Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 49 - Busy Week Ahead

Church was great today. Steve Hambrick’s message was one of the best I have heard him preach. It’s no wonder that Vintage 242 is growing. I’m excited at what God is doing in Paulding county. After church I went to lunch with friends, and then came back to do the dreaded deed that I have been putting off for over a month. I started getting all m tax information together for my accountant. Actually I started yesterday morning before I got called into work. Well it only took a couple of hours and I was complete. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Now, I will get it to my accountant tomorrow and hopefully have to deal with it only a couple of more times.
Then I was able to work on my homework for BSSM. I was able to get most of that done, and I will finish it in the morning. I have tomorrow morning off. I am not working tomorrow, but have to be at outreach at 3 down in Tyrone, and then at class at 6. But then it starts. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then Sunday I leave with my BSSM team for a week in Nicaragua. We will be there for a week. I am looking forward to it. We will be preaching in Churches, ministering in the streets and holding open-air meetings. It should be fun, and exciting. I can’t wait to see all that God is going to do. I am going to continue my blog while I am there. I will write each day. Whether or not I get it on the Internet each day is yet to be determined. For one thong, there is a two hour time difference, so it might be very late, or the next day before it comes online. However, I will post it, even if there are multiple postings to catch up on some days. I will try to share all that we are doing, and testimonies of what happens. It should be exciting and fun. At least the weather will be warm. The temperature should be in the 90’s. That will be a welcome break. I can’t believe that we have snow in the forecast again this week.
I realized tonight that I am watching a lot less TV now than I did before. Part of the reason is that I am spending so much time writing, and I’m just not home that much. The house still seems very big, and very empty. I did get the crepe myrtle trimmed in front, Julia would be happy about that. Btu I have so much yard work to catch up on. I need to cut back all the knockout roses, spread pine straw, cut back the border grass. The list goes on and on. Normally Julia trimmed all the roses. I would spread the pine straw, cut the grass and edge. She did all the rest. She loved your work. I don’t like it. I’m thankful that we are at least in a small yard. But it’s still too big for me. Well, I had better get used to it, because that season is upon us. I do love our back yard though. Last fall we had it totally redone, with two terraces, and plants put in. We took out all the grass, and made it completely natural. I got Julia a wooden swing to put in the lower part, and we really enjoyed the summer. We would go out in the early morning, or late afternoon when it cooled down. We would just sit on the swing together and talk. I could even reach the Internet on my laptop with my wireless connection. It’s also a great place to have a quiet time alone with God. I can’t wait until the weather gets warmer. I know that is going to be a special place to remember her at.
I guess the only thing about spring coming that I will miss is having a fire at night. I’m not sure I can write anywhere else. I’ve gotten comfortable writing here by the fire in my rocker. I look forward to sitting here at night writing. I’ve got to decide on what I want to do my next AMT (Advanced Ministry Training) on. I’m already late. I should have had it turned in by Friday. There are too many good choices. One of the choices is writing. The talk about how to get started writing a book, and working with publishers. Another is on Outreach. It’s about developing an outreach in your community. There is one on advanced Prophecy, another on Kingdom Government. They all seem so good. I’m leaning between writing and outreach. I have to decide by tomorrow. I’ll have to pray more about it tonight. Well I’m finishing early for a change. I know it will be a late night tomorrow so I think I will try to get to bed a little earlier tonight.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 48 - A Simpler Life

