About this time last year, the Holy Spirit told me 2015 was the year of new beginnings. I embraced that. I preached it all over the country. I heard many testimonies of the wonderful new things the Lord birthed in people's lives.
2015 was a year of new beginnings for me on many levels. In fact, it was one of the most meaningful years of my ministry. I entered into new assignments—including being named the first female editor of Charisma magazine—launched for a number of intercessory prayer initiatives, birthed awakeningtv.com and joined the New Breed Revival Network. I believe all of this—combined with the labor of many others in the body of Christ—is ultimately unto a Third Great Awakening.
This year, I released my best-selling devotional, Mornings With the Holy Spirit: Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God. That was followed by The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, which shines lights on God's plans for America even in the face of doom and gloom. I traveled across the country doing media appearances and preaching prophetic messages of hope.
In South Florida, I'm building the Awakening House of Prayer to raise up an army of intercessors who will labor in prayer to see God's will done in the earth. My latest books, Jezebel's Puppets: Exposing the Agenda of False Prophets and Revival Hubs Rising: Revealing a New Ministry Paradigm for the Next Great Move of God, are coming out any day now, and I've got several new projects in the works, including a prophecy Bible and a new spiritual warfare book.
You Can Have a New Beginning
I didn't tell you all that to boast—except maybe in a Lord who can do wonders through someone like me. You may not know my testimony, but I got saved in a jail after being accused of a crime I didn't commit—after my husband abandoned me with our 2-year-old baby nearly two decades ago. I never forget where God has brought me from and I know what it's like to need a new beginning.
You can have a new beginning too. Now is the time to determine that you will press past the past and press into a new beginning. You can birth those new things that Lord has put in your spiritual womb. You can't make it happen in your own strength. I mean to say that you can't do God's part. But you can do your part. As we wrap up 2015, the year of new beginnings, let me leave you with some lessons I shared across the country this year that helped many break into God's new thing.
1. Give your will over to the Lord.
What you are birthing may seem scary to you or it may seem insignificant to you. It may seem overwhelming to you. We can take a lesson from Mary. It's time to face your fears—fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of rejection, fear of transition. When the angel came to Mary and told her she would birth the Son of God, she ultimately responded: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
2. Be willing to adjust your schedule.
When you are expecting a baby, you are preparing for its birth. Women, we change the way we eat, the way we sleep and how we spend our time. As we prepare to enter a year of new beginnings and birthings, we must be willing to adjust our schedules and to spend more time in the Word, in worship and in prayer. That may mean giving up other things. "Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1, emphasis added).
3. Be willing to shift your direction.
I've had a number of baby dreams over the years. In one of my baby dreams I was nine months pregnant but the baby had stopped moving. The baby wasn't kicking or rolling or showing any sign of life. I thought the baby was dead and I panicked. Then, suddenly, I had the unction to shift the baby's position with gentle pressure from my hand. (I later researched this and discovered there's a name for it: the Diaphragmatic Release.) When I did, I could feel the baby kicking again. I knew all was well.
Sometimes things look dead, but you just have to reposition yourself for life. It doesn't always take much. Just one gentle movement in the right direction can cause God to breathe on that thing again so you can birth it and begin nurturing what God has given you to steward. But you need to hear from the Lord about which way to shift. Remain close to the Holy Spirit, and "your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left" (Is. 30:21).
If God has given you something to birth, it may be time to pull an Ezekiel and speak to those dry bones. It may be time to pull an Elijah and raise it from the dead. It may be time to walk away from the Ishmael. Refuse to abort and just reposition yourself to receive what God intended all along. You could just be in the wrong place or in the wrong time or with the wrong people. Listen to the Lord.
4. Embrace the transition.
Transitions are difficult. This is the place where people tend to grow weary and faint. The moments right before you give birth to that new thing—before you enter that new beginning—are the hardest of all.
And here's a fifth point: Don't give up. I always say that the best thing I have going for me is not my communication skills or even spiritual gifts. It's the fact that I absolutely, positively refuse to give up. I just don't have any quit in me. That doesn't mean I don't get discouraged. I do. It doesn't mean I don't feel like quitting on some days. I do. It just means that for all the thoughts and words I may speak about throwing in the towel on my toughest days, I always get back up again.
In 2016, let that be you. Sometimes victory in spiritual warfare really is just a matter of outlasting the devil. Keep pressing! Jesus is your victory banner.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.