“I Want to Know God…Not My Idea of God.”: Coffee with Stacy Durham


Last month, I set up shop in the back room of Roots coffee house in North Richland Hills not really knowing what to expect from this coffee gleanings but I knew it was going to be good.  I was there to have coffee with Stacy Durham.  I really didn’t know her from Adam but I met her once at a brunch that my friend Erin hosts.  (The greatest brunch EVER…and where I steal a lot of people who I glean from….so…shout out to Erin for hosting!!!)

I sat there waiting after I set up the camera and then made small talk with the woman whose booth I wanted to steal…and eventually did.  My spirit man began to get excited.  What did the Lord have in store for me today?  What would I get to glean?  What was she like?  Then Stacy walked in and came straight back with a big smile on her face and gave me a hug.  Honestly, she shifted the room people.  She was like a big fat hug walking into a coffee house.  I knew that my world was about to be turned upside down, and I was going to be hungrier than before.

Stacy is a Pink Impact coordinator for Gateway church on the central campus, a zone leader for Pink groups, an intercessor, and recently wrote an article for Studio G magazine entitled “Overflow”, which is amazing.  (Yes…the majority of the women that I have met with go to Gateway.  In all honesty, I could have an entire blog filled with JUST the women of Gateway church to glean from; However, I will branch out…eventually.)  She is the mother of four and has been married to her husband for 16 years.  Another fascinating thing is that I learned Stacy graduated from my alma mater West TX A&M University the same day that I did…however, she was with all the science majors and I was with all the fine arts peoples.

Now, I have to state a disclaimer before you watch this video….I am not a videographer nor will I ever profess to being one.  I also do not have the sound equipment that I need…just yet.  So, try to have some grace as you watch the video for the sound is poor but the conversation is rich.  Honestly, I wish that you could feel what it feels like to sit next to Stacy.  There is tangible peace that only someone who has been in the secret place with the Lord can walk with.  I left there completely stirred up and wanting more intimacy with the Holy Spirit.  I have every intention of meeting with her again, because now I have even more questions!  That is a great gal to have around…one that stirs up your relationship with the Lord, and leaves you wanting more of Him.




Me:  Okay…so if you could have coffee with anyone dead or alive…

Stacy:  That is a loaded question.

Me:  I know…I was actually thinking about it myself…thinking could I answer this?  No, that’s why I have this blog.

Stacy:  So you are putting it on other people….I see what you are doing. (laughs)

Me:  …so who would you have coffee with?

Stacy:  Well there is a plethora…you know that.  I could say anywhere from Abraham to….

Me:  You could do one dead and one alive.

Stacy:  I think it would be fascinating to sit down with C.S. Lewis, and here’s why.  I think his writings are phenomenal.  My freshman year of college at Hardin Simmons, my professor had recently lost his wife to cancer, and he changed his whole curriculum that year and said, “The required resource for this semester is Mere Christianity.”  So, we had to read Mere Christianity and write all of our papers on it.  As a freshman, you aren’t really all that focused, and I was really trying that year to saturate myself with the Lord…even at 18.  I knew there needed to be a shift.  I had been a believer since I was 6 but I hadn’t ever really….known Him.  The first quote I ever read of C.S. Lewis was “I want God, not my idea of God.”  I remember that resonated with me because I thought…that’s it! I have an idea, but so do a lot of people.  I just don’t want any ideas any more…I want God.  I knew I was on a different track and I knew that he (C.S. Lewis) was going to be instrumental in taking me there.  Although, it is hard to digest some of his writings except for his imaginative side…Narnia and all that…but his actual writings are so deep.  It is like he thinks from 80 different angles.  What I appreciate about it, and why I would love to sit across from him, is that I feel he takes into account all people but he has no fear of man.  He had no fear of man.  It was like he could hear everything but always direct it back to this foundational knowledge of Who God is….despite of what even he himself thought.  It just fascinated me.  It began really a journey for me after reading that year and understanding what that looked like.  You know in Proverbs it says “the fear of man is a snare, but the fear of God is safe.”  I realized that there were so many areas of my life that I feared man…really probably every area.  I was so concerned about man’s opinion.  You know (in regards to) council. Asking people for their advice and confirmation are two totally different things.  One is driven by the Spirit of God and the other is mainly their opinion….sometimes driven by the Spirit of God.  I was really concerned about man’s opinion and when you are listening to that it is too loud to hear the whisper of God.  I always just found him, as I read, so fascinating by the security in what he did know.  I think I would sit there for hours…I think I probably wouldn’t say more than two words.  I just find that so rare.  I find that our perspective is off in knowing God and what people think of Him….they are two different things.  So…that was my answer for that one.

