I know I know, it’s about time for another update We have finally moved out of Florida after spending 3 months this winter bouncing around different campgrounds and RV parks. There were many awesome things that occurred this winter, but towards the end we started realizing just how much more important it is to teach others about who they are in Christ and empower them, so they can go and do the same.
We often pray for people and would see God either heal them or touch their hearts, sometimes to the point of tears. But then it stopped. We would pray and nothing would happen. God began pressing on Joe to teach them about their identity in Christ and who Christ has called us to be. As he did this, he would tell them to go home and pray because as a believer in Jesus Christ, they had the same Holy Spirit. It was amazing to hear the testimonies, days later, of how they did this and the pain left. One gentleman when he prayed for himself off and on for a few hours was completely healed of TMJ. His daughter suffered from night terrors and one night she was being tormented by one. He went to her and used his newly understood authority and commanded the night terror to go. She fell right back asleep and last I heard, she hasn’t dealt with them since. We saw many other moves of God where people were healed and so excited.
As we moved back up the coast we stopped off in South Carolina at a little campground to visit with two families that happened to be passing through. One afternoon, Joe was standing outside talking to his friend. They saw a man who’s hands were shaking. Joe’s friend said, “let’s go pray for him”. This guy had gone inside his camper, but they both felt like they should go pray. So they went and knocked on the door and our friend asked the gentleman if he had the beginning of Parkinsons. This guy said he did. His friend asked if he could pray for him, but the guy declined, so they left him be. The next day, we were getting ready to leave and Joe saw this guy outside. Joe went over and talked to him a little about God and this man (in his 60s) said that his mom had always pushed a lot of rules when it came to God and religion and he didn’t want anything to do with it. Joe began to share with him that it wasn’t about the rules, but a loving father who just wants a relationship with him. As Joe shared, he said he could just see the walls coming down from this man. When he finished, Joe told the man that if he wanted prayer to just come let him know. This man said, “Go ahead and pray.” He was now smiling and Joe prayed for him. As we left the campground, this man gave us the biggest wave goodbye. It was just amazing to watch the love of God soften a mans heart, who had been hurt by religion so long ago.
We headed back to Nicholasville (our hometown) for a few weeks to visit with family, friends, and get a little rest and relaxation. Then we went up to Cincinnati. I got to visit with some family and some old friends. God did some great things in these visits and one of the biggest highlights for me was getting to hangout with my older brother again. It was such a blessing!
We then headed to Muncie, Indiana to watch Joe’s daughter graduate college. We hadn’t seen her in a while but we are excited for her. She is now married and expecting a beautiful baby in the fall. It was a wonderful time getting to spend with her and her husband.
After a whirlwind of visiting and watching God move in incredible ways, it felt like we hit a wall. We left Muncie with little to no money and trusting God, we went to a truck stop. We had been in this situation before and figured, He had us there for a reason. But as one night turned to another and another, I will be honest, we began to grow weary. God, why are we here? Did we miss it? We keep listening and it just felt like silence. Do we even hear from you? Its amazing how just a small bump in the road (ie…it doesn’t go how “WE” expect) and all he has done for us, seems to flee our memory. So Joe and I prayed one night and asked God where we were to go. Joe heard North. I saw a yellow truck and on the side was a “dollar general” sign. I was not feeling “spiritual” and to be honest, I was pretty depleted. So, on what little gas we had, we went about 20 miles north to Marion, Indiana. We pull into the truck stop and right away we see a dollar general truck. We started laughing. Well, then we saw another and another. It was crazy. So Joe looked up dollar general and found out their distribution center was about about a block away from this truck stop. LOL. So, we took it as a sign we were in the right place. We got out and walked around, but no doors opened for us to share with anyone. God, why are we here. Well, we ended up staying a total of 6 days bouncing from truck stop to truck stop. We went through a lot as a family. It started as peace, then turned to anger and frustration, then doubt and disbelief, then I just started seeing Gods hand in our lives. The kids were wonderful and Joe and I had many great talks and I think I finally let go of the reigns a little more to trusting Joe to really lead our family. I felt like I was in the wilderness and I was letting myself get tossed in the waves which is the exact opposite of what God tells us to do. On the 5th day, I felt like we had come full circle and began to focus back on the Lord and joy in all we did have, not what we didn’t. Joe had felt God lead him to talk to a trucker next to us and we finally felt at peace with whatever God wanted to do. It was a growing time in our relationship with the Lord for sure.
