Every year brings a reflection of the road traveled with anticipation of what the new year might bring. This year is no exception. Last year I titled the blog “The Best Is Yet To Come” so needing a new title for the same concept, I chose “Holy Anticipation.” Join me as I tell the story.
2018 brought a year of financial instability. I tried every entrepreneurial adventure mostly because I found it impossible to find anyone willing to hire me to exchange hours for dollars. It is also the year I turned 62. While most people are anticipating retirement, I am wondering how I made such a mess of things.
My financial journal tells a different story. Since September 1, 2017, while not having a real job, the Lord faithfully provided. Daily manna is what my best friend Sharon calls it. Many months were rocky with countless setbacks, I still paid my bills.
Signs and Wonders
In February, I went for prayer and healing for my brain. A car accident and head injury in 2006 derailed my professional work life. Year after year, the challenges are bigger and life becomes more difficult. It was a strange day at the monthly prayer circle. I was the only one there and seven women gathered around me. Three knew me and four did not. In awe and wonder, I was told truly miraculous things that God was saying through these women to include power to heal, a mantle to touch the hearts of others with love, a special access to God and the storehouses of heaven, and a cross-cultural anointing. As the year progressed with no manifestation of any of it, I chose to simply and truly believe and wait on God’s timing.
Doubt and Discouragement
The Devil has two tricks to help drown us. He uses discouragement and doubt. With discouragement, we are of no service. With doubt, we are breaking the bond of faith. Heap on top a feeling of worthlessness coupled with financial setback after setback and I was a mess of defeat culminating in a breakdown of spirit.
Vision Casting, Circle Making, Bondage Breaking
In utter desperation, I cried out to the Lord. Remembering years ago when I proclaimed myself to be a writer and a photographer. While I do write and I do take photos, there are no formal credentials. This did not keep me from writing and photographing beautiful things. So on my knees, I spoke the next chapter into existence. I would be free from the limitations of brain injury, free from the fiery darts of the enemy making me feel worthless. I will impact everyone I come in contact with encouragement, generosity, truth, transformation and healing. I will tell compelling stories with the most compelling story of all being the work of God in me. My prayer included a call on my life to write a beautiful and impactful lasting story through the sort of life I lived.
Words of Impact and Authority
In the depths of despair, after getting fired at Thanksgiving just days before my 62nd birthday, I turned to my trusty devotional reserved for the most desperate times of trial and sorrow, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. And it was there that God spoke to me. Day after day, night after night. I wrote it all down so as not to forget. I simply chose to believe…all of it. I made the choice to go on about my life, reach out to my circle making them aware of my need, pray to my God of the universe and TRUST Him to deliver a solution.
… While God Worked
I went about my life the way I wanted it to be. I took a child on a birthday adventure knowing no paycheck was coming, I spent time with people who offered hope and ideas, I volunteered to write stories about young people in the inner city being impacted by the love of Christ. I shared my situation and was vulnerable before thousands (on Facebook.) I trusted God to handle the mess and I went about doing what He designed me to do, connecting people through the stories they tell.
I have never experienced such an outpouring of love. I could not keep up with all the bonafide suggestions of jobs to explore. No moments were spent in worry. I trusted God to bring to me the miracle I needed that incorporated all the requirements for a job I could do with my many challenges.
Manna with Quail Rained Down
A perfect stranger reached out with a job she thought would suit me. A road trip interviewing people about their health. Had I not just told God I would love to travel around talking to people about things that mattered?
I applied for a scholarship to get my CDL license. It required an essay application. Never was anyone more qualified!
Within two days of each other, after a month of waiting, both opportunities were approved.
God worked it all out while I did what I do best.
Many thanks to the hundreds and I truly mean hundreds of people who reached out to me in my time of need. I have never experienced such an outpouring of love. I also have also never received this extreme level of blessing from the Lord. I am so very thankful.
May you find comfort in all the words the Lord blessed me with while I trusted him in the midst of chaos and trials. It is a simple decision available to all who chose it.
From Streams In The Desert by L.B. Cowman
Your message is to walk on stage and reveal to heaven and earth the music of your life does not lie in your circumstances, but in your soul.
If peace is in your heart, the wildest winter storm is full of solemn beauty.
Every living creature tells some new and joyous story.
No great work of literature or science has ever been produced by someone who did not love solitude. No tremendous growth of holiness has been achieved without alone time with God.
It was good for me to be afflicted.
Amid the loneliness and high altitudes, exposed to the fiercest winds, the lichen exhibited glorious color it has never displayed in the shelter of the valley.
I have been afflicted, storm tossed and in pain. God has allowed these storms and difficulties over and over and over again.
I am trusting the trials will clear away the clouds and perfect who the Lord wants me to be. Then He will bestow blessing and brightness to my life.
The Lord’s voice is a gentle whisper to be felt as a steady pressure in the heart and mind held in the force of quiet conviction.
Trust when it appears to be the greatest absurdity to do so. Obey when He asks you to move while you still see only darkness. Then there will quickly spring up within your heart a knowledge of God and a fellowship with Him which will be overpowering enough to hold you and God together under the strongest pressures of life.
Your legacy can be as a result of the grief you experience.
Apparent adversity will ultimately become an advantage for those of you doing what is right if we are willing to keep serving and to wait patiently.
Sometime later the brook dried up. Living by faith when our earthly stream dries up is allowed so we learn that our hope and help are in God.
God’s providence works through loss, through the failure and fading of things, the material insecurities that cause our lives to be spiritually established.
