Prophetic minister Charissa Steffens has set a particular encounter with God as a memorial stone in her life. It's a moment to which she continually returns when she needs to remember that He is real, personal and hears every thought of His beloved daughter. She has also experienced many other miracle milestones along the way that have become her anchors, and she loves to share them with others as she speaks, writes and ministers through her ministry, Abiding Matters, and her Charisma Podcast Network show, Abiding Matters with Charissa Steffens.
It all began when, on the edge of depression and desperate for more, Steffens headed to church. "God, if You are real, You need to show up! There has to be more to life than this." She felt lost in a very big world and needed to hear from the Lord.
Despite growing up in Australian Pentecostal churches and witnessing the Holy Spirit at work, a life marked by grief and loss left her fearful and skeptical that God cared for her. After going through the motions for many years, she found little solace in the church. Pulling away from her upbringing, she sought comfort in other areas, but this only left her empty and unfulfilled.
That's when Steffens found herself in a little church one Sunday night. As the worship swelled, she pleaded with God, knowing she was on a precipice of her faith and her life. Engulfed in her emotions, she hardly noticed that the pastor had stood and begun to speak. Suddenly she heard him say, "There is someone here tonight, and you are saying to God, 'There has to be more to life.'"
In that moment, she froze, unable to believe what she had just heard. How could he know that?
The pastor then went on to quote Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
The verse hit Steffens' spirit like an arrow through her heart. She listened to the ensuing sermon, feeling overwhelmed. As the time came for the altar call, she moved forward with others seeking prayer. The pastor headed right to her and said, "That word I gave earlier was for you, wasn't it?" Shocked that he could have such knowledge, she sobbed as he prophesied life and hope over her that night, forever changing the course of her life.
This encounter with God marked Steffens, much as the one Jacob had at Bethel in Genesis 28:10-22 marked him. Jacob was also desperate for more. His father, Isaac, had sent him to find a wife and begin a new life. As he slept one night, he had a dream, and the Lord spoke to Him. God wanted Jacob to know that he was a part of the covenant of his forefathers and that His promises were personal to him as much as they had been to his father and grandfather. God also promised him provision, purpose, protection and more importantly, His presence.
When people encounter God, an exchange takes place, He reminds us of His promises and marks us with His presence.
Jacob valued this moment and took intentional steps to ensure he would never forget it. As part of that "he set upright" (Gen. 28:18b, NLT) a memorial stone. The verb "set" is soom in the original language and means to "set firmly." Intentionality drove Jacob's actions. He did not leave that place without firmly positioning it in his memory, much like the stone he had physically placed. This moment was significant, and he would later return to this place in his journey when he needed it most (Gen. 35).
Like Jacob, Steffens moved forward and found a new life. Once again, God showed His care and provision for her through the process of bringing her together with her husband, David. While she had watched many friends and family marry around her, she had not found a partner and was waiting on God. Waiting seasons are difficult, and she felt as though marriage might never happen. Still, she returned continually to the prophetic word that God had given her that night in church, holding tight to His promise that His plans for her were good.
One day in church, one of the elders stood up to preach, and he called her up to the front. He prophesied over her that she was about to meet a man named David who would change her life forever. Within three months she sat next to a young man named David, and it was love at first sight. Now almost 20 years later, with two beautiful children, the two remain grateful for God's provision and direction over their lives every day.
"It is such a wonderful story to tell our kids," Steffens says. "The search for a partner can often be fraught with fear and disappointment. The person we spend our life with is just as important to God as it is to us; we can trust Him to lead us to the right person at the right time."
After years of working in business, Steffens experienced a call to teaching. She retrained and started down a new pathway as a high school teacher. She loved having more flexibility while her two children were young, and it became a wonderful training ground for what God had in store next.
Between their two children, she suffered a miscarriage, and despite trying for another pregnancy, she and her husband found they could not conceive. Devastated, the season once again took her on a deeper journey with God.
"It is amazing how God can work so deeply in our hearts during the most challenging days of our lives" Steffens says. She realized her faith in God was more circumstantial than substantial.
"Due to loss throughout my younger years, I did not fully trust God, and when we lost our baby, I became angry at Him," she says. Once again, God met her faithfully as she called out to Him, birthing within her a revelation of His love.
