Unhindered Encounter – February 12, 2011

‘…it feels like Jesus has washed my face. He has carefully but intently scrubbed off the lies, heartache and rejection caked on my face then rinsed it with his living water. And with my face cupped gently in his hands, he smiles and whispers, ‘Oh there you are’.” – from Unhindered, by Jana Spicka

Go Deeper.
Real Life. Real God. Real Freedom.

Radical definitions of beauty, intimacy, life. Experience a true love story.

Join us for a one day woman’s event hosted by Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church and Women Getting Real Ministries.

Lead by Author/Speaker Jana Spicka and the Women Getting Real Team.

Ticket prices includes: 4 teaching session, live worship, lunch, the Unhindered Worship CD, and more.

Register Early for Discounts!!!

To find out more about the Unhindered Encounter event and hear personal testimonies click here

Reality Check: Sessions include candid conversations and mature themes in media

Click Here to Register

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Our Heart for Unhindered

This is the Lord’s mission statement. It’s what He’s always doing. And this is our desire for the women who are part of Unhindered 2.0.  Don’t miss an amazing day with the Lord as we press into His freedom, His favor, His comfort, and His beauty for us. You can still register here.

Isaiah 61:1-3

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor.

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate

Did you miss us?  Jana has been in the thick of recording her new worship CD, Real. Love. Life., and is working hard on her next treat for you: her book by the same name! We’re planning to release both at the Unhindered Encounter on February 12th.

You’re going to love the CD. I got a sneak peak at some of the songs since I was part of the WGR choir that sang in the background.  Each song is excellent, but “Prayer for Zimbabwe” really hit home for me. Jana took one of the songs that the Zim kids sang to us on our mission trip and put words around our heart’s cry for them – our brothers and sisters.

As I listened and sang, I was struck by the way my heart soared in worship – both when they sang it in Shona (I can’t understand a word!) and when we sang it in English.  It was like our hearts were joined in one voice to our One Father.  Truly thrilling. You’ll get to hear it both ways, too…

Please keep Jana and the team in your prayers, as we keep you in ours.  There’s a lot coming up:

  • Real. Love. Life. Book and a CD to be finished and released by February 12th.
  • WGR Christmas Celebration this Tuesday! Join us live at Fellowship Church or via Livestream, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
  • True Intimacy Marriage Retreat, January 14 – 16. Yippee! The registration deadline has been extended to December 15th. Sign up here.
  • Unhindered Encounter 2.0, February 12th. Early registration ends December 15th, so sign up here to get the best price!

Your voice is heard in Heaven and your prayers keep us going.


Laura Jones for the WGR team

P.S.  Need a stocking stuffer?  Jana’s new yearly devotional, Dine with Me, Real Food for the Hungry Spirit, is available for shipping December 14th.

A Glorious Name

All throughout the Bible, God names people, and God changes people’s names. Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Sari to Sarah, John the Baptist, Gomer’s children, even the names given to Jesus. Good or bad. Rachel on her deathbed named her newborn, Ben-Oni, son of my trouble. Thankfully, dad stepped in and named him Benjamin, son of my right hand. What a difference a name makes.

So the Lord loves names. Why? Because God uses names to describe and explain himself. Names are forms of identification. What’s in a name? Everything when you are talking about God.

So, when my friend John Dee prayed over us a blessing that the power of God be revealed and that there be a release of gifts, and new names, I was intrigued and a little clueless.

After the prayer I asked John, “what is that? A new name?”

And in true John Dee fashion, he told me to go to Jesus and the Word and see what I found. I started digging in Scripture and it is very frequent. In fact, commonplace. It is everywhere. I will name you, I will call you. And there is specific Scripture about God giving us new names. Lots of Scripture. Here is one:

“You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.” Isaiah 62:2

So I asked Him to tell me my name. I knew how important it was to me for my children. I am His child, so it stands to reason my name is important to Him. So I asked. Simple as that. Then I waited.

And the day it came, I just sat there. This is a little too close to my heart for public consumption. But I want to tell you how amazing it is when the Living God gives you a name. In true fashion for me, I didn’t believe I had heard Him right.

I asked Him to tell me again so I could be sure it was Him. The Lord was really good about it. He did. Over and over.

Guess what? The Lord does not stutter.

