Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last Night, I Died

I have had many unusual dreams, some were premonitions foretelling future events. Others have given instruction. Last night's was one of these last.

In the office where I am employed as a temp, there is a backroom used for shipping. I spend a great deal of time there preparing domestic and international literature shipments. In the dream I was in this room when I collapsed. 

My soul separated from the flesh, and stood looking down at the crumpled shape. "Well. I guess I'm dead. And that's okay. No more worry, or pain. I certainly don't need to be concerned about finding another job." I felt a twinge in my conscious. My family. They would be hurt. 

God spoke to me. "You are not dead. I am going to send you back."

I looked down at my body. "You know, if someone finds me and calls 911. That's going to cost money. I don't have insurance, and Bill and I are barely hanging on now. This will tip us over the financial edge."

"No one will find you before you revive."

"Oh. Then why did this happen?"

"I needed to get your attention."

"Well, you have indeed gotten it."

"Marie, you have become more and more like my Martha. You fuss about a lot of things, and in spite of your resolve, you still miss the point. First, in answer to your question of what you are to do, be patient. Your time of waiting serves a purpose. I have taken many things from you: husbands, family, friends, jobs and financial security. I have done this to prove to you, not Me, that you can live without these things. It is Me you cannot live without."

My feelings were deeply hurt. "But, Lord, I have always tried to put you first!"

"Not as I want you too."

"I am confused."

"That is why I have brought you here. You have yet to let go of worry over what will happen tomorrow, next month or next year. You have many unknowns in your life at this moment and have suffered great disappointments. They are My means to grow your faith and trust in Me. Let it go. Let it all go. Be My child. Go out each day and do your best. Enjoy My gifts you posses at this moment, and do not worry about what you will have or not have tomorrow."

I woke with the image of myself standing over my body, still worrying about how inconvenienced I would be if I was found before I revived. Even after His admonishment, my alter ego, Martha was very much present. To eradicate her personality from mine will take extreme effort and almost minute by minute vigilance with my  thoughts. 

I must confess, I came by this nature through the example of my father. He worries constantly. In fact at one point I coined a phrase describing him. He not only believes his glass is half full, he also believes what remains is toxic. He has gotten better over the last few years. 

Although I have always been more positive than that, I have always worried. It is my chief nemesis. Now, after last night's dream, I understand how offensive it is to God, and it is time I really worked on changing. I know it is okay to make plans, but I am not to live just for their fruition. Today is a most precious gift that should not be spoiled by yearnings, or worry about something too far in the future to be addressed today. 

But, I am weak. I can't do this on my own. Happily, I don't have to. God performs miracles wherever He finds faith, and He will find it in me. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Time of Waiting

The word, no, is a hard one to accept, especially after pouring your heart and soul into an endeavor with the belief that honesty, loyalty, skill, and patience would matter. After being pursued, and yet still rejected - with the promise you would be kept in mind - the knife cuts even deeper.  

When the tears and initial pain finally subsided, accusation settled in. I simply wasn't good enough. My hard  hard work and diligence was not good enough. The words cut deep, leaving seeds of hatred and bitterness in the wound.

I plucked out most of these seeds through prayer, but could not completely eradicate hurt, discouragement, doubt and anxiety. These remained, winding long tendrils through my heart and mind. More prayer, and the Master Gardner began pruning away the unwanted growth. I writhed with pain under the sheers, but knowing the pruning was necessary, I did not run.

When at last the pruning was finished, and the pain subsided, I picked my self up and continued moving forward. Again I received a series of rejections and faltered, but remained on my feet. He too was rejected, over and over to the point of death on the Cross, and is still rejected. This added some salve to the wound, but it still throbbed.

This morning, God applied another kind of salve through two different devotions. Both reiterated when waiting for something we want, or desperately need, our patience is severely tested, but if we remain open to the lesson we are to learn, we will grow, and a delay is only that, usually followed by a greater blessing than we expect. "...be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7. We are not to rush into anything. We are to remain patient, trusting even when we do not understand.

Fortified with trust, patience and hope, I continue to seek His answer, His solution and I believe it will be nothing short of miraculous.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bread Crumbs

My life changed dramatically after my first vision, described in an earlier post, The Divine Embrace. God told me I would walk through an inferno, not as a punishment for my sins, but through the natural course of my life. I would endure great pain.

Following this revelation came horrendous, life altering events. However, He offered encouragement, consolation and guidance through dreams, premonitions and scriptural promises.

This week I have faced yet another momentous life course change, and I am unsure of which direction to take. The variables are too numerous to fathom. As before, God has provided some clues to what is His will in the matter.

Like bread crumbs, or sometimes even the more prominent rock piles hikers use, He has marked the trail.

Luke 12: 6-7 
Are there not Five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet no one of them has escaped the notice of God....Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. 

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious over anything.

