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Nextpectation

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Last week I had another graduation, though this was one I didn’t have on the calendar.  It began on Tuesday when I mowed the lawn.  I don’t remember what started the downward spiral, but the drone of the mower wasn’t drowning out the thoughts that kept pummeling my mind.  Somehow I had let my mind wander and had opened a door to a room filled with pain.  I soon found myself in a battle that was about as intense as they get.  The thoughts coming from outside my mind (so you know the source) kept trying to get me to become bitter or resentful or pass judgment on those who attacked me.  I kept forgiving…and reforgiving…and forgiving again.  I cried and repented for my part in things (yet again) and wondered what was it going to take for me to finally get over what happened.  Then I had an interesting thought.  Peter asked Jesus how many times should he forgive his brother when his brother sins against him.  The answer probably seemed way out there to Peter when Jesus told him seventy times seven.  So was that seventy times seven different sins or was it one offense that kept coming back to the mind and each time forgiveness had to be extended?  The answer is probably yes, lol.  In any event, I determined I would forgive as many times as it took, that I would never allow bitterness or anger or resentment in my heart.  I felt that day was a test, and that as grueling as it was, I had passed.

A couple days later I was at the store and had to buy a few things.  The total was $19.76 and the cashier said, “That was a good year.”  I told her yes, that was the year I graduated.  As I walked out to the car I’m not sure if it was an impression or if I heard that it was going to be my graduation day.  I kind of tucked that away but I could feel a sense of anticipation.  Soon afterward a friend came to visit and we talked for a couple hours.  Her wisdom and the grace and love she extended brought revelation and healing and by the time she left I realized that I was no longer the person I used to be.  A shift had taken place and I could release the past and move on.

I decided to go to Global in the evening to hear Bob Hazlett speak and went early enough to catch worship.  When I graduated from my internship at Global back in 2014 I had put together a compilation video and there was a song I used that is to this day one of my favorites, Bethel’s “Chasing You.”  It always takes me back to that graduation.  I had never heard it played live in worship anywhere, so you know what’s coming.  Let’s just say I sang my heart out :)

Jesus doesn’t always come to still the storms in your life; He comes to show you He is more powerful.  Bob’s message what just what I needed to hear.  He spoke on “Nextpectation”, which describes the place between where God has us right now and the place He is taking us to.  It’s that moment of anxiety/anticipation between the natural and the supernatural, the moment between the seen and unseen, an expectation about what God is going to do next.  If I knew what was going to happen I wouldn’t need hope.  Hope is always planted in a place of uncertainty.  But on our way from glory to glory, something needs to move out of the way.  If you’re going to take this new place, something has to be displaced.  So no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you are standing in the place of grace, and grace enables you to fall forward.  So I boast in the hope of what God is about to do even though I don’t know what that will look like.  Whatever it is, though, I am sure it is beyond what I can even ask or think.  It has to be because it’s from Him!

Seventy times seven

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I had an interesting day today.  Though farther apart, I still have days when I have to wage war on my emotions.  Yes, I still am struggling (at times) with what happened in January.  I suppose it was made fresh again because my friend is in town teaching at Global.  Normally I’d be there with her, but there’s a new normal now.

As I mowed today my thoughts were swimming and sadness would often wash over me.  Sometimes, depending on the thought, it would change to anger or hurt.  Whatever it was, I kept taking it back to Jesus and started taking my thoughts captive.  I refuse to play the victim.  I did wonder, though, how many times do I need to forgive?  Then I pondered the significance of seventy times seven.  I imagine I’ve hit a few hundred times by now.  Each time goes deeper, another layer removed.  I thanked Him again for this trial and the stripes that wound which scour away evil.  I feel that scouring inside on days like today, but I remind myself that Jesus took those stripes on His body for me so I could have life and have it more abundantly.  That means living with no regret, no shame for past failures, no bitterness when I’m maligned, no need to defend myself when attacked.

