A Cry From the Desert


I am convinced. The present day church is in need of another counter-cultural movement birthed in the desert places.

We are standing at the threshold of another reformation and again there are structural doors that cry out for truth born in love to be nailed to them.

Have you ever heard the phrase “desert season” or “spiritual wilderness”? What comes to mind?  People half dead, delirious from dehydration being somehow punished for their sins?  Unfortunately, that is the picture I see painted many times in sermons or messages.

Biblically, deserts were not places of lack and misery. Quite the opposite! The wilderness is a place where we can come to know the wilds of God’s love for us in a way no other place could teach us.   Deserts are places of raw intimacy with Jesus where our comfort-zones are shattered and our props and pretense are stripped away, where reformers are born and nations are shaped.

The desert is the place where God becomes our everything and the platforms of men only find meaning inside of Him. I have walked long with the desert fathers of old, the early church leaders and the Celtic saints.  Their writings gave me my first language for understanding my own journey with Jesus.

The desert fathers and mothers were radical lovers of Jesus who escaped the Constantinean reforms of 313 AD that imposed a political empire on the church that still informs the way we do things millennia later.  Instead, the desert fathers built a community that was a counter-cultural stance against the power structures taking over the fabric of their faith.

They embraced an ebb and flow of solitude and togetherness which brought them closer to the Father and to one another. Yes some of them took asceticism to the extreme and I am certainly not advocating that.  But for most, it was not about self abasement; it was about finding sanity and freedom from a politicized church system run a muck.  And in turn their desert journeys inspired other generations, especially the Celtic Christians a few centuries later.

There is a story about the meeting of two desert monks.  A younger monk sought out an older monk and recited all of his spiritual disciplines. He came with the question in his heart, “What else can I do?”  The older monk lifted his hands towards heaven and his fingers become like lamps of fire. He replied, “If you will, you can become all flame.

Desert journeys are truly about that. About becoming all flame.

Desert seasons are not miserable seasons of God withdrawing or being absent. Far from it. They are seasons of Him presencing, presenting Himself differently in order to draw us deeper into more of Who He is. Deserts are places of burning bushes and miracles of provision. They are the places we are wooed and spoken tenderly to, given back our vineyards, where we lay our head upon the rock and wake to meet angels.  Deserts are where the valley of dejection becomes a door of Hope.  They are the places we come up out of leaning on Him Who is the Lover of our souls.

Yes there are times God seems a bit far, His hand a bit slow for our liking.  But He really isn’t. Ever far or slow.

Over the last few months I’ve touched on some trends and teachings I’ve encountered which I find concerning. I’ve been prayerfully considering where I sense Jesus leading in it all, not wanting to react but only to respond to Him.

We want the love that discerns His best in all things, right?  I’m not saying I have it all figured out and I may well disagree with myself in years to come so you certainly are free to disagree with me. But there is a fire in my bones to share with you some of the things on my heart in the coming weeks and months.

I haven’t been all that sure what to call this series.  Then it hit me.  It is a cry from the desert places to return to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus. #desertcryseries

So sweet friend, may you run to the desert knowing burning bushes of commissioning, deep wells of compassion and holy encounters where you are named and you meet God face to face are waiting for you there.  It is from this place reformers are being shaped to prepare the way once again for the Lord.

I’ll leave you with a prayer scribbled in the corner of one of my Africa journals.


With Thanks & Giving

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Like this hand-lettered reminder? There is a printable version available over in my Etsy shop here ready in time to grace your holiday table next week!

I’m am amazed and grateful tonight.  This little site has reached over 200,000 readers from 100+ nations in under 4 years.  Now I know that is barely a blip on the internet radar in the greater scope of things, but to me sitting in my teeny office in Florida it is huge.

Because that is 200,000 people who chose to spend time with these words, this story, this altar I offer my life on. I’m humbled. So humbled.  And we are just getting started.  Not a long post tonight.  Just a very big thank you.

And a few announcements… On the sidebar {if you are on the website, look to your right}, is now an easy link to where you can find out more information and sign up to join my new support team! You won’t just be helping me grow this blog to where it can touch many more nations, you will also be a part of all the training, writing and mentoring I do to raise up healthy missionaries and leaders.  You can read more exactly what I am doing in my support update here.

And just below that there is an exciting new project I am working hard to release before the end of the year {I hope and pray in time for Christmas!}.  Some of you may recall The Inspired Life course I hosted a few years ago.  Well it is being revamped, expanded and reformatted for a “workshop in a book” format.  You can sign up by clicking the book cover on the sidebar to receive a FREE limited-time only extended sample before it goes live.

