “You’re never going to overcome! People don’t know who you really are? You’re a hypocrite, a fake! This is who you are! This is all you’re ever going to be! God doesn’t love you! He can’t stand the sight of you! You’re just a disappointment to Him!” Blah, blah… blah, blah, blah…. And then you suddenly find yourself believing them. Because the truth is, you haven’t “truly” overcome them yet or at least that’s what your actions seem to say. Some people don’t know. What if they did? Would they consider you a hypocrite or a fake? And suddenly you find yourself in agreement with the lies, and that only lands you in a deeper mess than you were before. Can anyone out there relate?

So here I am, laying in bed this morning and this is the situation I am finding myself in. When I cried out to the Lord, all I really heard Him say was, “Go on a walk today”. So I got up get ready and headed over to my dad’s to get a little work done.

On my way there, I again hear the sweet, soft whisper of the Lord’s voice. “Kristen, you are in a wilderness season. The thing you need to know about this season is that it’s meant for you to wrestle with Me and overcome the enemy.” (He actually said it a little different, with a little more detail, but it’s a little more personal, so this is a paraphrase.) He also said that I was going to look back on this season one day, and it was going to be one of my favorites. Tears started to fill my eyes as I thought about Jesus in the wilderness. I have heard so many people teach on that passage lately, but I had not yet put it all together.

So after I worked a little at Dad’s, met him and Tina for lunch, met a friend for coffee, I then headed over to Hobbs to take my walk. I had this song echoing in my mind. It was “Open Space” by Housefires (Look it up).

Here’s the funny thing about a good walk. It helps you get somewhere. Shocker, I know. Not just physically, but mentally. It allows your brain to process and breathe, and gain a new perspective.

So here is where I was on my walk….

I have a million questions! Like seriously, I don’t know what the HECK in going on in my life at the moment or what the Lord is doing. That seems dramatic, it’s not really, but it feels so far out my control that it’s scary, but I know it’s good. It feels like nothing is making sense and yet everything is making since all at the same time. I keep feeling like at any moment, I am going to completely fall on my face or find out that I’ve been wrong this entire time about everything. I feel like I’m never going to truly overcome certain things or be set completely free.

Are you now seeing where the heaviness might be coming from?

BUT……. (And there is the game changer word)

The place I ended up today was this…

God wants me to wrestle with HIM, not with the enemy. He wants me to ask my million questions. I just have to be ok with the fact that He might not answer all of them. He wants me to dig deep, get messy, uncomfortable, while He examines every single area within me. He wants to shine His light on the dark corners. He wants me to let Him prune my branches, examine the fruit. He wants to wrestle with my theology, my mindset, my attitude, my heart, my motives, my life in general. He wants to point out ways that I unknowingly agree with the enemy and pull me into “AGREEMENT WITH A GREATER SONG.” (That will preach guys…Melissa Helser.)

Something flew out of my mouth to a friend of mine today. Something I had never thought of but as I walked the Lord really allowed me to understand it. It was this:

The Lord wants us to wrestle with Him not so He can cripple us with a limp!!! He wants us to wrestle with Him so that we come out knowing how to LEAN… ON HIM!!!!!! So that we come out knowing how to lean while we walk!!! Isn’t that AWESOME!?!?!

The story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord has never made sense to me until now. Imagine that, God’s beloved, Israel! Wrestling with God and coming out with a limp! That is so incredibly powerful and beautiful!!

So here I am, in the most important sporting event of my life! Wrestling with Jesus, to the point that when I come out of this wilderness, I will truly be set free from the endless circles. I will know how to overcome the lies and traps of the enemy. But not with my own understanding or cleverness, not with my own strength, not even with my own man-made weapons of rules. This is the greater song that I am coming into agreement with!!! This is how He meant it all along!!! The song of His Word!!! The song of His Heart!!! I WILL overcome by “taking a walk” out onto the battle field with the limp of leaning on the Overcomer Himself!!!!

You Are My Constant

Sunrise over the sea. Con Dao. Vietnam

Blog and Song by Kristen Hicks

When I was younger, my parents divorced, and part of the custody agreement was that my brothers and I would switch between each house every week. So one week we would be with our Dad and the next week we would be with our Mom. I remember when I got a little older, I was so thankful for my brothers. They were the constant in my life.

