Hi. This post is extremely long. It is also extremely out of order. My mind cannot even care to put it in the order of happening. It is what it is. This is how it came out. It isn’t fancy. It isn’t literary. It isn’t for everyone. It is what it is. This is pretty much me depositing into a memory bank and you can read along for the bumpy, curvy, unexpected ride or not. Your choice. But there is a lot of meaty greatness below. Partake if you are hungry!
Just over a year ago, I walked into the doors of World Harvest Outreach.
I carried in a lot of baggage. I was weighed down by my physical being and the burdens unseen. I was searching for something. Anything. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. All I knew at that time was that I needed something bad. I needed to belong somewhere, with someone. I needed a safe place to unpack all of my baggage. I knew that I was open to receiving and I didn’t think I had much to offer anyone else except my heart. My heart has always been so full of love and compassion. Little did I know that that is all I needed to have to give because it is HUGE thing to be able to give. It changes lives. My own included.
Over the course of the past year, my relationship with God has become my prize. This walk is something no one can take from me. No amount of judgment, rejection, shame or fear can steal this away from me. It is mine forever. I cherish it. It is the foundation of my life. As the months passed by, I became stronger in my identity. I became intentional about my pursuit of Jesus. I became more open to my conviction and honoring my Father. This walk hasn’t been without pain. I have felt incredible deep pain as I strip the layers off. Sometimes a layer would come off easier than the one before it but often times, it hurt some part of me to do so
There is glory in that pain. Pain births strength, compassion, understanding and love. It gives us experience to reach out to others who need nothing but understanding and love. Pain has such a bad name because no one wants to go through it. It damages on different levels and often times we are stuck on trying to figure out how to repair the damage. So many people are so focused on the pain, they forget how to breathe in the true beauty of life.
So I walk into the doors of this building, church, a year ago and take a seat in the back row. I am outwardly smiling at strangers but little did they know that I was completely destroyed on the inside. At that point, I was in the process of healing and was able to proclaim that I changed a lot. Although I had changed, I masked the fact that I was healed. I wasn’t completely healed then. I was shattered. I am an obese woman in the flesh and I hated to be seen. How could you miss me? Yet I tried to hide in the back row. I wasn’t sure I even belonged there, among this body of God’s children.
A group of beautiful women prayed over me that day. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed into the arms of strangers who spoke identity into me. I wasn’t rejected. I wasn’t judged. I was loved. Completely. All of me. For WHO I was, not the body I walked in. Just me. My heart and I. Soon after that day, one of the ladies, Stacey, said that God told her that one day I would be up front. Not sure if it meant sitting up front or just being up front during worship. It didn’t matter, she said I would be up there, not in the back. I laughed and said enthusiastically, “NEVER!!” She assured me that I would be. I smiled and shook my head no.
There is no way I would put myself in a position to be seen by the entire congregation!
I loved my heart but not my body.
But those people inside that building? They only saw my heart. It blew me away. Still does.
I cannot even count the number of times people have told me they love my hugs. There is something really special in my hugs, they’d say. They would tell me how much they needed MY hug and how it made them feel loved. Some felt an electricity, some felt the gentleness. Some begged for more. Most Sundays, I had a group of people surrounding me, wanting nothing but a hug. From ME. People wanted this from me but I am not sure if they know how much each one of them has affected me by their hugs and their love. It was a vital part in feeling accepted, wanted and like I belonged there.
They saw only my heart.
Just a month or so ago, a friend came to me for some help during worship. She was feeling weighed down by evil spirits and she asked God who she needed to go to in order to rid herself of them. Out of all the elders and known people in that church,God showed her me. ME!!
When she asked me, I was very intimidated and very unsure of my ability to bring healing to her. So I said “Ok, God, You are so funny! Me? Seriously? You’ve got jokes but I will trust You. Show me what to do. Show me how to heal my friend. Give me all of You so I can give all of us to her.” So as she sat on the floor between my legs, I laid hands on her. I prayed silently because I had little faith in my words if they were aloud. But the more I listened, the more God led me into this intensely beautiful moment. My silent prayer became a whisper and my whisper became louder. The more He stirred my spirit, the louder I became in my prayer.
I couldn’t help but cry as I did this for her. And she got up, held my hands and said she could feel the energy inside of me, that she was healed and the evil spirits were lifted from her. She no longer was weighed down. She told me that God said to be open because I have this tremendous gift of laying hands on people. I had to be open and accept this gift and utilize it. It broke me wide open. I knew then why people loved my hugs. They were healing.
Fast forward to this past weekend. World Harvest Outreach held an Encounter Gathering, Koinonia. Three days of beautiful love, togetherness and worship.
I didn’t have any expectations really, except for the hope that I would be used as a small part in changing someone’s life and that I would be changed too. I needed something even greater than the past year. I asked Jesus to show up big for me, to flow through my spirit and let it be seen.
