Stories of a good God

Posts tagged ‘soaking’

Provision in the midst of the storm…

Our family has a new game. We place our name in a hat, and we pull one name out each week for the following weekend. That one person chooses a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) and an activity, during which all phones are away, and each person’s attention is complete.

We started playing this game in early April in Melbourne’s first lockdown. We have continued ever since.

Anything reasonable is fair game. Activities include the purchase of fresh croissants and large tubs of Nutella; roast dinners; magnum ice-cream tubs; crepes with cream and melted chocolate; French takeaway; movies; Greek food; homemade Devonshire tea; walks; cards; board games; movies and this last weekend, my weekend, I chose a beautiful cheese platter with a family soak…

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a ‘soak,’ the best way to describe it is a spiritual spa. We find a place to rest comfortably, with a pen and paper nearby, and we sit quietly at the feet of the Father, and when done we note down what we see, hear, feel, know, smell, taste, receive, etc.

I felt it would be good for us – we always come out refreshed, invigorated, loved, and encouraged… much like what a day spa does for you in the natural. It teaches us to ‘… be still and know that [He] is God’ (Psalm 46:10 NIV). After we chat, laugh and discuss what each saw, and discuss what it may mean, and how it might apply.

So after our cheese platter on Sunday afternoon, we settled ourselves, popped on some music, and we quietened ourselves from the world’s noise. We made ourselves available to hang out with God – mindfulness with a Christian edge.

I don’t normally share these processes, or what I see or do publicly, but on this occasion I felt the Father ask me to share some of what He showed me:

I saw a river of dark blue, troubled waters. The waves were rough. Overhead, the dark clouds swirled as I swam upstream. I noted the dark skies above, and as I did, I sensed a raft below.

© John Towner with thanks from Unsplash

I looked and saw I was on a tree branch raft, strapped together with ties. I continued up the river and noted skies of greater darkness. The waters rose, rougher than before. The raft was semi-submerged and as I crouched down upon it, I saw it had a mast, and out of the waters it came… a yacht.

The yacht I stood upon was small, but I knew to stand mid point, over the ballast. I thought of a word I had received several years past, telling me to stand on the ballast where I would be most steady, central and upright. I was near the mast, and as I raised the sail to continue my journey, the seas became rough and darker. The waves on the water grew. Heavy rains released as stormy clouds swirled above and lightening struck the mask. My yacht became a cruise liner.

I looked and saw I was on the liner as I continued my journey through the waves and the storm. The cruise liner was steady, able and strong. I looked ahead, knowing again the journey would require more.

As I knew this and looked once more, the liner became an icebreaker.  I saw the start of the ice. I knew we broke the ice and as we did, I danced on the deck with sheer joy.

I saw more for myself, but I felt to release the above publicly as a way of encouragement. There was joy at each stage of the storm. There was also a sense of surprise at each upgrade and each new provision for the journey at hand. I sensed that He said and is saying to us all:

… at each stage of the journey, no matter how rough the storm, or what gets thrown at you, I will provide you with whatever you need to get through the storm.

However, as I write, I sense the joy in the dance will be our choice…

Please note that I was aware of the storm, but just as I felt overwhelmed, the upgrade came, and with each upgrade of vessel, came an ease in travelling through the storm. There was delight and joy found in the provision and upgrade as I went.

Looking at the vision further, I note that I travelled upstream. Upstream is where the Temple of the Lord resides. See Ezekiel 47 for where the river flows from, and to… it starts at the Temple, so to head upstream is to travel towards Him…

Our determination to enter in brings Him joy…

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God … (Psalm 46:4 NIV)

And I sense Him say:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (John 11:28-30 NIV)

And so, in a way that is not characteristic of me, I release this to the Body of Christ as a way of encouragement. I share the vision, in transparency of process, because I know many people read the posts on God is Good to learn and to grow, and by sharing the process, you see some ‘how’.

I genuinely feel that we are all being encouraged to know that regardless of the roughness of the journey at hand, God will always provide just what we need to get through the storm. And as we see his provision we will dance in the storm and in doing so we will watch Him break open the frozen lands ahead because…

God is Good!

 

*If you want more on soaking use the soaking tab or search associated words on my blog and you will find further stories to equip and encourage you to step into greater intimacy with the Father. I believe that it delights the Father’s heart the most when we choose to be with Jesus, sit with Father, or just hang with Holy Spirit, with no hidden agendas, and it is in that place that you truly discover that God is indeed Good!

