Edna, Tribute to a Warrior.

(Written to honour my 90 year old spiritual mentor, May 2022.)

The first time I met Edna, she came to my office door when I was first hired on as a pastor. I don’t believe she even said, “Hi, my name is Edna.” She came to the door and took up 1/10 of the door frame and out of her mouth came, “If you need someone to pray for you – I’m your woman.” 

It was absolute seriousness. She meant business. She was ready to go to war alongside me. She knew better than me the fire I would later walk through as a leader.

So began years of prayer partnering together. She would listen to the Lord and at times share specific words and verses. I remember her giving me Psalm 27. “Wait patiently on the Lord.” It was timely. She had no idea the difficult decision I was trying to make when she sent it.

Edna helped me understand the spiritual realm. 

She had served in Indonesia and Philippines where things were in your face including head hunting. Her stories were incredible. She was 43 years older than me and full of wisdom. 

It was from her that I think I really learned how to effectively pray. She helped put language to the things I was experiencing and felt in the spiritual realm. We would prayer walk laps around the church building – every Monday morning. The front office staff would cheer us on and remark to us with wonder if the walls were going to fall down.

There was one season I remember deeply. The church was going through a difficult time. We sensed the Lord invite us to pray for repentance on behalf of the church; it’s people and it’s history.

I remember in one month; 13 people came forward to me personally, not knowing what we were doing. They confessed sin or shared deep wounds. I would pray with them and refer many of them to a local counsellor. It got such that the counsellor emailed me. “Who are you and what are you doing over there?”

We prayer walked for families. We prayed for the Kids Soccer Camps we ran and we saw incredible things happen.

She was my spiritual mom for years. 

One day she asked me, “Do you know how to fight a bull?” Again, she said this in absolute seriousness. Her dad had a bull in the field growing up. She said to me: “When you come face to face with a bull, you take that ring in its nose and you twist.” At first, I thought she had lost her mind. But, I felt like the Lord said to me, “Take note of this.” I realize I have used that lesson so often, not in the natural but in the supernatural.

Today, I minister to missionaries, pastors, and various ministry leaders all over the world. They are often on the verge of burnout or in deep spiritual oppression. I enjoy walking with them to lead them through it and take the enemy to task.

Yes, Edna was probably the first person who effectively taught me about the spiritual realm. We are seated in the heavenlies. In Christ, we have authority over the evil one. But, we give away our authority when we live in fear.

Because of her, I have multiplied what she has taught me. Her impact is far reaching today as I coach people on the mission field, often in countries like she was once in.

Our friendship was such that we would often joke; if we had grown up together, we would have gotten in so much trouble.

Years ago, she was told she was dying already back then. The news hit me hard. I went to a local retreat centre and spent a day weeping. She asked me to do her funeral back then. She was always a huge supporter of me and my leadership.

We met and prayed and looked forward to riding a motorcycle together in the airstrip of heaven. In her earlier years she had often hopped on a motorcycle after her kids were in bed, and road it up and down the local airstrip for stress relief and prayer. She was my kind of woman. When I pastored, I rode a Honda Ruckus myself and found it great therapy.

Together, we prayed for Edna. Lo and behold, she was healed. The funeral plans were off. 

Edna and I enjoyed years of visiting together after that. I would go to her home and ask her what the Lord was telling her and hear her reflections on the Word or her stories. When I would phone her and she’d answer, I would greet her with: “Hello, my friend!” Her response was always so life giving.

Edna passed quietly in her sleep at 90 years of age. She was singing about heaven in the weeks leading up to it. She knew she was getting ready for heaven. I write this having recently experienced her celebration of life. She was a woman ahead of her time. Stories of her life were shared of hiding fugitives in a dangerous country, chasing away thieves, guarding women in the local prison, leading women through 12 step recovery programs, preaching sermons in a day before women really did, hosting the local police for meals in order to minister to them, and speaking at the Bible Camp that I have spoken at for years myself. This is only some of what she did and reminds me why we hit it off. 

I miss her deeply as I write this. I lost contact with her in the final years due to my own health crash in 2016-2017, then her Parkinson’s making it hard for long emotional visits and then Covid 19.

I hope we will be riding some kind of joy ride vehicle together up in heaven. I’m sure it’s going to be far beyond all of our dreams.