Me:  I love that!  He is definitely on my list.  Okay, so…tell me about finding God and not just the idea of Him.  What is your love story?

Stacy:  I came to the Lord when I was six at a Clowns for Christ conference.

Me:  (geeky laugh….I am so on board with this!!)  That’s awesome!!!

Stacy:  Which is really indicative of my personality.  No actually, I’m very “bottom line”….I like to have a good time and lace things with joy, but I also have very little wiggle room when it comes to knowing God because He is pretty straight forward.  I think that His grace, mercy, and His goodness and kindness, all of the attributes that make Him so phenomenal and so sovereign, allow us to come in how He made us, but at the very same time, don’t allow for wiggle room on Who He is.  It’s this big opportunity to be in one accord because He has not changed and we can come with our own oil, like the woman in Luke.  So when I came to know Him when I was 6 it was a legit scenario.  I don’t remember a time where He was not the Lord of my life, I just lived a good portion of my life, into my twenties, not having much interaction (with Him).  It was more about knowing and less about the heart.  I had a lot of checklists and I did them well.

Me:  Oh yeah! ( I am in agreement from my own experiences with this.)

Stacy:  Yeah.  Right?  So in my teenage years He began to parent me, and even that was hard.  It was hard to see an unconditionalness like that, maybe due to different circumstances in my life.  To see unconditional…to hear unconditional….when you aren’t accustomed to hearing that….it’s hard to hear it.  So, He began to really parent me.  We started a lot in the old testament because, honestly, I could relate more to a God like that.  When we got down to the heart of it and it became like “despite you…I love you.”  That was hard for me to digest.  I went into college with that mindset.  I didn’t actually know the Holy Spirit.  Like, you know Him, but understanding what it means to allow Him to filtrate through you, on you…in spite of you….was not something that I had surrendered to…just because I really didn’t know what that looked like.  I didn’t know that there was so much more, but out of His graciousness, it wasn’t thrust upon me.  When I got to college I became really infatuated with this. I really read a lot of books….but He kept telling me that these (books) are great but….it is the glory of Lord to conceal a matter and it is the glory of kings to search it out.  The writers had searched it out and written great books on it (Holy Spirit), but now it was my turn to search out what God had concealed for me.  These books were a really great asset but it was really pointing back to……get back here (references her Bible).  So I did.  I just needed to understand the nature…I needed to know God…not my idea of God….and I had a lot of ideas…from people who I had seen.  When you are young, and you know Him at a young age, you correlate Him to a lot of different people.  I correlated Him to some people who may have not all had healthy attributes.  I always served the Lord throughout high school…tried to make strong bold stands, but a lot of it was more based on works than on heart change.  There is so much grace for that. Would I do it differently now?  Yeah.  I loved people but everything was so black and white…and there is a goodness to that, but people could have felt, when they were around me, that they weren’t doing it correctly.  I regret that…because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  What He began to teach me…line upon line…precept upon precept…is that when we come into Presence, (we) Psalms 73 “When I entered the sanctuary of God I knew their demise and I realized I was a beast before You…as for me it was good to be near God.”  What we need to realize is that when we host Presence there is no explanation needed. That contact that He makes with people just by having your body there is sometimes all that ever needs to be done.  It creates an atmosphere that the change we want to happen, but we can never facilitate in our humanity, He does it…with our children…our spouse…with others.  When we drop fear of man, it doesn’t matter what other religion or belief we are around, we are in Presence and He will guide all truth in that.  It really became less on me and more on Him…in my weakness….He was so much stronger.  I never wanted to embrace my weakness…I wanted to fix it.  Children will help you see that you can’t do it.  I taught (class) a couple of weeks ago and, I joke, that when I walk in from teaching my kids are not lined up clapping.  Dinner is not ready.  You know what I am saying?  Someone is naked and there is a frog loose somewhere.  Someone is arguing and no one has thought about lunch because no one is going to prepare it.  I, like, picked up Little Caesar’s on the way home.  There is a reality there, and what He told me was that the ministry that takes place behind your four walls will always dictate what happens out of your front door.  So outside your front door, if there is not this saturation in this secret place with these people that He has given you, then you don’t have anything left out of your overflow to give outside your front door.  It really should be drops here, and drops there (from overflow), but the majority of the ministry that takes place…and I firmly believe this as moms…is inside your fours walls.  It is not always pretty.  Honestly, the greatest ministry we have is when we are apologizing.  We just sat down with our kids last night and said “do you think we have ever done this (parenting) before?” …No.  Okay…good…we are all realizing that there may be fifty things we try and only one of them works out…but this is new to all of us.  He guides us into all truth and He parents better than any of us!  So…(moving on)…I was a preacher’s kid…which says a lot.  I just didn’t find freedom until I was in my twenties.  I was a pretty bound Christian.  Bound by rules. Bound by legalism. Thought to be loved it was performance based.  That shifted a whole lot in my perspective when I realized that there isn’t anything that I can do to make it better…to make Him love me more. We know that, but I am shocked at how many people don’t digest that truth.

