What a journey! After each encounter with Jesus I would grow. I spent lots of one-on-one time with Him just because I loved Him. I may have lived by myself but I was never alone. His Word, with meditation and His Spirit taught me that I was always in His presence.
I learned not to be afraid to surrender anything to Him. All it took was His prompting whisper for me to give up another layer of flesh. Truly, sacrificing to Him was never really sacrifice to me. Like many of you I had learned that whatever I laid down in obedience was simply a stepstool to get closer to Him. I knew my relationship with Him was somewhat different than others I’d heard about…but if we are all unique, and we are, wouldn’t our experience with the Lord be unique too?
All I knew is that my God and I enjoyed each other. For real…ENJOYED each other. Don’t you enjoy being around those that honor you, respect you, love you, romance you, reach out to you and stay close to you? Why would He be any different? Why would a God that died to live with us…not desire to BE IN our personal space and close to us? He wants to hear us whisper His name and see our face light up. It is personal! Like when I worship…when my hands reach out for Him…to touch Him…I believe He is in my space and that I am in His…and touching Him is what I was born to do.
I know that I (and you) can reach Him. His Word says that, “I am holy because He is holy” so I am free to meet Him in the Holy of Holies…even just to dance. Now, painfully, I have had to learn to let Him lead. I can’t tell you the times He has “stopped” until I surrendered, trusted and relaxed to let Him lead. But He ALWAYS waits for me…and each day, each year, He leads more and I lead less…especially as I learn to yield and guard myself against insecurity or victim flare ups that make me stumble.
To build me up God led me to begin fasting…intense, powerful fasts for intercession, maturity, and sometimes just because He said so. I would abstain from many foods – sometimes having just liquids, or fruits and veggies, or even just water. I went on a media fast for many years in the beginning. He didn’t want any outside media speaking into me besides Him. No radio, television or movies all that time. You talk about learn to hear His voice…and I got really sensitive to things that hurt my spirit.
I made a Nazrite vow and didn’t cut my hair for 5 years. From the time I got a chemical burn on my scalp and walked into the church for the first time – it grew from my shoulders to the small of my back. That was such a private vow between Jesus and I. He loved the gift of my hair (my banner for Him) and I loved Him.
Then He led me to dance in the dance ministry for several years. My sister led Feet of Fire in the church. Oh my Jesus, the anointing on her and the dancers would be so powerful! And the practices were intense and passionate as we honored the King of Kings. There was always so much to do and I was just assisting her. She would ask me and I would tell her that “one day”, sure, I would dance. I wasn’t ready to step out on the platform – I was still self conscious because I was overweight. One day one of the dancers had to pull out for something personal and Julie put me in “just to practice”. And it was on! Glory…I loved dancing for Him with the ministry! How awesome to use your body to celebrate the One who created it!
By this time in my life, I was almost 46 years old and about to go through another change….
Knowing in the spirit that it was coming…I received and accepted a secretary job offer from the church, and left the law firm. Nick Eno even told me that I passed several “tests” that I didn’t even know I took – just to confirm it! We all knew God brought me on board to help them. But I have to share this funny story. When I got the job offer and met with them – I went home, prayed about it, gave my notice at work and let the pastors know. I am a fast worker, lol. I am the kind of person that once I make a decision, I jump out of the boat and never look back! The church didn’t quite have the contract details ready to go so I had a span of time without knowing what salary and benefits I would have. Ask me if I cared! They knew I was bold about it and got a kick out of it. I remember meeting with the insurance guy after that and pastor came through. I handed him a copy of my resume just so he would know what specific skills I had and he took it on his way out of the office. LOL, you could hear his happy holler after he read it outside. And with that, I stepped into the life of ministry.
God really began to release into me discernment and boldness as I stepped into working as a prayer counselor almost on a daily basis now. Oh, all altar workers know how powerful it is to be trusted to stand in the gap for God’s people on His behalf. There is nothing like looking into the eyes of someone seeking God and knowing personally whom they seek. It is easy to pray when you know that you know what His power can do. I love connecting with the spirit of a man or woman and watch Jesus reveal Himself to them…and meet them at the place of their need. He is a life changer…
Needless to say, my new journey was busy. I was riding fast and glorious with God…absorbing, working, learning, training, covering, serving, sacrificing, memorizing scripture, writing stories, dancing, praying at the altar, leading the singles and…oh, writing and leading a single’s bible study. A Holy Ghost adventure ride! God just took the work of my hands and made it His. After all, it was His.
And personally, at home of course I continued to see His face above me on the potter’s wheel…His children are always being changed, receiving revelation, being pruned and growing inside. But I just hung on…and loved Him more with each turn of that wheel.
But I didn’t know that one day soon, a big change was coming…Hurricane Katrina was on the horizon and Rita was close behind.
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Patti Corbello Archer