Now a couple of years have passed and I have watched the Lord reveal himself in amazing ways through a given name. People are always dumbfounded. Here are some names the Lord has given in lots of different ways to people I know personally.

Sought After, Butterfly, Faithful, Doxa, Repairer of Broken Walls, Sunshine, Pearl.

These are all real people with real encounters with a Real God.

Every one of these people scratched their head and said, Huh? Me? But the Lord used the name to drive deep truth down in their soul. If I told you these names were given to people who struggled with being victims of child abuse, infidelity, promiscuity, rejection, worthlessness, would you be able to connect the dots? All they could see was pain and struggle and hurt. And then God says, “Wait just a minute. This is who I see. This is who you really are.

It brings the promises of God to a whole new level. “The one who calls you is faithful. He will do it.”

Now what does this have to do with my glory, your glory?

We are settling for crumbs when we can have a feast. God is offering us a lot more than we are taking. We are settling for churchianity instead of intimacy. We are settling for stereotypes in and out of the church instead of being defined by the Creator. We are bickering over roles when God is calling us to be warriors for the Kingdom of God.

I am my Beloved’s and His desire is toward me.

I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.

I know who I am and whose I am and He is fully taken with me. He is the Beholder. He is the Author, the Finisher. He is the only one who matters. He is my all in all. He is the Lover that I have always longed for. He is the Source. He is the Redeemer.

In my language He is the Curse Breaker.

He is my satisfaction so that out of this overflow, my relationship to everyone else is changed. My marriage is different because Jesus has my heart. My parenting is different because Jesus has my heart. Everything flows from His source, instead of me trying to scramble around to grab some affirmation here and approval there, definition here and fighting for this or that.

And in an unusual God-like way, this knowledge helped me to be more of a woman. I stepped off the False Woman spectrum. No more bouncing between the Trophy and Invisible Woman. I am free to express my glory, my womanhood without all the fear of rejection.

I can trust the Lord to lead and define and defend me. He said, His gifts and callings are irrevocable. I believe Him.

Understanding God’s glory in me has changed my whole perspective about everything, everyone.

I told a room of 20-something year old women that it feels like Jesus has washed my face; He has carefully but intently scrubbed off the lies and heartache and rejection caked on my face, and then rinsed it with His living water, and with my face cupped gently in His hands, He smiles and whispers, “Oh, there you are.”

Excerpt taken from Unhindered, Chapter 50

Let’s Get Real Here:

How do you think your thoughts about you would change if you heard what the Lord God Almighty called you? Why don’t ask Him? What’s your new name?

The Alabaster Box

“What, then, is the secret?” Watchman Nee asks about worship as seen by the woman who anointed Jesus with oil.

 Clearly it is this, that in approving Mary’s action at Bethany, the Lord Jesus was laying down one thing as a basis of all service: that you pour out all you have, your very self, unto Him; and if that should be all He allows you to do, that is enough. It is not first of all a question of whether ‘the poor’ have been helped or not. The first question is: Has the Lord been satisfied?

Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, p.274

You may be familiar with the story from Luke about the sinful woman who came and anointed Jesus not only with perfume but with her tears. I want you to imagine the scene.

Here is an empty chair.

The rest of the room is filled with people. Sitting in a circle, gathered in two and threes. It is humming with multiple conversations. Jesus enters the scene. He is escorted by the homeowner to the empty seat. The conversational buzz is suspended for a moment as Jesus takes a seat and then all greet him. Conversations resume. Imagine the homeowner puffed and grinning at his renowned guest. Jesus is in his house no less.

But then another guest steals in quietly. Without invitation and without notice of anyone save Jesus.

Jesus is immediately aware of her. She is at His feet weeping silently. Her hot tears touch His feet like tender words of thanks and praise. She wipes them with her hair.

The homeowner seeing that he has lost the attention of Jesus, looks for the distraction. Seeing the harlot, he starts toward the woman to grab her up and pull her away… What is such filth doing in my home, he mentally protests. But Jesus waves him off before the homeowner gets to her.

Then the woman rises, eyes still down, she goes behind Jesus and pauses. The homeowner’s shoulders relax in relief. Is she leaving? he hopes, thinking that the little interruption is over. But then he draws in a breath. What was she doing now?

