Taking Back Time

I held the envelope close to me, hoping the bright pink wouldn’t attract any attention. The contents, they were so full of unspoken words, too tender, too unstable. I had scrawled out the words days before, desperately seeking some timid form of redemption, not fully understanding what I was trying to fix.

We both sat at the same table, the same thoughts swirling around in our heads, but a wall of uncertainty and fear, built by cracks in our foundations, sat thickly between us. I had never really tried to truly understand why that wall had been allowed to be constructed – I avoided investigating too deeply for fear of finding my portion of responsibility.

“Do you want to go sit in the lounge?” she asked as we finished the last bites of a distracted lunch. “Yeah, I’d love to!” I replied, in a perky voice, unnatural for the circumstances, giving away my masks of cheeriness and oblivion that strained to hide my insecurities.

We sit down, avoiding eye contact for two seconds before conviction blooms in my chest. I look into her eyes and mine can’t help but reflect the same glassiness.

“I’m sorry.”

It took but a few words and we are cracked open, ripe and ready. My letter feels like such a flimsy peace offering, but I offer it anyways, finally understanding my grasps for redemption, hoping and praying that she does too.

“I’m sorry too.”

Tears fall freely now, healing with each drop; where words have failed us, they wash away months of miscommunication, misunderstanding and hurt.

And in moments, a page turns, and I taste, so incredibly tangibly, one of the sweetest moments of redemption I have ever experienced. A moment shared by two people who sought to protect the heart of another, to so sweetly and purely try and make right what had been wronged.

This is the kind of redemption that my Jesus fought for, this is the kind of redemption He won. It’s so victorious and sweet because it glorifies Him so fully.

Thank you Tiffany – you have shown me so much about the heart of Christ. You have taught me so much about faith, worship, perseverance, surrender, sincerity; but I have to say that redemption is the boldest-lettered word that you have left me with. You have shown me how Christ’s love washes over time and can actually redeem what has been lost. Thank you for that. It’s something that I can and will carry with me for the rest of my life. I love you Tiff.

Authority In Intimacy

I love the Bible. Seriously, it’s my favourite book, hands-down. What other book is Spirit-breathed and comes to life when you read it? What other book brings life, exhortation and encouragement, conviction and rebuke exactly when and how you need it? I hear stories about these people in places like China and Korea who give their lives for a book, and there was a time I understood with my head, but not my heart. But I can’t imagine living without it – it has so many answers, so much truth. I can’t get enough.
I decided that I want to read it all…in 3 months. One of my friends did it and loved it, so I followed suit and drew up a 3-month bible plan.

Have you read every word of scripture? I mean, every word? Like even the “son of so-and-so and son of –such-and-such” and “battle here and death here” word? I’ve done year plans before and totally skipped over books like Leviticus and Number, books like the Kings and the Chronicles and then books I just didn’t understand like Isaiah and Job. But this time I decided to read every word. Yes, every word. Fully focused and in tune, asking Spirit “what do you want me to learn from this?”
And He has taught me so much thus far. Through whole stories, little details, sentences and phrases. Like a while ago, reading 1 Chronicles, this one sentence in chapter 10 rocked me.

“He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”

Woah. Just woah.

Saul gave his authority –an entire kingdom – away when he sought guidance and counsel from someone before God. His authority lay within the Word of the Lord – His authority lay within intimacy and ability to not only hear His voice, but seek it and obey it. And he forfeited His authority when unbelief took root. That’s why David was so blessed – and I’ve heard it over and over again and it’s hit my heart, but never this way. David’s authority rested in belief in God because of his intimacy and obedience, his willingness and surrender. And even though he did some foolish things, made mistakes like Saul made mistakes, he did not give his authority and kingship away because he relished the word of the Lord. He depended on God and God alone. In a matter of fact, not only was he blessed, but so was his son and all of Judah because of this.
That’s amazing.

God, if I ever seek guidance from anything before You, would You humble me and bring me back to my knees?