Who are we anyway? My beloved daughter… My beloved son: God is Good!

Our family has been in a time of rapid transition.

It’s been a ride.

One aspect of our recent journey has been to start an online zoom group. We were always planning to start an online group, and covid-19 made us very aware of why this start up was on God’s heart.

Our zoom group comprises people we know and trust. These people will try things out online with us, give us feedback, cut us some slack, while we hopefully sow something of value into them. It’s still nerve-racking because, well, God has to show up!

As with all groups we have run, the first topic we covered was: ‘who are we anyway?’

‘A simple question to answer,’ you may say, but it is surprising just how many (read everyone) struggle with this topic when you scratch the surface. Our religious and societal beliefs are so entrenched – ‘we must perform to be loved’.

I believe that we all struggle with this idea – that we don’t earn our right at the table with God! God approves of us, having done nothing!

Mark 1:11 makes it clear:

‘And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”’ (Mark 1:11 NIV)

Check out this link to Mark 1:11. The different translations, of the same verse say the same thing. In essence:

‘You are my son, I love you, and I am well pleased with you.’

I find this scripture fascinating. It is at the point of Jesus being baptised by John, before Jesus starts his ministry years. Jesus has done nothing to earn his father’s love. It is from this place of identity Jesus enters the desert, fasts, is tempted by the devil and then steps out into his ministry. He has held firm to who he is and whose he is.

The Father loves and approves of Jesus- before Jesus does anything.

Jesus would have studied etc prior to this point in time, but… he had presumably done nothing. He had not stepped into his ministry works.

Every group we have run, we cover the same idea – we are loved, approved and accepted, without works, having done nothing. In fact, we don’t have to do anything to remain in this place; however, when we really catch this concept in its essence, the irony is we can’t help but do something in response.

‘111, My beloved daughter; My beloved son.’

What do you hear Him speak over you today?

Will you just sit and let Him whisper sweet nothings?

Will you let Him sing over you, as you rest in the nook of His arms?

Will you ‘…wait a little longer’ with Him?

He wants us whole, and fully comprehending that we are His beloved daughter or son, in whom He is well pleased. It is from this place of identity that we are to step out and go, and as we do we will shine with His goodness, with His light, with His love because…

God is Good!

Please, sit, breathe and listen. See what He says to you through this song:

‘A Little Longer’ by Jenn Johnson
I particularly like the version on the album ‘We Believe’ but I couldn’t find an authorised website link to that version. The ‘We Believe’ album version is a little quieter, and I personally find it more poignant.

 

“Give me an hour … it will be worth your time” … seeking first His Kingdom (Matt 6:33)…

… seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

The last week of the last school term was a very, very busy week.  My daughter was finishing at her school and, since it is important to honour those that sow into our children, I had a number of gifts to purchase to thank the various teachers … the class teacher, the music teacher, the art teacher, the extended maths teacher, the P.E. teacher, the principle, the office staff etc. Farewells were being said, new connections were being made at the new school and preparations were underway for my daughter’s 8th birthday party, scheduled for the first Saturday afternoon of holidays.  There was also the finalising of new uniforms, books, speaking with new teachers … life was busy …

In the middle of this week my daughter came home from swimming and announced that she did not know where her plate was (she has a plate to help realign her teeth).  We questioned her about it, and started looking all over the house, beginning with the most logical places to search and eventually looking in even the implausible places … including the dogs’ bed.

Over dinner, it was discussed how she had not taken her plate box to school and when questioned about what she did with it as she ate, she advised us that she had balanced it on her foot while she ate her lunch, and that perhaps it had fallen onto the ground … she could not remember.  After discussing this with her, and finding out that this was not the first time she had lost her plate (it had happened once before when it had been handed into the school office), we explained that we expected her to remember her plate box (with tears entailing) and that she needed to tell us if she needed help with setting up routines that assisted her in being responsible with this rather expensive, but necessary item. With the discussion ensuing, my husband went up to the school with a flash light to search for the plate in the school grounds … to no avail …