Tears still slide silently down her face. She raises her hands over Jesus’ head. In her shaking grasp is a small white jar. An alabaster flask. Before the homeowner could refuse, she uncorks the top and a pours a soft slow trickle of oil over Jesus’ head. It pools in His dark hair and then overflows down His neck. Over His brow, down His cheeks. Over His closed eyes. The oil slides down His neck, and soaks dark in His cloak. He lets out a soft slow sigh.

It is the aroma that silenced the room.

They stood speechless as the woman poured the entire flask on Jesus’ head. She held it upside down, so that every drop was emptied.

The whispers began. Most missed the smile of contentment that played on Jesus’ lips.

Immediately they tittered over the woman that had again taken her place at Jesus feet. They talked of her reputation. They all knew who she was and what she had done. They talked of the ridiculous cost. How on earth did she of all people get such fine perfume? They talked of her audacity. They talked of her inappropriate showiness. How dare her after all? Didn’t she know who He was?

Yes she did. Precisely.

Do you?

What does Jesus have to to say about all this? That she will be remembered. That she has done a beautiful thing. That her act of love — those who have been forgiven much, love much — her act of love blessed Jesus.

He noticed her heart. Her sacrifice, her abandon. But more than merely noticing, Jesus appreciated it, enjoyed it, loved it, was impacted by it. Her loving action affected God.

Jesus was satisfied.

Excerpt taken from Unhindered, Chapter 47

Let’s Get Real Here:

As you walk through this scene in your mind’s eye, where are you in the room? Are you the homeowner, just glad Jesus is in the house, but not really welcoming or enjoying Him? It’s all for show.

Are you one of the invited guests, there to see and be seen? Are you one that is evaluating, critiquing, scoffing at the open display from the sinful woman? Does her affection make you feel jealous? Do you feel like you are on the outside looking in? Perhaps indignant? Or are you confused at what it is going on here? Does this seem outrageous, uncalled for, even…wasteful?

Are you the woman? So utterly aware of who you are and so desperately wanting to be someone else? So utterly bankrupt— physically, emotionally, spiritually — that to be seen publicly weeping is of little matter compared to the hope of His healing?

Is your need so great that you would risk everything just to show Him, somehow, that you believe He is who He says He is?

Is your love so great that you will give all you have— dreams, hopes, money, talents, reputation, beauty, everything— in a frail container to be poured out on Him for His pleasure, His enjoyment?

Deep Calls to Deep

I stood at the ocean and I felt what I do every time, at every ocean—Awe.

With my toes curled in the sand on the shore I felt as I always do at first. Small. I looked at the sand. So white.

The Lord reminded me of the verse—More than the grains of sand, so My thoughts are of you.

“No way, Lord.”

We continued the ocean lesson.

Look closely. What do you see?

There is life in the ocean, life I cannot see. There is power, deep power. The ocean is different every time I walk up to it. Every morning, it is different. The ocean is more than I can imagine. It goes on beyond what I can see. It refreshes me. It inspires me. It causes me to dream again. It calls to me….

“You are Lord. You are.” I whispered, simply amazed by Him.

I went back out at dusk and a storm was brewing out on the horizon. You couldn’t see the clouds but you could see it on the water. It was rough, wild and restless. I stepped in the warm evening water and immediately could feel the pull; the current was strong and relentless.

This is how I am Jana. I come to you. Over and over. I call to you to come in. Put one little toe in and I pull you in. I take you deeper. Then bring you back to shore. But not without changing you, tumbling you around, making you a little scared and then popping you back up to the surface just in time. Even when you play at the shore, it just makes you hungry for more.

I looked out at the expanse of the ocean. The dawning awareness that this magnificent creation is but a thimble full compared to my God.

“What is it like out there Lord? What is it like farther out there?”

My eye strained to see every crest, looking for a dolphin. But as I peered out looking for one thing, a stingray flew happily out of the water, arching in time for a moment before it plunged back into its own world.

“Lord I strain to see one thing, and You freely give another,” I whispered.

There is life out there. Abundant life.

Excerpt from Unhindered, Chapter 45

Let’s Get Real Here:

Do you believe God has more for you? What are you longing for? Straining for? What is He showing you?

The More of Worship

My worship journey peaked at an unusual place called Splash Country. It is a Dolly Parton entertainment park where the entire place, huge place, is water-related activities. Thus the name, Splash Country. I went there with my then-seven-year-old daughter Salem.