Covenants

I’ve been such an extremes person in my lifetime – I think I’ve said this before, but I believe God’s finally been able to bring me to a place of stability.
There’s these two things that work together, two things I try to get a grasp on, two things I have been encouraged in, but have no idea how to steward them or even had an idea of what they really are.
The first one is zeal. Oh how I love zealous people, how passionate they can be! I love that I’ve discovered what zeal is the land of New ZEALand. Seriously, it’s not a coincidence. Even if it is punny. I love it.
The other is wisdom. One thing I constantly seek, one thing I do desire. I want to make the right decisions, say the right things, learn from every situation. And I love being in a place where I am actually taught wisdom.
I was reading in 2 Samuel a while back, and couldn’t help but praise God when I came across one passage in chapter 21 – when David avenges the Gibeonites.
“Although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to strike them down in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.”
So the story goes, back in the day, when Israel had been freed from Egypt and was travelling to the Promise Land, God told them to clean the land, to wipe out other nations, for He desired to make them a mighty nation. However, Israel was tricked into a peace covenant with Gibeon – and though Gibeon did it in deceit, it was, nonetheless, a standing covenant, unbreakable.
The Saul, a mighty king and conqueror, came along years and years later to avenge Israel and wipe out the Gibeonites. Was Saul’s zeal a bad thing? No. He had a heart for his nation, the people he was ruling. But he justified breaking a covenant of peace by his zeal. And that’s where wisdom comes in. See, all the zeal in the world won’t save you from the reapings of a broken covenant.
Not only did Saul reap from his poor choice, but his sons did, as David had to give them over for the Gibeonites to hang and be avenged.

I want my passion and zeal to be driven and directed by the Spirit. I want to be a woman who keeps her word, from meeting with a one-on-one to following up on promises that I make. I don’t want to forget the importance of daily appointments or the gravity of promises and zeal for all the zeal and self-righteousness and justification I think I have.

God will never break his covenant with us. It’s against His very nature. We can stand on His word, we can stand on His truth, on His promises. They’re unbreakable. We can trust in that. I want His Spirit to be so welded to mine that all I can speak is truth and His word, unbreakable in the big and little things.

Crosses

I’ve been gone for a while, I know. It was getting close to the end of the Lecture Phase, and you know how when something is drawing to an end, how things wind up and you can’t seem to get anything on the “optional list of things to do” done. Then we sent the teams off to outreach and I flew over to Franklin, Tennessee for a short reprieve before beginning The Justice Tour on June 24th. Reprieve. Ha.

If you’ve ever experienced re-entry (re-entering your own culture after being in another), you would know it can sometimes feel so far from restful. Between seeing people, talking, telling the same stories and such over and over again, knowing that, in your heart, no one can actually understand what you’re trying to say and you end up realizing it was quite foolish to try to in the first place. You realize that you are actually speaking a completely different language that many either can’t or will choose not to understand.

I’ve done re-entry once before – and doing it a second time has definitely humbled me to make me realize you can never not learn something. I hope that makes sense.

The past months, on the YWAM base and even here at home, have been so much about dependency. Some people refer to God as a crutch, but, oh, He is so much more than that. He is my the bones in my legs, the cells in my blood. He is what keeps me upright, what keeps me living.

I need my God.

A little more than a week ago, I was in worship at my church and I asked God – “What do You want to show me?”
I waited on the Lord, anticipating a vision, maybe a voice, perhaps even a glimpse into Heaven.
And my ever-faithful Father showed me the cross.
And it was so incredibly beautiful.
Now, if you don’t know me, then you don’t know that one of my strongest love languages is touch. I love hand-holding, hair-brushing, and bone-crushing hugs. When someone loves me by reaching out and touching me, I can actually feel my heart bloom inside of me.
I’ve wondered for a long time why God would make this so important to me when it’s the one thing I cannot and have not experienced from Him. I can’t feel Abba give me a hug or brush my hair out of my eyes. I have asked Him to miraculously reach out and do so, but He has not done it yet. Now, He’s talked to me about this quite a bit the past couple of months, given me answers to some of my questions, maybe I’ll talk about those answers at some point here – but the point is – I love tangible love.

Now, back to the cross.

I fell deeper in love with the cross in that moment, a love I didn’t realize existed. A deeper love for all it represented – His love, His sacrifice, His redemption, His grace – the infinitely good characteristics of the cross. And I HAD to find a tangible cross. I had to throw myself at the foot of the cross and wrap my arms around it. So I opened my eyes and surveyed the sanctuary.

And guess what I saw?

Not one single cross.

IT’S A FLIPPIN SANCTUARY WITHOUT A CROSS. HOW?