This is all part of making Galatians 2:20 real in my life.  Have I truly died to self?  I’m getting there.  Jesus laid His life down, no one took it.  Likewise, He won’t take ours, we must lay it down.  I am His and He is mine, and He is enough.

When you can’t trust your parents

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It’s such a strange, uncharted road I’m on right now, full of twists and turns and surprises.  Today’s was more like a sinkhole right in the middle of the road.  That it’s not bothering me (more, I should say, because I suppose it is a little or I wouldn’t be writing about it), shows me far I have come the last year, which is a testament to His grace.

It was just over a year ago that my father had a stroke in the cognitive part of his brain.  The following months were a roller-coaster of drama and emotion as his wife filed for divorce and my brothers and I tried to find a way to take care of him.  His brain healed to a certain extent, but he’s not completely with it cognitively at times (and knows it) and his memory has been affected.  When he gets stressed, his eye twitches.  It was twitching tonight.

I had to confront him about something he was hiding from me.  As with most secret things, in order to protect them you often have to lie, and one lie leads to another and another.  Apparently there had been some sort of “agreement” made between he and his soon-to-be ex and dad was being set up to be taken advantage of big time.  There would be no agreement if there was no communication (and there’s not supposed to be any).  A quick check on the history in his phone (he didn’t even realize what I was doing) provided the evidence.  He says she called him; she says he called her.  Only God knows, because the history only goes back three weeks.  In the end he was busted and knew it, and on the way back to his place he asked if I was disappointed in him.  I sighed.

I can’t take this personally.  In some ways he just is not able to think clearly and can’t process what everyone else can see plain as day.  Kevin made the comment that somebody was going to have to take him by the hand and lead him through this (i.e., the divorce) the whole way.  I guess that somebody is me.  I had to be firm with him this past Sunday, too, and it felt awkward, but I’m getting used to it.  There’s plenty of talk about how difficult it is to be the parents of teenagers, but when your “teenager” is your parent, life can get very interesting.  I am seeking to know how best to honor my father and in doing so honor my Father in heaven.

Dreams etc.

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I’m back in a dream season again and the good news is I’m remembering more of them.  The bad news is some are corrective.  Wait, that’s good news too, because God loves me enough to talk to me about my “stuff.”  Thankfully, after I dealt with that I had subsequent encouraging dreams.  One was interesting in that there was a big military jet that was hovering in the sky like a helicopter (if that doesn’t scream “supernatural” then nothing does!).  I remember thinking that it shouldn’t be able to do that, lol.  People were in lines waiting to get onto buses and planes and trains.  I sensed it was a mustering of troops and they were being shipped out to the harvest fields!  I joined a line and looked down and started finding jewelry.  I think I found two necklaces with hearts on them and one had a diamond in the back.  Someone asked how I would find the owners and I said I would advertise but not give all the information and the owner would have to give the missing part.  I also found a gemstone in the grass.  After that I had a dream that I was building a nest and was very happy when I realized it was a eagle’s nest :)

This morning I dreamed I saw an old friend (actually a second cousin).  Her nickname is “Pickle” (although she spells it “Pickel”).  Anyway she told me she may be getting separated/divorced and wanted to give me her address.  I didn’t have anything to write it down on so she gave me her phone number (which doesn’t make sense, lol).  Anyway the phone number was 746 “for school” (or 4 SCHOOL…472-4665).  Then I woke up.  I wrote the number down quick and later Googled it.  Turns out it was a number in Mexico!  After enough time had passed (because they are three or four hours behind!) I called and got a recording that the number was no longer in service.  I thought maybe I’d talk to someone who was “in a pickle” and needed to hear that God saw what was going on.  In case I missed that I also dialed the number in my area code and got the same recording.  Then I decided to look up 7:46 and 74:6, which didn’t really turn up much.  Lastly, I punched in 7:4-6 and got this:

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

That’s a good word :)  I have been meditating on dying to self a lot lately, so perhaps this is the Spirit’s “new way” of telling me I’m ready “4 SCHOOL” and this will be the subject.  I’m not sure, but in any event, He’s definitely got my attention!