Normally at a place like this, there are the watchers and the doers. But today, everyone came to play, regardless of size or shape, pasty white or bottle bronzed, cool bathing suit or out-dated reruns, we all played in the water, played in the fountains, down the slides, floated down the lazy river, and huddled under the Giant bucket, which was my personal favorite.

I realized that I had joined them in the child-like excitement. But more importantly I realized I was good with me. I came to play with my daughter. And life was very good.

Thanks, Lord.

But then we came to the wave pool.

Now, I know that we are all made in the image of God. I am so good with that. But standing around, waiting for “something,” with a bunch of wet, half-naked young and old people standing too, too close was not so good.

I mean really…there were a lot of hairy men. Really hairy. Really awkward. It is was cramped and everyone is trying not to touch anyone…whew. Get the picture?

Then from over the speaker you hear this beep— beep— beep. Everyone chattered in an odd sense of anticipation and the waves begin. The water slowly rippled but then grew in momentum. It moved up and down creating waves. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down, very predictable. Up and down, very heartless. Up and down, even the kids grew bored. Up and down. Then the water went flat.

No waves. No laughter. No expectation. What do you have left? Everyone standing around cramped, wet and half-naked, trying not to touch each other —waiting.

So I take all this in and think maybe, just maybe it was a bad run at the wave pool. We hang around to see if next time is better, as if next time it would be different. It wasn’t. Not that time or the next four times. Only the bodies changed out.

 They weren’t changed, they just changed out, meandered off in hopes of a little excitement.

 As I stood on the wave pool edge (you could hardly call the sloped concrete a “shore”), I watched the waves go up and down in a powerless, passionless rhythm and everyone jumping on cue with feigned excitement.

Then the Lord said, This is like worship.

I kept watching. “How so?” I asked.

 It is empty.

“Why doesn’t this work, Lord? It seems like a good idea. The fun of the ocean without salt, without the sand.”

Because there is no awe.

Let’s break this down. Just like a wave pool where you can jump in waves with no ocean, you can worship without a GOD to worship. When worship is not fueled by the Spirit of God, driven by desire for God, in awe of God, then it is boring and predictable and empty like the wave pool. It may be fun for a few minutes, then you wander off, ready to do something else. You are not changed by it. You just change activities.

Let’s talk about the ocean. It is always different. You can’t help but feel the huge-ness, it is ever changing, and oh the power. I could go on and on!. The smell, the feel, the taste. It never gets old, you never know what you will get when you go. Every time is different. Much like the presence of the Lord, you experience it, all of it, the feel, the taste, the smell. There is a power and source that comes in waves. But you can’t control these waves. You don’t even know when or how they will come. Only that they will come.

Excerpt taken from Unhindered, Chapter 46

Let’s Get Real Here:

When you think of worship – really – are you standing in a wave pool or at the ocean? If you’re in the wave pool, ask the Lord to give you awe.  If you’re at the ocean, ask Him what He has for the two of you there.

Who Is He Anyway?

So who is this God who asks us not for something but everything?

He is the God who calls things that are not, as though they were. (Romans 4:17)

He is the Lord who sings over us. (Zephaniah 3:17)

He is the Lord your God who is gracious and compassionate slow to anger and abounding in love. (Exodus 34:6-7)

He is the Spirit who brings beauty from ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)

He is One who holds all things together and by whom all things are made. (Colosians 1:15-17)

He is the God who will repay all the years that the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25)

He is the God who gives you His joy so that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)

He is the God who boasts that “I will satisfy you fully.” (Joel 2:19)

What do you do when the God of the universe says He will satisfy you fully?

You have a couple of options. You can walk away. Or stand there in shock. Or you can drink Him in. You can bank on it. Not out of disrespect. Out of complete trust that if He said it, He means it. Some friends of mine and I have adopted a saying, “I’ve been peithoed,” meaning, I have been persuaded, overcome with evidence, blown away by the truth. Are you willing to be peithoed?

What exactly does peitho mean? The New Thayers Greek-English Lexicon says concerning this word peitho:

persuasion; to induce one by words to believe; to cause belief in a thing (which one sets forth), win one’s favor; to persuade unto; i.e. move or induce someone by persuasion to do something; to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe; to trust.

God peithoes us every day. He wants to get our attention. He wants us to know Him.

Why? Because all along God has been after relationship, relationship, relationship.