Luke 12: 22-28
Therefore I say to you, do not be solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. 
But I say to you not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as one of these. 

This verse has particular meaning as one of the first miracles I received after the vision. (See Lilies)  

Another devotion offered this: Good Morning, Lord by Father Joseph T. Sullivan: ...After rainstorms, puddles reflect sunrises, or mountains, or rainbows, or blossoms. Rainbows also have a previous correlation to serious trials and corresponding miracles. (See Somewhere Over the Rainbow)

Besides the scriptural reminders, there were also several coincidences. I have handled hundreds of shipments at my current place of employment (the temp position due to end in a few months) yet, yesterday was the first time I came across another individual with my name (on an address for a literature shipment I was sending out to another state.) No big deal, right? Not really, when taken alone. However, a few minutes later I answered the phone. It was a random solicitation call from the company involved in my current circumstances. The first time that has ever happened as well. The meaning? None, other than it is just His way of getting my attention, as He has done in the past when I think none of the above is really meant for me personally. 

Last night, the personal call I had been so anxiously awaiting came. The company is delaying the decision in my regard yet again. This issue has been going on almost two years and I now must wait for another three days, until Monday, the 17th. With so much at stake, it is very hard to simply sit by and wait for an outcome I cannot control. 

Yet, the delay has an interesting significance. The number 7 in varying forms: 7, 17, 27, 37 and so on, has also provided trail markers in the past, alluding to the Divine symbolism of the number 7 in the Bible. Besides the beautiful messages in both Psalms 27 and 37, the number 7 means several things. A great number and completion being two of them. Both appropriate for my situation.  These numbers are not miraculous, or magical. They serve only to remind me of His Word, past promises and miracles. (See Signs.)

If I will only trust Him and follow His signs, I will avoid most of the deep holes, ruts, and boulders hidden in the mists of my doubt and worry. I may skin a knee, or obtain a bruise, but I won't fall, and although I still have no clue where this path will eventually lead, at least I know I am on the right one. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Blogger, Lydia Harris, a.k.a. Grandma Tea

Lydia is gracing us today with a glimpse of her newly released book, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, and recounts some of her journey to becoming a published author. 

Lydia Harris 

Thanks for inviting me to guest blog on your site, Ceci. I’m glad to share a bit of my writing story with your readers.

Writing and Grandparenting
In Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, I’ve combined my passion for grandparenting and my calling to write. My book is a Bible study for new and experienced grandparents, but it’s not your typical study. Although full of scripture, it also contains practical and creative ideas to share fun and faith with grandkids. I interviewed dozens of grandparents, so the book includes their stories and quotes as well as my twelve years of hands-on grandparenting.

The study affirms grandparents in their important role, provides tools to become FANtastic grandparents, and helps them to pass on a legacy of faith. One grandmother wrote, “Your book has challenged me to think intentionally and to live purposefully in this new role.” The book makes a great gift for grandparents.

I’m thankful my husband and I live near our five grandkids, aged one to twelve, and can enjoy time with them. Even so, it takes planning to make it happen. I try to schedule time twice a month with my eight-year-old granddaughter for spiritual mentoring. And whenever possible, we attend our grandkids’ events or invite them to our home.

This school year we had a first as we watched our middle-school-aged grandson play football with his school team. Go Jaguars! Another day, our kindergarten-aged grandson spent the afternoon. Since he has a vivid imagination, we looked for dinosaur footprints as we walked to the park. When we took him home, I told him when he turned sixteen and had a license I hoped he would drive over to visit me. “I will,” he promised.

Family Matters
I’m the youngest of eight children, and family has always been important to me. All my siblings are Christians, and we spoke German in our home when growing up. At the end of each day, we gathered for “Schluss” as a family to sing hymns, read the Bible, and kneel to pray—all in German.

After raising two children, God nudged me to write. I’ve written hundreds of book reviews, articles, columns, devotionals, recipes, and stories. I enjoy writing about tea, hospitality, prayer, family, and grandparenting. Together with my grandchildren, I create and test recipes, which are published in Focus on the Family’s children’s magazines.

Prayer as a Priority
Prayer is an important part of my life. I joined a Moms In Touch prayer group over twenty years ago and still pray weekly with mothers, now grandmothers. I also organize family prayer times for our extended family. We regularly share prayer requests by e-mail. Family members who live in the greater Seattle area meet about six times a year for family prayer times. In Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, I’ve included several lessons on prayer along with exciting prayer tools.

Now with a published book, I also have speaking opportunities. I’m grateful that during these retirement years God still has plans for my life and continues to pour out his blessings. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:6 KJV)

Please stop by my blog (www.PreparingMyHeart.net) and say hello. And if you or someone you know is a grandparent, consider my book as a gift. To God be the glory!

Blessings,
Grandma Tea

Thank you, Lydia for sharing your insights into the joys and responsibilities of grandparenting. I know God will bless your work abundantly.