Me:  Oh yeah.  It’s hard to digest.

Stacy:  Very hard to digest.  It is hard to disassociate from conditional love, which we really see a vast majority of here on the earth, and associate it with something we have never known.  We won’t know it unless we digest it.  We won’t know it unless the Holy Spirit guides us.  We won’t know it.  It is impossible to grasp that.  We don’t operate in that here…well really…most of the time.  So, our kiddos were a big shift in how I viewed things.  I think any mom would say that.  Nobody is a natural mother, some have greater tendencies, but none of us really know what it is we are doing.  If we don’t get this unconditional love concept down, then what will happen is that, we will mark down all the ways that we didn’t qualify and we will discount ourselves.  By the end of the day, we will start off the next morning behind.  (But) when goodness and mercy follow, and mercies are new every day, and joy comes in the morning, then we have started out the next day more ahead than we were the day before.  So, there’s a beauty, to this fact, of what I read after Christ came….the one on one.  When the woman brings her oil and she crawls up to His feet…she puts her hair down and she is just crying and washing Him.  Although I would see myself as a Martha…inside I am really her (the woman with the oil)…that’s who we all want to be…right?  If you remember in the story, someone says something about her…maybe Peter…and He stares at her (the woman with the oil) and talks to Peter at the same time, and He doesn’t ever take His eyes off of her.  He says…”this woman, she doesn’t have anything yet she brought me everything”…and He is telling him (Peter) but never taking His eyes of her.  He is so captivated by her.  I remember reading that and thinking….I feel like that in my heart…but I want that to be my life.  I want that to be my posture….all the time.  I want Him to be so captivated by what I bring to His feet, because it is nothing of what I could muster up or perform in, but it has everything to do with “this is everything that I have.  Here I am.”  It takes a while to get your heart there…it just does….because our perspective has to change in so many things, and we have to lay down so much of our self.  So…that is kind of my journey.  Fast forward to where I am now. So, my husband left for 156 days one year and my two oldest were one and two.  We lived in McKinney. We were going to Gateway. We were as plugged in as we could be and we were so very very broke. One car.

Me:  Ah…we have one car.

