When God Speaks

 

 

Now THIS post is one that gets me totally excited because I love when I see God’s work in action, especially when it is what I call a direct message. We are used the the private messages on Facebook or the Direct Message on Twitter. We use those so that we can say something to someone without the whole world knowing what we are sharing. It is directed to you only. But… what if you get a direct message from God?!? What do you do with that?!?!?!??

You most certainly obey.  That is what happened this week with my friend and me. As some of you may know, I shared a week or so ago about my approach toward hard times and challenges. This journey with skin cancer has been a hard journey. However, it has always been a policy of mine, for myself, that as I make it through a hard challenging season, I give myself a life marker. It may be an activity, something I purchase, but it is always there to remind me. It’s purpose is to remind me of what God has kept me from, as well as, what He has brought me through. So…I had shared a story about my wanting to get this beautiful votive when I was on my way to Norway this last Spring. I saw it in Amsterdam and loved it. But, I didn’t want to spend money at that time since I had my whole trip ahead of me in Norway. So it stayed in Amsterdam. What I shared on Facebook was that, as I prayed my way through this journey of surgeries and one last upcoming surgery, I felt I should purchase that beautiful Glassybaby and then light it often to remind me of what God brought me through and kept me from once again. I had talked it over with my hubby too. The flower petals remind me of God’s soft touch in my life, and whispers in my ear that He will never leave me. The colors of opaque which reminds me that I won’t always see clearly in the moment I’m in, but He sees it clearly. Then, those shades of red I so love to remind me of His blood shed for me both in the beatings He bore and the sins He covered on the cross. Yes. This would be a great life marker. (And I love candlelight anyway)

Now for the exciting part that makes me want to dance! A friend read my post on Facebook and told me she commented that she was praying for me and for my healing. As she prayed, she felt the Lord say that she was to purchase this votive for me. She traveled all the way to my Bungalow, which is quite a jaunt for her, knocked on the door, and left it at my door! I messaged her a bit later after tearfully opening that gift and thanked her for such a wonderful, thoughtful gesture and what it meant to me particularly on this day. If you know Glassybaby, you know it is no small gift. She said, “In my prayers, God spoke to me to get this as a gift for you.” The best part of the reason was the why. Here are her words:

Enjoyed in the dark of my bedroom before sleeping.

“God wanted to make sure you knew that He was listening.”

Wow!!! Well, the flood gates opened as I read that on my phone. I was overwhelmed with the love that God would have for me, that He would use this wonderful lady who was obedient to what she had heard, to go out and shop for this gift, and then drove it all the way to my house to share it with me. God encouraged through all that…just to let me know He was listening!!

Friends, THIS is our God! I can’t even describe my feelings as I lit that votive and thought about what God had just done. How He cared enough about me, to give direction to another, so that, He could give me a message that I needed just at this time! AND…it was the same day that I found out that the spot on the left side of my nose was not indicating cancer! Now that’s a celebration my friends!

I absolutely ADORE this votive and what it represents, and love this sweet lady who was obedient to what God asked of her. But the BEST part is that God cared enough to give me a personal message through His chosen messenger! Thank you Jan from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you over and over. I will light it often, and always be grateful!

I have had many of these experiences where God has used another to speak into my life at a time when I needed a Word from Him. But… that is for a future post!

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

The Precipice of Change

10302697_683810818367171_6463270350335103447_n1.jpgFOR SALE:  Today, I am writing in response to many who are asking me questions based on a few of my posts about moving.  Some of the questions are:

  • Why move?
  • Where will we move?
  • Why do you want to leave your home after you just got it more the way you wanted it?
  • As I have shared where that move might take us, the question of why we would move so FAR comes up.

Understandable.  I asked some of those same questions as I prayed and talked with God about the whole situation.  Even though it is hard, there are many different reasons.  I thought maybe if I share some of my thoughts about this season of change and transition, maybe it will resonate with some of you.   When a big wind of change comes into your life in the future, maybe you can be more prepared to approach changes in your lives with an open heart.  Here we go with a few financial choices we have made:

  • First, I am looking for what God is doing.  It is like Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else SO THAT, you can live like no one else.” (emphasis are mine)  910153_13_resizeto_611x458x1
  • We have lived in places others would not want to live.
  • We have lived in houses others wouldn’t desire to live in.
  • We have made decisions such as moving to the midwest to work for a ministry.  Many thought we were kind of crazy to do that, especially since we were going to a home sight unseen.  But God…  He took care of us and all the details!
  • We drive used cars so we don’t have car payments.
  • We do the work on our home to save money on our future utilities.
  • We make the hard choices so that later, we can make the fun choices.

