I’ve been reminded so much lately about the actual state of my insides, my heart, my emotions, my soul satisfaction and ultimately the undeniable need for a Savior to heal me and keep me.
My husband and I moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere Oregon, a little over a year ago, for the ministry. It will be fun they said, it’s the best place to be “right in the center of His will” they said. It’s been nothing short of the most stretching season of my life. I’m keenly aware of the spiritual maturing that is happening, and it’s not so comfortable most days.
Now, there have been moments of pure joy and satisfaction, and there have been undeniable miracles and healings. So much Spiritual growth in myself, my husband, our marriage and the women God has so graciously put in my life to mentor and disciple through our church and in my Life Group. Shout out to my WoW gals, you know who you are!! (WoW stands for ‘Women of the Word’, a nickname that our vibrant, sassy friend Shelia gave our Life Group, and it just stuck, I love it when that happens)
Anyways, as I lie awake a few nights ago I felt like the Holy Spirit whispered to me, in a way I’d grown so accustomed to in Nashville, and in this season stopped hearing. Which was really that I’d stopped listening as intently, maybe all together. He whispered revelation accompanied with practical application and understanding that made sense to me. I thought about jotting down a note, and didn’t. He reminded me again the next day of the same information, same revelation. He also reminded me how I’ve asked multiple times over the years to have fresh revelation and wisdom downloaded to me, to share with those out there that didn’t grow up in the Church or with Jesus and may have a hard time connecting the dots (which was me x10 when I first met Jesus). So why didn’t I write a quick note, jot it down to remind myself to put my thoughts down about this and share it???
I’m not 100% sure, but part of it has to do with stewardship, part of it has to do with the attitude I choose in the midst of situations I don’t really want to be in, part of it my soul satisfaction, and ultimately learning how to handle myself when I want to run away from the very place God has me for this season.
This post will not be the revelation I got this week, that will be next week. Stay tuned!
For now I am going to share three things that have helped me get over the hump of being far away from the South, my friends, great food and music, and warm weather year round, things I really love in this life. Three things I’ve learned in this season, that I don’t think I could have if I’d stayed where I was, comfy and cozy in my beloved Nashville. I knew them in my head, but didn’t have the chance to learn them in my life until now.
Sacrifice of Praise
It’s one thing to give God all the glory, honor and praise when you are super happy, fulfilled and living your best dream. It’s a completely different ball game to praise Him, when you feel like Daniel in the Lions den. (I realize this seems extreme, but I’ve met multiple people who’ve said they cried everyday for 6 months when they first moved here, and others over a year!!!) So of course there are not any Lions about to eat me alive, but some days it sure feels like it. David said in 2 Samuel 24:24 that he would not offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing. I’m learning what it’s like to live that life, the life of Sacrificial Praise in the midst of every situation. An oldie but goodie worship song “Awesome In this Place” has brought me to my knees more times than I can remember since we’ve been here. I’ve cried out and reminded myself that He is awesome right here, in the middle of a place I can’t even believe I live most days. He is awesome, always awesome. Of course I believe there will be — hopefully sooner than later 🙂 seasons again when it doesn’t seem like such a sacrifice to praise, but until then I am learning this. I can’t look past the fact that I will most certainly need this maturity with Him as life unfolds. It doesn’t surprise any of us that life has it’s valleys as much as it does it’s mountain tops. Learning to praise in both and along the way is vital!
Much like the above, we are to enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise it tells us in Psalm 100:4. I’ve learned right in the middle of things, how to thank Him. Thank Him for what I do have, things I take for granted most days. Thank you Lord that I have a roof over my head, thank You that for 31 years my heart has been beating and I’ve done not one thing to make that happen, thank You that I have ten fingers, ten toes, my hearing, my sight, that I can walk and talk. Thank you Jesus I have You, and Your salvation. Thank you Lord that I have multiple bibles in my house, and I can read Your word anytime I want without persecution. (There are so many in the world who would do anything to own a bible and read it openly whenever they feel like it, but have middle of the night worship services where one person has a bible so they don’t get caught. Who am I to complain that I don’t live where I want, forgive me Father.) So when I notice the negative sneak in, because we all know the devil is just that, sneaky — I try to stop in that very moment, look around and thank Him for five things I see in that exact moment. For example these would be my five as I look around from writing this:
- Thank you Lord for this coffee shop I am sitting in while I write
- Thank you Lord for this computer that I’m able to utilize to write, because you gave me an awesome job that supplies me with a computer.
- On that note thank you Lord for the job you gave me that I’m not one bit qualified for and I’m able to work remote from my home, or a coffee shop.
- Thank You that the place I live has GORGEOUS mountain views.
- Thank You that I am able to take a deep breath while I lay my heart out here for the world to read.
- Thank You for coffee – yum yum yum, I love coffee!!
Ok that was six but you’ll see, you get carried away when you start thanking Him, you notice so many small wonderful things, all around you, it changes the position of your heart!
Unsuspecting Friendship: This is two fold.
The first half being Seth and I’s friendship has grown exponentially, our marriage is the best it’s ever been. We’ve become each other’s best friends like we couldn’t have when we had all our besties so close, minutes to miles away. I know without a doubt in my mind at the top of my “list of reasons I’ll be glad we came to Oregon” will be the friendship we discovered, grew and nurtured in our marriage. It was unsuspected and I’m overwhelmed some days at how amazing my hubby truly is!!
The second part is learning to look at those who are not who I’d normally befriend. I mean if you know me at all you know I love just about everyone I meet and can make friends with anyone, and I pray that never changes. I’m not one to look at socioeconomic status, or color, or ability (my dad taught me that and I am so thankful, add that to my list above 🙂 What I’m talking about are people that become some of your best friends, who you do life with weekly or daily. My closest friend in this season is an 80 year old woman from our church. We met her and her husband the day we arrived in Madras. Now I know there could be so many thoughts about this woman, her health status, her background, what does she look like, etc. etc. I’m telling you she has more energy and spunk than I do!! Her name is Nancy, Nan for short, which I love the most. She has listened to me, loved me, prayed with me and for me and become truly one of my best friends here. No matter where life takes us, I know I’ll always keep in touch with Nan! I had a dream a few months ago and it’s a long story (for another time) but in it I was going through a tough situation, and the most random person helped me out and I didn’t recognize her. When I woke up the Holy Sprit spoke to me that someone who I’d least expect would be walking with me through this very tough season, and that’s my Nan!! If you would have told me my best friend in Oregon was going to be an 80 year old woman with kids and grown grandkids, I literally would have laughed in your face. Not that I wouldn’t have ‘met’ this person and even loved them, but to be my very closest ally, my confidant, and someone who I laugh so hard with — I wouldn’t have believed you. So I’ve learned to look for the unexpected, keep my eyes open for it, God is always showing up, always providing, I had to get out of my own head on what I thought that “should look like”. Here is a picture of Nan and I, and another amazing unsuspected friend Candy, she’s from the Philippines – her and her husband moved here from San Francisco two years ago, and yes she cried too! These two were so unexpected, and in the greatest way!! I’m learning to look for the unexpected from Jesus in this season, and it’s really fun!!
Thanks for staying with me friends and family, near and far. I am back, I am pursuing those things that set my soul on fire. For His glory and my good. And I am excited to share more, write more; more life, more laughs, more revelation, more raw, vulnerable, authentic truth from my insides. Because that’s what we all crave after all, isn’t it – to be our real selves.
All my love,
P.S stay tuned for next weeks post, I really think it’s going to have a few ah ha moments for all of us, because the Holy Sprit is in the business of ah ha!