What would you say if I told you the craziest thing?

As Facebook would say, "What’s on your mind?"  Thinking 

Weeeelllllll, Let me tell you…V-I-S-I-O-N. 

I have been thinking about that for almost two solid years now.  It is kind of crazy how it just keeps coming back into my mind over and over.  I believe God is doing something in my heart but for the life of me I have no idea what.  I know that God does not do things conventionally nor does He always reveal what He is doing.  But if you walk with Him for any length of time you do know that He will give you glimpses or nudges.  Trying to decipher those glimpses or nudges is a whole other subject.  I believe that He has been trying to communicate to me about my future and the way I am to go. (because I believe Him when he says in His word to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding and in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths")  I just have not seen the ‘paths’ very clearly. 

Most of the these past five years have been consumed with looking back.  Grief, loss, recovering and healing.  But now I stand in a place in my life where all I can do is look forward.  I even have trouble turning my head backwards or looking in the rear view mirror, imagine that?  It really isn’t that I don’t want to it just that it does not matter any longer.  I feel like Tom Hanks’s character in Castaway at the end of the movie where he is standing at a crossroads and is looking down all four of the roads going in different directions and you are wondering which way will he go?   What are his possibilities?  We know down one road there is the possibility of a relationship with a very beautiful and talented woman who seemed as if she was no longer looking back either.  But what about the other three roads?  What did she say, one went north to Cananda and the others?  Not sure… That is me.

I wish I could say that I look down one road and I see a wonderful handsome & talented man just waiting for me to knock on his door…that would be exciting for sure!! Tongue out LOL.  But no, I do not see that.  So that brings me back to the thing that has been knocking around my head for two years.  V-I-S-I-O-N.  The bible says where there is no vision the people perish.  That verse just happens to be in the chapter of proverbs that speaks on actions, correction and being obedient so I may be stretching a bit here to say that you if you have no vision for what can be or what should be then you will "perish".  While perish means to destroy or die it also means to ruin or spoil and that is exactly what I think it means in that context.  Just as a vision of not disciplining a child will ruin him,  we are ruined if we do not see possibilities in our future.  We get discouraged and we tend to live in a rut.  We give up on ever having dreams again.  We don’t even imagine all the wonderful things God may bring into our lives that could be just around the corner. 

So here I stand looking this way and that way wondering what next?  Let me tell you a crazy story….I am not at all sure why but I feel compelled to tell you the craziest story that has kind of left me puzzled to this point…

It started when I began attending a new start up church two years ago.  The church was in the process of finding a short term permanent location for us to meet.  About a month after I started attending I had a dream.  The dream was about finding a building.  The building that would be used for our church.  It was an old warehouse.  In the dream the warehouse was owned by a man who was a Christian but he had passed away.  I was driving by the building and saw a ‘For Lease’ sign.  When I stopped to inquire, the man that was outside the building was the Christian man’s son.  I explained to him why I was interested in the building and he immediately told me his father would have been pleased that God would want to use his building for a new church.  He told me before his father had passed that his father had had a dream and in his dream he saw a cross and bridge in front of the building but had no idea what it was all about.  So then I informed him that the name of our church was CrossBridge Church.  Then I woke up.

For weeks, even months, that dream would not go away.  I thought about it during the day all the time.  I kept thinking to myself how cool would that be if that really happened?  I remember fantasizing one day about the building and what it would look like inside and then started thinking about how it would have to be remodeled to work as a church. It was so crazy because I kept thinking I was becoming obsessed.  And then a thought occurred to me, is God giving me a vision?  Is this something that He would do?  I secretly hoped that maybe it would come true.  And then all these other thoughts came into my head about how it would happen. The idea grew and it became something almost real. That went on for 6 months or so. 

Later that year I ended up moving to the same area where I had found the building in my dream.  It was an answer to a personal prayer I had been praying for months.  Many personal prayers actually, none of which had to do with the church building.  Out of the blue and totally unexpected but I knew it was of God.  One day I was driving down a road near where I now live and I saw a warehouse and that dream came back to my mind.  I thought about all the time and energy I spent thinking about it back then and wondered again…God are you trying to show me something?  But nothing happened. 

I went back to my daily routine without much more thought to that building but it got me to thinking about vision. The fact that I had no real vision for my personal life.  I think I mentioned this in a couple of past blogs regarding having hopes and dreams.  I do know that God has a vision for me.  He says in Jeremiah 29:11,  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Just how does He plan to do that?  What does that mean?  Is He giving me glimpses and I am missing them?  Do I even have to know?  Did Moses know when God told him he would deliver his people from Egypt and then sent him to the desert for 40 years?  Did Joseph know when he had the dream about the sheaves of grain bowing down to him and then was sold into slavery by his brothers? Emphatically, no.