"Suffering is something that each one of us must face, and it is here in suffering we can find the deepest comfort in the Father's arms," Steffens says. "God is the God who suffered for me, He understands loss and grief because He willingly chose that path so that I could have life. I can trust Him with my pain, my grief and my loss and know that He will heal and restore what was lost."
Through this painful experience, God birthed within her a new dream. "I began to declare and agree with His word that I would be a mother again," she says. "I rested in God's love for me and my newfound trust in Him."
Within a year, Steffens gave birth to a son. She recalls that this time in the valley of death taught her the importance of proclaiming the word of God and standing on His prophetic promises for her life.
Her son was not the only dream birthed within her during that time. After seeing God move in her life, Steffens had a deep desire to encourage other women to trust God with their journey. She; her sister, Natasha; and her husband began a digital magazine that gathered women's testimonies and showcased them in a beautiful publication.
"It was a very special time," she says. "God gave me a wonderful team of women (and one great husband) who worked tirelessly to produce Indulge Magazine." The publication ran for five years and reached tens of thousands of women with testimonies of God's goodness.
"The purpose of this adventure was to showcase the reality of God in our lives," Steffens says. "God gave us a heart to encourage others that if He could do something powerful for another woman, He would do it for them too."
Having no previous experience in publishing or any training in formal writing, this was a "walk on the water" adventure for Steffens and her team. "We had no idea what we were doing!" she says, laughing as she thinks about how naive they were and shaking her head at how it all worked out so well.
"It could only have been God" she says. "It is something I take great joy in, and particularly when I would hear how women had been deeply impacted as they read the stories of others. It was a profound time, and I was so blessed to be able to interview heroes of our faith such as Graham Cooke, Kim Walker-Smith, and Heidi and Roland Baker as part of this season."
Eventually the Holy Spirit asked Steffens to lay down the magazine, and many of the girls she worked with began to move onto other things. The one thing that remained with her from that season was a newfound love for writing and a deepening call into prophetic ministry.
"My mum is prophetic, but I had never seen myself in this light," she says. "I found that by stepping out and birthing Indulge I had learned to be far more Spirit-led. That season had attuned my heart and ears to hear God."
After that time, Steffens became heavily involved in church leadership, and completed a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, but she eventually felt called back to writing and releasing the revelation the Spirit was giving her.
This was the beginning of Abiding Matters. "As I have journeyed with God and drawn closer to Him, I have learned that rather than waiting on those momentous encounters with God (which are still powerful and important) at times of crisis, I need to have a constant abiding relationship with Him, like Jesus taught us in John 15," she says. It is from this place of abiding in God's presence every day that Steffens hears the Father's heart for the world around her.
"As I have grown with God, He has entrusted me with words for others," she says. She shares how deeply blessed she is when she receives a note from someone who has been impacted by a prophetic word she has released. Their stories of the word being an anchor for them in a storm or a ray of light in a dark place resonate with her own journey. "I know that feeling well," she says.
Steffens sees this as a full-circle moment. "When I think about that night many years ago, where God interrupted my life with a prophetic word, I am so blessed and privileged that He would use me to help others—as I was—through the gift of prophecy."
Her love for the prophetic lead her to publish the prophetic words the Spirit gives her and to start a podcast, Abiding Matters with Charissa Steffens.
"Jesus gave us two wonderful (and challenging) instructions—the great commandments and the Great Commission," Steffens says. "As His disciples we are to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (Matt. 22:37-39). We are then to 'go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey' (Matt. 28:19-20).
"Abiding Matters is my piece of the commandment and the commission." she says. "It is where I get to carry the Father's heart to the world and help others to draw near to God."
Steffens is currently writing a study on the book of Ruth titled Restored and beginning another about the wisdom of God. To keep updated with her upcoming releases, sign up at Abiding Matters and follow her page on Facebook or Instagram.
"Life is an adventure with God," she says with a laugh. "I never would have dreamed of doing what I have when I was that young 20-year-old. I asked for more, and I certainly got it!"
Charissa Steffens is a teacher and writer. She shares regularly at her website, abidingmatters.com.au. She has a master of arts degree in biblical studies and loves to minister in the prophetic and from the Bible. To contact Charissa, email email@example.com. Charissa and her family are involved in ministry at their home church in Brisbane, Australia. Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
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