I’m sitting here by the fire in my rocker. It’s 10:45, and I just got home fifteen minutes ago. I was supposed to be off all day today. My plans were to get up about 8 and after making showering and making coffee to start on my taxes. It’s Feb 27th, and I’m late getting everything together for my accountant. I remember earlier years when I used to do them myself. It sure was cheaper, but there is no way I would attempt it now. It’s like everything else in life, it all seems more complicated than it used to.
I was talking to someone at work about how it was when I was growing up. We lived on a dirt road that circled around a lake. I had a dog named Rocky. He was a Dalmatian. My dad called him Damnation because he was so dumb. But he was loyal, and he was my dog, loyal to me. That was long before people had fenced in yards, or you had to had a dog on a leash. I would get on my bicycle and take off. Rocky was always at my side. I might be gone four hours, or all day. It was a time before child predators. It was a time when parents didn’t worry. It was a time when dogs ran free, for good or bad. It was a simpler time. Now you don’t dare let you child or grandchild get out of the yard without supervision. Your dog had better be fenced in, and not get out or you will probably face a lawsuit. But back then we didn’t worry about any of that. My only worry was the dog up the street that liked to chase bicycles. He also was big, and tried to fight Rocky. Most of the days I would try to go the other way around the lake. But sometimes, especially if I was running late, I would take the chance and try to get past my biggest fear. The key was speed. If I could be going fast enough, and surprise him, he might give up without much of a chance. Luckily it was downhill heading back home. So I would try to build up my speed and keep Rocky close. I didn’t want Rocky giving away my surprise. Then if the dog came after me I would take my feet off the pedals, and raise them as high as I could so he couldn’t bite me. I would coast downhill until he gave up. I would then pedal home. Most of the time it worked, and I made it without a scratch. Every now and then I might get a scratch. Never in my wildest dreams did we even entertain the idea of a lawsuit. Never did we even think to ask the owners to put their dog on a leash. That’s just the way it was. Sometimes I wish our children and grandchildren could experience life like this.
Today we have to manufacture friends, keep pets either behind fences or on leashes. I even saw a cat on a leash. Now that was weird. Today we have to worry about abductions, child predators, all the stuff that we didn’t even know existed 20 years ago. Julia and I were very blessed. We were able to raise our girls on 13 acres of land, yet still be close to civilization. Jennifer and Lisa didn’t have to have a fenced in yard, and in the early years, our dogs and cats roamed freely around our property. As I look back, it was a happy fun time. We sacrificed many things to live on the land. We didn’t have money for a lot of things because we were paying for the land. But Julia and I had priorities. Our first was to have a safe place where our girls could grow up and play with as much freedom as possible.
Sitting her by the fire, I can look over my shoulder and see a picture of Julia and Me taken on December 19th. If you had told me then that I would be here writing about her now I would have said you were crazy. She looks so healthy, so alive. She had just turned 60 on Thanksgiving Day. She was the picture of health. A young vibrate 60 year old who could easily pass for 50. She hadn’t been sick for years. I still can’t believe it when I write it. How can she be gone? How could she get so sick so quickly? How could we not recognize that she was that sick? I love the picture. I love it because it catches her spirit so well. Her smile is so contagious that I can’t help smiling when I see it. So I find myself looking at it a lot. It is one of my main connections to her. AS I sit here tonight, I’m not grieving; the fog of grief is not here. But I am lonely, and I really do miss her. I miss her smile. I miss her voice. Anyway I know that she isn’t coming back. I’m not numb anymore. I think that I am doing pretty well going through the grieving process. It’s not simple. Life and death is complicated. I really do wish that I could live in those simpler days that I grew up in. But I guess they are gone too.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 47 - Resting in the Fathers Arms

It’s been a good day. Still cold but at least the sun was out. I hope it warms up tomorrow. I don’t believe it’s been this cold here since the late 80’s or early 90’s. I can remember running outside when it was 10 degrees and sunny. That was a long time ago and I was a lot younger. Know I will gladly take the treadmill inside the Y. I remember one winter it was cold around Christmas. In fact for a week between Christmas and new Years it didn’t get above 15, and the lows at night were around 0. It was so cold that I had a hard time keeping our well running. We lived out off Stilesboro road on 13 acres. There was no county water or natural gas. We had a heat pump that didn’t really work in such cold weather. I had installed a wood-burning furnace that sent hot air through the heating system of the house, so we were warm. But the main problem was keeping the well or water lines from freezing. We solved part of the problem with a heating lamp that was put right on top of the well where the water comes up into the pipes. I had insulated the well house, so that did the trick. We had to keep the water running all the time to keep the pipes in the ground from freezing. It was Christmas Day and about 5 degrees. We went to lunch with some friends at their house and I left after lunch because I had to fly a trip. Julia went home with the kids, and when she came to the house she saw something as she pulled into the driveway. She saw something in a little drainage ditch next to the driveway. She thought it was a little bird and she wanted to help it. Not wanting to touch it, she got a little broom the girls played with, and tried to poke it. You have to envision this moment. Here is Julia bent over trying to see if the bird is alive. She probably has her head within tow to three feet of it, but it is all in a ball, and she can’t really see well. So she pokes it once, then pokes it again. All of a sudden the “little bird” hissed, and spread its wings. The wingspan was probably over 18 inches. The bat nearly scared Julia to death as it awakened, and then flew off. Of course I wasn’t there, but I have been told this story so many times that I know it by heart. Well, at least it hasn’t been that cold this winter. But I believe the older you get, the harder it is to deal with cold weather.
Tonight we had Sozo Team training. We have been doing Sozos for over a year now, and I felt it was time for a training session that would push us up into more anointing and dependency of the Holy Spirit. We had the Regional Director for the Bethel Sozo Network and the Head of the Bethel Atlanta Transformation center come out to help us tonight. It was an awesome night. We had a great time of teaching, and a great question and answer session. Then we had some activation in the prophetic. After that we were led on an encounter with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This was an individual encounter, and I could see Jesus, and then the Holy Spirit. It was as if the Holy Spirit was giving me gifts. I saw myself as a little boy, with a big robe on. I had a gold crown that was too big, and a big gold chain around my neck. To me, I looked foolish, but Holy Spirit seemed pleased. As I took His hand and He led me to the father, I could see myself growing into the gifts that He had given me. My attention changed as I came to the Father. He motioned for me to come and sit in His lap. I was a little boy again. As I went into His lap, I began to cry, not only in my vision, but also in real life. His arms around me allowed me to just release all that I was holding. My pain, and loneliness were like heavy bricks on my back that were lifted off. It was as if a heavy weigh was transferred. As I just rested my head on the Father. It was right then I realized an important fact. I had seen and had relationship with Jesus often since Julia’s death, but I had not spent time with the Father. I am learning that each member of the Godhead is different, and we need to spend time fellowshipping with each one.
We ended the evening with a fire tunnel. It was great, the Holy Spirit was so present in the room and the anointing and presence of God was very strong. When I went through, I got a prophetic word to rest. The word was that I would find rest in the Fathers arms. That word was true. It was confirmation of what had just happened 10 minutes earlier. I know that I need to seek the Father, Holy Spirit and Jesus. Each of them has things to show me, and things to take from me. I can’t go through this journey without them. So tonight, I plan on spending more time resting in the Father’s arms.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 46 - A Clean House