Friends, I really cannot encapsulate the power of this weekend for me. But I have moments that I need to share. Big moments that changed me forever. Big moments that ultimately led to a bond with people that I have known for years, most for just a year and others just this weekend. But my love for each one of them cannot be measured. It is never-ending. It flows without ceasing. It is the kind of love our Father pours down on us from Heaven.
My best friend, Sherri, told me, yes TOLD me, that I was sitting up front with her for this event. That she needed to experience this with me by her side. And because she has my heart, I said ok. I didn’t hesitate. I said ok. And I did. It was uncomfortable the first night being up front. But I soon LOVED it. I felt more a part of everything up there. It solidified my belonging. Thank you, Sherri, for … everything. And all that you are to me.
So, Stacey’s vision came true. It took a year. But I was up front. That was big.
But I heard God say go up front. Hello? God? I am. See me? I am sitting in the front row!
No, child. Go UP FRONT.
Don’t be afraid. Remember, these people do not judge you. They LOVE you. YOU! They love you.
But Papa, the pain. My body is in pain. I CAN’T do what they are doing!!!
You don’t have to do what they are doing.
Just be you. Just be free to be you and express it however it comes out.
NO! I canNOT!!
Yes you can.
You said you trusted me. Trust, Tricia.
But Father, I don’t want to be seen!!
He answered, “Oh but you were made to be seen!!”
I stood up. Walked to the front. The very front, right in front of the stage and let it go.
I poured out my love for Him.
I didn’t feel pain. Before the weekend, I prayed that my pain would be nonexistent or at best minimal. My body held me and when it couldn’t any longer, I sat. But I got up again and poured out my love to Him over and over again. I trusted Him.
At one point Saturday night, after being up front letting go, I sat down and couldn’t move. I physically could not move. It was not from my own pain. It was just from being overwhelmed by what was happening in that building. In that moment, God took me above the building, in the sky and I overlooked as the roof exploded and it just ignited into the most miraculous display of fireworks! It was so beautiful but then I saw spirits soaring out and the breath of love began blowing all over the community and quickly spread to the nations. I could see the mist literally wrap around people in the building and everywhere!! I couldn’t stop crying. My cries turned to completely sobs.
I couldn’t breathe at all.
I rushed outside feeling broken.
My beautiful friend, Natasha, came outside soon after I had. Just like she had been the entire weekend, she was with me. She held me. She loved me. She spoke truth to me. I told her I thought I was healed. I thought I had done so much work already. Why!!?? Why was I feeling so completely destroyed. I literally could feel the jagged edges of my heart and all the broken pieces were threatening to take me out. I was gasping for air. The pain was, by far, the most pain I have EVER experienced in my entire life.
Later that night, as I laid in bed, I asked God why did I feel so broken still? Why is my heart so very broken. And He said, “Daughter, it wasn’t YOUR pain you were feeling. I broke your heart open and let the love you had inside spread to others that are broken! You saw it! You saw the breath of your love in the spirit as it filled brokenness in the nations!! Don’t you see how beautiful your heart is? Don’t you see the amount of love inside you? You are filled with it for a reason!! I gave it to you purposefully. You are a special one! You give it freely. You know what brokenness and rejection and abandonment feel like. You know what feeling alone and not a part of anything or not wanted feels like. And because of that, you are able to give a love so special. People feel it and want more. Your compassion is not a weakness. It has great value. Child, this is WHY!!! This is why you felt so completely destroyed. You were feeling everyone else’s pain not your own!!!”
Changed me -my life forever.
One of the most honoring moments of the weekend was when my spiritual father’s wife, Dawn, came over to me and loved on me but ending up crying in my arms and she honored me by allowing me to hold her as she cried. As if I couldn’t have loved her any more, I fell completely in love with her in that moment. Dawn is an angel. She is beauty through and through. She is strength and beauty and hope and safety and love. Oh she is love.
Another moment was when we were told to go around an honor others. Tell them what we see in them. Honor WHO they are. I didn’t feel completely confident in my ability to do that, to speak truth and identity to someone else. But I trusted my God and I got up and said, “Lead me, Father. Show me where to go.”
As I looked around the room, I immediately saw the person needing me. I didn’t know her. I had never seen her before. She was in the back row. Head down. And I sat down and put my arm around her. She looked up at me with these amazing big, brown doe eyes. I was captivated by her! As I began to speak to her what God told me that she needed to hear, tears began to well up in her beautiful eyes. She thanked me for coming to her and said she wanted to do the same but wasn’t confident in herself to just go up to someone and speak to them. I assured her that she just had to be open and listen. He would show her the way and He would give her the words. So we stood up together and I said, “Now go.” Just as Father spoke to me.
