Friday, December 19, 2014

XXXII: A New Chapter

As the year ends and a new one begins, I have been overwhelmed with so many things.  I have had a full schedule, which included home schooling my three children, college classes I am taking, classes I am teaching, Ladies Bible Study, and volunteer work with our church and our home school co-op.  That is just the condensed version!  I have been working on a vision and allowing God to develop His vision within me.

I normally write something challenging and tonight is no different.  However, this challenge has to do with allowing God to develop a passion within you, which lends itself to a vision given by God to lead you to a destiny He has prepared for you to do.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

I have not shared this testimony with very many people but I feel that tonight it is time to share what is on my heart and has been for a very long time.

I don't remember exact dates.  I'm sure my parents do because they remember almost all of the places and dates of engagements they have had the privilege of ministering the gospel as children's evangelists.  I do remember it was summer Georgia camp and it was the first year that I had been awarded the awesome opportunity to be a "camper".  I normally had to stay with my parents in the lodge or in our 32' Terry Taurus RV or "the trailer".  This time was special.  I was just like every other kid... with concession stand benefits.  ;-)  (EK's & PK's get all the fun)

I remember going to the events throughout the day and making friendships that lasted... well, let's be honest.  They SAY they'll write all the time, but I don't recall ever getting a letter.  LOL.  BUT WE MEANT WELL!  I remember the water balloon fights and the shaving cream wars.  I remember the cafeteria food (not quite so fondly but, eh, part of the experience).  Out of all the fun, I remember going up for prayer during altar call.  I had given my life to Christ, but I wanted more.  I knew what it was to be a child of God, but I wanted to experience something deeper.  I had heard all about the Holy Spirit and even seen some of the manifestations of His presence, but I wanted Him to show ME who He was.   I went forward and a camp counselor prayed for me.  As she prayed for me I became overshadowed by a heaviness I had never felt before.  As I began to weep, I started to feel this presence come upon me like a weighted blanket.  I cried the big hot tears knowing that everything I had, had to belong to God.  I was His girl and He was everything to me.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit and began hearing sounds in my ears.  The counselor let me know that it was the language of the Holy Spirit and that it was 'OK' to speak them.  As I said them out loud I remember feeling a release of the heaviness that was the awesome weight of God's presence.  I was now light as a feather and praising God with my new language!!!  I was 7 years old.

The next night was the last night of the first camp week (we were there for 2 weeks).  I wanted God to do it again.  I wanted Him to show up like He had the night before and I wanted to feel His presence as close as a warm blanket wrapped around me like the previous evening.  Having been baptized in the Holy Spirit, I wasn't afraid of His presence any more, I was addicted to it!  As the evening came to a close, and my father gave the altar call, I headed straight for the right hand side and dove in.  As I was praising God, and worshiping in His presence, God began to speak to me.  It wasn't an audible voice, but a knowing, an understanding of what He was planting in my heart.  He said, "I have called you to the nations... French nations... Africa, Europe, North America, Asia... You are to preach to the nations."  I knew then... I saw then.  I had a vision.  I could feel the hunger to see what God gave me a passion to run towards.  I felt the pull of the people who needed to hear what a loving God wanted to say, but was looking for someone who would go.  That night, I had a clear understanding of who I AM in the Kingdom of God and the body of Christ.

Jump ahead 25 years.  I have made many mistakes.  I have lived through many bad choices and consequences that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I can testify that through it all, God's call on my life has never faltered.  His thoughts of me and plans for me have never changed.  His faithfulness has never been withdrawn, and His grace and mercy has never run out.  In fact, they are new every morning!

The past few years, God has opened doors that I thought were not only shut, but locked from both sides.  He has given me opportunities, to refresh the French language that I have worked hard to learn in High School with a passion, and opened doors for me to go to France to learn, to teach, and to preach!  In January I will be going for 5 days to Paris for a training trip as well as focusing on prayer and intercession for the country and the people that I love.  In June, I have an amazing opportunity to lead an 8 day tour of my students and their parents to Paris and the surrounding area on an educational tour (and will be praying and sowing in the spirit for future harvest).  This is also a trip that my husband Joe will accompany me and will be his first trip out of the country.  (On a side note, this is a great way for God to open up a door for Joe to be able to have a leisurely experience for his first trip abroad!)  Later this fall, I am hoping to be joining an amazing group of women back to Paris and then to Morocco to work with Muslim women, sharing the love of Jesus Christ!  All because I said, "God, I want more of you so take all of me."

The challenge I have for you:

1.  It doesn't matter where you have been.  David was a shepherd boy when God chose him, was wanted by the king for treason and sentenced to death, was crowned king, committed murder, and adultery, and still God kept calling Him!  Rahab, the great-great grandmother of King David, was a prostitute and a gentile who made a lot of bad choices.  She then chose to honor God and risk it all.  God then honored her by placing her in the line of royalty and the eternal kingdom of Jesus!  There are so many stories in the Bible of how God uses our mess for His glory because He desires to show His love to us and to have our love in return!  I love 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 which says, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence."  He uses what the world says is unusable to make sure that we can't take the credit!  If you have counted yourself as worthless and unusable, think again.  All God needs is an open "Yes" and He'll start turning things around immediately!

2.  I challenge you to seek Him first in all you do!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, "11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."  God's plans are to give you the dream, show you the vision.  This is a future and an expectation (hope) of the future!  When you seek Him first, you will find Him and He will answer!  Don't forget the biggest and most important part of it all... seeking Him and being found by Him!  In Him is everything, including what we need to see our dreams and visions come to pass!

3.  I ask for prayer.

This is an awesome thing that God is doing and prayer is the key to seeing the hand of God move!  There is power in inviting God to come into our lives and circumstances so that He can do a mighty thing for His glory!  Please pray that God would give me strength and wisdom.  More importantly, that He would prepare the people and prepare the path before me.  I want to walk in His will and completely in His power.  Moreover, I want to see His Kingdom grow as more people come to know His love and have an awesome relationship with Him! 

I do not like soliciting and do not want you to think this is one big commercial.  I am trusting God to bring sponsors and partners with us to sow into the Kingdom and invest in the vision God has given.  IF you feel God is calling you to do that, please feel free to contact me via message or email. I can answer any questions you may have and tell you how you can sponsor us as we walk in this amazing journey that started with a simple "yes".

I pray that your holidays are blessed with the Love of God no matter where you are and that God's presence and His Holy Spirit is real in your life.  I pray that as you seek Him, you discover the intimacy and closeness that He longs to have with His people.  God bless you as you seek and serve Him.