Posted in Journal

My mom has been…

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My mom has been ….

The stay-at-home mom
The working mom
the bread winner mom
The student mom
The teacher mom

The pastor’s wife mom
The pastor’s widow mom
The heartbroken mom
The protective mom
The forgiving mom

The single mom
The dating mom
The engaged mom
The bride mom
The remarried mom

The mom who lost a daughter
The grieving mom
The grieving mom
The grieving mom
The accepting mom
The peaceful mom

The injured mom
The helpless mom
The sick mom
The weak mom
The healed mom

The mom who cared for and lost her own precious mom long before an actual death.

The strong mom
God loving, God seeking, God fearing mom
The faith-filled mom
The Bible believing mom
The church going mom
The merciful mom
The praying mom
The ever evangelizing mom

She’s the mom of Preacher Mike
She’s the mom of Missy. I am always just Missy to her 😍
She’s the mom of Karen Lea who she’ll see again in heaven.
She’s the Ganny to 7 grandchildren and 4 great grands.
The mom to so many third graders and countless church kids!!!

No matter what in all these roles a few things are fact… my mom is a mom that perseveres, does it with a grace that is supernatural, and expects nothing less from those around her!!! If you know her and have been on the receiving end of her mothering…you can’t help but love her as your own.

 

 

Posted in Journal

He Hears, He Cares…

God has done amazing things in my life over the last 24 hours to encourage me and remind me that He hears, He cares, He answers prayer, 5C8DDE2B-6CC6-407A-9672-2D4C00D27EFAand He has and always had a plan for me and for my life…and His plans are very specific and personal.

Earlier this week, I was in a state of desperation in prayer. I felt that loneliness necessary for going deeper places with God. Necessary, but painful to the core. I cried out to God during morning prayer on Monday and asked Him to please have someone pray in agreement with Him for me! Nothing seemed to come of the prayer right then, but later I felt a lifting of the despair. Although the burden was still present and I could see it, I knew I was no longer the one carrying it.

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Yesterday my mom brought me a letter she had found in a box. It was written in 1980 and it was to me from my Religion professor at Gardner-Webb University. Dr. Ronnie Prevost was my professor but also went to my church. Over the few years I knew him, not only was he my professor but he was my Sunday School teacher and also a father figure. I babysat his kids, so I was close to his wife and all of his family. They loved me. When the boy that I thought I would marry showed up on my birthday with another girl Dr. Prevost is the one that saw how that sent me into a spiral of destructive behavior. My heart was broken and his heart was broken for me as he truly thought of me and treated me as a daughter. In the letter he wrote these words, “Melissa, you need to find your own special place and purpose in this world. You need to do your best to move forward. Just do your best, ok? And Melissa, always keep in mind Proverbs 3:6 ‘In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’”

That touched my heart to be reminded of how God has ALWAYS put into my path the spiritual parents, friends, and teachers needed to help with that particular part of the path…as I acknowledged Him. My dad died in 1975. The Prevost family was a major part of my life from 1977-1981 when they moved away to work at a college in Alabama. Sometimes I forget all the people God has woven together in His great plan to help raise me and encourage me, correct me and love me. Now please don’t misunderstand, I had the best and most Godly mom and so blessed to have her always there for me, but I have had quite a few others in many stages of life that God provided. I still do, praise God. What a good, good Father who blesses me so!

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Then today….

I received a text this morning from a lady I used to go to church with. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in almost 6 years. She wrote… I can’t get you off of my heart and mind this week. Not sure why, but the Lord keeps bringing your name to me several times a day. When that happens, I just pray.

He hears. He cares. He answers. He has a plan for you and for me. Always has. Still does. Always will.

‭‭

Posted in Journal

While Sitting at the Airport

image_540183366551203Last week I was sitting at the airport on the top floor of the parking deck. I was waiting for Dan to arrive and watching airplanes takeoff on either side of me at the same time, and it was happening about once a minute. That is a lot of planes flying in unison, and these are just two runways at CLT. You wonder how in the world can they keep it all straight? They can because there’s a plan in that Control Tower. They stay focused and in line with the plan. If something changes, they have to go to the controller for further directions and permissions as it relates to the rest of the plan. Things happen, and there are changes and cancellations and delays but not without other things being affected.