A couple years ago I remember, I was housesitting at some friend’s house and the Lord began to completely wreck me with the revelation that He had become the true constant in life. I even wrote a blog about it in that moment that you can read here.

Lately, He has once again been reminding me of this truth, that He is our true constant and that His faithfulness is astounding. I have heard so many stories lately that have completely wrecked my heart. There is so much going on in the hearts of people. Fears, insecurities, heartbreak, anxiety, restlessness, loss, shame, doubt, addiction, struggles, frustration, sickness, pain, so much, so many things.

But He doesn’t change. He doesn’t lose sight of us, even when we feel like we have suddenly lost sight of ourselves, or lost sight of Him. He isn’t afraid of our mess, He isn’t surprised or thrown by the “suddenly” of life events. He doesn’t turn His back on us, when we begin to question Him. There isn’t a restless nor anxious spirit within Him. He is sure, He has no doubt in His mind. There is no addiction, no struggle, no demon that can’t stand against Him and win! There is no heartache, no sickness, and no pain that He isn’t strong enough to heal.

This is my Father! This is the One I love! This is His heart! This is His character! He is the One! He is the Only! He is the One I will lift my voice to and praise with every single fiber of my being, in every single season that I go through. Because His goodness outweighs my circumstance! I will let His voice be louder than any other, including my own! His love will carry me through, it will overshadow, it will lift my head, open my eyes, and speak directly into me, and into every situation I bring before Him! It will produce something that is far more than I could ever imagine or hope for! He Himself will come alive in me in the midst of my weakness and show Himself strong! That’s just the kind Father He is!

He just was, He just is, and He will forever be….my Constant!

This song is based on Psalm 46. I highly recommend that you take a second and let the Holy Spirit not only speak this Psalm over you but that you allow Him to write it on your heart and show you what it really means to rest in Him.

Lyrics to You Are My Constant

Verse 1

There’s a peace I find in the morning, and a love in every sunrise

And as I sit and stare at its beauty, tears fall from my eyes

Cause I know….I know…You have fought for and won my soul

I know…I know…

Chorus

That You are my Constant, You’ve never left my side,

You have carried me through it all, while all the while opening up my eyes

You are my fortress, You are my secret place

And I know no matter what may come my way,

I will run to You and rest in Your embrace

Cause You are my Constant

Verse 2

Through the waiting and trials, the struggles and the wars

Still I will declare that I am completely Yours

In the midst of confusion, heartache and pain

I will lift my voice louder still and praise Your Holy Name

Cause I know… I know…You have chosen and claimed me as Your own

I know… I know…

Bridge

Though the mountains they may fall, and the seas may rage and roar

Still I will lift my voice to the One who reigns and is Lord of it all

In Your truth I’ll fix my gaze, as Your voice completely outweighs

Every fear and every doubt that comes against that…

Inspire A Stranger

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Blog by Kristen Hicks

So I have a challenge for you guys! I The Lord has been talking to me a little lately about being unseen. I feel like we all go through a season, if not multiple seasons (some even our entire life), that we feel overlooked, forgotten or unseen. I am actually learning this to be a good thing. When we find ourselves doing things that we don’t get noticed or applauded, we can shift our minds and our thinking to a heavenly perspective. We are placing our hearts and our minds in a position of finding our worth in the eyes of the Father not in the eyes of man. So once again, it is counter-culture. It feels backwards and goes against our flesh not to do things to be seen by man. However, the joy that is awarded to us by the Father, when we do things His way, is unmistakably more amazing! He looks upon us with a beaming smile and joy, as we begin to look more and more like His Son. He’s a proud Father! Not because of what we do or don’t do, but simply when we turn our eyes and hearts to Him and view ourselves in the reflection of His eyes. You won’t be able to help but be moved with compassion to inspire, serve, and love on others, not for any approval at all, but because you know whose you are and you know you are loved and seen and heard by Him! And because you are moved by your love FOR Him!