God is so good! I got up at 4AM this morning to catch the 5:40 flight. I was praying that it wouldn’t be cancelled because of all the weather in the North East. You never know when flight operations get affected in one area how it might affect flights in another area. Things can happen. Crews can get reroute, planes get stuck out in areas where they can’t make schedule. Many other things can cause the schedule to get disrupted. So since I had to work today, I was praying everything would work like it should so I would make it on time. Well, not only did the flight run on time, early in fact. But I got a first class seat riding home. It was nice to be able to catch a little nap, and get back to Atlanta early. I was able to get breakfast before work. So my trip was a total success. I got to see the girls, and I made it back to work with no problem.
When I got home today. I came home to a clean house. The lady that I hired to clean every other week had come. The floors were vacuumed and moped. The bathrooms were clean and the kitchen was clean. Also everything was dusted. All the things I haven’t had the time or inclination to do were done. Julia would be happy. She was such a great housekeeper. The house was always clean, and most of my skirmishes with her were over my lack of care about where I put things. I’ve noticed that about myself over the past month. Since she is not here, nothing gets put up. I find myself walking into the kitchen area wondering who made all this mess, then realizing that it had to be me. So, I have started picking up more as I go along. I think it’s out of honor for Julia, but I’m really a better housekeeper now than I used to be. So with my newly found ability to keep things tidy, and the house being cleaned every two weeks, I think I can maintain a standard of cleanliness that would come close to her standards. This seems like it should be trivial. I don’t know why I want a clean house; I just think that I want it to look like Julia is still here. I know that if she were still here, the house would be clean. So I guess that’s why I want a clean house. Is that crazy? I don’t know, I don’t think so. All I know is that right now, at this time in my life, it is important to me to keep a clean house. Maybe that’s what 38 years of marriage does. Before we were married, I could care less about cleaning. When I was in college, I thought that changing the sheets once a month was too much. Cleaning a room was something you did once a month. Well, I’m glad that I’ve changed in that and many other ways.
People keep asking me how I’m doing. I tell them that I’m doing fine, because for the most part I am. I don’t mind people asking me how I’m doing, really I don’t. So please don’t stop asking me. It’s just that some times I don’t really know how I’m doing. I haven’t had the fog of grief roll over me in a few days, but there is a new feeling. It’s a sense of melancholy. It’s like sometimes I just have to make myself keep moving forward. Tonight for example, I wanted to go to Might of Healing Prayer, but it was just hard to get moving. I really wanted just to stay home. It felt like I was tired, but I wasn’t really that tired. It was an inertia that was hard to overcome. But I pushed through, and went on to the church. I had to press into God during worship, and then all of a sudden there was a breakthrough. It was like I pushed through a membrane into another reality. All of a sudden, I was seeing and hearing from God. It started with a vision during worship, and continued all night with strong visions and accurate words of knowledge and prophetic words. Although I didn’t see any strong physical healings manifest during the night, I really think there will be many from tonight. So my question to myself is this. Am I moving into a new phase of grieving, or is this just another phase of what I’m in now. At any rate, I do know this. I have to keep pressing into what I’m called to do, and I can’t allow myself any excuse for not pressing into my destiny. My destiny is still the same as it was. It’s just going to look differently without Julia. I thank God for tonight and His goodness. He allowed me to experience this breakthrough to keep me encouraged. It was a great night, and I saw His goodness manifest in the lives of many people, including myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 45 - If it's Wed, it must be Ft Lauderdale.

I think it is Wednesday. To be honest, the days seem to blur together. I was able to sleep a little on the plane down this morning. If I can sleep in the middle seat between two other big men, I can sleep anywhere. But those of you who know me well already no that is a true statement. I can sleep anywhere. I think it’s a blessing, although a couple of times I thought it might have been more of a curse. Anyway, I needed the sleep after getting a little over 3 hours last night. The flight was full and I was glad to have any seat.
Today has been great. Jennifer picked me up, and we went back to their house. Meleah had a day off for teacher workday, so we were able to spend time together. I took her to lunch and we had some good Papa/Granddaughter time. We talked about a lot of things, including Nana. It was a good time together, and well worth the trip even if I wasn’t able to do anything else. It was raining today, off and on, typical south Florida thundershowers. I had planned to go to track practice with Adair and Sean, Twenty minutes before we were supposed to leave it was pouring down rain. Ten minutes later it was sunny and practice was on.
Adair is a great runner. She is only in the 6th grade, but practices and runs with the Varsity team. Normally they train on the track at the West Campus. But because of the weather, they met at the east campus today. The long distance runners just ran a training run. That gave me the opportunity to run with my granddaughter. So we went on a five-mile training run together. It was nice running in warm weather for a change. Now, I have run with both my daughters. I have had many runs with both of them. I have run a marathon with Jennifer, and at least a couple of half marathons with Lisa. Today was the first time that I have ever gotten to run with my granddaughter. As I was running I couldn’t help but think of Julia, and how much she was enjoying watching us run together. Now she wouldn’t have been running with us. But she would be glad we were running together.
After we got back from track practice, we all went out to dinner together. It was just a good time of sharing. Now everybody is getting ready for bed. I have another 4AM wake up to catch the 5:40 flight so that I can get to work tomorrow. Then we have Night of Healing Prayer tomorrow night, So it will be another busy day. This week really is a blur.
Tonight as I sit down and relax I thank God for all my family. I am truly a very blessed man. I have two lovely daughters and four sweet granddaughters. I fly back home tomorrow, but the ability to get to see my family makes this quick trip and this busy week, well worth it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 44 - Left Brain, Right Brain