Do we trust in the gift or in the giver?
In times of darkness do nothing. While we trust…He can work.
Worrying prevents him from doing anything for us. Worry is forbidden. Be still and know that I am God.
The Holy One of Israel will defend and deliver His own.
In the widespread fog of trouble and the mist of sorrow you find the greenest grass.
He is waiting for me to love him more and to exercise my faith.
Wait with hope the promise may linger but it will never come too late.
Do not fret. We are a constant annoyance when we worry and fret.
Measure your life by loss not gain. He who suffers most has most to give.
When the prison door closes behind me, keep me trusting in You Lord with complete and overflowing joy.
Do not be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving present your requests to God.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.
In our darkest hour God walks across the waves. When the scaffold was completed for Mordicai’s execution, the King’s sleeplessness ultimately lead him to favor God’s favored race.
You have to experience the very worst before you are delivered, but you will be delivered.
Give your work through me great success and even in prison make me free indeed.
God may keep you waiting but He will always remember His promise and He will appear in time to fulfill his sacred word that cannot be broken.
May we do our part. Suffer for him and place Christ’s part on him and leave it there.
Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will be an utter impossibility.
Cling to God in desperate situations to delight the Lord.
Those people God uses most to bring glory to himself are those who are completely broke. It was not until Jacob’s natural strength was broken that he came to a point where God could clothe him with spiritual power.
Through the very process of the loaves being broken that the miracle occurred.
God only parted the Red Sea when the people made a step forward to cross.
It is not until the seed is crushed and buried that its inner heart sprouts producing hundreds of new sprouts.
God uses broken things.
Those gripped by the power of the Holy Spirit and used for God’s glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in self-will , broken in ambition, broken in lofty ideas, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desire and broken in their health. He uses those who seem totally helpless and hopeless .
The lame will carry off the plunder.
Let me throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles and let me run dear Lord with perseverance the race marked out for me.
Fear and hopelessness is a distraction and stumbling block that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.
Don’t let a faint desire to complain or to be discontented rage out of control until it blossoms into total rebellion and ruin.
The length of Joseph’s prison stay gave him strength and steadiness he needed to be Governor.
God in his providence has a thousand keys to open a thousand different doors to deliver his own no matter how desperate the situation.
We should never give ourselves the freedom to doubt God.
We can determine to set our own will against doubt. Just as we follow all the other areas God has outlined for us.
The Devil has two tricks to tempt. Discouragement and doubt. With discouragement, we are of no service. With doubt, we are breaking the bond of faith.
The spirit of happiness returns my soul to become vibrant and full of heavenly electricity. Cheerfulness causes any act of service to be performed with delight.
We never move ahead as swiftly in our spiritual calling as when we are carried by wings of happiness. Sadness clips the wings. It causes the wheels to fall off our chariot of service.
Nothing pushes along so swiftly as when we have the joy of faith…even in the hottest fire of affliction.
It is always safe to trust God’s methods and live by His clock.
Are we willing to compete for God’s best with the knowledge that the best things are always achieved by the most difficult paths? Hardship is the price of the victor’s coronation. The very hardships you are enduring in your life today have been given to you by the master for the express purpose of enabling you to win your crown.
Rise today to face the circumstances in which the providence of God has placed you. Your crown of glory is hidden in the heart of these things -the hardships and trials pressing in on your this very hour, week and month of your life.
The most difficult things are not those seen and known by the world but those deep within your soul, unseen and unknown by anyone except Jesus.
It is in this secret place that you experience a little trial that you would never mention to anyone else and that is more difficult to bear than martyrdom.
Believe your crown lies there. May God help you to overcome and to wear it.
When difficulties remain, it is that I may learn to trust Him completely-to trust and not be afraid.
God makes you see troubles, sometimes as part of your education you must go down to the depths of the earth.
No matter how many twists and turns the road may have, there is always one smooth and straight portion.
Even the longest day has a sunset and the winter snow will melt.
Be steadfast because you know that your labor in the Lord will not be in vain.
He will turn to you and comfort you and when He does, your heart that has forgotten how to sing will break forth in thankful and jubilant song.
Make the valley full of ditches and the water came pouring in from the supernatural source to fill them. Are we desiring a supernatural blessing, then dig the ditches and God will fill them but He will do this in the most unexpected places in the most unexpected way.
May the Lord grant us the kind of faith that acts by faith and not by sight and may we expect him to work although we see no wind or rain.
As God’s chosen people, clothe yourselves with kindness.
A pleasant word is a bright ray of sunshine on a saddened heart. So give others the sunshine and tell Jesus the rest.
Lubricate with the oil of joy with gentleness and thoughtfulness. Spread your oil of cheerfulness to someone who is down hearted. Be a word of encouragement to a person who is full of despair. Never fail to speak it for our lives may touch others only once on the road of life.
The oil of kindness has worn the sharp hard edges off many a sin-hardened life and left it pliable and ready to receive the redeeming grace of a savior.
The law of victory-there is a reward for every sorrow and the sorrow itself produces the reward. Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth.
Sometimes when you lose your sight, you gain remarkable discernment and insight.
Trials and suffering are trying and difficult to bear but hiding under the surface is discipline, knowledge and limitless possibilities. Get everything you can from it for you and for the sake of everyone around you.
It is through my mental and emotional struggles that I am being trained to tutor others who are being tossed by the storm. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again.
Prayer moves the hand of God.
sharing her roadtrip adventures with God and her immensely rocky lessons learned.