In other news, yesterday my younger brother and I went down to dad’s old place and packed up his things in the garage (lots of tools and equipment) and downstairs.  All of what was there was supposed to come back.  Today when we took the truck to pick them up some things were missing.  We didn’t make a big deal out of it (though dad wasn’t too pleased).  Perhaps she didn’t think we would notice.  There has been a lot of finger pointing lately and it’s hard to know who is telling the truth (let alone the fact that I’m not interesting in being the judge).  I’m just trying to help dad start over and forgive, with an emphasis on the latter because without it the former will be sabotaged.  Oh how we need Jesus!

Back from CA

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It was a whirlwind trip!  And just like that it’s over and I’m back home.  It’ll take a few days to catch up and wind down (at least I hope I can–life doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all!).  We flew to LA on the 25th.  The next morning as I was waking up I thought I heard Ezekiel 3:5-9 so I looked it up: “You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel—not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.  But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate.  But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.  I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”  That made for an interesting way to start things off!

We had a day of visiting relatives and then were off to Lancaster.  I believe the videos from that conference will be up soon (Shekinah Worship Center), and I would encourage anyone with questions about the role of women in these end times to watch the whole conference.  It was called the Midean Women conference because the Lord had been speaking to Brother Sadhu about that very thing.  Basically what it boils down to is a three-fold anointing, that of MIrian, DEborah, and ANna–prophetic worship, prophetic warfare, and prophetic intercession–that is being released on women in fulfillment of Psalm 68:11.  The teaching was encouraging and empowering, and the worship was off the charts.  The second day I sat down beside a woman and discovered she was from Mechanicsburg!  She had just been pondering whether God had any divine connections for her there (yay God!).  I am looking forward to getting together with her soon.

Other speakers included Lou Engle (who had received a similar word from the Lord) and Jennifer LeClaire, Senior Editor at Charisma Magazine.  It was the first time I’d ever heard Jennifer speak and wow is she a powerhouse!  She encouraged us all to dream wild.  On Saturday night Sadhu taught and then prayed for and anointed all the women with oil.  It got wild (as it usually does) and some people had powerful encounters.  I know because they talked about them the next day at church.  Instead of the usual service, time was given to share testimonies and there were many who spoke.  After about a dozen women got up and shared the powerful visions and encounters they had I stood up.  Basically I said that I didn’t have any of that–no visions or words from God, no encounters, and I didn’t feel anything–but that I believe I received.  One way I knew was because at prayer meeting we had a time of prayer for the nation and I interceded like I never had before.  The pastor (Joe Sweet) spoke into that and I wish I’d have written down the name, but there was a somebody who was told by God to “tell My people to learn to receive without feeling anything” (or something like that).  Anyway, I had a number of women come up to me afterward and thank me for saying that because it had been their experience too.

We went back to LA and took the drive through the mountains, which was beautiful.  We have been to California a number of times but never in the spring, and it was lush and green from all the recent rains.  Over the next two days we got together with some of the extended family and at one point I shared with a couple relatives what Brother Sadhu had mentioned at the conference, i.e., that he recently saw a huge angel with a sledgehammer in his hand in LA.  An earthquake is coming, and it is going to be catastrophic.  My prayer for my relatives (and I told them this, because they’re not planning on moving) is that God will send His angels and wake them up so they can get to high ground.  My first and only visions (thus far anyway), came at the end of my first forty-day fast back in 2011 and the second one had to do with an earthquake in LA.  I was shown how far the ocean came in.  Whether that was from a tsunami or the land sinking, I don’t know, but it looked as if it covered most of the city.  Sadhu also spoke about three other ones in the US, one in the middle of the country (probably the New Madrid one) and one on the East Coast (not sure where the other one was).  He told us to pray for our President, that he would be able to serve his full term.  We know there are plenty of witches and others cursing him, and evidently the “time of grace” that we are experiencing as a nation is tied directly to his term.  If only more Christians knew that, perhaps they would pray more fervently.  I’m not saying that to be judgmental, because I need to pray more myself.  I definitely feel as if “something” is coming though.   Kind of fitting that today is the National Day of Prayer.