This isn’t a course hosted online.  It is an e-course you download as a PDF file or e-book format and can work through at your own pace. You can keep it forever and refer to it time and time again. It is filled with inspiring images, exercises, activations and interactive elements to help you discover and develop amazing new levels of your God-given creativity.

If you know of anyone who might be interested, please share this post with them and help me get the word out.  You all are the best and I am so very grateful for each and everyone of you.

With love,


Pray for Paris

prayforparis-2I’m curled up on the first cool day of the season with a cup of green tea, eyes riveted with the rest of the world on the tragedy unfolding in France.  Four years ago I had the enormous privilege to walk the streets of Paris in person and let God capture my heart for the beautiful, strong French people who welcomed me in.

I stood under the Eiffel Tower drinking in the Parisian fall trying to twist the frame of my camera to capture a shot like I saw on postcards and Pinterest. (The photo above.)  I spent my birthday on Montmarte and spent my days following around the sweet friend who was hosting me. I pushed through what I thought was the flu on steroids but was actually the beginnings of cerebral malaria round #16 or 17 of 18 which hit full force mid-Atlantic in flight to the states.  My body was fighting so hard to keep up with my soul that wanted to drink every moment in.

The cafes and museums and beauty and pastries. (I didn’t know I was gluten intolerant yet! Good thing too. Hah.) The very heartbeat of the city of lights. Behind me in my teeny kitchen hangs the painting I bought in the artist’s quarter.  In front of me is the news outlets that have been nonstop covering and re-covering every detail of yesterday’s attacks. One day Jesus willing I will return to Paris more visits, but for now my heart is filled with prayer for France and her people.

I listened to the French president boldly declare over international media that this attack was an act of war. It was and is and his statement got me thinking.  Especially in light of me winding up in urgent care last night with a fairly serious allergic reaction to antibiotic #2 with which they are trying to get rid of a resistant respiratory infection.

I think of my time in Africa as the time I lived in a war zone. But truthfully it only takes one act of war to turn the most peaceful, beautiful oasis into a war zone.  One act. I still live in a war zone.  The battle simply looks different here.  I live in a place where darkness masquerades as mystery and markets itself with blockbuster movies, where our culture is so fragmented we often miss the most broken among us until they lash out in violence. And the breaking begets more breaking.

I live in a place where “church” for many is the thing you do, the place you go to rather than who you are. Yet it is only who we are in Jesus that actually make us dangerous to darkness. It is light that prevails. Not the lantern in which it is housed.

I’m not one that talks a lot about spiritual warfare or even agrees with most of what is popularly taught about it. But I’m reminded as I continue to fight for my health through long-term effects of all the repeated malaria, it is very real. I might be writing a bit more about it here in times ahead. I keep getting asked to teach on it, because so much that is floating about in many circles is just not helpful or even biblical. {And I am really tired of seeing people get derailed by bad theology that detracts from Who Jesus is.}

Praying for the City of Lights to shine brighter than ever tonight.  Darkness cannot stop the light.  The only way darkness wins is if light refuses to show up. So Church, let’s not let darkness win with our absence, now or ever. #PrayforParis

Why We Need to Celebrate Failure

Learning to Fly
Learning to Fly {Prints available in the shop! Click here to take a closer look.}

My goal is to fail.  Yes, you read that correctly.

If I am ever going to make, do, create, become someone who leaves a transformational and hopefully a creative legacy from God’s heart, I am going to fail. Probably in epic fashion.  More than once. Or twice. Or thrice. {Hmm, that went all Shakespeare-like there. See? Wrong millennium. I’m already proving my point.}

God celebrates our failing.  Sometimes even more than our succeeding.

But He doesn’t look at us and see failures or screw -ups… because we are not defined by our success, or lack thereof.  We are defined by His faith in who He has created us to be and become.

Our failure is precious because if we are succeeding all the time, we are not stretching or growing or exploring nearly enough.  We are settling for safe.  Settling for safety is like burying our talents and we know how well that went over.

Church, we need to stop running from failure and start a cheering section instead. Now, just to be clear, I’m not talking about integrity issues. I’m talking about having a big crazy dream born from God’s heart being fused into ours and diving all in. And then face-planting in the process.  I’m talking about stepping out to follow Jesus and tripping on the doorjamb on the way out the door.

