Raised in Revival

Growing up in the Toronto blessing.

1993: the year I made my debut into this world. And, just a short year, later Revival broke out here in Toronto and changed everything in the best way possible.

It’s strange to think that I have never known a life without revival. Nor have I ever known Church without the familiar presence of the Holy Spirit. My childhood Sundays were spent ducking out of the way of falling bodies, slain-in-the-spirit adults whooping and hollering in my ears, and waiting for my parents to leave at the end of the service. “Mommy? I’m thirsty” (taps my mom on the head as she’s rolling around giggling on the floor).

And then there were the many Conferences we attended at Catch The Fire. We would get home from school, pack a few things (most importantly the sleeping bag- never forget the sleeping bag) and head to what I thought was the biggest stinkin’ church in the whole world! My parents would find a safe place for us kids to camp out- away from the previously mentioned falling bodies and habitual hollerers- and they would go line up for ministry time. There was lots of space to run around and large screens so we could get a better look inside someone’s mouth as they showed off their new gold filling. As bewildered as I was at the time, now 20 years later I have realized how those years have shaped me and prepared me for my walk with God.

"[I] felt like a little kid left out at the playground."

I have never doubted God was real. I saw firsthand growing up that He could show up and fill someone with inexplicable joy, or reduce someone to powerful tears that signified a face-to-face encounter with Him. However, as I entered my teen years, the time came to really establish my faith as a choice of my own, and as time went on, I realized I had spent so many years watching from the sidelines. I knew so much from what I had seen, and yet, my personal experience was lacking. I worshipped, I prayed, I told my friends about God and how He could transform lives with His love. But as the words slipped off my tongue in familiarity, I felt hollow. So much time had passed where I went through the motions and did the right things, but felt like a little kid left out at the playground. “Maybe I am meant to experience God in different ways” was what I had reduced it to.

I made up my mind that all of the things I had seen growing up were leaving me “immune” to feeling God move. That was it, I thought. “I have built up an immunity to experiencing His love for me. I have built up an immunity to experiencing miracles in my own life.”  Well, let’s all just take a minute and thank the sweet Lord that it does not work like that. He is not comparable to a flu shot. You do not get a dose of His goodness only to become resistant and uninfluenced by His next dose of goodness. He is capable of giving us fresh and new experiences of who He is, despite what we’ve felt and seen!

"Overnight transformation can happen, and it is awesome... but process is what keeps our hearts turned toward Him."

So, I started back at the beginning. I positioned myself as a newborn baby in her Father’s arms. Completely dependant on Him for the simplest of things, and yet completely empowered by His unconditional love. Change did not occur overnight, my friends. It was a process, much like growing up is a process. Each time I looked back I was realizing I had made it a little further, I had been changing and developing with baby steps. It has been a beautiful upbringing, and in the perfect momentum that God knows I can handle. At times it can be challenging to see slow transformation, but God has showed me how absolutely vital process can be. He gives us process so that we keep coming to Him; each time reminded that He is One who can change us. It requires being trusting and dependant on His plan. Overnight transformation can happen, and it is awesome!... But process is what keeps our hearts turned toward Him consistently.

Being raised in revival taught me that it’s good to be excited about how God wants to move, and that He can move in us in unique ways. You see, I was not all wrong when I had thought ‘Maybe I am meant to experience God in different ways”. We will all experience Him in a way that meets us where we are at and you will know because He will not leave us feeling in lack. Just because I did not find myself laughing uncontrollably on the floor didn’t mean I wasn’t experiencing an overwhelming joy. And just because I didn’t fall down in the Spirit does not mean I wasn’t moved by His power. He has always been my foundation, I simply had to bring myself back into the place of building my own house from that strong foundation.

"I can run towards the things that may scare me, because His love has the first word."

I am so blessed to have grown up in an environment where my parents and leaders were constantly being filled with the Spirit, and impressing it upon our home and our family. At 20 years old, I have the world before me, and without hesitation I can run towards the things that may scare me, because His love has the first word and His plan is far greater than the plan I could settle for within myself.

Besides, I grew up in a crazy, radical, fire-filled revival. How could I not change the world?