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. 

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!)

Your 2 Basic Motivators in Life

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

As I walk with people, I have noticed an obvious, LOUD truth.

There are 2 basic motivators in life.

Fear         or             Love.

Knowing this fact can change everything in how you view life.

Fear is darkness, love is light.

 

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (Jesus) – John 10:10 – NLT

 

When we align ourselves with the thief, we align with fear. If something is stealing, killing, or destroying you, it’s not from God.

When we draw near to Jesus, through His Word and through listening prayer inviting Holy Spirit to flow, our hearts will heal and grow in God’s love, and our minds are renewed in His truth.

 

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” – 1 John 4:18 – NLT

 

If you are walking in fear, you are believing a lie about who God is for you. Confess and nail the lie to the cross, breaking all agreements with it. Ask God for the truth instead. (If it is a deeply rooted lie, ask God to show you the root. It could be generational.)


How do you know if you are walking in love?
Read 1 Cor 13 and put your name in place of ‘love’ and see how it feels. If you are not feeling peace as you read it, do not beat yourself up. Simply confess to the Lord and ask for more of Holy Spirit. Love is a fruit of Holy Spirit, and not a fruit of striving.


Ask God:

What is my motivator? Fear or love? Where is my focus – on You God or my circumstances?

What am I believing about you God or myself or others that is causing me to walk in fear? Or to walk in love?

(In understanding other people…) What is behind that person’s behaviour? Fear or love? How are you inviting me to pray for the person who is walking in fear?


Prayer: “
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Prince of Peace. I fix my eyes on You and not on the wind and waves around me. I invite you to live within me and to increase Your presence in every area of my life. I choose Your peace to be my ruling power. Release Your heavenly angels to minister to me. Holy Spirit, come and fill me and seal me with your rest and peace. Amen.”

For further help walking out of fear, I’m happy to help.

Merri Ellen Giesbrecht, Life Coach & Spiritual Director 

Are you suffering on the inside?

broken-heart-love-sad

There are 4 traditional approaches to discipleship that actually lead to bondage:

Osmosis: Get people to attend church and serve faithfully.

Academics: Teach information about the faith.

Behaviour: Establish performance expectations for church members.

Church: Train people to invite others, serve, and join a small group. 

These 4 things above may have good elements but without an actual relationship with Jesus, you will soon feel like an imposter or impersonator – you look like Him but you don’t actually know Him. You most likely become stuck in perfectionism, anxiety, legalism and other bondage.

While traditional discipleship tends to focus on the outside, heart-focused discipleship deals with what is going on inside of you!

Following Jesus is about relationship!
It starts with hearing His voice. 🙂 

This is one of my favourite things to do… I love introducing ‘church’ people to Jesus! I coach people who are stuck in legalistic bondage and into truly hearing Jesus and knowing Him.

Happy to help you…

 

(4 elements above adapted from: Marcus Warner)

How can you tell if the enemy (has even subtly) gotten a foothold in your life?

woman-with-tied-hands

(I was asked this question yesterday by my students just before leading an interactive group coaching class online…)

I first pointed them to Ephesians 4.

Take a moment today to read it. I’ve seen the enemy get a foothold in people’s lives WAY too may times – as this passage explains.

Secondly, read 1 Corinthians 13.

If you find it difficult to put your name in the place of ‘love’, that is a GREAT indicator.

Thirdly, read Galatians 5.

If something jumps out in conviction for you there, listen to Holy Spirit…

Ask God, where you need to repent, forgive, etc.

Invite Holy Spirit to come and fill you to lead you in the way God has for you instead!

“16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Women, have you been silenced?

 

silence-001My heart loves to walk with women who have been silenced.

Why? Because their voice holds a key to healing – their own healing and the healing of MANY others.

I have been coaching people since 2003 online in over 120 countries. I especially love walking women through this journey of being silenced.

If that’s you, I’d be honoured to meet with you.

To learn more, visit: www.merriellen.com

Persuasive Words of Men?

jesus heals

If your faith is based on the persuasive words of men, your faith will not go deep. 
When life difficulty comes, your faith will fall.
 But, if your faith is based on the power of Holy Spirit, 
the kingdom of God in your life will be unshakable.