Mondays and Tuesdays always seem busy. I can understand that when I have to work and then go to school. But today I was off, and only had school tonight. But life happens, and things need to get done. I didn’t get to bed until 1AM last night and got up around 8:30. Then I was cleaning, washing clothes and getting ready to go to the Y and work out. I had lunch at John and Biddies, then went by the laundry and came home. I had an appointment to meet a lady who is going to help with the heavy house cleaning at 1:30. Well I met her and we talked and I showed her the house. I don’t know where the time went, but all of a sudden it was after 4PM, and I had to leave for school. My day was gone. I still haven’t started getting the taxes ready. I have to do that this weekend!
School was great tonight. Scott Thompson taught again on healing. Tonight it was on “cracks in our foundations”. He basically taught about scriptures that people use against healing, and how they have been used to rob us of much of what the Father has for us. It was a great teaching. I will probably use a lot of it in my own teaching later. The second part of the night was in our AMTs. I am in prophetic art, and am really being stretched. For homework last week I had to draw a prophetic picture for two people and give it to them explaining what I had drawn. That wasn’t too hard. Well tonight, they pushed us overboard. We had to draw three pictures for three different people in six minutes. Two minutes each, and we were timed. No pressure, right! This was to simulate how we would do it in a prophetic art booth on the street in outreach. It was very challenging, but really fun. We had to draw the picture and in bullet points write out what it meant. We then got to tell the people that we drew what the picture represented.
After that toward the end of the night we had to draw a prophetic picture of ourselves. That was interesting too. So, I don’t know what side of the brain I am using in this. I think it is the left side. I do know that it is the opposite side of the brain that I normally use. It’s interesting in that I felt God tell me He wanted me to draw in Nicaragua. In fact, although I don’t have a lot of artistic talent, I feel I will be using prophetic are in a lot of different settings.
I’m flying down to Ft Lauderdale in the morning on a 7:25 flight to spend the day with Jennifer and the girls. It will be good t see them. I have to fly back on the 5:40AM flight on Thursday morning so I can be at work by 9AM. So it will be a quick trip. The flights look open, so I should be OK both ways. I need to see them this week because March is going to be too busy to get down there.
So life goes on, and I continue to walk out this new path. It is similar in that I know all the people, but it is different in that I am walking it out by myself. No Julia. I have to learn to partner with the Holy Spirit more. I know that that will be great, but it feels a little strange at times. Today, as I was talking with the lady who will be working for me to clean the house, I was telling her about Julia and her death. It all sounded so matter of fact. I wanted to shout out “It’s not right!” but I didn’t. I just told her about Julia, and how much I loved her. I guess all this will get easier. Everyone says it will with time. A part of me wants that, I really do. But another side wants to remember all the passion and all the love. I don’t wasn’t to lose that. So, if I have to have pain to keep that passion and love for her, to keep her memory strong in my heart, then it is well worth the cost.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 43 - Conversation with Julia