Needless to say, I was a little bummed. I couldn’t hold the cross tight to me. I looked down, a little defeated, and my eyes settled on my folded hands – and I could see, stark against the flesh of my ring finger, the tip of…a cross. I opened my hands and fully beheld the tattoo I got when I was 18. And Holy Spirit whispered “The cross is on you darling – in your skin, your bones, you blood cells. You carry the cross.”

Woah.

Then He told me that I NEED to carry the cross. Every pore of my being cried out to carry it, to hold it, to bear it. To live, Hannah Douglass must carry the cross. I need it like I need food and water. I need it like I need love. And I love carrying the cross. And it won’t always be sunshine and butterflies, but His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so carrying the cross isn’t a burden anymore, but so WONDERFUL.

I want to be His disciple.

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

 

P.s. – don’t forget the “follow me” part of the verse. It’s pretty important.

 

Webs

Leadership terrifies me.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but it is heavy on my heart recently.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not scared of my leaders, I’m scared of myself. Me in leadership.
Sometimes that seems so laughable, doesn’t fit in my brain. Sometimes it makes sense, lands with a solid thud in my heart and rests there contentedly. Then, sometimes, the thought of being a leader drops in my stomach and stirs in my gut, a scared little girl who is completely clueless and inexperienced hides and whimpers there.
First, what if I mess up? What if I completely and totally screw it all up? I feel responsible for so much!
You have the 2 extremes of followers: first are the arrogant and prideful people that judge every move you make, who don’t trust you to make the right decision or say the right thing. Who constantly question you and your motives and how much you know. They stir the deep insecurities, test your own pride, your own stability. Am I actually right? And what happens if I’m wrong? What authority can I stand on? There’s always combating pride with humility. But how do I act in humility? And what is humility without integrity? Do I even have integrity? Oh Jesus, how I need you.
Then there are the ones whose trust you have earned. The people who think the sun shines out your butt and you can say or do nothing wrong. WHAT IF I SCREW IT UP AND TAKE THEM WITH ME? Some of these people would never question a thing you do or say. I feel like I could tell these people that the sky is really green or 4+4= 10 and they would believe me. That kind of influence scares me even more than prideful people. Oh Jesus, how I need you!
Then before I even know it, I have tangled myself in a web of my own insecurities and thoughts, telling Jesus that I need Him, but failing to actually reach out and touch Him or shut up and listen to Him. I forget to fall on the solid Rock and ask Him what He thinks about it. Oi.
I’m so done with leaning on my own understanding, trusting my pea-sized mind to eliminate problems or simplify things. I really just make things more complicated. I am so sorry God, for striving to be what only You can do in me.

I will not build my life upon the passing sands
Of how I feel inside
From one moment to the next
But I will love You Lord
My Rock, My God, My Strength
This precious cornerstone
Which floods of death could never shake

Puddles

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.
Oops. Sorry about that.
I’ve been practicing diligence in other areas of my life, so unfortunately, the balance of this one dipped a bit. You live and learn, eh?
It’s getting brisk down here, as fall is beginning to show herself. And fall in New Zealand doesn’t mean everything gets colourful like Tennessee. It gets greener. New Zealand has two colours – brown and green, and if you’re at high elevation or down south, you can throw white in there for all the snow.
In order for it to get green, there must be rain.
We had what you call an Indian summer this year in Northland. Summer lasted a very long time which meant one thing – there was no rain. So the ground stayed brown and we were facing a possible drought. Which isn’t quite ideal since we live off of tank water, provided by the rain.
We needed rain.
So we cried out for it, and praise the Lord, He sent it.
It began in the middle of the night, woke me from my sleep. Funny enough, the rain on the tin roof that woke me also became a sweet lullaby that soothed me back to sleep. It was still going the next morning, through breakfast and into worship and lectures. Lectures finished and the rain fell through lunch.
And I couldn’t help myself anymore. The wind called me, pulled me out the door. I pulled on my gumboots and rain jacket and ran into the driving rain.
It was so exhilarating, running through what sometimes felt like a waterfall. As the wind picked up speed and the rain came down harder, I couldn’t help but run faster, tripping over my heavy boots and splashing though puddles. Puddles. I stopped to take in the wet world around me.
It was a little girl’s dream. I was surrounded by the most beautiful, undisturbed (except for the continuous raindrops) puddles. I couldn’t help myself. I jumped and stomped in every single one, delighted giggles and songs escaping from the blooming happiness in me. Water splashed up over the tops of my boots, settling in and soaking my socks, making funny squelching noises as I walked, but I couldn’t care less. I felt so free. My jacket and boots were really pointless now, water had somehow made it into all the places I was supposed to be dry, so I peeled off my jacket and welcomed the downpour. I must’ve looked like a silly wet dog with my hair plastered to my forehead, I lifted my face to the heavens and let the rain splash against my wet face and roll down into my mouth and on my tongue. I spun, I sang and danced and laughed.
It was glorious, the most perfect date with Jesus.