With that said, we are now entering into the next chapter.  A move.  We could make the decision and just stay here.  We could.  God gives us a free will.  We have enjoyed it here and have accomplished the above things in our current home.  However, as we have prayed about it, we have felt that God has something else He wants to do in us and for us.  Are we going to be obedient?  Yes.  We want to be in God’s will.  I have been praying for a long time about our future retirement years and what we want that to look like.  So, we began to ask ourselves:

  • What are our priorities?
  • What do we want our life to look like?
  • What makes us happy?
  • What is it that really feeds our souls?
  • What must we do to be able to live that way in our daily life?
  • What do we need to do to get from here, to there?”

What is our plan?  Why the move out of the area?  The answer is simple.  We will go where the housing is less expensive than here in current location.  It will not be too far away that a drive up north can’t fix.  Being debt free is what we desire.  By keeping the mortgage cost down, we can still continue to enjoy our life, enhance our home, and travel.  As we began to ponder these questions, there were some changes to make in order for our lives to be what we envision.  Doesn’t mean this location is wrong.  On the contrary.  God gave us this wonderful home and it will be wonderful now, for the next owner.  We are proud of leaving our home much better than we came into it.  We have enhanced its character.  I love that.  I am now praying about, and planning in my head for the next home He brings.  We will dedicate it just as we did this home.

Part of our discussion has been our life style.  We can easily become too busy, overextended, and have crazy schedules.  In the long run, it doesn’t help us to really have peace or joy because we are always running.  We get worn out.  I know many who later on in their lives, have regrets about their lives and how they wanted it to be, but it isn’t.  Personally, I view change as a way to start a new chapter with what I have learned in the last chapter.  If we will be open and willing to really hear, and not ignore, what God is telling us or leading us to do, we WILL reap the benefits of His guidance.  I don’t want to miss that.  But if we ignore what our hearts are telling us deep down, then we may have a life that works, but not as fulfilling as it could be.

Guardian Angel from Childhood
Guardian Angel from Childhood

I have been reading a great book by Michael Hyatt called, “Living Forward”.   The book discusses the idea of having a Life Plan.  A life plan is designed by you, and meant to give you direction with your whole life; whether at home with family, relationships, a career, or any other area.  It has been very insightful to me.  It is exactly what we have been praying about for our life, and was affirmation of what God may be leading us to do.  I would encourage you to get this book and read it.  Don’t be afraid to make the changes necessary.  Who knows how God will use the changes you make?  He knows what is important to us and will work out the details; even missing friends and family that will be further away.

My hubby and I are at the precipice looking over the edge.  We are choosing to step out in obedience.  We put our hands in His, and obediently walk this path out.  God asks us to step into the water before He parts it, so we step forward even though we can’t see exactly what is ahead.  We trust He will land us exactly where we need to be planted for this season.  It’s up to us how we react to it all.  I am very grateful for all God has done for us, and I am very excited to see where God will take us.  Watch for future posts of the journey!

Update:  We got the listing up with photos and one hour later we received a call for a showing.  Got favorable response with possible offer, and then another call for an appointment for 5:30p and the first day!  God is working!

Walking the journey with you…

IMG_0094

Speaking of Detours

IMG_5603Ever since this car came out, I have wanted one.  I love the look of it, it is different from other cars, and it is economical to drive, and has a touch of class!  Know what it is yet?

It’s the Mini Cooper!  That has been my dream car ever since they came to the US!  Every time I see one, I say, “There goes my Mini Cooper!”  Everyone hears me say it!  Ethan now says, “There goes your Mini Cooper, Grandma!”  I even have a small replica of a Mini Cooper that has been in my office for years just as a reminder of my goal!

So, this last month, when we decided to start looking for a car for us, I started looking for a Mini.  I checked on so many of them, and there was a lot!  However, I now had some specifics that I needed to have on this little gem.  I wanted an automatic, after having the bilateral knee replacement, because I don’t want to shift all the time.  I also wanted air conditioning since I haven’t had that in a while, and the heat gets to me rather quickly.  I also wanted cruise control because we are hoping to take some trips and that makes it so much easier.  An extra blessing, would be a sun roof.  So, those are the things I looked for, and hopefully, I would find one with lower mileage.  So in my search, I finally found one.  We worked back and forth for a couple of days because this mini was about 3.5 hours away from us.  So with the appointment set, we went down to Olympia.  We traveled down the night before so we didn’t have to be up so early to get there on time.  The plan was to meet and see the Mini, and then follow-up with the sale if we made that decision.

