Five hundred miles later…

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Last week was crazy busy.  I put at least five hundred miles on the car running dad here and there, taking care of business and lining up things for his apartment.  It appears he will be getting one nearby and it is subsidized so he will be able to afford it.  An added bonus is the fact that it is in such good shape and close to everything he needs.  We will be a quick six miles away and I imagine we’ll be seeing more of him.  I’m hoping he adjusts quickly and can work on rebuilding his life.

I was looking to rent a small place in the center of town for him to have a shop but I hesitated when I shouldn’t have because now it is rented.  Another salon is going in (that will be the fourth within a block of the square–I mean really do we need another one?!!!).  The rent was only $250 a month and would have been perfect.  I’ll just have to pray something else opens up, because dad needs things to do (he’s a tinkerer) and a place to do them and our place isn’t big enough!  I am looking forward to spending more time with him.  The last time he was here we were getting ready to go to an appointment but before we did I told him I take communion every morning.  I know he has repented and believe he is saved so I asked if he wanted to join me and he did.  I led him through it, and it was a special time.

I’ve been dreaming a lot this week but not remembering most of them.  It’s a bit frustrating because I want to hear from God.  I have been trying to journal every day but usually don’t spend much time when I do.  Perhaps I should just keep pressing in with regards to that.  Voice of the Prophets starts Wednesday so it’ll be a short week.  I am looking forward to it, though it’ll probably smart a bit as I have spent the last four with Mary.  I wonder if she’ll be there and if she is what that’ll look like.  Funny, now I’m remembering one of the dreams I had and how good it felt to see her again (in the dream).  But then she saw me.  It was just a dream though, right?  Or was He preparing me?  Someday it’ll stop hurting.  I know, I’ll look to Jesus!!! :)

After VOP, two of my friends from Arkansas (who will be up for that) will be coming to my place to stay for a couple of days.  I am really looking forward to that, especially since they will be doing a one-day equipping seminar at the church on healing/deliverance ministry.  I made an announcement at church today.  This is a big deal for my church, which is opening up to this and other things of the Spirit.

Today I sang with the worship team.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be a regular, but I’ll fill in from time to time.  It’s taken a long time, but “Holy Spirit” was finally sung, and things are changing.  After church I was talking with someone who enjoys roasting coffee.  I shared how I wanted to open a coffee shop/ministry in town.  Another lady walked up and said she has that vision too.  Methinks God is up to something good :)

Spring has sprung!

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I love this time of year.  There’s always a ton of work to do outside, but the air is warmer and sometimes I catch the scent of something sweet blooming.  I am hoping we get to enjoy our magnolia tree this year (last year a late frost killed the blooms).  I did manage to get some things planted today (lettuce, carrots, and sugar snap peas), and the grapevine is in need of pruning, so I’d better get to work on researching how to do that.  I have big plans for the garden; we shall see if any of them come to fruition!

Thursday night we had a Campfire Girls at a new facility in Harrisburg and it went great.  Afterward, the woman who invited us said we didn’t understand just how “big” the night was, that they don’t just sit there respectfully and quietly.  I knew God was moving.  A couple of times when I looked up (I wish I could say I have the songs memorized, but I don’t), I saw several residents sitting with their eyes closed, faraway wistful looks on their faces.  There were plenty of smiles, and some were singing along.  When audience participation was asked for, they were happy to oblige.  Afterward we got to pray for a number of them.  It was an honor to bring hope and joy for 45 minutes, and Kat and I are already working on our next program there.

I did awaken early this morning (3:15) but stayed in bed and prayed and talked to God and sang (in my heart of course!).   I believe I had just finished singing Keith Green’s “Make My Life a Prayer to You” when I checked the time.  It was 4:28, and I felt I should Google 42:8.  Up came the Psalms:  “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.”  :)

