Everything changed at Dwell 2010. I was living in South Africa at the time, and I knew I needed to get to Dwell because I knew with certainty that God was going to do something big and I wanted to be part of it. I had become increasingly frustrated with ‘life as I knew it’ and the mundanity and monotony of some of the things I was doing and seeing. I felt like I had lost something of the passion and deep love I had for God as a teenager, and I knew that I needed a fresh encounter with the Father heart of God, the friendship of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to wake me out of my slightly docile, apathetic, and disappointed state, and to set my heart ablaze again. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved God hugely, but Him and I both knew that life and all its battles had eroded the full breadth and depth of the love I had for Him, and my heart had developed some callouses from a few mountains of ‘hope deferred’ that I had experienced, leading to some very real disappointment that ached. Going to Dwell was my way of saying to God that I was doing my best to make a move to come closer, and to get full connection with Him back. I wasn’t content with flickers anymore and half-hearted love for Him. I wanted the fire back like I had when I was younger. ALL of me, not bits of me.
I didn’t have the finances to afford the flight to London, but I knew God wanted me at Dwell. I asked Him to provide what I needed and left the rest in His hands. I ended up being employed part time by Tich and Joan Smith for a couple of months to help them at the early stages of getting LIV Village up and running. The money I made during that time was enough to cover my flights and expenses for Dwell! God had provided! I ended up getting a business class upgrade on my way over – never had that before or since!
Dwell 2010 was the year that Heidi & Rolland Baker and Jeff Jansen were preaching. I felt like I got born again, again, listening to Heidi and Rolland share about love and I could feel my heart being re-calibrated and completely turned inside out and right side up with the main thing becoming the main thing again. It was impossible not to fall in love with Jesus again after them baring their hearts and stories and testimonies so openly and vulnerably. I was challenged to my core, and reminded again what this glorious adventure of Kingdom life is about, and what its meant to be like. The complex became simple, passion and desire for God came back like a light switch had been turned on again that had been off for a while. I could see clearly again. No more haze, and no fear about the future, and everything seemed to make sense again. The enemy loves to make hurt, pain, and disappointment a complicated mess that you start to believe you can never break free from. You can get so entangled in his web of lies that you think that’s normal life, coz that’s the only thing you can see in the prison he has you in within your heart and mind, but God wants His children FREE!!
Then Jeff Jansen prophesied over me publicly during one of the worship times about being in the UK and what God was going to do through me here (he had no idea I didn’t live in this country yet!). He prayed for me at the end of the meeting and I encountered God so powerfully that my life completely changed. I knew I would never be the same after that. Something got activated in me that had never been alive to start with, and I became a whole new Lou! A completely NEW creation. Dwell often feels like a car service for the vehicle of our lives, but for me, Dwell 2010 was more than that. It was a complete vehicle upgrade (much like my business class flight over here)! I came in feeling like a beaten up little Mini, and left feeling like I had morphed into a Ferrari in the kingdom 🙂 8 months later, much to my amazement, I landed in the UK to start my new life here with God having provided for my every need every step of the way. He released the prophetic word over me at Dwell that released me into the next part of my destiny here. I would never have come here if it wasn’t for that God-moment at Dwell.
Moments like Dwell are sovereign moments of time that God provides amidst the business and realities of life that enable us to be re-calibrated, re-envisioned, re-vitalised, re-focused, as well as to remember just how amazing He is and remind ourselves of the bigger picture of the Kingdom adventure we are all part of. Its a time to come as we are, and bring our ALL: our questions, our pain, our health, our confusion, our doubts, our disappointments, our fears, our joy, our sorrow, our love, our apprehension, our whole lives for Him to have unlimited access to – to heal and restore from the season that’s been, and to challenge, champion, and encourage us for the season that lies ahead.
I cannot adequately express how important it is to give God time and space to do what He needs to do in our lives to encounter us in the ways that we need, and to break off the chains and lies that the enemy has had us trapped in from the last season. I urge, encourage, and implore you to make Dwell a priority. Put yourself in the “firing line” for an encounter with God. You never know what will lie on the other end of your encounter with God in that space. It could be the beginning of a whole new life 🙂