Edna has left a huge legacy and impact on my life and I can see how what I do in coaching ministry leaders is flavoured by her.

I pray that my life will impact at least 1/10 of what her life has on her family, friends, and those she cared for. 

Parents: How to Surf the Waves of the Current Storm with your Children? 

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

How do we help our kids navigate through a world where leaders are falling in sin like hotcakes, and churches are arguing over divisive topics? 

We need two major things.

We need to know the Scriptures and rely on Holy Spirit.

As parents, we need to worship God in both Spirit and Truth and invite our kids to walk in this too. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is true freedom (2 Cor 3:17) – no matter what is happening in the news today.

Now more than ever, we truly need to have a relationship with God rather than merely rely on a doctrine, a church, or a human pastor.

Helping You and Your Kids Hear From God 

Children hear the Lord easier than others. The most common block that children face is the unbelief of their parents and leaders. Our greatest responsibility as parents and leaders is to lead the children into an intimate friendship with God, which includes teaching children how to recognize and respond to the voice of God. 

We CAN learn to hear God’s voice. 
John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

The earlier you expect a child to sense God’s presence and voice, the less likely you are to shut down their spiritual eyes and ears. (Don’t be discouraged if you are late in the game to hearing God’s voice. God knows your kids and will lead you!)

Why Teach Kids to Hear God’s Voice? 

  • They can have friendship with God (the most important thing!) 
  • God can help them make decisions (imagine if kids could avoid the mistakes YOU made!) 
  • They can be led by God to minister to others (the supernatural, including hearing God, is for demonstrating God’s power in the world. For children to move in a pure, undiluted gospel of power, they must learn to hear God’s voice.) 

How Does God Speak?

His Word, dreams, through others, through parents, a still small voice, spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, inner-knowing, pictures, and circumstances. 

Start Practicing Hearing God with Journaling

A “Hearing God Journal” is the best way to practice hearing God’s voice. Dr Mark Virkler taught me this from Scripture. In journaling, you simply ask God and question and then record what you sense God is saying to you. Then, you test it out according to God’s Word, His nature, His Holy Spirit and with others who know Him. Here are some steps for using a hearing God journal: 

1. I Quiet Myself.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Our minds can be so busy and noisy that we can’t hear God’s gentle whisper. It’s impossible to empty our minds of racing thoughts. What we need to do is focus on Jesus. Express your love for Him – you can tell him with words, or more with feelings and desire and less with actual words. It’s like sitting quietly with your best friend. Just being together is enough. Listening to a worship playlist may be a great way for you to quiet your heart. 

2. I Picture Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “…Let us run the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Imagine your heart is like a movie screen. Ask God to fill this screen with His words and pictures. Pray, “Lord, I give the eyes of my heart to you. Fill them with your pictures and good ideas from heaven.” Just as our physical eyes see into the natural world around us, our spirit sees into the supernatural world when we ask God to open them. Picturing ourselves with Jesus in a Bible story is a good way to “prime the pump.” In the beginning we may need to “prime the pump” with a little help from the ‘eyes of our heart’ (our imagination), but when we exercise faith, it quickly turns into a pure flow of the Spirit. The water we prime the pump with may be warm and stale, but it is followed by a fresh flow of pure water. 

3. I tune to the words and pictures that gently light upon my heart. 
John 7:38 says, “Rivers of Living Water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in Me.” God’s voice is like a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-12). Usually it is not a whisper that we can hear with our ears, but the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our spirit through spontaneous thoughts. “Spontaneous” means that these thoughts seem to just appear in our hearts. They are not just something we were already thinking about. When God puts His thoughts in our heart, we often feel peace, or faith, or conviction, or a special excitement. God can put a thought, a word, an idea, a feeling, an impression, or even a vision in our heart. 

4. I write down.
Revelation 1:11 says, “Write in a book what you see.” We call this ‘journaling’. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 God says, “Record the vision…for the vision is yet for the appointed time…though it tarries, wait for it…it will surely come.” Journaling is writing out our questions and God’s answers. Simply ask a question and then write down the spontaneous thoughts that come to your heart. Don’t try to figure out if your writing is God or not until AFTER you are done writing. Nothing stops the voice of God speaking to you more than doubt. After you are done writing you can go back and compare what you wrote with the Bible, ask your parents or pastor if they think it sounds like it’s from God. You can also write down what God speaks to you from the Bible and any other lessons God is teaching you. 



