TRANSFIGURATION | RECESS LARGE GROUP | HOU, TX - Fall 2017 / Spring 2018
This group was one of the largest to come through RECESS. The night's were structured differently and there were so many small groups meeting across town almost every day of the week. To all the leaders, there was something palpably different about this group, and it was evident that God had huge plans for both those experiencing RECESS for the first time, as well as all the leaders and alumni.
We heard so clearly that God was calling us not to lean on our own strengths, but to lay down our comforts in our credentials and work through our weaknesses in Him. It was a beautiful time--not an easy season. The group went for months, saw the change of a year--and as the rhythm was much different, God moved so. Thus, TRANSFIGURATION was imagined. The cleansing water of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The way it can feel both heavy and freeing at the same time. The way we can't breath under water, and the boiling that builds in our chest as we come up for air. This is the way this season of RECESS felt for so many of us.
As we developed the concept for the shoot, shot it and saw what the Lord revealed to us through His imagery, the testimonies from attendants began pouring in. And in that time, it was confirmed for us that God was working in this way in all of us, not just the team leaders. Here are the words from those that experienced RECESS for the first time with this groups.
“I believe the most impactful truth from this year at RECESS was learning God’s desire for me to rest in Him. To rest in His perfect love for me. To rest in His strength while, like Paul, embracing my weaknesses so that Christ’s strength and power could be displayed in me.
Because of childhood neglect, I have lived believing the lie I had to take care of myself. I could not fully embrace God’s desire for me to depend on others, which as a mother of 6 (ages 4 to 16) had left me exhausted. The enemy had convinced me that if I had a need, I should find a way to meet it myself. This denied me of the grace God pours out through His children to one another.
I can now confidently say it is my great pleasure to ask for and receive help. To humble myself and throw my hands in the air admitting I need help! I now find myself no longer believing God is most pleased when things run smoothly. I am beginning to embrace God delights in my messes because He delights in me. The messes and hard places are not to be dreaded because that is when my God really makes known to me His power to deliver and sustain. I can view obstacles and hardships as opportunities to see God pour out His grace and mercy on me and my family. My unknowns are not so scary because He knows all and He works All things for good for me.
Psalm 23 is a scripture my husband teaches our children when they turn 3. The last 13 years I have listened to my children recite this verse never fully comprehending the posture of rest David displays in the Psalm. This year the Lord sweetly spoke these words to me in a new way and I am filled with joy:
‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’” – Amy, 47
“Gosh, so many areas of my life were touched by RECESS, and in a sense, not any area was untouched.
For instance, I, for the first time, am finding so much freedom through worship. Before RECESS, I honestly never really ‘got into’ worship in a church setting. I enjoyed it, but I never felt like an active participant. I am very much a WHY and HOW person, and since no one ever taught, articulated or demonstrated to me the importance of worship, the power in it, the personal blessings from it, and how to do it, it was never that important to me. I listened to Christian music & enjoyed it, but that is very different than worshipping! And in RECESS, I finally learned why and how to truly worship, and it changes everything.
It all became very real to me a couple months ago when my granddaughter Kaiya was born and was rushed to NICU with a serious health issue. Our family was faced with the choice of either faith or fear — it’s either one or the other; they can wrestle but one ultimately wins. My two daughters and I had been learning during RECESS about the power of praise to shifts things in us and the world around us (2 Chron 2:20; Acts 16), so we decided to trust God and PRAISE our way through the long days and nights. God had given me a vision on Christmas day that He had Kaiya IN HIS HANDS, and I banked on that promise. So we sang with all our hearts. We worshiped God in the midst of an unknown outcome. We trusted HIM and not what we could yet see. Our Kaiya was released to go home a week after birth without any lasting effects from what could have overcome her, and I truly believe our praise was the weapon He used to crush the enemy and usher in His victory.
RECESS also taught me a lot about the workings and power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve also been on a journey for the past three to four years learning about the Holy Spirit and how to hear God’s voice. I’ve had dreams, visions, profound thoughts I knew were from God, an entrance into heaven once and other undeniable God experiences, but RECESS really gave me the space and time to practice how to hear and respond to the Spirit’s promptings. This Spirit-led equipping has radically changed my life and my ministry with the teen girls I mentor. The Spirit prompts me or even stops me from saying specific things and guides me to do this or that. The outcome is undeniably different.
It’s been so exciting to be a part of these powerful God-encounters with others, and it’s definitely faith-growing. The best analogy for living in the power of the Holy Spirit is living on a playground with God. Life in the Spirit has brought so much joy and fun into my faith walk!” - Gaynor, 59
“I’ve known Jesus since I was 7 years old, but since college really, I kind of went on this downward spiral of not spending time with Him or really even acknowledging Him. I still went to church, but was living a life of the world. This life consisted of partying, sex, drinking, judgement – basically hiding.
Joining RECESS came at such a sweet and funny time. I was just about to apply for jobs in Denver, and then Harvey happened. I felt like I needed to stay for my family. Then the first night of RECESS, Kallie talked about how we don’t have to be the strong ones, and I knew the Lord was calling me – pulling at my heart-strings. I’ve always felt that I needed to be that for my family my whole life. A couple weeks later, I started learning who the Holy Spirit was – who I’d never really thought too much about before RECESS – and I started learning what it means to let Him be my strength. I’m learning what it’s like to lean on Him – that it’s not my burden to bear.
I’ve also learned that so much of what’s been holding me back all my life has been believing lies about who I am in Him. I’ve always believed that I’m not enough, that I can’t or won’t hear from Him, that my words aren’t good enough for Him to use. But I know now those are all lies. Through RECESS, I have learned who I am in Him. I am desired. I am loved. I can hear from Him, and He wants to hear me speak. I am powerful, and He will heal me and use me to lead others – which I never even wanted to because I didn’t think I could.
It wasn’t until recently that I have been asking God why I partied. I’m honestly still working through that – but I think it stemmed from a desire to belong. When I’d drink and party, I would feel like I belonged. But God has been revealing to me that I belong with Him, and I’ve started to see my desires change. He’s been breaking through my unbelief that He won’t come through, that my desires won’t change, and the fear I had that life in Him won’t be as fun. I’ve realized that unbelief is just a misunderstanding of how much God loves us. He loves us so much. He chases us down. There is room for mistakes and He is still a faithful God.
Gosh, there are so many things the Lord has taught me in RECESS and so much I’ve heard and been blown away by. I could go on and on about what I learned about entering into His presence through worship and praise. But I think the sweetest thing for me is knowing now that