IMG_5842Saturday morning brings us to the parking lot meet up, and there she sits.  All blue and ready to go!  She is automatic, sun roof, air, cd player, and looks pretty great.  BUT, she doesn’t have cruise control.  Boo!  We take her out for a drive and she is pretty snappy and nice to drive.  I love how she corners, and drives and I am thinking, maybe I could do without cruise.  But as the owner talks about the car, there are items of check that shouldn’t probably be something that this new of a car should have problems with.  We get back to the parking lot and look the car over again.  We talk about it while he goes to his other car.  Terry says he thinks that the car isn’t in as good a shape as was presented originally.   I’m thinking, looks pretty good, rides wonderfully, leather interior, and its a MINI!!  Sure there a few little things, but its a used car.  I ask what his concerns are and he tells me again of some of the concerns, and that it just doesn’t feel right.  So I told him, after all the owner had done to make this possible, I just couldn’t be the one to tell him no.  So, if he felt is wasn’t right, he needed to tell him.  So, Terry gets out and gives him the news.  He gets back in the car and apologizes (bless his heart), and says he knows how much I wanted a mini.  It’s not that you may never get one, I just think it’s too much money for the car.  I’m thinking…we didn’t even negotiate.  But as I say that to myself, I hear in my spirit, “It doesn’t mean no or forever.”  So I surrendered my dream to another time.

On the way home, I couldn’t get a handle on this whole thing.  Why come down, and do all of this for nothing?  So I asked if we could stop in Tacoma to see if the Mini dealership had something more suitable.  Oh my!  Nothing older than a 2009.  Well I already know THAT’S out of the question, because that is beyond what we wanted to spend.  So…Terry starts to ask questions about the Minis, and finds out that it is best to buy them 2008 or newer because of the engine in them.  They went back to a BMW engine in 2008 and they much more reliable.  Now it’s confirmed from a Mini dealership.  No mini for me.  I will just have to continue saying, “There goes my mini!”  (Do you detect a whine here?)

One third of our way home, Terry suggests that maybe we go look at this car up in Lynden (area of Washington) that we saw there before.  He wanted to see if it was still available.  It was in great shape, lower mileage, auto, sunroof, air, cruise and it was aIMG_5783 second choice if I wasn’t able to get a mini.  I told him I would be open to that.  The price was also more along the lines of what we wanted to spend, rather than stretching ourselves with the purchase of the Mini.  Did you notice that this little car has all the things I was looking for in a Mini?  So, we went up and looked at it, took it for a ride, and he felt this was as he originally thought…a good buy.   As my Mini went out with a puff of smoke, my little Lime Squeeze came home to live with me.  She fits me well and I hope we have a long friendship together.  God still heard my prayers about what I wanted in a car.  The Lime Squeeze has all those amenities.

Why do I share this story with you?

Do you care?

I hope so, because I am sure you have had disappointments in your lives as well.  I am here to say that when we stay in authority with whom God has put over us, in my case, my husband, then He will bless us more than we can imagine.  I could choose my attitude about this whole circumstance.  Am I going to be mad about it?  I felt like it.  But, God wouldn’t leave me alone about my attitude in this.  Again I heard the echo, it doesn’t mean never, just later.  What perspective was I going to choose?   This applies to so many dreams and prayers in my life.  God isn’t saying no, He is saying later.  Or, He may be saying no for reasons we don’t know yet.  However, I know God is faithful.  I have seen His constant love in my life over and over again.  Do I trust Him in this?  Yes I do.  It certainly kept us in line with all that He is doing in our lives.