Journaling through the New Testament is key to discerning God’s voice. *Don’t attempt to teach your children to hear God without Scriptural foundation. Simply walk through the Gospels to start with alongside your children. Teach them how to journal through Scripture. Read a passage. Ask Holy Spirit to highlight a word/phrase, then how He’s inviting you to apply it. Write out a dialogue with Him. Write out an Action Step from the Scriptures. Go and do it! This is powerful!

Is it God?

How to Test What you Hear:

A big question is whether we are really hearing from God. Explore these questions AFTER you are finished journaling. 

  • Does it agree with the Word? 
  • What do others say about it? God especially speaks through parents. 
  • Do we feel peace about it? 
  • Does it glorify God? 
  • Would it bring the fruit of Holy Spirit?

How to Identify Who is Speaking: 

  • God’s voice – kind, peaceful, truthful, sweet, it always lines up with His Word 
  • My voice – selfish, self-centered, self-protecting, self-serving 
  • The enemy’s voice – condemning, manipulative, persuasive, deceiving, threatening, accusing. 

To learn how to hear God and teach your kids, join us for one of our upcoming events!
Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Life Coach & Spiritual Director

Events: www.merriellen.com/events

Resources: www.merriellen.com/resources

Private or group Coaching:  www.merriellen.com

5 Day Kickstart for Women: Encounter Jesus in the Noise – Back again!

Women, join our 5 DAY KICKSTART intensive for Women! (Back by request!)

I compile the BEST of a 5 week FOUNDATIONAL course that I began teaching several years ago that has been transforming women, marriages, workplaces, families, and communities!

Come join the movement of women encountering Jesus in the noise! This is open to all women – both to alumni of our previous courses (for a refresh) and newbies! I simply want to KICKSTART more women!

I will be once again teaching the foundational basics of hearing God according to Scripture, plus leading activations and interviewing some of our awesome students about their journeys in hearing God.

Come join us! If you can’t join us LIVE on Zoom, you can watch the recordings and jump into the community discussion in our private Facebook group!

Sign up TODAY!: https://www.merriellen.com/5days

Incredible Breakthroughs!

We had incredible breakthroughs in women around the world!

Recently, we had over 80 women from Alaska to Texas, Canada, Britain, Australia, and Germany! We gathered together for 5 days back to back to kick start women in hearing Jesus in the midst of our current noise.

(Here’s one screenshot of one panel view! So much energy!)

One woman on my tech team had inner healing in front of all the women LIVE!  She was thrilled!

One woman had breakthrough over something she’s been carrying for 30 years. Thank you Jesus!!! 

I’m told we apparently broke online event records with engagement. Women weren’t wanting each day to end!

What happened in the private Facebook group between sessions was unreal! Women were so encouraging and vulnerable.

Oh man… more miracle stories were pouring in and we are seeing things fulfilled that were once spoken over us in this season. Jesus was having fun! 💕

The very next day women were asking for more! So, we are planning the next event!

Spread the News and
Invite Your Female Friends
for 5 MORE Unforgettable Days…

www.merriellen.com/5days

Sign up for the next one!

(Testimonials and stories are posted on the link above too!)

Child Healed from Juvenile Arthritis… plus 50 Teens HEALED Through Prayer!

Mara De Los Reyes of Hope for a Healed Child interviewed me recently and this is how much fun we had.

Gotta love the screenshot that YouTube came up with!

Child healed from juvenile arthritis…plus 50 teens HEALED through prayer! 

Learn more about the upcoming event for Women: Encounter Jesus in the Noise Event: https://www.merriellen.com/5days

Read the full story of the Summer of 70 healings (there were 20 more at another camp that same summer!)

Radical Prayer Walking

I’ve been coaching a group now for many months and recently we have been focusing on radical prayer walking. Here’s a glimpse…

The format of church has been shifting for a very long time and 2020 put it into high gear. A bunch of us have gathered and scattered for prayer walking and gathering for Disciplemaking including over zoom. I recently gathered this week with 35 people all over the world. INTERACTIVELY that is.

*To me, online church is not watching some guy talk for 45 minutes. Church is family and interactive.

We’ve even enjoyed communion over zoom when we gather. And then, we scatter!

Back to prayer walking…

Just the other day, there were 10 moms with strollers going out through their neighborhood locally!

