Heaven on Earth

I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop on this lovely Wednesday and I am overwhelmed with joy and bubbling over with gratitude. It’s this amazing and otherworldly feeling that hits when Jesus feels most tangible and his goodness is manifested in a way I cannot attribute to any other source.

I’ve been in California for exactly 2 months and 10 days. But the life I have here doesn’t reflect that at all. The life I experience, the friends I have, the roots I’ve put down make it feel like I’ve been here for years. It’s such a reminder that God is the most fantastic storyteller. He comes up with the wildest plot twists, the most captivating imagery and a way of weaving details together in a way that blows your mind.

If you had told me of the wonders that have occurred every day I’ve been in California I would have laughed and probably called you a liar. In 2 months I have experienced God’s grace and glory in a way I never thought was possible. To call it abundance is a start but doesn’t even fully describe it. God has manifested into every area of my life. He has left no corner untouched, no area of my life unaffected. He is transforming me and my surroundings at an alarming rate.

Last night my Bible study threw a friendsgiving and 15 beautiful, loving and anointed women filled the room and crowded around a table on benches and chairs and stools and sofas. We ate delicious food and prayed in gratitude and shared in life. And then the most beautiful picture of heaven was orchestrated.

After all the eating and catching up, we gathered around the table again and held a circle of affirmation. This may sound like something weird and religious but it’s actually anything but. One by one each girl’s name was said and around the room affirmations were called out, truth was spoken and identities were proclaimed. I get chills still thinking about it, because what is a more beautiful picture of the Church?

We got to tell my friend Morgan that she is fire and the way she speaks is fierce and powerful. Kennedy got to hear the affirmation that she is fearless and used to connect people in a divine way. Eleanor was affirmed over and over about her servant’s heart and the love she pours out. Josie was reminded she spills out Jesus everywhere she goes and what a blessing she is in a city that can feel so dry. Hannah got to hear the stories of the way her warm and attentive spirit fills up the people around her – even people she’s just met. These are just a few small tidbits of what was probably close to an hour of Spirit truths being proclaimed in the room. It was powerful and ordained in a way that I never would have dared to dream.

All I know to do is praise God. Praise Him for these women, praise Him for the way He has worked in their lives, praise Him that I get to know them and be known by them and praise Him that this is all possible because of what Jesus did on the cross. He is so kind and good to have placed me here at this time with these delightful humans.

Somehow in a room of people that I’ve only known ranging two weeks to two months, I was called out for who I am. I was affirmed to the depth of my core. I wasn’t told superficial things; instead my deepest identity was spoken aloud by women who love me, fight for me and believe in me. There is nothing more powerful and I have never felt so covered. I asked God for community when I was moving, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it could be like this.

I think, to be honest, I have been waiting my whole life for a night like last night. It was not just some spiritual high, it was an encounter with the living breathing God of the universe who takes the time to orchestrate a friendsgiving and fill the atmosphere with who He is and who we are in Him. It was so far past any idea a human mind could have come up with. It was heaven on earth.

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