“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the all-surpassing power is from God, and not from us” 2 Corinthians 4v7
I called my erstwhile ‘ministry’ Out of the Heart. I had this longing to be authentic, open, real. I was looking for a vehicle to express the vision I was carrying and a way of using the gifts I had been given: if you are an encourager you need people to encourage! I was somehow ‘bigger’ than local church, with a God-given intercessory burden for my nation. So in 2001 the Lord engineered a repositioning from the South up to the Midlands, to place us in the heart of England. Being centrally placed meant I could now travel easily all across the country. But it was more than that: within only a few weeks I had connected with a network of leaders and pray-ers who represented ‘Wales to the Wash’ and were together to express ‘the heart of God for the heart of the nation’. The Heartland network became a home for me and in the last few years I have helped facilitate the gatherings three times a year. Martin has always said I am ‘a heart on legs’ and God had lined up our visions by putting this heart in the heart.
I had this logo idea, about the cross and the empty tomb. It was some time before it felt right to produce leaflets and explanations of my calling, but the DNA was there already, a desire for a flow out of my innermost being from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the overflow of life, joy, wisdom and revelation only He/She can bring. Out of my heart, out of God’s heart and out of the hidden heart of England, a flow of encouragement, connection, worship and prayer. The journey of hearing and carrying God’s heart in prayer for both the buried issues of the land and the younger generation has taken me deeper than I could have imagined: it has been a costly path and still is.
But there is no other way! “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16v7. It is my heart he is after. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, oh God, You will not despise” Psalm 51v17. The heart of us is our centre, our innermost self, the seat of passion, love and commitment. It is also a place of the deepest feelings – pain, shame, guilt, conviction. He wants intimacy, reality, vulnerability, openess, repentance.
I am a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kinda girl: what you see is what you get. Not everyone is like me 🙂 Not everyone has to be like me! Perhaps some of this has to do with the ‘female side’ of God, if you can go with that. Men generally have the logical ‘head’ stuff and we women are more emotional and intuitive… sweeping statement, but you know what I mean. A balance has to be brought to that, especially in England: this is an incredibly passionate country – you only have to look at the football terraces to see it! But it is OK to be a private person, to be quiet and shy, to have secrets – I have secrets too. But I also have a grace, as one of my closest friends says, ‘to live my life in the open’. Perhaps I am a sign in the heart of this nation: the Lord has called me to live ‘inside out’.
The Heartland gatherings came to an end this week; after ten years it was time to lay it down – good seed into the ground. It was a good finish. Now we are all sent out to carry ‘the heart of God for the heart of the nation’ in our different ways. The heart has to connect with the rest of the body or it is no good. The call on this nation is to serve the nations, so we need a global vision too – it is not parochial, my dear hobbits. It is about the sound of many voices and many testimonies, many hearts being shared. It is about being broken and given away like the loaves and fishes. It is about a sound rising up and a multitude being released.
As we walk in the light with one another we find we are purified. In honesty there is freedom, no room for hidden sin, no space allowed for bitterness and competition. As James said, as we confess our sins to one another we can find grace to be healed (James 5v16) – this is true accountability. The Scripture never tells us to go round saying “sorry” does it? We are simply to admit our faults and change our behaviour! In sharing our weaknesses, struggles, warts and all, we demonstrate the grace and redemption only Jesus can give and He gets the glory.
That’s what this blog is about. That kind of humility and humanity is what the world is waiting to see.