I smiled as she wandered off and I went on to the next person that He asked me to share my love and His love with. She never left my heart though. I couldn’t get her off my mind all weekend. And I didn’t see her until the gathering ended on Sunday. I found her right before we both were about to leave. I said, “Victoria!!!” and she got excited and said, “Tricia!!” as we embraced. She thanked me again for coming back to her and honoring who she was. She said it changed her entire weekend. She said after that, she was able to approach people with confidence and more!! See what HE can do through us!!?? WOW!! I told her I would love to stay connected because I just couldn’t shake her from my heart. God whispered that she was a spiritual daughter and I had to look after her. There is something very, very special about her. She is love. She will change lives!
Another moment, on Sunday, God told me I had to go find my friend, Ethan. That he just needed held. Jesus used me to speak to him and I just held him as he cried. Everyone needs to know Ethan. He is a very beautiful young man. He is courageous. He is a survivor. He is a warrior. Jesus in him is so so magnetizing. Know him, people. Seek him. He is a life changer.
Back to Saturday…
My youngest daughter, Kari, came with me to Koinonia. She is such a beautiful girl, inside and out but lacks some confidence. She doesn’t like to be in the spotlight at all. But at one moment, her friend Julia R. came up to her, grabbed her hand and took her up front to dance. Kari was NOT comfortable with that at all but suddenly I saw them go on stage!! She opened up enough to let walls be broken down and love flowed in. What I saw next broke me wide open. Seriously. As a mother, to see someone embrace your child and pour love into her, well, my heart just exploded in gratitude. Julia J. took my baby girl and held her. Spoke identity into her and loved her. Julia J. is this beautiful light of God. You need to know her too, friends. Know her. Seeing my child in worship filled me with a sense of pride. He is reaching her and she will change lives.
I will never forget the very personal moments with some very special people. Neal saw me. He saw to the core of my being and told me so. He knew WHO I was and I will love him forever for what he gave to me this weekend. He is so very special to me and God led him to me to be a spiritual father. Mark and Matt… I will cherish these two men every day of my life. They are spiritual fathers to me in ways no one else can be. I feel so very secure in their embrace.
Erin, what you said to me will stick with me forever. It meant so very much to me to hear you say what you said. Thank you. Jen, thank you for inviting me to WHO a year ago. Thank you for your hugs and continued love. Thanks for capturing a very intimate and personal moment of me up front and thinking it was so beautiful. I love you. Sherri and Rob… my family, my heart, … I want to say so much about the two of you but let me just say that the love in your hearts is truly a shining light of God’s love and you bless me in so many ways. I love you both. Thank you so much for loving me fully.
Natasha, You have my heart. More people need to know you. I love our friendship. I love that you love me. I love that you encourage me. I love how much you were by my side this weekend. Right there. Without fail. I love you so much! Lisa, our moment was super special. You are a treasure. You are loved. Your heart is so bright. Thank you for letting me hold you. Leslie, I fell in love with you this weekend. Your love for me will never be forgotten. I still feel your embrace. I still see your eyes and hear you speaking love into me. You are grace and beauty. Michelle, thanks for holding me so many times this weekend. I love you sister. Your heart is so so big. I love our connection. So many many people to thank and love. Papa Ron and Momma Effielow – You showed me parental love this weekend. Your care for me and your love for me was felt and appreciated and treasured. Papa Ron, thanks for holding me after a breakdown. True papa. I love you both so much! I had so many more encounters… So many gave me their hearts and I hope others got something from me too. And please don’t feel offended if I forgot to mention you and a special moment we shared. Send me a message and remind me. My mind is pretty much mush right now!! I am still basking in the beauty of Koinonia.
The final moment I will NEVER forget was when worship team was singing and the only words I could hear were, “COME ALIVE! COME ALIVE!” My dear friend and spiritual mother, Ariana, took me in her arms and shouted in my ear those very words. As she shouted COME ALIVE, I shouted back I AM ALIVE! But the most incredible thing happened as she continued to shout those words in my ear over and over again… I didn’t hear her voice any longer. I heard the voice of my most beloved grandfather. He passed away 19 years ago that day, November 2nd. And he chose to come to me yesterday. I heard him shouting from the heavens! He told me that he was VERY proud of me and he was there with me always, guiding me, protecting me, healing me. He literally told me that I can let go of the pain, truly truly let go of the pain of not having a daddy because he loved me enough and would always be not just my grandfather, but he was my daddy. HE WAS MY DADDY!! I didn’t need anyone else to fill that role. HE WAS MY DADDY!!!!!! And daddy told me to COME ALIVE!!!
The ground is shaking! The world is changing! The breath of love is a revival!! We are roaring and breathing out His love across the nations! Be lifted up! Be lifted Higher! Papa can you hear us!!?? We love you Daddy! We love you Daddy! We love you Daddy! Thank you for loving us! Thank you for loving us! Thank you for loving us!
This weekend was so rich. So deep. So empowering. Such a gift. I am honored to have been a part of it. I am honored to be surrounded by this spiritual family. I am deeply in love.