Anyway we got home yesterday morning at around 8:30 and were in bed by 9, sleeping kind of fitfully until around 2.  Then we attacked the jungle that was our yard and I did some gardening.  Probably a good thing we did because it is to rain the next couple of days.  I need to go see dad today and take him to the store, etc.  I am hoping for a rental space to open up so he can have a shop.  It would be good for him to have something to do.  Right now, I think I shall try to go back to sleep.  Still trying to adjust my sleep schedule.  Perhaps I’ll have a dream :)

It had to be you

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When I was twenty-one I took a three-month trip, and when I came home I was surprised by a couple of things:  First, how much the children in our church had grown, and second that life went on without me when I was gone and I wasn’t really missed.  I have been thinking a lot about my life lately (especially how quickly it’s passing by), knowing that God is really up to something all around the world, and wondering if He would use me in His plans.  This morning I was contemplating my trip to California next week.  I am going to attend a women’s conference because when I read about it I got excited and felt a “Go!”  It spoke about the mantles of some of my heroes of the faith (Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple-McPherson, and Kathryn Kuhlman to name a few).

I’ve always had this dream to be like them, especially Kathryn Kuhlman, who walked so closely with Holy Spirit.  Whether I ever “did the stuff” or whatever that may look like was not something I thought much about because what matters to me is closeness to Him.  When you are in love you will do whatever He asks.  I’ve had a yearning to know Him, to hear His voice, and have been chasing Him for years (even though He is always with me, lol).  Jesus’ words from almost six years ago, “I will come to you” still ring in my ears, one of the handful of times I’ve heard His voice so clearly that I felt as if He was right beside me.

I’m on Doug Addison’s daily prophetic word email list.  Yesterday’s was to ask God to confirm things that you have been asking for.  I have been asking to see.  I want to see in the spirit, so all day I was asking for confirmation.  I didn’t see anything through the day but hoped for a dream when I went to bed.  Well, if I dreamed I don’t remember, but I wasn’t discouraged or disappointed.  Perhaps my trust is coming into a maturity, but I am learning to rest and not strive.  He is at work in me, and that is what matters.  That said, as I was eating my breakfast I was contemplating the conference next week and wondering what God has for me there.  I know it is going to be an adventure.  I thought about my life and found myself questioning (again, because I do it often) what my destiny is, whether I was just dreaming or if those prophetic words really were true.  Had He really chosen me to walk in signs and wonders?  Right then a song began to play.

I knew the tune and the title but not the rest of the words, so I Googled it and listened as Harry Connick Jr. sang a song that went straight to my heart.  Holy Spirit spoke as He often does through music.  Oh, how I love Him!  By the way, today’s word is:  New strength, healing and wholeness is going to start flowing like a river.  I receive that!

An angel named Joy

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Last week I attended Voice of the Prophets in Lancaster.  My friends from Arkansas came and stayed at the hotel with me (which makes it affordable!).  We had a great time, and God “showed up” in many ways which is good, because it was a bit of a struggle at first.  The past four VOPs I had spent serving Mary, so this was an adjustment.  In fact, when I went to the Network Meeting (I was late) I stood in the back and at one point was certain I heard her husband laugh.  A wave of sadness hit me and I had to fight back tears.  It turns out they weren’t there, but later I ran into a few ladies who had been to Come Away weekends and that interaction brought a bit of pain as well.

Thursday morning the students did the prophetic presbytery.  They did a great job and it was very encouraging.  Our time for ministry was early so we didn’t miss worship which was good because Steve Swanson led it and he’s like my all-time favorite worship leader.  I remember one of the songs spoke about God bringing beauty from the ashes and that I asked Him as I was singing to do that in my life and in the recent situation.  In the afternoon Larry Randolph spoke.  Right before he did, a prophetic friend shared that God gave her a picture for me of a baby that was born but still attached to its mother.  The umbilical cord has to be cut or both the mother and baby will die.  I certainly don’t want that.  Larry’s message was really good, and in it he spoke about a baby being born.  It so tied in with everything and I was pretty rocked by it.