So my mission right now is to find God’s vision for my life.  In all areas.  My walk with Him, my ministry, my personal health and well being, my finances and for my family.  I know what God expects but I don’t know what He wants to do with it.  Does that make sense?  I truly want what He wants because I know if I set out to do what I want it will inevitably fall apart and I would be hard pressed to recover in the years I might have remaining on this earth.  I want my life to count for Him, my children’s lives to count for Him and if nothing else that may be in and of itself a vision, you think?

I am reading a book by Andy Stanley called Visioneering (no I did not stumble upon it…God placed it in my hands Smile) and so far there is so much I am connecting with…I keep smiling as I read the words cuz I know He is speaking to me through it….my heart is a flutter…Red heart…but here is a wonderful thought

The soul never thinks without a picture ARISTOTLE

Photobucket

Now that I got that off my chest….Wink
Grace to you all
shell

P.S.  will keep you updated to how my Vision Quest is going….prayers would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!!!

Look At All the Lonely People

 

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name

Nobody came

Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave

No one was saved.

All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

All the lonely people

Where do they all belong ?

the Beatles “All The Lonely People”

 

Loneliness comes in all forms. At least that is what I have observed.  I read somewhere the definition of loneliness is unwanted solitude.  It also said it can be described as the absence of identification, understanding or compassion.  It may also be described as a yearning for love or companionship, which is unfulfilled, but cannot seemingly be achieved, or may stem from the lack of love in one’s life, and hence may lead to emotion’s such as rejection, despair and low self-esteem.

Wow, does that all sound familiar.  Too familiar.  It seems to be a recurring theme in my life, and no pun intended, but I am very sure that I am not alone in this.  From time to time I come face to face with this unwelcome state of being.  I have had numerous conversations with close friends on this subject lately.  I do not claim to know any cures or answers to the question asked by others and on occasion myself, why? Why did he leave me?  Why did God take him?  Why can’t I find someone to love me?  Why do I have to go through this alone?  What will I do now that I am alone?  Why does it hurt so much?  All these questions are universal.  One size fits all.  No one wants to talk about it really, but when it rolls over you like a bulldozer, most are desperate to tell someone why they are flattened on the road like a pancake.  Please listen to me?  Won’t you just lend me your ear?  Then maybe, when I say it out loud the excruciating pain will turn to a dull ache.  As the words pour out, the one listening understands, puts an arm around the shoulder and that becomes the balm.  Comfort!

We just came through the Holiday season where the numbers of lonely people rise.  Personally, I think the numbers don’t really rise, I think that people are more acutely aware of their loneliness.  Their loss is compounded by the fact that they each have to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of what they are going to do on Thanksgiving Day if they have no one to share it with?  What will they do on Christmas day if they have no one to buy them a gift, to surprise them?  Who will say Happy New Year to them or kiss them when clock strikes midnight?  Those are three days out of 365 days of a year that cause so much anxiety to those whose hearts are empty.  Then comes Valentines Day…don’t even get me started.

A friend who recently lost her husband this past year is just now experiencing such loss in the face of her future.  She is still having to face “the firsts” of her year.  The first holiday without her spouse.  The first anniversary without flowers from him.  It is heartbreaking to know the pain she is still going to feel in the coming days.  Another friend who just recently divorced is facing the future alone.  Wondering if she will ever find love again.  What if she dies alone, she asks?  Yes, she did ask…she’s only in her 30’s, I rolled my eyes and said, “I am way older than you, I am the one who will die alone!”  I can be such a pessimist.  Still another friend has been alone for some time. The loneliness flows over her in waves.  It is unbearable at times.  Not knowing what God may or may not have in store.  One friend of mine is facing the empty nest.  Her whole life wrapped up in caring for her children and soon they will no longer be in her home for her dote on.  She wonders what she will do with her time. 

"So friend, when your nights are filled with loneliness and your days are dark with discouragement, when you just can’t seem to read or pray or to do anything else, just sit still and let God love you." Elisabeth Elliot

I can relate to each one of these ladies.  Loss, divorce, loneliness sweeping over at unexpected times and soon facing the empty nest, while several years down the road, the time seems to loom over me.  As the years go by it never gets easier.  It is the same wave of emotion, never changing its powerful surge, that besets me without notice.   Depending on my physical status, strength of faith and state of mind at the moment of the wave will determine whether I remain standing or get knocked on my behind.  I can tell you that I have been down more than up a few times.

They say loneliness is a disease that spreads through society. Loneliness May Be Catching Maybe there is a clue in the article for all us lonely-prone people.  Find non-lonely people to hang with and let them rub off on you.