So my challenge is this: Go get before the Father, stay there until you see His smile! Stay there until you can look yourself in the mirror and KNOW you are His child. Then go inspire someone else, and pour out this new found joy that you have found in the Father’s eyes. Here are some ideas just to get you started:

  • Make a meal for someone
  • Volunteer at a local charity
  • Go buy things to put in the Little Food Pantry
  • Write a letter of appreciation to someone.
  • Write our a scripture, a prayer, or just encouraging note and leave it somewhere for a stranger to find.
  • Be a secret friend to someone. Find out something unique about them and buy them a special prize.
  • Bake someone cookies!!!
  • Visit a senior center and “adopt” a grandparent and just sit and talk with them.
  • Learn to crochet or knit and make blankets for a local shelter
  • Pick up liter in a park
  • Tutor a student that is struggling in a particular subject
  • Give someone a hug that looks like they need one.
  • Give someone a laugh
  • Let someone go in front of you at the checkout line or in traffic
  • Send out encouragement cards to whoever the Holy Spirit puts on your heart.
  • Mow someones lawn
  • Go through your closet and take whatever your don’t wear or use anymore to a local shelter.
  • Pick up lunch for your spouse and take the kiddos to the office and eat lunch together
  • Pay for a coworkers lunch
  • Offer to take an elderly person to a doctor appointment and keep them company.
  • Invite someone to dinner that you wouldn’t normally hang out with
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal
  • Give someone a flower
  • Randomly offer to babysit a friends children for a few hours
  • Send a text prayer to someone that the Holy Spirit has been laying on your heart.

Enjoy!!!

And Then I Realized…

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Blog by Kristen Hicks

Yesterday, I woke up kinda late, actually. I had stayed out late at church the night before and I had no real plans for Sunday, so I let myself just sleep in a little. When I finally woke up I had a text from my friend Kourtney. It said, “Hey girl, I’m going on an adventure if you wanna come.” That’s it, that’s all she had to say to me. I…WAS…IN!!!!! I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, packed my backpack and headed out.

If adventure was a love language, I’m pretty sure it’s one of mine. Then add some spontaneity to it?!… YES, JESUS… Bring it on!! Kourtney said she wanted to climb a mountain. So we drove up to North Georgia, and hiked up Mount Yonah. Neither one of us had ever hiked there before, so that added to the excitement of it.

It was only about 2.4 miles up, but what I personally had overlooked was that one little word… “UP.”

YA’LL!!!!

I mean we were climbing a “mountain”, “DUH!!! Of course it was UP!!! Come on, Kristen!!!! What were you expecting?!”

But wow!!! You know that moment when your heart starts beating so hard that you can feel in your ears? That was what I felt… the entire way up. It was crazy! I kept thinking that I would hit that point of breakthrough, when it seems like everything in your body regulates and is finally on board with what you are doing and you feel like you could just go on forever and ever, but it never came. (I know, I’m not in the greatest shape, but I also don’t usually feel THAT out of shape.)

However, when we were getting pretty close to the top, I realized something. Jesus was trying to teach me something. Of course! I kept hearing the word “endurance,” (the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.) Then the book of James suddenly comes flooding to my mind:

“Dear brother and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” -James 1:2-4 NLT

The Message puts it like this:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

I really want to share my heart with you guys in this!

So lately, I feel like I really, really want to run! Away, that is (don’t go trying to sign me up for a 5k). I have been experiencing some pretty crazy anxiety lately. There is a restlessness in me that I can’t quite put my finger on. Kinda like I’m climbing a mountain and my heart is beating so hard, I can feel it in my ears.

I know anxiety, is just fear. But I think the scariest thing about having anxiety at times, is not really knowing what the fear is? You just know something is off. You start feeling the need to slow down and take breaks often, because you know if you don’t, it may overtake you. I keep hoping for the breakthrough, and although moments happen that seem like breakthrough, it never actually happens.

James is reminding me that faith is like your heart muscle. When it is pushed, it is shredding the muscle that is there to build it up stronger so that you can endure more. What sticks out about the Message version is when it says, “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.” Oh, prematurely, ouch!

“So basically, Lord, you are saying that I can’t run away?! That I can’t just stop here?! I can’t just do something else instead?!”