The fire is nice tonight. I’ve been gone since around 11:30 this morning. I went first to work, and then to school. So here it is after 11PM. I’m in my usual place to write. I’m in the rocking chair by the fire with my laptop in my lap. I’m listening to Heaven came down. It helps me to concentrate on writing. It’s still different, coming into a dark cold house. Most nights when I was coming home late Julia would be laying on the couch, She might be reading or watching TV, but basically she was waiting for me. She was always interested in how my day went. I can remember many times her getting frustrated with me because I didn’t really feel like talking. I was just tired and wanted to go to sleep. I wish she were here tonight. I would love to spend time telling her about my day. I would tell her about my students and how good they did. That it was an easy day in the simulator because they were so prepared. I would tell her about talking with Jennifer and Lisa, finding out about their days, and how the kids were doing. I would ask her if she had talked to them, and then compare notes if she had. I would tell her how school was tonight. We had our mission trip meeting. We leave in two weeks for Nicaragua. I would tell her that I have to be prepared to preach, and I need to get some sermons ready. She would remind me that I am always ready to preach, and that I never spend a lot of time in preparation and how it flows better that way. She would ask me if I was hungry, and tell me where the leftovers were if I wanted anything to eat. I would ask her about her day, and she would tell me all that she had done. She would have walked in the neighborhood if the weather was nice, or on the treadmill if it were cold or rainy. She was probably making a dress for one of the grandkids, so she would tell me about that. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow and she wasn’t to tired, we would probably watch some TV together until we both got tired. She new that I have to unwind before I can go to bed, and she would stay up with me, although nine times out of ten she would fall asleep before the show ended.
I really miss her tonight. I’m not sad, just a missing of her presence here beside me. I miss her smile. I’m off tomorrow. I have school tomorrow night, but I will be here in the morning. I enjoyed the days I was off with no meetings because we could have our morning quiet time together. For the past three years we have been reading out of a Smith Wigglesworth devotional. We were also reading out of Bill Johnson’s “A life of Miracles”. I would read one out loud, and she would read the other one. Then we would spend time praying together. These could be powerful times of prayer. I wish now that we had had more days like these. My work and morning meetings kept us apart many mornings.
Tonight has been fun. Writing this has almost made me feel like she is right here with me. Her love for me was so strong. I can feel it even now. I know that she sees me, and knows how much I love her. I’ve heard that love transcends time and space. I know that the love of God does, now I also know that it is possible to have a love for another person that does too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 42 - Back Home again

The drive from Mobile was uneventful. It was a sunny day and traffic was light. I measure the drive by the number of Starbuck stops I male. This was a triple Viente Latte in Mobile to start the morning, and then a Grande Latte in Montgomery. So five shots of espresso for a five and a half hour drive. That’s about right to keep me awake. I have always had a problem staying awake on long driving trips. Julia would always be punching me, or asking me if I was all right. It seems the worst time of the early for me is early afternoon. I can stay awake fine driving at night, but put the early afternoon sun on my shoulder and I have to be really careful to concentrate on something more than just driving. Today I listened to a pod cast form Bill Johnson and some teaching that I had at BSSM. That and the 5 shots of espresso did the trick. So I made the trip home with no problem.
This is the longest that I have been away from home since Julia died. I spent the night with Dad on Tuesday night, came back today, so I was away from home for five days. It was interesting the reaction I had to coming home. I hadn’t given it a second thought until I begin to get close. All of a sudden, that fog of grief overwhelmed me. For a minute, I didn’t want to go back. I just wanted to be somewhere else. But I pressed on, and when I opened the door, and came inside, everything was all right. In fact I was glad to be back. So coming inside seemed to help the fog of grief lift.
The time with Lisa and the girls was really good. It was good to see her and the kids, to talk and see how they are doing. During the whole time I was there, I really only felt that fog come over me a couple of times, and both very briefly. I think the joy of being with them overcame the loss of Julia not being there. Of course I missed her. I always miss her. It’s still like walking around with part of me missing. I wonder how long it will be like this. I guess some of it will always be there. That’s OK, because her love was one of the greatest gifts that God has given me, and I know that all I am is just a part of who we were. The weird thing is that I still feel her love, the same way I feel His love. That new song that Daniel and Melissa sang tonight really summed up exactly where I am right now. Any cost is worth getting more of God. I have to continually ask Him to come in. As John Wimber once said: “Each new step in the Kingdom cost you everything you have gained to date. It cost you your life.” Both Julia and I have always been willing to pay any cost to gain the next level in the Kingdom. That’s what pioneering is all about, giving up what you have to take new territory. All I can say is this next level is going to be great. I know that I will be physically alone, but I also know that she is with me as I press on here to bring the Kingdom of God down on earth.
In the pod cast I listened to, Bill Johnson was talking about creating a history with God. Tonight David asked a question “why are you here right now? Basically what’s your purpose? I know my purpose. I felt God showed it to me in a vision before Julia died. I thought it was weird when I saw it, because Julia wasn’t in the vision. I just assumed that what I saw was for both of us. Now I know that the vision was correct. She’s not here. I saw myself being stretched. Each arm and each leg was drawn as tight as it could be in different directions. I was connected to different other pieces. I asked God what it meant, and all I got was this. “ You will be part of the net that brings in the next generation”. So, what does that mean? How does that play out in 2010 and beyond? I have some ideas, but I’m not ready to share them yet. What I do know is that I am a Revivalist. I am called to bring the Kingdom of God to any area of influence that I have. As a Revivalist I am to press into God for the release of His Kingdom in all situations. To do this I must be willing to risk. What do I have to lose? What do any of us really have to lose? We all get so caught up with living life that we sometimes forget what life is all about. So, we all have a destiny with God. What is yours?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 41 - Hint of Spring