During worship that night I tried what one friend told me (to reach through the veil) and was given a picture as I did.  It didn’t last long (but it was long enough!).  Jesus grabbed my arm and pulled me through and up onto the back of a white horse and away we went, first galloping and then flying (like it turned into Pegasus or something), and then we turned into eagles and I started swooping down and picked up a snake and then swooped down and grabbed a demon off someone’s back.  It was awesome :)  The cool thing is the next night right after worship Justin Allen got up and prophesied a crazy word about Cinderella.  I didn’t hear it because I missed worship, but the next day Justin spoke and referred to it.  He was talking about that being a risk to say but it’s what God told him to say.  And then he showed a note written by someone during worship that night and it was about Cinderella and what she had to go through and that her prince was going to come on a white horse and God would bring beauty from the ashes.  I have always loved Cinderella, especially the Disney version.  Her motto, “Have courage and be kind” is one I believe in and strive to be.  But to be honest, I was feeling a bit forgotten, as if the years of service were for nothing and I was left at home while everyone went to the ball.  I know that sounds crazy, but I think that word was God’s way of saying He hasn’t forgotten about me.  Could it have been meaningful to others as well?  Yes, I’m sure.  But I know it especially was for me  :)

We missed the last session on Saturday because we had a long drive and a big day the next day.  Sunday morning I got up and went to the store and then came back and cooked lasagna and an Oreo cheesecake and made a salad.  I made it to church in time for announcements and was given the chance to talk about the seminar that afternoon.  I believe because I did that three people came who wouldn’t have (I was feeling that I really needed to go).  Anyway, it started at 2:00 (and ran until 9:00, hence the dinner) and there were 14 people there (4 of them weren’t from our church).  Not a big turnout, but enough, and I don’t despise the day of small beginnings.  Laurie and Rebecca did an outstanding job.  God had given Laurie a word in the morning about lighting a fire in the church (it being dry tinder, prepared for the spark).  Anyway, I couldn’t be happier with how it went and I think we all fell into bed that night!  Monday we went antiquing (Laurie has a shop and brought her trailer).  After a full day of shopping they went into almost four hours of ministering to a couple, which was a great learning experience for me.  I’m determined to sign up for CHCP in June and hope Kevin can too.

Their last night here we sat around the campfire and then the pastor and his wife came and we had a nice visit.  They left around noon the next day.  I sure hated to see them go.  Kevin and I are hoping to make it down to Arkansas this summer.  He lost two employees this week though so it all hinges on getting them replaced!  We are trusting God to bring experienced techs to us and that God will give us “double for our trouble.”  Kevin is now having to go back into the field and work and still do all the other things, so he is super busy.  In fact, he has to get up at 3 tomorrow morning.  I mowed for him tonight because I knew he wouldn’t have time.  I am feeling it, though!

Last night when I went to bed I was asking God for a dream or something.  Well, I dreamed a lot but I didn’t remember them (that seems to be the norm lately), but He did give my friend Rebecca a prophetic dream.  She wrote it down.  It started with, “Patti is crying out for me.  Tell her I am sending her a special angel to minister to her.  This angel is named Joy.  Joy will be with her wherever she goes.”  There was much more to it, and it was a wow word.  I feel joy even typing that!  It did involve climbing, so I’m not sure what I am to do but effort is involved and I am determined when I hear His voice to do what He says.  It hinges on obedience.  When He speaks it is to be obeyed, and delayed obedience is disobedience.  Lord help me be quick to obey!  That reminds me, I have a T-shirt that says, “OBEY.”  I think I shall wear it tomorrow :)

Oh!  I almost forgot, we moved dad into his apartment today.  It went pretty well and I think he will do just fine there.  He still needs a few things, but we’ll get them in time.  It’ll be nice not having to drive an hour and a half to see him!  Time for bed.  Sweet dreams everyone!