I know I have witnessed the destructive side of loneliness. It ravages the brokenhearted and weak.  It brings many to a dark place that is hard to come out of.  It sends a myriad of others to a bottle or a pill.  It takes no prisoners.  It also does not discriminate.  It takes the young, old, any ethnicity, women and men.  It can be seen in acts of desperation and harm.  It shows no mercy.  But the one thing it is not is comforting.  It certainly does not bring joy or peace.

Look back at the previous paragraph and replace the word loneliness with the word sin.  Now I am not saying that feeling lonely is a sin but I do think Satan uses it to cause us to quit, to give up or worse to turn our back on God himself.  God gave us our emotions.  He wanted us to experience all the good the world had to give.  But it was the sin in the Garden of Eden that opened our eyes to good and evil.  To shame, to hate and to loneliness.  I believe God uses the loneliness in our lives to draw us to Him.  He gives us the choice of where we will find comfort.

"I am oftimes driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

Abraham Lincoln

I suppose many who read this think that I am suffering from loneliness right this very minute.  You would be far from the truth.  Actually I have been suffering from pain in my back since Saturday.  Today is the first day that I could stand up straight and walk without grabbing a hold of something.  Yes I had something else to focus on in the past few days.  Why do I tell you about my back problem?  Well it brings up my next point.   It all comes down to what and who we believe and what we allow to consume our thoughts.  I have learned over these past five years that the greatest weapon I have within me is the Holy Spirit.  Why do I have the Holy Spirit?  Because when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior He came to live inside me through that which is called the “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”.  It is the spirit that allows me to overcome my sins, my struggles and temptations.  But I must allow the spirit to work.  If I refuse His help then I refuse my greatest victory. 

How do I, Michelle, overcome the loneliness that seems to cripple me at times?  I learn to work with the Holy Spirit within my mind.  I hide God’s scripture in my heart that speaks truth to the loneliness.  Then as the truth is spoken aloud the loneliness finds it purpose in my life.  What do you mean?  Let me explain. 

The verse Hebrews 13:5b says, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 

Is that truth? Do you believe it?  If I believe it then I know that He, Jesus is right there beside me.  And He will not leave me.  Then I am not alone. 

My flesh might say, “but Lord I can’t see you, I want a person, someone with skin on.”

Then the Holy Spirit speaks to me, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:3

Do you believe that?  If I believe it then I know there is nothing or no one who can satisfy or fill me as the Lord can.  Then I will be filled

My flesh tries one more time, “but Lord, I want to be loved by someone!”

And quicker than the blink of an eye, within my spirit, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

Do you believe that?  How can I argue with that?  How can I remain lonely?  I know that I am loved. 

The loneliness is gone!

What is the purpose of loneliness in my life, you ask?  Maybe in a few days, or weeks, maybe even years I won’t have to even have this conversation with my Lord.  I will just know and the “loneliness” becomes “fulfillment”.

Do you believe that?

With grace and much hope for your fulfillment in Him in this new year….shell

New Year, New life and New Hope!

 A new profile pic…
Christmas 1992 Ironton, Missouri
Michelle holding Alexandra, Mom holding Benjamin and Grandma Pope

Happy, Happy New Year everyone!  I hope the holidays were good to you.  My last post I had stated that I had no expectations of what lay ahead…I just sat back and waited to see what God would do.  He never lets us down for sure.  It was peaceful and contained a few surprises.  I enjoyed the time off work and am so very grateful for His provisions!!!!

I have a few new post I am working on.  I have been very reflective these past few months.  I guess there is a time to sit back and listen before we speak and I am pretty sure that is what it has been for me.  I have always wanted to use my blog as a means to share my walk with God, my victories and failures in hopes of connecting with others.  Perhaps being an encouragement!  So when words do not come I take it as a sign from God to just sit and listen.  Most often I pray before I write, while I write and after I post.  I don’t want anything I say to become a stumbling block to others but to the contrary, to edify. 

I did not set a New Years resolutions this year…I just prayed that I would please God in every area of my life.  With no compromises, no deviations!  2009 was a renewing of sorts for me, I believe to prepare me for big things in 2010.  I am excited for what lays ahead.  February will be 5 years since my life took a turn….the life I knew before that is a distant memory that does not hold the pain it once did.  The sting returns in a flash at times but no longer lingers.  That is a praise to God.  He is bringing beauty back into my life, as He promised!  Not in tangible things but in my mind and spirit.  Maybe that will come through my words that He gives me to share…we shall see!!!

Anyway I will keep this short as I have some things for later…
In the mean time be well and keep warm!!!
Grace to you
Shell