It made me think about my life. Right now we are in a fight. There are so many sicknesses and other issues on all sides. It is mind-boggling. Now I ask Jesus how do I proceed in this battle? He says by keeping your focus on Me and getting direction only from Me and My Word. He is the controller, and He is my strong Tower. While there is nothing wrong with wise counsel and it is needed. In the end, the direction must come from Him alone as we only see in part. He has the grand plan, and it is good. As I focus on Him, I get clarity and understanding and strength.

If I learned anything since TZ, it is that sometimes God shuts your voice down for a season for His reasons. Maybe He shuts us up because we are our worst distraction. Most people that are talking aren’t praying and listening for His voice. This place of no voice is not a comfortable place. But I am not fearful or wavering or ignorant. I am just trying to be obedient and stay in His will for my life and my call. Some days I feel like all I have left is my focus, and yet it feels like that just might be everything.

Sitting at the airport, I was amazed by air traffic controllers and the many pilots that follow such explicit instruction. They make it flow. But I sat more in awe of my God and Father who knows the plans He has for me even in the midst of all that goes on in this crazy world and chooses to speak to me and encourage me as I focus on Him at the airport.

Thank you, Holy Spirit.

Posted in Journal

Twenty-two Nations

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How big is your world?

I love that WordPress gives yearly statistics on my Blog. They don’t share who reads but instead a list of countries and the number of “hits” per country for that blogging year.

Now, I don’t write so that others will read it; I just like to express myself through writing and it helps me process..but I am always aware that since this is a social media platform that it is visible and there is the possibility that it will be seen. It can be seen, but until recently it hasn’t. In fact, I have been blogging for ten years on this site, and never had over one or two hits a year.

Sometimes we think what we do doesn’t matter or that we don’t touch anyone in any way through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc…but looking at the list of the nations I am reminded that everything we put on social media or speak out of our mouths wherever we are…goes out there and has some effect. These “hits” represent people that were searching for something and landed on my website. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, that is a pretty sobering thought. I need to be as careful about what I write and share, as what I speak and even think. You do too. The world is searching and they are watching, reading, and listening and you may not even know it….until after the fact. Do my words represent Jesus well? Do they share the Gospel? Are they loving and encouraging words? Do my words and thoughts line up with Philippians 4:8?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

 

My Pastor often says that we may not be able to go into all the world, but each one of us can all go into all of our own world. I never dreamed my world was so vast and I am reminded of some of the scriptures I have prayed so many times. Scriptures like:

 

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. ~ Isaiah 6:8

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. ~ Psalm 2:8

Since I began praying these scriptures, I have had the privilege to personally go to Romania, Haiti, and Tanzania on Mission Trips. What a blessing. I worked for a season at a local food pantry sharing the gospel and praying with the people that came there. Incredible times of ministry. These are all very real mission fields but the majority of my days seem to have little to do with missions and sharing the Gospel but instead looks more like me studying and writing and learning it for myself. I have often wondered why “waste” so much time making sure my writing and the look of a website was pleasing for my audience of “me?” Maybe, God put that desire there?

 

When we “sit” and wait on His calling to spring forth in some BIG way, we sometimes miss what God is doing in small ways. We sit and sometimes think maybe God said “no” to our prayers or that He wants us to wait longer and prepare more, or maybe we think He isn’t answering our prayers at all because it doesn’t happen in our timetable or as we expect. I didn’t expect this but look at the nations listed in my report -in order of the number of “hits” received for this past 12 months. Twenty-two nations…all over the world.

 

United States of America, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Malaysia, Spain, Philippines, Indonesia, France, Sweden, Chile, Cambodia, Taiwan, Armenia, Japan, Colombia, Canada, Romania, Algeria, Moldova, Rwanda, Austria

 

Only God knows His plans, and only God knows where the seeds you are sowing (whether they be good or bad seeds) are falling and taking root. Maybe these are just words on a page but they are out there going, going, going. I can honestly say, I had no idea. What an eye-opener!
Posted in Journal

The Four Dreams Of December

I have been praying that God would give me dreams again like He gave when I first entered the prayer ministry. I had so many dreams and visions back then. Well I asked and He gave me not one but four last month. So interesting to look at them as a whole and see what God is saying. Also, that three of them involved one particular young adult woman.