On Saturday mornings I join a group of ladies online for a time of study and ministry.  Today the focus was prayers to break illegitimacy and “womb prayers.”  I joined in praying along as the first was addressed, and when it came to the second, I was the volunteer.  I have to confess I was somewhat nervous, but God is so faithful, and it was pretty amazing.  I could sense a sadness when she began to pray about the 2nd month.  That was probably when mom found out she was pregnant (and didn’t want to be).  A seer in the group shared what she saw around the 8th month and that 8 represents new beginnings.  During the birth I was asked where Jesus was in the room and as usual He made me laugh with the picture I got (let’s just say he was dressed like a catcher in a baseball game!).  I saw Him holding me, dancing slowly around the room.  When I was asked to hold her myself, I did, and then it was as if I held her to my chest and she melted into me.  That would probably sound way out there to some people, but I am here to say that I feel as if I am becoming whole and that was huge.  Peace.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Here’s to new beginnings, and spring :)

 

 

Clean, fresh air

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There is something to be said for clearing the air in relationships.  I would guess there are probably relationships in everyone’s life where the air may have gotten a bit “stale” or “stinky” because of misunderstandings or offenses (you name it), but I’m here to tell you that it is worth it to make the effort to get things on the table and talk about them.  I did that recently.  Something happened last Sunday which upset me enough that I left after prayer meeting and drove to Global to catch Convergence Center’s service.  I just needed to be somewhere safe.

When I came home Kevin and I had a talk and he said he felt it was time to share some things with our pastor.  Within about fifteen minutes his wife texted and invited us to dinner the following evening.  I knew it was God’s timing, had been praying about it for over a year knowing I needed to get some things off my chest.  I suppose it took that long for me to get in the right place, that being where I could share my heart without any type of blame or defensiveness because I was certainly not blameless.  God’s grace was amazing throughout, and I felt as if I’d been given an incredible gift to have been able to open up and be myself, explaining some of the journey God had me on and what I felt He was calling me to.  When we got in the car to leave Kevin’s comment was a simple, “I’m proud of you.”  Later, as we laid in bed and were falling asleep I heard him say very faintly, “I know.”  I couldn’t get him to tell me what God had just said, but he confirmed they were talking about me and the evening.  Maybe it’s better I don’t know, but I wanted to anyway (can you blame me?!).

Tuesday I got the good news (I hope anyway) that Dad’s background and credit checks needed for the apartment nearby came back clean.  The plan is to pick him up Monday, go to the Social Security office and get some forms we need, and then bring him up here.  The next day we’ll go for an interview at the housing complex, and then I’ll take him home Wednesday.  It’ll be a lot of running around.  I am trusting God to work things out.  He will need everything (just about), so once we know for certain he has an apartment I’ll start looking in earnest…again.

Tonight we have another Campfire Girls “Love Songs Program” at a nursing home in Harrisburg.  There will be some Global students there to pray for residents.  I’m looking forward to it.  This morning I had breakfast with an old friend from church.  Oh, and Monday I had breakfast with an old school pal.  It’s been a busy week.  That’s probably a good thing, because a Come Away weekend starts tonight.  It doesn’t pang me as much as it would have a month or two ago, but I feel a certain sadness.  I don’t intend to dwell on that, though.  God has been moving me forward into something, and I want that (whatever it is).  I do miss and pray for Mary and all the ladies who are gathering.  I know Holy Spirit will show up; He always does.  I am praying He will show up tonight at the nursing home as well.  I love that He is everywhere and so faithful :)

 

Well that explains that

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So Monday I’m at the laundromat with dad and we are talking about how mom has fallen recently and that she may be losing her driver’s license soon and he says, “Well I guess then the idiot will have to drive her.”

There are times when you can ask Holy Spirit a question about something and He will just speak to you directly.  If you have a good “connection” that is.  When you don’t, or it isn’t as developed I should say, then He will just reveal things when He feels like it.  I guess it was time, because I wasn’t asking the question, “Why when I get angry at myself for doing something stupid do I call myself an idiot?”  I believe it’s Lance Wallnau who talks about how we all have an inner child that we need to protect, and when we call ourselves names it is a form of child abuse.  It appears I was just continuing the cycle.