Wow, it reached 65 degrees in Mobile today. I was able to run outside for the fourth day in a row. But this was different. It was warm. I ran in a short sleeve shirt, and was sweating after a mile. The four-mile run felt good. While I was running Lisa and the girls were taking a walk. I got back before they did and sat in the sun out in the back. It sure did feel good. I probably sat reading outside for an hour. Then they all got back and my afternoon got busy. I got to push Anna in her swing outside, and played with her for a while. It was fun, and nice to stay outside.
Lisa has wanted to run, but it’s hard with two children. She gets to sometimes, but she has been looking for a double stroller for running. That’s basically what we gave her for Christmas, and she has been researching it for months. She ordered it last week, and it arrived today. It is a BOB twin stroller. The reviews are excellent and it looks very good. So I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening doing the “some assembly required” thing. In reality it wasn’t that hard. At least the basin stroller wasn’t hard. I also had to assemble the “infant seat adapter”. This is so Julia Anne can ride along in her car seat. Not that part was a challenge. Well, it’s together, and all parts are working properly. That’s a major miracle! I’m glad I was there to help. I have really had a good time these past four days. It’s hard to believe I have to leave tomorrow. Being with all of them has been fun, but this time with Anna has been priceless. It probably has a lot to do with her age. At three, she is just becoming aware of so much. She is so open and so inquisitive. She is also very loving. I’m definitely going to miss her. Julia Anne is growing so much. She is bigger than she was, and she can either be very peaceful, or very angry. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. Lisa is an awesome mom. And my hat is off to her for all she does. I know that I got tired just watching.
So it’s back to Georgia tomorrow. I work and have school on Monday. I hope it stays warm at home. I know I rested this week, but I still feel tired. Last night as I lay in bed just before I went to sleep I was thinking about Julia. I imagined that she was at total peace, not tired or stressed about anything. I wondered how that would feel. I know that I rest in the Holy Spirit, but I also know that I am extremely busy most of the time. So I was lying in bed thinking how good it would feel to be with Julia in Heaven right now. I rested in that thought just for a little while. Immediately another thought came to me. No, not yet. It’s not time. You are here for your family, and to do the work of the Kingdom. You can rest with Julia forever, but not right now. I knew that was the Holy Spirit bringing me back to where I needed to be. So I just asked Jesus to come and I rested with Him until I fell asleep. I know that to some of you this might seem weird, but for me right now it is the most real thing in my life. I have to dial down from either the busyness of my schedule, or the grief that I feel, and allow myself to rest in the intimacy of my relationship with Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Right now, it seems like I’m spending more time with Jesus, although I know that many times it’s Holy Spirit who brings me to him. I really have no idea how anyone who doesn’t have a strong relationship with the Godhead can get through something like this. I am just thankful; that I know and dwell in the goodness of God.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 40 - Early Days in Hawaii

Spending these few days with Anna Roan, and Julia Anne have brought back some early memories of when Julia was first pregnant with Jennifer, our oldest. We were in Hawaii, and things had finally gotten better in our marriage. We were both making a life for ourselves. Most of our friends were in the military, in my squadron. We were all about the same age, with the same goals and ambitions. It was only natural that we began to hang out together as couples. There were cookouts and beach time on the weekends. The guys played golf, while the women went shopping. Soon it seemed that something was in the water and all the women started getting pregnant.
Well a couple of our friends had gone in with us to buy a sailboat. It was a 21’ clipper. It was really pretty, very sleek lines and it was a very good boat. The only problem was that we had it moored in Pearl Harbor at the navy marina. In order to get it out into the open ocean it took over an hour just to get out of the harbor. That was if there were no naval vessels entering. So we spent a lot of time just sailing around the harbor. That was very fun, and we enjoyed sailing. The only problem was we didn’t have any rest room facilities. That really didn’t matter to the guys, but the women were not very happy if we were out over an hour. We solved that with a bucket. It was very primitive but effective. The person who had to use the facilities would go below with the bucket. Do the deed, and then bring the bucket up. We would dump the bucket out, and then hold it alongside the boat to wash it out. Inevitably, someone would drop the bucket, then we would have to try and retrieve it. Retrieving a bucket in a sailboat is not as easy as it is in a powerboat. We had to come about, using all of our sailing skills to recover the bucket. As you can imagine this whole “bucket thing” didn’t really go over very well with our wives. So it wasn’t long before we had a brand news “chemical toilet” installed in the sailboat. I guess we had owned the sailboat about a year when Julia got pregnant. After she was pregnant, my sailing career ended. I think she went out twice, got sick twice, and that was the end of that. I think I went out with the guys a couple of times, but for all practical purposes we were through sailing. Looking back on the sailing I can truthfully say this. The happiest two days of my sailing career was the day we bought the boat, and the day we sold the boat.
Julia’s pregnancy wasn’t a surprise. It seemed the thing to do in our time of life. I was 26, Julia was 24, and all our friends were either having a baby, or thinking of having a baby. I had no idea what it would mean to be a father. I was just as clueless about fatherhood and being a parent as I had been about marriage. Why is it the most important things we do in life, we have no training for. The only training I had at being a father was modeling after my Dad. Julia’s training as a Mom was the same. Since her family and my family were vastly different, you can imagine the results in the years to come. Well, right now we were clueless, just enjoying life, and thinking how much a child would add meaning and love to it. So we decided to try to get pregnant. We figured it would take months, maybe longer. Some of our friends had taken almost a year to get pregnant. Well, Julia was very fertile. She got pregnant immediately. I remember the night we first realized that she was pregnant. Remember, there were no home self test available back then. We had gone out to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, Mamma’s Mexican Kitchen. It was delicious as usual, but before we got home, Julia had thrown up. It was the first of a couple of months of morning sickness. We were excited, clueless, but excited non the less. I was busy, trying to get enough flying hours to check out as an Aircraft Commander. However we still found time to shop, paint and get the nursery ready. By this time we were living on base, and we were excited to begin to get the house ready for a baby.
Julia was on the cutting edge even back then, and she had me enrolled in Le Maze classes. I was going to be her “labor coach”. That meant I would be in the delivery room, and present for the birth. That took some getting used to for me. At that time, all the men I knew had been in the waiting room, not the delivery room. But I went to the classes, and we were a team. I have to admit that the birth of my daughters was something I am so glad I was able to witness. If Julia hadn’t pushed me, I would have missed this great privilege.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 39 - Heaven