Stacy:  That’s just awesome, right?!  And he was in Malaysia, in this particular business where we were self-employed, and that country opened up so he decided to take this business there.  He was holding on to it for dear life, and I just wanted a change, but he just wanted to try this to see if it would work.  He would go for 7 weeks and come home for 2, and go for 7 weeks and come home for 2.  I was just very alone.  I don’t have any family in this area.  I was 26.  I remember someone gave me some CD’s called “Intimacy with the Holy Spirit” by John Bevere.  I remember watching them every night and thinking that there is something about this that so resonates with me, although I have no clue what it is.  I read “Drawing Near,” the book that correlated with that (CD) series, and I really began to eat (the bible) for the life of me.  I ate because, A. I didn’t have an appetite…it was just hard, and, B. because there was nobody to come and make it better.  I don’t remember that time as being hard though….I remember that time as having an encounter.  I call it the quiet season but really it was the freedom flood.  It was the first time I ever encountered anything intimate with God…in all those years of knowing Him…20 years of knowing Him.  I moved beyond religion and encountered Him, and it was in spite of my circumstances, which is probably the best way for me…..at probably one of the lowest points.  At one of my lowest points I encountered Him…not at a high point.  I’m not sure I would have seen Him otherwise.  So…it was phenomenal.  He (Monty) came back and I had really been…(I think we over use these terms)…like filled with the Holy Spirit. I just released myself to that part of the Lord.  I just knew that there was more…there was a saturation…an interaction that I don’t have with You…and I want it.  Reading scripture became different. Understanding what it means to host the Presence of God became my main focus.  It was just about “how can I empty more of myself so that I can make room for Him”….which will be a journey until the day I die.  It is just understanding that my presence walking into a room doesn’t make a hill of beans difference, but when I enter the sanctuary of God…everything changes.  When I come in…Isaiah 61…the Spirit of the Lord is upon me….and He can move and ebb and flow…..and He chooses to do it through humans all the time and it never makes sense to me, but He does.  The more that I surrender to it the more change that can happen…so it is less of me and more of Him.  As we grow in the Lord, we find out that the things we try to accomplish…even with what we are doing…we will gradually begin to rely more on self as it becomes easier…more predictable…and less on Him.  Then we find that over and over again, where things felt like we felt Him there, we feel (Him) less and less…. and it’s because we have allowed our humanity to step back in.  When you stay in Presence you never rely on self…or rarely (you do), and if you do, He will remind you…just like Elijah on the side of the mountain…don’t listen to the earthquake…don’t listen for the storm…listen for the whisper.  It is just tuning in your ear to it (the whisper).  It makes all the difference in the world.  That is where I am at…that will never stop.  My hope is that we can transfer that information.  This is not about how well you do it.  This is about how much you need it (Presence), and how much you host Him…..and allow Him to rest on you and through you…..and really just let yourself move out of the way. But don’t grab fear of man…because fear of man shuts it (saturation of Presence) off.  All of the sudden, I am concerned about what they think and I am having a hard time hearing.  It is not because He is being tricky.  It is because the Holy Spirit rests like a dove…it is very fragile.  Bill Johnson has some incredible teachings on that.

Me:  Oh…I saw that one…I love that one.

Stacy:  So, good!

Me:  The one where he is walking very carefully.

Stacy:  Yes!  I could totally not do it as much justice as He (Bill Johnson) did.  That concept is so profound…and it is not because he is trying to be cruel.  It is just the opposite.  He (God) has to maintain an amount of sovereignty for who He is…not who I think He is.  For Him to saturate an atmosphere…saturate a room…it has to be based on who HE is and not on who I am.  That is probably my biggest heart cry in this season and will be in every season forever.


Me:  So, that is what is on your heart right now?

Stacy:  I turn to this scripture…Luke 10…and we have all read it.  You know “the seventy returned with joy saying that even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’  He turns to them and says “I saw Satan fall from lightning to the earth”…He’s like, let’s be clear, if anybody has seen anything with demons…I’ve seen it.  “Behold I give you authority to trample upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemies and nothing by any means shall hurt you.  Nevertheless do not rejoice in that the spirits are subject to you but rather your names are written in Heaven.”  Perspective shift.  Yes, hosting Presence creates authority…but that is not the end of the story.  That whole concept was intended to change hearts in masses. But our focus should not be only that we have the authority but that we are all going to eternity…which is happening…which is real.  That is where we rejoice! This stuff (referring to casting out demons…etc.) it comes with the territory.  It is great, and we are so happy about it, but what we really rejoice in the Lord in is that we have hundreds and thousands that will not perish after they die.  So, just shifting that perspective, because I think that we can really get caught up on stomping scorpions…in having authority…when it’s just part of Who He is.  It is about maintaining that gratefulness, at the depth of it all, because it takes the pressure off of me being something and it keeps it on Him being Savior.  That would be it (what’s on my heart) hands down.  Yeah, we are never going to parent perfectly….we are never going to do our job perfectly….none of that is going to happen unless we sit in Presence.  He is always concerned about our heart.  He is always concerned about shifting our perspective to this (points to Luke 10) perspective.  He is always concerned about us staying in Presence.  That is where healing flows.  That is where life comes.  That is where forgiveness comes.  That’s where knowledge comes. That’s where wisdom comes….in Presence.  Shockingly, we try to do so much of it outside of Presence.  If we can’t shift that around it is exhausting.  It is so exhausting.  As moms especially. I may botch the atmosphere of my home…but I can also turn it around and take authority.  That’s the beauty of it.  I can ask forgiveness and I can walk in humility and we can shift it pretty quick. And my children watch when I choose to not lay down and take it in the spirit.  I am pretty sure not much more will motivate them than watching their parents say…(shakes head no)…I may have botched it once…

Me:  …but I’m not going to stay there.