Dad knew immediately he shouldn’t have said it and felt badly.  I think his comment was, “I shouldn’t have said that.”  In hindsight I realize it wasn’t a true apology, but I took it as one and told him it was okay, I don’t hold grudges but forgive because bitterness is like cancer and who needs that.  It didn’t hurt as much as make me sad.  We may have found him an apartment in a town nearby.  They have a van that provides rides to places, so I shouldn’t have to drive him around, which is good.  It’s funny that as I type this I realize I am going to mom’s tomorrow to drive her to a doctor’s appointment.  I’m no idiot though :)

 

You are that treasure

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It is early morning and I am awake, having tossed and turned for the last three hours or so.  Dreams and thoughts swirled, and I don’t remember many of them, but I did check the clock at 1:22 and felt impressed to Google 12:2.  Up came Romans, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Earlier in the evening I had watched a teaching by Jamie Galloway on Facebook and he spoke about renewing the mind.  I know that’s what I need to focus on, so this was confirmation. 

I am grateful that God leaves these little crumbs for me to find on the trail, so to speak, as I feel lost in the woods most times and don’t know what I’m doing or what to do next.  All I know is to keep moving, keep chasing God until He catches me.  It feels in some ways like a divine treasure hunt, with God showing up in unusual ways that are often so small they would be missed if I wasn’t paying attention.  He speaks to each of us in different ways, and learning those ways can make all the difference in your own spiritual growth.  One of the ways I am blessed is by this man’s blog.  He doesn’t write often, but when he does it is usually significant and always speaks to me.  Here is a passage from it:

We all like our mountaintop experiences. We love those moments when we think we can grasp God, or the movement of God in our lives. But those aren’t the moments where growth happens. Spiritual growth arises more often from moments when we say, “I don’t understand this at all” or “What is this happening here?” or “How can these things be?” If we want to follow Jesus, really follow Jesus, we need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

We might call these moments of “holy confusion.” In times like these, God draws us closer. God calls us to change. God calls us into something completely new. In such moments, we feel like the rest of our lives don’t make sense anymore. We feel like new people; we feel reborn.

One of my favorite theologians is a rabbi named Abraham Joshua Heschel, who prayed that God would give him the gift of wonder. He once said “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. . . . to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” As Heschel knew, we are far closer to God when we are asking questions than when we are convinced of our answers.

Perhaps I am learning to become “comfortable with being uncomfortable” but something is shifting.  I certainly have had plenty of “moments of holy confusion” recently, although I am still struggling a bit as many aspects of my life are reborn.  I don’t claim to know or even understand everything God is doing, but I am amazed nonetheless and certainly have plenty of questions!  Here’s the kicker:  our journey is not just about finding God but finding ourselves and how precious we are to Him.  He is the one who “sold everything and bought the field” for the treasure it contained, that pearl of great price.  He gave everything He had to give to “buy our salvation” and bring us to Himself.  We are His treasure, and He is ours, and one journey is hidden inside the other.  And if that doesn’t make sense I’ll just blame it on the hour, lol.

I should try to get back to sleep.  I am going to see dad today.  There’s a winter storm bearing down (I think I brought the Alaskan weather home with me!) so it’s good timing as he probably has a ton of wash and needs groceries.  I may have found a place for him to stay in my town, which makes me a little nervous (in a here-we-go-again kind of way), but I trust that God will open or close doors as He sees fit.  Oh, and by the way I got two extra days in Alaska because an “ice fog” came in and my original flight home was canceled.  No visit to California relatives on the way back (I rerouted through Seattle), but I was glad for the added time with my friend.  The funeral on Friday went well, and I had two people come up to me afterward and thank me for sharing the gospel.  I pray that some of the seeds I scattered fell on good ground.

Last night in Nome

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My time with my friend Rhonda has flown by.  It’s been an adventure though!  We crammed about as much as two people could in our almost ten days together.  Last Sunday night (my first full day in Nome) we went to the AOG church for the evening service.  There was a guest evangelist and afterward he did ministry.  We stayed in our seats and were praying, and when he was done he walked back to us.  It kind of startled me, actually.  He asked if we were lifelong friends and said he saw our mission as being prayer and that we were to “pray through.”  Then he started to prophesy over me and said something like “this new chapter is about what God is doing in you” and that I wasn’t to look back but forward.  I wish I’d have recorded it but I didn’t see him coming, lol.  He went on to say something about God breaking the bands of something and that coming here/getting away was a divine appointment and that there is a divine purpose in our life and it is new.  Also said we will have dreams and that he saw angels all around me.  I’d like to see them…or better yet see Jesus.  Anyway I thought it was so like God to have someone come and give me another do-not-look-back word and encourage me like that!  Where can I go from Your presence?  Though I go to the farthest corner of the U.S., still You are there :).