Many of us are too afraid to dream bigger than our known abilities because we fear getting a red scrawling F across our best efforts. God’s Kingdom comes not based on our ability, but based on our availability to Him.

God isn’t tallying our mistakes. He delights in transforming them and us with them.

Have you ever seen an 18 month old learn to run? And fall face first trying? You wouldn’t go over to them and yell at them, telling them they were stupid failures who should give up on ever walking. Of course not! We scoop them up, spin them around, kiss their bumps and say, “WOW! That was AWESOME sweetie. Let’s go around the log next time, ok?”  How much more so does God lovingly gather our learning mistakes and cover them with His grace?

Church, we have run from failure for too long. Instead of understanding failure as a vital part of growth, we duck and dodge and cover over our weakness. When we hide our failing moments, we embrace a culture of shame and bury the dreams and visions Jesus has given us in fear.

God is not afraid you are going to get wrong. He is absolutely certain at some point you most definitely will. And He already has a plan to fix it.  He celebrates our faith-filled failings more than our safe successes. Because when we feel most like we are falling, He knows we are really learning to fly.

An Update:

Thank you to my two new supporters!  I still need 98 more by Dec 15 to have the minimum funding I need each month to function in this new season of missions, mobilization and mentoring.  Please take a peek here and see how you can become a part of what God is doing.


Why This Dream Needs You

newdayIt has been 20 years since I first stepped out into front-line missions.  First in urban America, then on the streets of Calcutta and for years in a war zone in Africa.  I am in no way done with the front line, but now it is time to leverage two decades of walking with Jesus in some of the world’s hardest places and mobilize a movement of healthy, wholehearted missionaries and leaders who will run farther and fly higher than one person ever could on their own.

I may live in the USA now but my focus is more on the nations than ever. Missions isn’t just about me going and doing the stuff of the Gospel.  Missions is also about training and releasing a whole beautiful company of folks in love with Jesus to move beyond the shorelines of their comfort zones, work places, neighborhoods, cities, regions and nations.

The power in a seed isn’t in it staying a seed.  The power is in the seed being planted and growing into a tree that produces countless other seeds that will grow rooted into a forest of trees.  The last two years fighting for my health has rooted in me the mandate to multiply what God has so graciously given in experience and woven into my very being through these decades of walking with Him.

Since returning to the USA, I have been convicted more than ever of the need for bold, creative, love-grounded, biblically-solid, Holy-Spirit-empowered equipping and encouragement for missionaries and Christian leaders to be healthy, established in Jesus and set free to live and love with their whole hearts.  This is what I am stepping into. And I need your help to make it happen.

I’m about to make a very bold request.  If I am totally honest, this stretches me so far beyond my own comfort zone I’m not sure I know where I left it. So here we go…

Friends, I need your help.  I need you who have a heart for touching nations with the reality of Who Jesus is.  I need you who share the conviction of the need for healthy, wholehearted leaders and missionaries to be raised up and sent out. I need you who long to see the church live missions out everyday, from our backyards to the ends of the earth. I need you who share the passion to see grace, truth and creativity be released through the body of Christ to bring the message of God’s transforming love in deeper ways.

I need you to be a part of this dream because it will never happen if I stand on my own.

I’m working on multiple writing projects (much more on that soon), developing seminar/workshop materials, and partnering with our local YWAM base to teach and encourage their students and leaders. I also provide creative direction, photography/design and mentoring services to missionaries and mission-focused ministries on a select, relational basis. This blog in itself has touched hundreds of thousands of readers in over 170 nations.  But I can’t keep doing any of this without building an amazing, committed support team. And I want to invite you to be a part of it.

{You can read and download my latest support update filled with more information and pictures by clicking the update image just above on the right.}

Now for the really bold part:

I need at least 100 monthly supporters at a minimum of $30/month by Dec 15, 2015 to meet my most basic ongoing needs.

Would you prayerfully consider joining my support team and being a part of what God is doing?

Please head over to my new Support Team page to learn how to sign up in three simple steps.  You can sign up right there online, give securely via a designated link in paypal or by check, and all gifts are tax deductible. I’m developing special updates for my support team and surprises as well because it isn’t just about you giving into and partnering with what God is doing in my journey, it’s about journeying and doing it together as a community.

Team work makes the dream work and nothing would give me greater joy than to have you become a key part of it all on this team.

Thank you for your prayers, love and support throughout these years and miles.  We are just getting started and the best is yet to come.  You are loved- Michele