Well, we found a campground just a little ways away that had a discount for 2 nights. We felt like we should go to do some laundry, pop the slides out, and just stretch for a couple days. Joe had prayed and felt like God was going to bring something to us. So we went to this campground and as we checked in, I struck up a conversation with the owner. She was so sweet and she asked what we did. I told her a little about our story and she asked what Joe used to do. I told her surveillance cameras. Her eyes lit up and asked if Joe would want to help them put in some cameras around their place in exchange for extra days. I told her he wouldn’t mind helping. It’s just so cool how God brings things like this. It reminded me of Paul when he helped that family as a tent maker for a while because that was his trade before (Acts 18). They have since let us stay here for the past week and are letting us stay through Memorial Day weekend. Its humbling to see their generosity. Joe has been helping around here and we have had some amazing conversations with people in the campground.
Just the other day, Joe was fixing our slide. We found out there was water damage. So we stripped it all down. We had gotten to know our neighbors. They had their grand-daughter with them and God had given me some words of encouragement for her. She had left that next day so I gave them to the grandparents. They left that next morning and we went out to the car to go get some plywood and they had wrapped some money around our windshield wiper. It was just what we needed for the plywood, caulk, and a few groceries. It was an amazing blessing and it just blows my mind, how even when we go through periods of doubt, God is still there and continues to lead us and grow us.
I share all these stories as encouragement of what God does when we step out in our relationship with Him. But the truth is, the cord that weaves all these stories together is a RELATIONSHIP with God. This is the basis for everything and the simplicity of the Gospel. This was the whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross. Not to give us a bunch of rules to follow or doctorines to keep or theologies to develop, but to restore a relationship between us and our Father through love! Sometimes we get so caught up in our ideas of what scriptures mean and Christians divide themselves with their ideas and use their ideas to condemn, separate, and bash those we are to love. We set ourselves up on our Christian pedestals of pride and arrogance instead of humbling ourselves at the feet of those around us. Love breaks down walls and it removes fear, God IS Love. It’s through this relationship with God that we can have peace and know who He is, so we can establish our identity in Him and who he says we are.
I have been asked several times on this journey these last few months, how do you know what you are called to? People are seeking purpose and its so simple. Focus on your relationship with the Father, period. This is what Christ died for, so it’s the most important thing. Once our relationship is established, then we can tell others, then we can know who we are in Him. From this place, we can do as He wants because we learn to be lead by Him and learn to hear His voice. He promises to lead us as we seek Him. So the rest will fall into place.
Then next question we get is, How do you have a relationship with God? My question back is, how did you form a relationship with your spouse? You spend time with them. You read the bible to get to know Christ’s heart. Who He said He is and who He says You are. I always loved to journal, I could write down my thoughts and ask God questions. Then I would just write whatever came to mind. He began to speak to me through this. Pray through out your day just talking to Him like you would a friend. But the key is time. The more time you spend with someone the more you begin to know how they would respond to situations. You begin to take on attributes of those you spend time with and this is true with God. Everything will begin to flow from this relationship as His truth gets established in your heart. You begin to trust Him in what He says and your faith in Him grows. We don’t need faith in different areas of our lives, we just need to have faith in Him, that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! You will begin to see your prayers answered and you will begin to know His voice. It becomes so freeing. But like you, I am still growing in this relationship and from my stories above you can see I am still not in perfect unison with Him and still struggle. But its ok as long as we learn from it and let him teach us through those struggles. So be encouraged! It’s the Love of God that draws a man to repentance. So let him establish his love in you and sit back and watch how he begins to flow freely through you to touch lives and break down walls in all of your relationships!