The moment on the mountain that my heart slowed down was when we finally got to the top. The view was BEAUTIFUL!!! It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was a masterpiece! It was in that moment that we could see the big picture. We could see the parking area, the place we had started. We could see the storms and rain showers in different places all around us. We could see everything it seemed.

It was in that moment that I realized what makes an adventure an adventure. The actual definition of an adventure is this: “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” It’s something that gets you out of your comfort zone, it’s something that pushes you to do or go beyond what you thought you could, it’s something that will make your heart beat hard and fast, it’s something that has some kind of accomplishment or reward in the end, and it’s something that will take your breath away.

I think that’s why James said to consider it a sheer gift of great joy. Because it is a gift and there is joy in it. The breakthrough is joy! And sometimes you have to push yourself to endure and to climb all the way up, with your heart beating loudly in your ears, to finally reach the breakthrough and see the big picture! It is a masterpiece of true beauty as a whole! Not settling for the pretty scenery that was “close enough” to the top! The joy is at the top and it truly is a gift!

So although, I’m still working through anxiety, I will consider this season I am in an adventure with Jesus. Allowing Him to push me, allowing Him to challenge me, allowing Him to shred the muscle of my heart, my faith, and produce a greater endurance within me because as the saying goes….”And then I realized, adventure was the BEST way to learn.”

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Battle Cry

A silhouette of a woman kneeling down with her hands in the air, praying, thanking, and surrendering to God.

Blog and song By Kristen Hicks

I love when the Father sets things up a certain way that sometimes we aren’t even aware of. For example, the Lord has really been pressing on my heart for a couple weeks now that the next song I should share should be this one: “Battle Cry.” So I recorded it last night with my brother, Matthew, knowing I was supposed to have it ready to share today. The interesting thing is that today, on my 3 days of breaking away from normal life, I would experience some good ole’ fashioned warfare.

The Lord has really placed it within me, that during these three days away, I am supposed to dream again. This is super hard for me, actually. I used to be a huge dreamer. Like I’m talking, when I was younger I had a big ole’ notebook and the cover page read “My Big Dream.” HA! It’s ok I’m laughing with you! :-) I would put things in there about things I wanted to do when I got older, what I wanted my wedding to be like, what I wanted to do as a career, literally everything I desired and dreamed of was in that book.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the moment that the Lord asked me to give Him all my dreams. I was in high school when He asked me that. Reluctantly, over the next several years, I began to give Him, little by little, everything I had dreamed up. He even asked me to give Him the things, I felt, we had dreamed up together, He and I.

I was so confused, and I felt like my life had absolutely no purpose at all. I even began to feel like the things I had desired were wrong and selfish, or that they were impractical or irrational.  Until one day, kinda recently actually, I literally woke up, and it was as if they were all back within me.

It shocked me at first. I started taking them before the Lord and laying them down again. What was funny is as soon as I would lay them down, I began to feel all twisty inside. I literally thought something was wrong with me. I kept trying to whip my heart into shape, by telling myself, “No, you have got to die to this, completely.” Finally, when that wasn’t working (shocker), I began to bring them before the Lord, and I asked Him if they were from Him or if they were from the enemy as a pon of distraction.

With every single area, He began to show me and confirm to me that He had given them back to me. He kinda got onto me actually, very gently, and told me, “Stop trying to die to things, I’m trying to resurrect.” 😉 Then that’s when He started to tell me He wanted me to begin to dream again. Only this time, I would dream up every area with Him.

The funny thing is, none of my dreams were wrong, at least at their core. They were all things that the Lord had placed inside of me since I was little. They were not exactly the same as what was in my “Big Dream” notebook, but they were similar. What I have learned about the Father, is that He takes our dreams VERY seriously. They are no joke to Him. Therefore, He asks us to give them to Him not only for safe keeping, but to teach us how to surrender.

I have sang this song “Battle Cry” in several different seasons of my life. But today, as I was dreaming up with God in every single area of my life, I noticed something. The enemy was right there also, trying to plant seeds of doubt, of anxiety, lies of unworthiness, and of fear. It got so bad at one point, that I just wanted to stop. But then I realized what was happening and I pushed through. I just kept writing and kept dreaming with God.

