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God is moving, can you see it?
August 24, 2011 9:22 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , , ,

Desert to FLOOD.  Both are extreme, both are transformative, and both happened to me.

July was, well, dry dry DRY.  Spiritually, physically, emotionally, the whole she-bang.

I had done my level best to carry this Africa thing on my own.  Didn’t work.  Almost took me out in fact.  I wound up in a barren place, out of breath with a canteen full of dust.

“I will make her like a desert,

turn her into a parched land and slay her with thirst

Hosea 2:3

Sounds about right.  This wasn’t random, it was a result of my mistrust, my unbelief, my stubbornness, and my utter lack of faithfulness in the God who created my very bones.   I have been stuck at 70% of my monthly support-raising goal for ages.  By the time July was almost spent, so was my hope of ever making it to Africa.  I know it sounds dramatic, but when you are faced with a huge wall of lack that won’t budge, things can quickly become daunting.  The forest become a desert.  As cracked, dessicant, and awful as it was, I was lead to that place for a purpose… so I would know what living water tastes like.  So that I could recognize the hand of my Provider.

 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.”

Isaiah 43:18-21

A wonderful man named Steve Valentine always said that when we are down to nothing, God is up to something.  Well that little saying just became all kinds of real.

On July 13th, my Grandpa went on to his next big adventure, eternity with God.  My Dad and his three brothers came together from all over the country to celebrate Grandpa, and to take care of everything that is left behind after someone leaves this world.  My Grandpa was a strong, smart, caring, and generous man.  He flew planes in WWII, and collected Meerschaum tobacco pipes, loved roast beef, and was no-nonsense.  His caretakers called him “The Commander.”  When I went to Africa the first time he sent a nugget of advice along with his hefty donation… “Take some Deet, and don’t forget the Kaopectate.”  A practical man indeed.

At the very end of July, my Dad returned from the funeral and time with his brothers with some news.  Grandpa had left his entire estate to his family, and that turned out to be a lot.  Before his health declined, he had expressed wanting to be a donor for my new life in Africa.  My dad wanted to honor Lord and Grandpa, and thus committed helping open the floodgates to God’s unique plan of provision.  Not only that, but all this month, I have had new donors come out of the woodwork that I had previously written off.  God is up to something, the waters are springing up from the ground… and I am all but swimming.

With God infront of me, and the family of God beside me, I will hopefully land safely in Kenya on October 1st…. OCTOBER FIRST!!!!!!!!  AH!  That means that September 27th is my last day in Montana.  Woah.  The rains just came like a hurricane.  All I can do is stand with my arms to the skies.  I am so happy things didn’t happen the way I imagined they would… but that I was surprised by God’s unique hand.  He is up to something, the proof is in the water.

 “The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the LORD will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Isaiah 41:17-20

 

August 12, 2011 10:25 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , ,

“How do we read the Bible?”

Frequently, and thoroughly.”

This wonderful man has put into words, the very thing that has been heavy on my heart lately… to read and know the Bible as a whole.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTYzUc-ezUc&feature=player_embedded

 

Mmmm, scripture.

July 25, 2011 1:19 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , , ,

DRY (adjective)

1. free from moisture or excess moisture; not moist; not wet

2. having or characterized by little or no rain

3. characterized by absence, deficiency, or failure of natural ordinary moisture.


Yep.  That is how I feel…like my soul is flaking, my heart is parched, and my frame is withering.  Dry.

 

 

Is it this arid, hot, Montana summer?  Have I failed to drink enough liquids?  No… this is dehydration of the spirit, and I need a long cool drink out of God’s fountain, before I turn to dust.

Have you ever gotten to this place?  Where you go and go and GO, until you find that, whoa, I actually do have a end to my rope… and here are the frays to prove it.  Preparing for Africa is so… involved.  I never expected it to be so hard. Being a big picture kind of gal, I tend to not consider the weight of the details, the amount of work that is attached to one big adventure. Or the amount of feeling.

Everyday I find myself stopping and staring at people and things that I will miss.  Just this morning I looked at a picture of my mom and sister dancing in our family kitchen, lit by morning light, and had a mound of sadness well up in my chest.

 

 

I will miss the sound the coffee maker gurgling, the dogs’ fingernails clicking across the wood floor, and my dad talking to Lidia Bastianich on PBS as they make the same Italian dish… continents away.  Soon I will be continents away.  Whew.

Turns out the process of support-raising is more involved than I ever dreamed too.  I feel like I have hit a wall.  After hundreds of letters, copious phone calls, relentless calculating, endless spreadsheets and paperwork, I still have miles to go… and I am spiritually on empty with the pedal pushed to the floor.

I am at the famous junction… the place where I have mustered all of my humanly efforts and come up short, and God has to show up and divinely finish this thing.  Moses was here, not to mention David, Ruth, Daniel, Elijah and countless others.  It was God who parted the sea and provided an escape for the captives of Egypt, not Moses.  It was God who led the king to victory and saved him from his enemies, not David.  It was God who delivered a poor foreigner and her mother-in-law back home and saved them from destitution, not Ruth or Naomi.  It was God who stayed the lions’ jaws and gave a man the wisdom interpret dreams and to navigate the royal courts, not Daniel.  It was God who sent a fire ball from Heaven to consume a soggy offering in front of hundreds of people on Mount Carmel and prove His power, not Elijah.  And on and on.  It is God who accomplishes, not me.

Lately I have been letting my failures and lackings determine my worth.  After my dear friend Kim prayed for me this Sunday, she looked at me and said, “Bess, it is God who tells you your worth.”  ZING, that one went right to the heart.  Nothing else has the right or authority to tell me my value, and I am closing my ears to God when I allow anyone or anything else to tell me what I am worth.

 

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.  God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.”

2 Thessalonians 1:5-7

 

Trying to do all of this on my own (and failing), compounded with the ache of impending transition, separation, and raw newness has sucked all the moisture out of my soul.  I looked up dry in the back of my bible, and God brought me to tears as I read this passage in Ezekiel…

 

The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin;

I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.

Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”

Ezekiel 37

 

I need the breath of God to enter these bones again.  I need to know the sheer power of Your might, because I have none left.  I am as useless as a pile of bones on the desert floor.  I need to know that it is You who will do it, that You won’t leave me in a heap on the cracked earth.

 

The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

 

Breathe on me Lord, and I will inhale deeply.  Bring me to life again, and in your time, bring me to Africa.