I got to spend the day with Anna Roan today. Yes, I spent a lot of time with Lisa, and I held Julia a lot. But most of my day was spent talking to, playing with and marveling over my 3-year-old granddaughter. Anna Roan is amazing. She never meets a stranger, and although sometimes she can be very quiet, most of the time she is constantly talking. We did a lot of things today. Playing ball in her room, going shopping, riding tricycles, you name it and I think we did it. I spent a lot of time holding her, and I loved every minute of it.
You see, this is fairly new for me. As much as I know she loves me, I was always the second one she would come to after her Nana. Nana loved Anna Roan, and Anna Roan loved her Nana. She would run to her, and always want her to help her. Yes, I was there, and she loved me, but I knew where I stood, right behind Nana. I loved it that way. I really enjoyed watching Julia react to all our grandchildren. Julia was always bright and cheerful, well almost always. Any way, she always loved to be with her granddaughters. She loved to by them presents. She loved to sew for them, and take them places. In fact, Lisa said that one of Anna’s dresses had lost a button, and Anna said that her Nana would have to fix it. Lisa reminded her that Nana was in heaven and wouldn’t be able to sew it. Anna told her mom, “That’s OK, we will just have to get Papa to do it”. I laughed pretty hard when I heard that. But in many ways that is what is happening. I find myself taking more of an interest in the kids. I’m trying to help Lisa whenever I can. I can sense that Anna is drawing closer to me, and that’s the way it should be. I really want to be able to pick up the slack of Julia’s absence with the kids. I know that I will never replace Nana. I certainly don’t want to. I just want to be the best Papa I can be, and be there for them as much as I can.
I was talking with Anna Roan in her room this afternoon. I had been reading her a book. She pointed at her slippers and said “Nana gave them to me”. I said I know. She said “Nana’s in Heaven, and some day we will be with her.” I smiled and said “Yes we will, but right now we need to be here with each other. But she can see us. In fact she is looking down from heaven watching us play right now.” She smiled and said yes. We continued on playing. I know that things are always different, but right then; I could see that she did miss her Nana, but she also has accepted that she is in Heaven with Jesus, and she will be there with her some day. Right now my task is to love my kids and my grandkids. It is to listen, laugh and sometimes cry with them. I am learning to understand that everyone grieves differently, and that’s OK. I just try to continually point them to God, and remind them of how good God is. It’s fun being a Papa, even without Nana.
Time is going by so fast here in Mobile. Tomorrow’s Friday and it will be near 60 degrees! That’s great, it will probably feel like summer. I will probably leave early Sunday morning. I work on Monday, and I would like to be able to make church on Sunday evening. I spent a lot of time showing Anna Roan pictures on my computer this afternoon. I saw a lot of pictures of Julia with all the grandchildren. They brought back a flood of memories, and I left with a smile on my face, knowing and so thankful for all that I had, and still have.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 38 - Mobile Alabama