Excerpt taken from Unhindered, Chapter 45

Let’s Get Real Here:

Are you convinced – peithoed – of what God says about Himself? About you?  If not, are you willing to let Him persuade you?

Start Your Bulldozer

Are you looking for three easy steps to freedom? Sorry. I can’t do that. But I can share with you a few tools, a few chisels, God has used in setting me free.

• Worship

If freedom comes where His Spirit is, then ask for His Spirit to come. One way to ask His Spirit to come is through worship—whether that time is spent in silence, driving down the road, or singing. One of my favorite ways to worship is to read scripture and then say it back or sing it back to the Lord. Worship is an attitude of the heart.

• The Word

The Bible is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12.) When I feel weak, sad, mad, just yuk, I know that I am starving to death for His truth. I feed on the Word of God. I have learned to expect God to listen to me and to answer me. He has far more to say than we have ever dared to believe. He uses the Scripture in mighty ways. But we must come expecting. Hebrews 10:19-23 challenges us to approach God with confidence and with full assurance because He is faithful to hear us. You cannot live a God life without God’s word.

• Journaling

As we write our story we see His story unfolding. As we write out our words, He reveals His Word in the middle of it. Journaling is a history of all God is doing in our lives. You should see the progress that has been made in my list of “hopeless situations.” In every one of them you can see God’s hand moving. I am so thankful that I wrote them out and then rewrote them with a blessing.  In every situation, God is ever working. For His glory and my good.

Don’t be lazy. And don’t quit. Ask the Lord to show you how to worship Him in a deeper way. Ask the Lord to make you hungry for the Word. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that you can understand. You should see how many journal entries I have where God has spoken to me through nature. He took something simple that I love and used it to explan things about Himself, or me, or my circumstances.  He is very creative.

The Stories of Three Wells

I want to tell you three short stories about women. Like Snow White, they were all by wells. They were all approached by a man. And all were asked to do something.

Pushed Away

…Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock.
Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”
They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
“And where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”
(From Exodus 2)

When you read this story it is easy to miss small details. These women are about their fathers’s business but are pushed aside. Other shepherds come and drive them away from their work because they are women. But the Bible says that Moses got up and came to their rescue and he watered their flock.

Not only did he save them, he served them.

When Papa hears about this story what does he say? Why did you leave him? He sends them back. Go back to where you have been rejected and pushed aside. Go back and see this man who saves you and serves you.

Called Away

Abraham had instructed his chief servant, Elihezar, to go to his home country and find a wife for his son Isaac.

The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again…

“When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant suc-cess to the journey on which I have come. See, I am standing beside this spring; if a maiden comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
“Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder…
Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”
When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master…”
But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you* may go.”
Then they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”
“I will go,” she said.
(From Genesis 24)

In this story, Rebekah is just living her life. She is prepared to do the work asked of her and she is contented. So when the invitation comes from the stranger it is no small thing. It will cost her all she knows. She is being offered wealth, marriage, new land, new people, but only if she is willing. She has to decide which is greater: my plan or God’s plan.

Swept Away

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (From John 4)

I so relate to this woman at the well. She is rejected, alone, ashamed, guilty. And here comes a Jew of all people asking her for a drink. But she still has plenty of mouth left, and asks Him why He associates with her? Ever wonder why God associates with us?

But then comes the offer. If you knew, Jesus said. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you.” She wasn’t worthy. But Jesus still offered her living water.

All of these women had their lives radically interrupted. They had encounters with someone who was a for-eigner, a stranger, totally unheard of. And all of these women were asked to “give” something. Go back and get him. Give him something to eat. Give me water. Give me a drink.

Their future hinged on their actions. There may have been a promise of the future, but it did not begin without a very great risk right now. Each of them stood at a crossroad. Were they willing to go the distance?

Do you see there is no box here? These encounters radically changed each woman’s world, every future action and ultimately their future.

You can’t get to glory without a little risk. God wants to take us deeper, but it will cost us something. It will require us to go back to hard places, outside our comfort zones, and away from our sin. But “if you knew” who was asking, the process is so much easier.

Excerpt from Unhindered, Chapter 43

Let’s Get Real Here:

Ask yourself a few important questions.

Which woman at the well am I right now?

Do I need a defender? A lover? A redeemer?

What action is being asked of me?

What is the risk of this decision?

What is the cost if I say yes?

Am I willing to have my life radically changed?