Jesus didn’t merely share information, nor motivational speaking. Jesus always brought the power of His kingdom. He is relational, not informational. Jesus does not rely on the persuasive words of men to reveal Himself to the world. Instead, He invites us to declare and show the world who He is. Yes, there is power in Jesus’ words. But, He calls us to live out His words and demonstrate His power.

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2

First, be with Jesus.
Hear His voice.
What He invites you to do, go and do.
Not by your own strength, but in His.
AND, do it according to His timing.
Show the world, Jesus is very real and alive. 🙂 Like this…

Just over a month ago, I led 3 neighbour kids to pray for their sister with juvenile arthritis… well, this past weekend I ran into the mom and kids. Mom said that the next day, her 6 year old daughter had no pain!! They went for an MRI and it’s completely gone!! Jesus is our healer!

We had her siblings all put their hand on her ankle and we prayed for Jesus to heal. Beautiful. Absolutely precious.

She said she saw Jesus as we were praying – and everything was filled with a flood of light.

Again, she is 6, and now enjoying being a 6 year old including being in gymnastics!
Her siblings are 8, 4, and 2! 😄💗🎉

Another amazing thing happened this past weekend in my city… 2 pastors from 2 different churches confessed to their congregations that the way they have been doing church is all off. That followers of Jesus are ALL called to be pastors and should be going out as Jesus taught, not bringing people to church programs and relying on a human to feed them, but rather Holy Spirit to teach and lead them out. Wow! Sounds like a great shift is going to happen in institutional churches in our city!

How to End Things :(

traintracks.end

I always thought you had to be FOREVER faithful to people, programs, and institutions to the very end. (One of my key values is loyalty and integrity.) Sadly, I learned the hard way some things and relationships must come to an end. Ouch. Sigh. After years of investing in some thing and someone, if there is no fruit, one must seek the Lord on what to do. Sometimes, He calls us to release.

We are called to be faithful to Jesus first and foremost.

“Endings are necessary, but the truth is that we often do not do them well. Although we need them for good results to happen and for bad situations to be resolved, the reality is that most of us humans often avoid them or botch them.

• We hang on too long when we should end something now.
• We do not know if an ending is actually necessary, or if “it” or “he/she” is fixable.
• We are afraid of the unknown.
• We are afraid of hurting someone.
• We are afraid of letting go and the sadness associated with an ending.
• We do not possess the skills to execute the ending.
• We do not even know the right words to use.
• We have had too many and too painful endings in our personal history, so we avoid another one.
• When they are forced upon us, we do not know how to process them, and we swing or flounder.
• We do not learn from them, so we repeat the same mistakes over and over.”

– Dr. Henry Cloud

A few years ago, I read Henry’s book on “Necessary Endings”. It set me free from some slavery to unhealthy situations, after two attempted mediations.

If this sounds like your situation, you may want to read his book too…

A Culture of Honour – Men and Women

honour

Photo credit: YWAM

Tears of healing began to roll down my face. I didn’t know what was happening in me at the time, but I found myself in a culture of honour – observing and experiencing men honouring women and vice versa. It was so powerful JUST WITNESSING IT.

I wept deeply… healing much of the diagnosed psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse I had experienced with some male leaders in my church that led to my health crash years ago. My doctor ordered me to leave the church leadership situation immediately and my church conference insurance paid me for two years of resting.*

When I left that church environment several years ago, I entered a time of rest and detox.

My time of rest included a visit to a different church – one with a culture of honour. It was there, tears rolled down my face when I saw it was indeed possible for men to honour women in leadership. I sensed Jesus smiling over it all. My heart, my mind, and my spirit began to welcome the healing.

Today! Years later, after some incredible healing rest… I get to walk pastors, ministry leaders, and lay people (both male and female) through healing of unfortunate abusive ‘church’ experiences.

When we try to ‘do’ church led by fear, instead of ‘being’ the church led by Holy Spirit, the damage is painful. When we walk in fear, rather than Christ-like love, we unknowingly or knowingly cause damage.

When a church is led by fear, the fruit is damage.

Thankfully, Jesus loves to restore and heal – revealing to those who are wounded and doing the wounding, that He has so much more!

Men who honour women, and women who honour men – is what Christ calls us to!