So, what I learned today, is that God not only kept my dreams safe from the enemy and taught me how to surrender, but He also taught me something VERY important for this process. He taught me how to fight for them. He taught me that it has never been about what I can do or not do. Meaning fighting for my dreams has nothing to do with the strength and will power that I can muster up within myself. It’s also not about who I know, or who I can connect with to make them happen. It’s about knowing Him. Knowing what He capable of. Knowing that with Him, there truly is nothing impossible, irrational, or impractical. Knowing that the best way to fight for things and fight against the enemy is to look AT HIM (The Lord) and surrender your life back to Him. Allowing Him to fight FOR you!!! This is worship actually! And worshipping an all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator is our true “Battle Cry.”

Clean It Up

brain cleaning - conceptual vector illustration of to tidy up in head

Blog by Kristen Hicks

So, I have decided to take a couple days off from my normal routine and just spend some time with Jesus, letting Him do some things in me. I am extremely thankful that He has given me freedom with a job and with a life that I can do this type of thing. So I wanted to share just a little about some things that He is doing and showing me in these three days, because I think they are most definitely in relation to the “Invincible Summer.”

Well today was very interesting to say the least. Any time I ever go after some breakthrough with Jesus there is always a time that I have to spend just getting through mess. I have to clean stuff up, if you will. Normally, by this point my heart, head, soul, or whatever you want to call it is not the only thing that is a wreck. Most of the time my room, my car, my refrigerator, my trash can (because let’s be honest, I’m a girl and I hate taking out the trash), pretty much everything is a mess.

So today, as I spent time with Jesus, I also spent time doing laundry, dishes, cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash and just cleaning really. But I also, spent time outside journaling, worshiping, crying, confronting fears and lies, and just asking the Lord to shine light on everything that is within me that is not of Him or that shouldn’t be there.

I listened to a teaching today by Melissa Helser called, “Sustainability.” It was really, really good. (Look it up.) She talked about how to sustain yourself by being thankful, seeing yourself in the delight of the Father’s eyes, and seeing yourself as having worth. You are valuable. She used an interesting example. Recycling.

She said,

“Love has to drive your daily rhythms of loving Jesus. Duty cannot drive your love for God. The goal of sustainability has to go beyond these passion-filled causes. It has to be a changed mindset. The Father wants to change your mindset, so that you can be driven to do things beyond what you ever thought, because love is pulling you… the choices that you make every day make a difference. You have to begin to see beyond yourself….Recycling is a beautiful example of you holding the plastic bottle, and you can either throw it in the trash or you can throw it in the recycling bin. In that moment you have a choice, and depending on your mindset is what you’ll do. If you believe that you are valuable and that you make a difference in every choice you make, and every day makes a difference, you will put it in a recycling bin. But if you don’t have the mindset of value, you won’t….the Father wants to shift our mindsets.”

I know for me, I don’t recycle. Not that I really think that that was her point at its core. But I think that her point was that in order to truly be sustainable in this journey, we have to let the Father change us.  We have to let Him change the way we think. We have to let Him shine light on areas that we may or may not want to deal with. He doesn’t want our lives to get so messy that it takes an entire day to clean it up. He wants us to see ourselves as valuable in the light of the smallest choices that we make and to see and understand that every choice we make needs to be driven by love. Whether those choices have to do with our job, our home, our family, our friends, our church, our community. The smallest things usually make the biggest difference.

So today was no wasted day. Today, in the beauty of making the summer within truly invincible, I learned to take a risk inwardly. I learned that I need to see myself in the delight of the Father’s eyes. To see myself as valuable. And that if I see myself as valuable then I can believe that every choice I make, big or small, can make a difference in the Kingdom. I learned that to truly sustain myself, I need to choose things that are driven by my love for God daily, not my duty to Him or anyone else, including myself. I learned that I need to call things out as they come, always placing things before Jesus, and filtering them based on His word not my own understanding. I learned that I need to let the Father shift my mindset so that I can see Him for who He truly is in ALL things and that I can see myself for all He created me to be.