12/11/2017 – We were in church and there was a newborn baby…a little girl in pink. I was walking across the sanctuary and she stood to her feet, grabbed my hand, and started walking alongside me. Everyone was looking and applauding. I was intrigued by it but I felt very disturbed. Not because she stood and grabbed my hand and walked so much but because as far as I knew newborn babies were just not supposed to walk immediately and I wondered if it was bad for her development to skip so many stages of development.

Dream of 12/26. I was brought before a board of three people of different ages. I knew two of them (a man in his 30s and a girl in her 20s and the third was older and unknown to me though I felt I had heard of her). At their request, I brought to the meeting this big book containing all of my writing and the journal of my thoughts, ideas, and dreams. The man sitting across from me reached over gently and took the book. He said I must take this away and you must leave immediately. I asked why…? And he said there is a spirit that has attached itself to you and seeks to steal what is written here. He said it steals by weaving words of doubt and bitterness and fear amongst your dreams and ideas. So until you are free nothing in this book is safe. The other two shook their heads in agreement and I walked out of the room….leaving it all behind for safe keeping. I woke up and was very troubled and fell on my knees crying out to God for deliverance from this spirit. It was a spirit of negativity.

Two dreams 12/30/2017…in one i was on a train with my church family and I was sitting next to a young adult girl from my church. We all fell asleep because it was a long journey. When we reached our destination the train conductor woke us up and told us to disembark (they use that wording on cruises). When I tried I could not get off because my new white tennis shoes were gone. Were they stolen? Not sure, but the ground outside was so jagged that I couldn’t step foot off without shoes. The train conductor led me to a pit of old shoes but I couldn’t find any my size and my new white ones were not there. He directed me to stay on the train and I returned to my seat.

2nd one I went to a concert in the middle of a poor neighborhood. Everyone there was dressed in black. As we drove to park our car, I thought i have black on too but I knew I would not blend in with this crowd. I knew I would Blend better with the poor neighbors. We went to park and one of the young adult girls from my church was the parking attendant. She showed me where to park. I said the rules I was sent say I should go to the space ahead of me. She said no you have to park here so you can depart quickly if things became dangerous. So I did.

Posted in Journal, Missions

Dust

It was the last night in TZ and the team was heading back from Safari. It was a four-hour trip and we were all very tired. Halfway back, there was a traffic jam in Arusha so our guide decided to go the back roads to Moshi. The back road was Nelson Mandela Highway. It was a road sometimes paved, most times not. We passed the Nelson Mandela University. Very middle-class area in TZ, I thought.

And then he made a left-hand turn and the scenery changed. In an instant, we were on a small dirt road in the middle of a remote village. I grabbed my camera but just as I did I heard the Holy Ghost tell me to take no pictures so I put the camera down. Oh my, people everywhere, dressed every way, animals everywhere. No cars except those trying to get through. Thatch roofs and mud houses. We got about halfway through the village and a young girl was standing on a bridge yelling and pointing at us. She was mad and they said trying to put curses on us. We rolled by on that dirt road leaving clouds of dust and a group of people covered by it – breathing it unavoidable.

And with that realization, it started – the tears. I started crying. Weeping at first but then it turned into streams of tears and didn’t stop until we arrived in Moshi. Believe me…I tried to stop. Believe me…I felt like I was causing discomfort in the van and so I tried. But the Spirit of the Lord had fallen on me and what He allowed me to see on those streets even through my tears and what He allowed me to see of my own soul overwhelmed my heart.

Maybe the love of Jesus starts by not thinking our own dust is more precious than others very lives. Having some respect and love for who they are even if they exist with just the clothes on their back, a goat or two and even if we know they worship a false god. Having some respect and love even if they hate us. Having some respect and love most especially if we are just passing through. I am not sure an unreached people can be reached for the Lord by westerners (missionaries or not) who care more about their own dust (time and their own physical conditions) more than relationships built on love and respect. That takes time and while it can be dusty and dirty is never that intentionally.