More tears ensued on his return and we explained that her second last day at school would need to be cut short in order to get to an appointment with the orthodontist, to have the plate replaced at a further cost of $450 … we all looked around the house again, and we prayed that the plate would miraculously turn up praying … “please do as you did for our camera God (an amazing story of restitution); please do as you did for Kitty Kat God (another amazing story of  restitution see  http://godisgoodforkids.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/god-cares-about-our-loveable-toys-and-his-children-too/  for the story and others on restitution on the God is Good for kids blog); and my daughter, red-eyed went to bed with another life lesson having been learnt …

The following day Thursday 22nd September was frantic.  We had an appointment that afternoon with the orthodontist, necessary since it took a week to get another plate made and fitted and we were due to leave for holidays in a week on Friday 30th September. We also had an appointment for her to have her eyes checked for new glasses, and the shopping to do to find appropriate gifts to say thank you to her various teachers, farewell gifts for the kids all decisions which she wanted to be involved in …

I dropped my 4-year-old off at kindy and thought that I had about one half to get a lot of other jobs done quickly, before I collected my daughter from school early, collected my son from kindy and took both children to the appointment … 

As I drove home, I could feel God calling on me to spend time with Him.  I “spoke back” saying … “but I have so much to do, I have to collect R early, get her to the orthodontist, get her to her eye appointment, and do all the shopping ready for the last day of school, and her birthday is in two days …”  I argued that I had not  been well for some time, and was finding it difficult to cope with it all, to keep all the balls in the air, and I felt guilty because I felt like His request was just another demand on my time and energy …. and still I felt Him calling to me …

He said: “have your lunch quietly with me and then sit and spend time with me … give Me an hour it will be worth your time …”

I “gave in”, a bit begrudgingly, but knowing that my attitude needed “adjusting” and I apologised to God.  I went straight home, made some lunch, put on some worship/soaking music by Isi de Gersigny, and sat down to spend an hour with Him …

I sat, I listened, I prayed as prompted and then lay back as I felt he wanted me to, in order to position myself to allow Him to just love on me.  I did not feel anything in particular but in faith I rested.  After some time I suddenly “saw” a picture of my daughters pink plate sitting on her pink and cream doona cover on her bed … I said to Him, “ok I will go up and take a look there, but you tell me when to go up the stairs to look … I will do this for You in faith …even though I feel a bit silly

I then soaked some more and when I felt God say “go now” I got up, went up our stairs to my daughter’s bedroom and looked on her bed, feeling a bit foolish …

I walked in and looked on the bed … it was not there. 

I pulled back the covers, I moved the pillows … it was not there. 

A bit disappointed, and knowing I needed to leave in about 10 minutes to collect her from school I thought I would recheck the pockets of the dressing gown and track suit pants that she had worn to swimming … it was not there either …

I turned from the cupboards feeling foolish … thinking that it was all my imagination, and I fought off the disappointment, reminding myself that God was good … when I glanced over at a large basket that doubles as a table top in my daughter’s bedroom, and by her night-light, there, as plain as day, was my daughters plate … 10 minutes before I had to leave to take her to get a new one refitted …

I gasped, barely believing what I saw and started to thank Him.  I spent the next 5 minutes or so repenting for my lack of faith, barely believing what had just happened and thanking Him for His kindness, thanking Him for His faithfulness … I then called my husband to ask him to cancel the orthodontist appointment …

As I told my husband the story he gasped … he said he had looked on that basket twice the night before … he swore it had not been there and I knew, had he looked there, which he said he had, he would have seen it there if it had been there … and yet it was so obviously there when I saw it …

God had said … “give me an hour, it will be worth your time” …

“seek first His kingdom … “ (Matthew 6:33)

It is a life scripture for me, I should have known better … the time was worth it … it always is!

An hour was redeemed in not having to race off to the orthodontist’s that afternoon; a further hour was saved for the follow-up appointment that had been booked in to take place prior to us going away (hence the rush for the fitting appointment); and, in that hour of time, He had saved us an outlay of another $450 … so, in fact, sitting with God had earned our family about $600 in “before tax dollars” … not a bad investment in time!

All in all it was an hour well spent … because, in addition, I got some time with my loving Father.  Before sitting down to be with Him, there was no thought of getting the plate back through doing what He said, whatever was going to happen, I had resolved to spend the time with Him … and regardless of the outcome I knew I would be refreshed, but in addition, time was redeemed, money was saved and my children saw their God come through for them and us as a family, again,  in yet another miraculous way because, as we all know …

God is good!

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