Radical Prayer Walking (Shifting Atmospheres)

What is prayer-walking?

One simple definition: “Praying on-site with insight.”

The purpose of prayer-walking is to seek God’s guidance, mercy, and transforming power—both for the community and for ourselves as God’s servants in the community.

Remember, first…

The key to shifting atmospheres through prayer:

We must first invite Jesus to shift the atmosphere inside of us.

Example: “Search my heart God… Is there anything in my heart you’d like to heal?” (We did a teaching on this in one of my courses.)

When I call for prayer walking and deliverance buddies, I tell them: “Come prayed up, cleaned up, confessed up, and ready to go!”

When we attempt to shift atmospheres, this is key!

Once you have enjoyed time with Jesus – praising Him, thanking Him and then allowing Him to shift the atmosphere within you, you are ready to take His glory to the street!

Here’s another important key I’ve noticed in prayer walking: Do not engage in territorial spiritual warfare lightly. (Without seeking the Lord, it’s just asking for trouble on you and your family.)

Instead, repent for the sins committed in the area (yes – even if they were committed by others. Think of Nehemiah or to be more NT – you can pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”), and then pray a blessing of the fruit of Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

So, it could look like this…

1. Worship and Delight in the Lord, and Listen to Him…

2. Repentance (or pray: “Lord, have mercy! Forgive.”)

3. Blessing (of Holy Spirit)

These things have shifted atmospheres, neighbourhoods and families in a powerful way! Then, pray for anyone you run into! I have seen people healed of cancer, arthritis, kidney failure, etc. Jesus heals! (We will learn about praying for physical healing in an upcoming session.)

As you walk your neighbourhood or an assigned neighbourhood, you can Ask Jesus the questions we’ve learned to ask Him (week 3 of our foundational course).

“Jesus, what’s on your heart for this neighbourhood? Why?”
“Jesus, what’s the look on your face as you look at them? Why?” 
“Jesus, how are you praying for them? Why?”
“Jesus, how are you inviting ME to pray for them? Why?”
“Jesus, what promise and Scripture do you have for them? Why?”
“Jesus, if they embraced this promise, what gift would you pour out for them? Why?”

“Jesus, is there anything blocking them from your presence that you’re willing to show me?” (And if He shows you sin, etc – ask Him how He’s inviting you to pray.)

Caution: This discipline of prayer walking is to be entered carefully and especially if you are a burden bearer. (Do not take home burdens. Remember, you are to release the burdens back to Jesus.)

4. ‘Wash off’ after you walk through a neighbourhood. You can simply pray: “Jesus, I pray your shed blood over me to wash me off of all things I’ve come into contact with. Father God, pour your love over me. Holy Spirit, rinse me clean, and fill me up to overflowing! I declare that nothing can come home with me that is not of you Almighty God!”

For more of the teaching and helps, visit: www.freedomcoachingcircle.com

Provided by Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Certified Life Coach & Spiritual Director
www.merriellen.com

Kelly Shares What Happened…

It was a delight to interview Kelly Young from Teen Challenge on what happened for her recently in learning to encounter Jesus in a whole new way. We discussed compassion fatigue​ and church​ and pastoral ministry​ and what has shifted. May you be encouraged too…

Learn more about the 5 week FOUNDATIONAL course here: https://www.merriellen.com/intro-course
Learn more about private coaching here: https://www.merriellen.com

#transformation#lifecoaching#spiritualdirection#hearingGod#teenchallenge

What does God do when we repent?

Notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!

I loved that Jesus began to teach several stories including this one to show the religious leaders their arrogance…

Parable of the Lost Son (Part 1)
from Luke 15 (NLT)

11 …Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

 

What do you notice about the father?

Once the son came to his senses, the father welcomed him with mercy, love and compassion. There wasn’t any shaming or lecturing. He didn’t require him to work as a slave to pay back the money. He gave his son the best and threw him a party!

What does this tell you about the true nature of God?

Once we repent, and turn to God, He immediately welcomes us with open arms and throws a party – giving us only the best!

Is there something in your life that holds you back from going to God?

Do you feel guilt or shame? Take it all to Him. He will only welcome you with open arms.

God is that good! It is religious arrogance that would shame you and guilt you. Run far from that. Run to God instead.

If you need help for inner healing, I’m happy to help…