Falling

“I’m terrified of falling.”

It was one of those beautiful late-night conversations, pillow talk with a beautiful soul.
We sat in silence for a few moments.

“But what’s so bad about falling?”

“Nothing.”

That’s the beauty of Grace.
We are humbled to fall at the foot of the cross, because it means we need Him.
When you fall without the cross, you can’t be pulled up to standing again. The beauty of what Jesus has done for us. We can actually love falling, being humbled, because it requires dependency to get up again.
Sometimes we need to fall to remember that it is Him who needs to be glorified.
Oh praise Him.

We fall down
We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus
The greatness of His mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus

Walls

“She’s so irresponsible…she can’t even make the time she signed up for, what kind of leader does she think she is…so disappointing…she’s sure not gonna go anywhere with leadership, not growing into anything…has she even grown at all…I don’t even think she likes worship or prayer, she just puts it all in to make herself look like a leader, when in reality, she’s just faking everything…so ingenuine.”

I shot up in bed, having been so terrified of the vivid dream that I managed to wake myself; I felt in the dark for my phone. My finger found the home button, and the time, 4:45 am, brightly screamed out at my eyes.
No.
Please God no.
My slot for the Burn Night was at 2 am.
I had missed it.
Guilt curled out of the pit of my belly, wrapped itself around my heart, and choked me as I stumbled and crawled around my dark room, feeling for my clothes, trying not to wake my roommate.
I couldn’t even enjoy the splendor of the early morning stars as I ran to the lecture room.
I opened the door and guilt pierced my heart even deeper at the sight of three beautiful women, gathered around the foot of the cross, singing “This Little Light of Mine”. I had really missed the slot. This wasn’t some terrible dream. How could I be so stupid? I knew I set my alarm, I had no idea how I had missed it. Did I turn it off in my sleep or did it even go off? With each step I took across the room, closer and closer to the cross, the guilt grew and expanded, my insides screamed at me “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU CANNOT SIT THERE YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING TO DESERVE THE HONOR OF SITTING THERE YOU FORGETFUL FOOL YOU SILLY STUPID FAKE”
I dropped down next to them, ridden with guilt, I was stuck. Why did this stupid mistake have such a hold over me?
I could not go into worship, I could not find peace or joy. I tried over and over, and each time I tried to push the shame aside, memories of other foolish and stupid things I had done blinded me. It was making me sick to my stomach, all these things flooding through an open door of ickiness. A door I couldn’t close.
I couldn’t break out.
After pacing the room for about an hour, I came to the end of myself. I dropped several feet from the foot of the cross and saw a thick brick wall between me and Him.
It was way too much for me to break through myself. A wall, one I had unknowingly built, and every brick was a piece of shame and guilt, all cemented together by my unbelief in God’s grace.
He said “Hannah, you can’t touch me because of this wall. You can’t break through this wall you’ve built because you are far too weak to bring it down. Let Me do it for you.” And I believed Him. So I let Him.
For hours, I lay rooted in that very spot, weeping as He smashed through every shred of shame and guilt in me. Everything from regretted words, stupid impulses, bad marks, and sexual immorality; every dirty and terrible thing that had a grip on my authority over sin for 20 years.
And then it was gone. The wall. And I reached out my hand and clutched the foot of the cross.
I was free.
I am free.
Guilt, shame, you no longer have a foot in the door of my life, no matter how big or small my mistakes.
My God is a God of conviction, not condemnation, and He has shut that ancient door and opened another.
A door of Grace.
I choose to believe Your Grace is sufficient enough for me. In a matter of fact, I actually need your Grace to survive. I can’t keep that wall destroyed without Your Grace.