One of my thoughts as we rolled through – How can those Tanzanian villagers do so much with so little? How can we Americans do so little with so much? The point of my even writing this down is for my own remembrance, as I have no pictures to show of it. Most people will never see this or care what I write in this blog. I keep my writing fairly private…but I also write it to say this…

LOVE your neighbor…and sometimes that looks like just slowing down.
Posted in Journal, Missions

Common Threads

7 days until Moshi, Tanzania, Africa!!!

Thinking this afternoon about how God gives each of us His assignment and His message for a time such as this. I am going to Africa because that is my assignment. You are going somewhere too and that somewhere is yours. Our team is made up of seven women and two men. We are all heading out as a team to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Only one message but the Lord has laid on each of our hearts a different aspect of that message to share. Even the means of our planned deliveries are very different and unique to each of us. Different but with a common thread holding us together tightly. The differences are all needed and necessary. I am I. You are you. Different individuals and yet the same Body…and therein does much beauty lie. It is glorious really. Don’t you love the Lord?

Here is a very, very brief summary showing the common thread for all the messages, crafts, activities, and gifts that God has laid on my heart and helped me prepare for TZ!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14

He sent His Word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. ~ Psalm 107:20

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. ~ Psalm 119:11

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. ~ John 14:21

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

Thanks for all those that are praying. Your prayers are surely carry me!!!

 

Posted in Journal

Hinds’ Feet

The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. Habakkuk 3:19

Over the last couple of days, I have been reading again Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard and once again, I am amazed and changed by this little book.

Hind’s Feet is an allegory similar to Pilgrim’s Progress, except in this book, a girl called Much Afraid is going to the High Places where the Shepherd lives. Along the way, she has to persevere under and through the frequent attacks of her relatives – Pride, Craven Fear, Bitterness, Resentment and others. She can only make progress as she holds the hands of her two companions that the Shepherd gave her for the journey, Sorrow and Suffering.  This book was to me a teaching on the role of suffering and its relationship to sacrifice and the surrendering of one’s will completely to God.

After the Bible, this is the one book to date, that helped me most in changing my life….and I have read many, many books. These last years, I have gone through my own process of overcoming fear and moving from a life controlled by it to a life of increasing intimacy with God, where fear can’t abide. So this book is in many ways my story, but it is also a story that helped to start that story. I think it is a fabulous book and I will highly and always recommend to anyone that struggles with any degree of fear in their life and yearns for victory over it.

(Thanks to God for using this book to help me overcome and thanks to Lynn for giving me this book two years ago– What a gift!)

Posted in Journal

Crucified with Christ – WOW!

Co-crucified, co-buried, co-raised, co-seated, co-heir 2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. If we are the body of Christ then we were crucified with Him; we were buried, raised, resurrected with Him; we are seated with Him and share all the blessings with Him. Now. but…if we are the body of Christ….I mean we really are His body, then He is also what lives in us. It is not us living but Him through us. I can’t yet explain (but you know I will try eventually) in my own human words what I get from that but it making me crazy…in a good way : )

Posted in Journal

Crucified with Christ – WOW!

Recently, I heard Winnie Banov speak on the following: “Co-crucified, co-buried, co-raised, co-seated, co-heir.” When I heard this message, it excited me because I felt it held revelation for me but I couldn’t quite grasp that same revelation. Then last night during Bible study on Ephesians, Pastor Sammy said that we were crucified with Christ and when He started explaining what that meant to each of us individually, I felt the Holy Spirit flow through my physical body and I FELT that revelation in a very real way. It jolted me. Is that possible to get a revelation in your mind and spirit and body all at once? A knowing in your body? Strange to me how I feel.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

So my thoughts….If we are the body of Christ then we were crucified with Him; we were buried, raised and that also means that we were resurrected with Him. Are we seated with Him? What!!! Could it be that we are seated with Him and share all the blessings with Him, now?

Also…if we are the body of Christ….I mean we really are His body, then He is also what lives, really lives, in us since we no longer live. Melissa is dead; God lives. wow… It is not us living but Him through us. I can kind of understand it, even if in an extremely elementary way, but I can’t yet explain (but you know I will try eventually) in my own human words what I get from that. It is making me crazy…but in a good way : )