Let’s choose to walk in love and honour…

Recently, I was blessed with this…

Honor All People

Transcript:

Hi, this is Bill Vanderbush. I pastor Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration, Florida. I want to talk to you a little bit about honor. When you think of honor, people think about academia, or academic achievement. The honor roll, honors society, or maybe you are one of those people where the closest thing you ever got ot honor was, “Yes, your Honor, no, your Honor.”

I want to define it a little bit differently today. Honor is where you live to make somebody else like a genius. It is where you actually treat somebody as if they were Jesus. You may think, “That sounds kind of blasphemous. I can’t treat anybody like that.” We are all image-bearers. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. I believe God is calling us to be a culture of honor, to release honor everywhere we go.

1 Peter 2:17 says, “Honor all men.” Honor all people, actually it means. That is actually where he stops. He finishes that thought. Honor everybody without reservation. Honor is not to be given as a reward, it is given as a gift. Think of it like this, God doesn’t honor us because we are good. He honors us because He is good. He doesn’t love us because we are good, He loves us because He is good. He releases love, and honor, and grace because that is what He is like. That is what He has called us to do. He has called us to release honor because we are an honorable people.

How do you release honor over somebody that is dishonorable? That might be a difficult thing to do, but the reality is that when you release honor, you are actually digging for the treasure that is inside of a person. You are seeing them from Heaven’s perspective. In Matthew 13, Jesus goes home to His hometown – the Son of God. He tries to perform miracles and people get offended at Him. It says they became intellectually offended at Him. They said, “We know His mom, we know His brothers, we know His sisters.” They said, “How is this guy doing what He is doing?” They became offended at Him. Jesus responds and says, “A prophet is not without honor except in His home country, in His own town.”

I think a lot of times God calls us to begin ministry at home because He wants us to learn to do it without honor. He doesn’t want us to stay in a place of dishonor. The result of that is He could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief. Here is the thing about dishonor. Dishonor shuts down the anointing every time. In 25 years of pastoring, I have never seen a revival birthed in a culture of dishonor. Dishonor often times shows up in the middle of a revival and we wonder why the revival shut down. God is calling us to protect one another, to speak encouragement over one another.

There is a thin line between honor and flattery. We don’t want to get into flattery. Honor is calling out the gold in a person. It is coming into agreement with how God sees a person and shifting our perspective to Heaven’s perspective. Beginning to speak honor over their life. In doing that, we suddenly become a culture where from the outside looking in, there are people who are orphaned in their mind and their heart. They look at the Body of Christ and say, “I want to be loved just like that.” If we grab a hold of the culture of honor like this we would see the nations shaped and changed. In a generation or two there would be people that would once again know that God is to be famous for love.

I pray that you would become a person of honor. You would release honor in your words and your declarations. In everything you do, you would demonstrate the honor of Heaven. From a prophetic standpoint you would put Heaven on display in all that you do. I believe we will see revival breaking out all over our nation. Amen.

Source: God Today – http://www.getgodtoday.com

Post note:

*My medical team and insurance ordered me to rest for 2 years. My doctor wept when I initially answered her intake questions.

Clearly, I had endured more than I thought.

I had been putting up with abuse, giving grace to the men over and over around their behaviours with women. I had loved my brothers in leadership. Looking back, I saw the potential in the men and kept forgiving them – until it caused my health to crash when I witnessed their treatment of another woman.

Seeing how they treated another woman with public dishonour was a shock to my system; literally.

I was assigned a medical team to interview me. Learning that the behaviour was abusive was a wake up. My brothers had started off so encouraging in the beginning but, over the years, looking back I now see how their fear of man replaced their fear of God and this turned their behaviour into control, manipulation, and abuse of women. The Conference Minister asked what I learned about myself. Apparently, I can endure abuse but when I see other women experience mistreatment, that’s the last straw.

Thankfully, God has a way of turning painful situations into redeeming ones. As mentioned above, having gone through my experience and falling in love with Jesus because He showed me more of who He is outside of the box, I now am a life coach and spiritual director for pastors, ministry leaders and lay people as they walk their way out of church abuse, burnout and depression. God indeed raises the dead! Then, he teaches them to share new life! 😀