Stacy:  Yeah!  I think it was John Maxwell that said “a wise person learns from their own mistakes, a wiser person learns from someone else’s mistakes, but the wisest person learns from someone else’s successes.”  You know…sure, we are going to learn by botching it…but the beauty of the Holy Spirit is that we get to watch Him operate and speak to our kids hearts in ways that we can’t even talk to them….and everyone can walk away knowing God better.  I’m always amazed that what I tried to say to them 16 days straight, He said it to them in a matter of minutes. They’re amazed that they got it and that they grew just a little bit more, and all of us are amazed by the Presence in our home…staying saturated.  That is how He works.  Then nobody gets the glory for it, but His stare stays on us because He is so fascinated that we would choose to say “You get to rule this camp! It’s out of my hands…and it’s Yours.” (Because of this) our children will walk in Isaiah 61…the spirit of the Lord is upon me…and they will walk in that knowing that there isn’t anything that they cannot do when He says “Who do I send?”….and they answer “Me! I’ve got it…because I have the fruits of the Spirit in me.  I can bring joy and gladness to those who are in despair.  I can heal the sick with my hands…because You are in it…You are on it…You are saturating it!”  Their boldness will be…..well, I can’t teach them that.  It just makes a difference…THAT perspective change.

Me:  Man, that’s so yummy…I love that.


My Gleanings

  • When we are concerned about man’s opinion and when you are listening to that, it is too loud to hear the whisper of God.
  • I want to know God, not my idea of God.
  • What is it that the Lord has concealed for me that I need to search out?
  • The ministry that takes place behind your four walls will always dictate what happens out of your front door.
  • If we don’t get this unconditional love concept down then what will happen is that we will mark down all the ways that we didn’t qualify and we will discount ourselves.  By the end of the day we will start off the next morning behind.  When goodness and mercy follow and mercies are new every day and joy comes in the morning then we have started out the next day more behind than we were the day before.
  • Jesus stares at the woman with the oil and never wavers in His gaze.
  • How can I empty more of myself so that I can make room for Him?
  • When you stay in presence you never rely on self.
  • Listen for the whisper.
  • For God to saturate an atmosphere…saturate a room…it has to be based on who HE is and not on who I am.
  • God is always concerned about our heart.  He is always concerned about shifting our perspective to His perspective.  He is always concerned about us staying in presence.  That is where healing flows.  That is where life comes.  That is where forgiveness comes.  That’s where knowledge comes…that’s where wisdom comes….in Presence.
  • A wise person learns from their own mistakes, a wiser person learns from someone else’s mistakes, but the wisest person learns from someone else’s successes. (And this little gleaning is yet another reason why I do what I do.  Have coffee with wise women and learn from their mistakes and successes.)

Seriously….SERIOUSLY!!!  This stuff is good!!!

It has taken me almost a month to get this gleaning typed up with all the summer busyness, but it has allowed me to take some time in my thinking and really chew on it.  I am challenging myself to take these gleanings to the Lord.  Now I ask Him…what do you say about this?  Holy Spirit, can you show me what this looks like in my life?  Lord, can I host presence…heal the sick…set the captive free…and cast the demon out all alongside changing diapers, cleaning toilets, and kissing boo boo’s?  What does that look like?  What He is showing me is amazing, and the atmosphere has completely shifted in our home.  The air is ACTUALLY cleaner…not kidding.  I want more!!!

I challenge you to do the same.  What does all this look like in your life?  What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?  What did you glean?  Then…take it to the Lord…and just wait and see what He does.  It will draw Him in like a moth to a flame.  He is after us…relentlessly with His love.  He WANTS us to KNOW Him…not our idea of Him.  He WANTS us to host His presence.  He wants us because ultimately our greatest joy is when we completely give Jesus our hearts and our names are written in Heaven.

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