Last night Rhonda and I spent a couple hours in prayer at her church.  To me “praying through” usually involves praying at an altar (I think of Azusa Street and stories from there, especially).  This morning she had a dream (and she said she never dreams, lol).  We were together at a hotel and had checked out and I got out of the car and went back in because I forgot something or needed something.  She waited but then decided she needed it too so she drove her car into the hotel lobby and parked it by the elevator so I would see it.  Interesting dream.  Makes me wonder if we should go back to the church tonight.

Earlier in the week we went to a Bible study with some younger ladies and afterward I got to pray for one who had neck pain.  After the first prayer it was better and she let me pray again and then after the second it was all but gone!  Yay, God!  And then we got a call that the Northern Lights were out!  I felt as if God was celebrating my taking a risk but sending those :). They were in the distance but still very beautiful to watch, which we did for about 15 minutes and then went back to Rhonda’s.  I am told that an hour later they came back over Nome and were brilliant, and I missed them!  Ahhhh!~  Well, I have one more night (tonight), so perhaps (like on our trip in 2013) they will come back on my last night here.

Rhonda and I had fun taking used clothing and making new things with them.  My favorite is actually an old flannel shirt we got at the thrift shop in town which I bleached halfway up.  I love it!  And I made a necklace out of the key and charms I brought.  Lots of sweet memories from this trip.  At one point we tried to extend my stay, but because of Iditarod the cost would have been more than the price of the original round-trip ticket!!!  Ah, well, it’s just as well.  I have a funeral to officiate on Friday (one of the ladies from the nursing home passed away last week).  This is the wife of the man whose funeral I officiated last summer.  Not my favorite thing to do, but people are open to the gospel at funerals because they are contemplating their own mortality.  I am praying hearts will be open.

John comes home tomorrow around noon.  He was away with Kevin skiing in Colorado.  They had a great time.  I leave on the evening flight and have a long night of travel, getting into L.A. around 6 a.m.  From there I need to find my way to Union Station and then hop the train to Covina and meet up with relatives.  I will probably be bushed.  What was I thinking?!  Hopefully someone will take me back to LAX for my 10:00 flight home.  Kevin will pick me up at 6 the next morning.  And I was just getting used to the time change here!  I never got used to the cold, though.

We are already planning my return trip this summer.  I love Nome.  There is something about this place that draws you.  I think it’s the sense of community.  In the winter especially they are so isolated.  They have learned to rely on each other and to get along.  Sure they have issues (I wish the bars would close, most of those issues would disappear!), but there are a lot of good people here trying to make a difference.  Rhonda is one who is making a big difference in people’s lives!  She loves well.  I am glad I get to hang out with her and call her friend!

Ready for the new folder!

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It has taken me a few weeks, but I can honestly say I have “closed the old folder” now.  I am in awe of God’s grace and how faithful and kind He has been to me through this.  When you have that kind of grace poured out on you, it’s only natural that you turn around and do the same for others.  I have a fresh set of eyes on what went down, including why the counselor did what she did.  That doesn’t mean that I agree with it or even like (and that is actually irrelevant), but I have an understanding and with that comes the ability to put things to rest and close the folder so to speak.  Do I wish I could talk to Mary about what God has shown me?  Sure I do, but I am still getting a no from Him.  Perhaps someday I will be able to, but I am not pinning my hopes on someday because that may be in heaven!  It is in God’s hands, and I have a life to live and work to do.

I thought I’d post the pic of the lion in the clouds for you (that I mentioned in a previous post).  My apologies for the black border, I guess this was a screenshot of the original.  Anyway, some people see it immediately, and others get distracted by the mouth (which looks like a key, interestingly enough!).  It was just a random shot taken from the top of a mountain in Vermont three weeks ago, and I didn’t notice the lion until I was looking through my pictures that evening.  I had been asking God to be my defender, and I guess He was just letting me know that He heard me and was roaring on my behalf!

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I am packed and ready to go on a new adventure with God!  I leave for Alaska tomorrow.  And God is already filling up the blocks of time in my schedule that I was to go to North Carolina.  He truly does work everything together for my good because I am trusting Him, and I look forward to the beauty He brings from these ashes.