Being Perfected

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

I have not been made perfect in love.
I mean, I’m getting there! I’m being perfected every day.
Man, it’s crazy how I feel like I’m growing up. I no longer feel like a child tossed to and fro by the wind (Ephesians 4:13-16 – you should really read this passage if you want to get more of a fullness of the idea of love) – I feel more grounded. You spend so much time putting on the armor of God to protect yourself, choosing to be righteous, even in your thoughts and your heart that it eventually becomes habit. Except this is a habit backed by the rock of the Holy Spirit, driven by love, and a habit of holiness, though manifested physically, is so much deeper than what you see. The soul becomes welded to the Spirit and you can’t help but stay grounded! You can’t help but desire the right thing. Simple, but so powerful.

I still deal with fear. Sometimes, waves of fear hit me so strong that I have to literally brace myself to stay standing. It attacks me in dreams, it manifests itself in my attitude. It makes me want to hide, it makes me want to run away, it makes me angry and sad and just overall confused. Praise the Lord, He’s been getting bigger and bigger than those waves and He’s being stronger and stronger in me, helping me to fight them.
Now, I choose not to operate out of fear because I can now recognize it and choose love, but that doesn’t mean that I’m invincible.
Still human.
I want to understand His love more. Less of me and my understanding, Lord, more of you and your understanding. For as I understand Your perfect love more and more, I understand that I have nothing to fear. No height, no depth can separate me from Your perfect love. So why should I let fear of my future, fear of failure, fear of man, fear of anything get in the way of God’s love for me?
Simple.
I just won’t.
I invite you to totally wreck my understanding of love God.
Scary, but I’m not afraid. Because I want to love You.

The Justice Tour

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

In early 2013, my friend Joehelen Ravelo(Mississauga, Ontario) had a vision. She saw songs and music bringing justice and healing to the world. With specific faces, specific songs, she named the vision the Justice Tour, having no idea in the world where it would go, how or even if it would happen.
One specific part of her vision was the people involved – and one of those people was Barry Gager (Arvada, Colorado). She decided to tell him and he responded with a song a day later, stretching the vision of the Justice Tour to more than just her own heart. Joehelen and Barry decided to keep the music in the secret place, to allow God to develop it all for His glory, knowing He would bring it to the surface in His perfect time.
Later that year, our ministry director, Beryl Henwood (YWAM Zion/Northland) was driving up to Northland New Zealand to survey a base that, in a year and a half, would become the home plate for the ministry she has been building with the Lord for 30 years – and she has a vision. A vision of music, pouring out of churches and beckoning the people of the earth to come, seek and find the Lord, revival. She saw them come, running, responding to the call, the music awakening something radical inside of them.
August 2013. I’ve been praying about songwriting for over a year now, not knowing where God is taking me in that area of life. It’s been the thing I’ve wanted most, the thing I’ve wanted the least. Up and down, and I finally give it to God. And He hands it back, wholly consecrated to Him. Joehelen tells me about her vision, knowing that I am the second specific person in her vision. And my heart cracks open and I begin to write about justice and healing.
Fast forward to 2014. I’m staffing my second DTS with YWAM, and God tells me that I am not leading an outreach team to the locations that we are sending the school. But I know that I am not going home.
Joehelen tells Beryl about the Justice Tour and their visions collide and God says that it’s time to start sending music ministry teams through New Zealand.
What is the Justice Tour?
It’s bringing new music and songs to bring light and a voice to the lost, to the broken, to the voiceless. We will bring these songs on issues God has placed on our hearts – issues like abuse, domestic violence, abortion, divorce, and more – to the church, to prepare the Bride of Christ. God has given us all vision to stir these things in the heart of the church and minister to them, to bring hope and healing. Though the songs are meant to stir, this is not music that is supposed to leave you heavy or burdened (“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”), so we ultimately desire to see freedom, to see people set free of these things.
I’m really excited for this outreach – to see how God has brought it together is such a confirmation in itself that this is so right.
And I want to set one thing straight before I close this.
This is not about me.
It’s not about me, my song, my story, or my music.
It’s so much bigger than that, epitomized by the very way this whole story has come together.
This about brining glory to God, His light to the darkness, His heart to His people, our eyes being opened to see what He sees.
This is the first outreach of this kind that YWAM Zion has sent out, and like any outreach, it will involve a lot of practical and spiritual preparation, and Joehelen, Barry and I would love to be supported by your prayer as the three of us pioneer this faith outreach, beginning up North in June, sweeping through the churches, moving North to South. We’re so excited to see what God does with the Justice Tour, if you want to know more, feel free to Facebook message or email me at worldtravellerhannah@gmail.com.
God bless!