IMG_5757So my VW Beetle, I named Lime Squeeze, is now happily sitting at our house.  The fun part?  When I first went over to Idaho to meet Terry, I was driving a VW Beetle at the time.  The weather was blizzard like and frozen snow.  But, I felt I was supposed to go.  So I drove over washboard roads at 25-35 miles an hour for about 60 miles to get to the airport.  I wondered at times, if I should just turn back.  But, I didn’t.  I thought I was this far, my little car would take me the rest of the way.  It did and the rest is history.  It has some special meaning in our lives and I have decided to deck the Lime Squeeze out to the max!  Well, at least how I want her to look.  She and I will be covering lots of miles in the future together.  I want her to be comfortable.  She is my reminder that I don’t always get the things I want when I want them, but God will provide for me how He feels is best at the time.  And the color?  Yep…a reminder that I still have areas to GROW.  Lime Squeeze is lime green.  But you know what?  I always want to be where God wants me to be and listen to those He has placed in my life.  I will be thankful that I have this little gem to carry us around, make road trip memories in, but best of all, be in God’s will for our lives.  God gave Terry counsel in staying closer to our budget so we can pay it off and Terry listened to that wise counsel!  I’m thankful he did!

Don’t give up on your dream.  Remember His plans are not OUR plans, His timing is not our timing, and we can be in good attitude in the waiting!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Be A Light From Where You Are

Key Moments Photography

Do you know that God has you in the place he has/had you in for a reason? I mean, if we really look back at our journey, we can see why this or that happened, why we were placed there at a certain time, and we can truly see God’s hand at work through those of us who have been willing to “go there”.

Let me share some examples with you from my own life.

  • I prayed the Prayer of Jabez over my life in 1998 that sent us on a move to Missouri to work for a ministry for two years! THAT was getting on a potter’s wheel for sure! But boy did I LEARN! Miracles happened when I obeyed and we saw them on the way there, when we got there, and all the time while we lived there.
  • A year ago about this time, I was sitting in my office studying when a message came through my computer to ask me, if my cost for a mission trip were paid, would I want to go to Honduras? My first thought? It was to tell God, “It is sooo hot there! And God, its HUMID and hot there! I don’t do well in that kind of weather and you know that about me.” My next thought was that if He was paying my way, knowing that I didn’t do well in that environment, that there was something He wanted me to experience, or see, or be a part of. So, after some praying for confirmation that this was the way in which I was to go, I walked in it. I said yes. I went to Honduras for 10 days and it was life changing!! I saw, I learned, I followed, I took the journey in photographs, and I came home walking closer to God than ever before. I came home thankful for my home, running water, ability to freely go about my life, to live for the Lord, for having what I need and best of all, with friendships that will last a life time! God knew. While I was there, God spoke to me to go home and raise the money to send a container full of items that are needed for the school, the children’s village, medical center, and church there. I did that. I came home, prayed, and then started sharing with others who had a heart to see what God was doing in Honduras. With their help, we sent the container last August. I am currently in the process of raising the money for the next one to go later this year. God needed me there to see and to bring something about for His purposes.
  • Fast forward a year…I was friended by a young woman on Facebook from Uganda. We have been communicating back and forth for some time now. I have no idea how she came by my name, or her reason for friending, but she did. She is wanting to preach and teach the gospel in Uganda and is really on fire for the Lord! So as we talked, I talked to her about having a voice on the internet. She could teach through the internet by sharing it via a blog. So…via long distance, I helped her set up a blog so she can now use that as a voice to many. She also shared that she is going on a mission trip to the west area of Uganda with a group and they are in need of a camera that does video. I am putting the word out for that also.

What is my point? God can use each one of us in ways we may have never thought possible, but they are. In my little office, I can be a voice to help spread the gospel in whatever ways God chooses to use me IF I am listening, and IF I am obedient to His voice. If I had listened to my own thoughts, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Honduras. Would God have used someone else? Could be. But maybe not in the same way, and my particular part in it would not have been completed. I would have missed out on the blessing. There is always a purpose.

YOU are important to intricate plans that God has for others to be encouraged and taught. And if you are thinking it is always to another place far, far away, think again. He can use you in the same way right in your own neighborhood. He can use you sitting at your desk. Ask Him how He wants to use you. But be ready! He WILL call on you. You can see from my examples that He doesn’t let the miles get in the way, OR the language! I’m thankful that I have chosen YES! The best part? When you realize it is NOT about YOU, but you are thankful God chose to INCLUDE you in the miracle!

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Walking the journeys with you…

P.S. If you are sitting there thinking, I have a camera, or a laptop I’m not using, this team could really use it. Or you might want to help by sending a donation to the Honduras Bound2 project… message me. You WOULD then be taking part in something much BIGGER than you!