Well, here I am in Mobile at Lisa’s house. The drive down was uneventful and only four and a half hours from Peachtree City. I spent the night with Dad last night after class. I went to Starbucks to post my blog, but I only had ten minutes before they closed. That’s why the blog was so short. Tonight I want to catch up, so it might be a little longer than usual. Yesterday was really sort of a blur. Work was good, even though it came very early. But I had to drive home, pack and then go have my follow up visit after having my wisdom tooth out. After that I cam home, finished packing and drove down to Peachtree City. I saw Dad for about a half an hour before leaving for a meeting, and then school. Some days I think I’m too busy. The only worship and quiet time I got yesterday was while I was driving. But I did have a lot of reflecting to do during that time. I was on the road a lot yesterday and today.
It’s amazing how a little quote from a children’s book can have such an impact. Last night at school, we were in our AMT (Advanced Ministry Training). I’m in a prophetic art class. I wanted to be stretched and since I have NO artistic talent I figured this would definitely stretch me. We had been listening to a song (not a Christian song) to see how God would speak to us in it. After that we were just talking and someone brought up the quote from Dr Seuss. Now I haven’t been focusing on loss, or spending a lot of time crying. Although, when the “fog” rolls in on me I do have a deep sense of loss, and definitely cry from time to time. But making a conscience effort to smile and be thankful for those wonderful 38+ years, now that’s something I can embrace. In many ways I have been doing that. I think this blog is an attempt at that. But to make the decision to keep my focus on what I had, and not what I lost. Now that to me is revolutionary. So yes, I have lost a great deal, and I will truly miss Julia’s physical presence next to me. But to think of what I had. No, I must think of what I have, because I still have her memories, and more. That can keep me going. I have already written that I can sense what she would do and say in almost every situation. We are so close, she doesn’t have to be here physically.
I was listening to a teaching by Randall Worley when he was with us at BSSM. If you don’t know him, I would have to say he is one of the best teachers I have ever heard. He was talking about Heaven, and the fact that it is not in some faraway place, but it is just in a different dimension or perspective. For example if there is a Hawks basketball game at Phillips arena, what is different about the players and the fans. Obviously, the players are playing, and the fans are watching. But there is a bigger difference. The players are playing on a horizontal field. Their view of each other is in the horizontal plane. The fans, on the other hand are looking from a vertical perspective. They can see more because they are looking from a different perspective. We here in this world are like the players, we don’t see everything because we have things blocking our view. Those in Heaven can see everything play out because they are looking form a different perspective. So, Julia is in Heaven, but close by, watching from a different perspective, cheering and interceding for us all.
I know I’m getting pretty far out now, but if you begin to study quantum physics, it won’t seem so farfetched. I sometimes feel that there is a thin membrane between earth and Heaven. The Angels move in and out of it. We need to learn how to press into the more that Heaven offers, and not be willing to be satisfied with “normal” any longer. So I smile, knowing that Julia is not really very far away. I smile also knowing that I am learning to press into the Holy Spirit more and more. As much as I love Julia, I would rather have more of the Holy Spirit. This is part of the plundering of the enemy’s house. He didn’t realize that her loss would drive me right into the arms of a God who is so good that He will never leave me. I know that the anointing and destiny that I have on my life is significantly greater now tha it was a month ago. I also know that this is just the beginning.
I got to Mobile around lunch time. It was great to see Lisa, Anna and Julia. Granddaughters are God’s gift to Grandfathers. I had so much fun playing with Anna today, and Julia is so sweet. She is growing up so fast already. I do wish that Julia was here physically with me. Anna loved her so much. Julia loved to sew, and she was always making something for the granddaughters. I certainly can’t sew, so I guess I will take them shopping sometime this week. We went to the park and to Starbucks. Anna knows exactly what she wants. She will run up to the counter, pick up an organic apple juice, and put it on the counter, while she looks up smiling at me. Who could resist those eyes? It is certainly not me. It’s good to be with Lisa. I hope that we will be able to spend some time talking this week. I’ll stay here until Sunday morning and then drive back north. One other blessing about being down here is it’s warmer. I actually was aboe to run outside today. I think that ie was the first time in three weeks. It felt good, and I’m looking forward to it tomorrow. I guess that’s all for tonight. I think I’ll watch a little of the Olympics and then get some sleep.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

day 37 - New perspectives

I'm writing this tonight, but I might have to post it tomorrow> I'm at Starbucks in Peachtree City. I just finished BSSM, and am spending the night with my Dad before driving to Mobile tomorrow morning. He doesn't have wireless, and I'm not sure I will be able to find any place to upload my post. Today was a good day, very busy. School was great tonight also.

I heard a quote from Dr. Seuss that really hit me in a good way. "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because of what you had." Tonight I am smiling. If I don't find any other wireless access, this will be it for tonight.

I'm looking forward to seeing Lisa, Anna Roan and Julia Anne tomorrow. God is really, really good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 36 - Monday, Monday

Wow, today has gone by fast. So fast that I didn’t even see the 1 – 2 inches of snow that we were supposed to have. I had to work this morning, then had outreach and school tonight. I’ve got to get up at 3AM to be at work by 5AM, and then back up to Acworth for a dentist appointment, then back down south to school. I’m spending the night with my dad in Peachtree City, and then going to Mobile for a few days to see Lisa, Anna Roan and Julia Anne. It’s been almost a month since I saw them, and I am looking forward to it. So it is going to be a quick post tonight since it’s already after 11PM.

Last night was lonely. Valentines Day really didn’t hit me all weekend. I guess I was so busy, and dealing with the snow and all that. It was during my post last night that I really felt the weight of not having Julia near. I really just couldn’t stop writing it once I started. When I finished, I was just lonely and sad for a little while. I just sat by the fire thinking of her, wishing she were here with me. After a few minutes, the overwhelming sense of grief left, and I was OK. I went to bed, and slept well. If I remember correctly, I was missing her, but calling out to God to bring His goodness into my bedroom. He has been so faithful to be there for me, to comfort me, and keep me from spiraling down into the pit of self-pity. Like I said before, the fine line between genuine grief, and self-pity is hard to navigate sometimes. Anyway, last night ended in a good place. In fact I can truthfully say that every night, no matter how much I hurt, has ended in a good place. That is His Grace and Mercy working in me.

In school tonight, we listened to Bill Johnson talk about Revelation knowledge. He said that God is more concerned with who you are than what you believe. Revelation is to take us into a new experience with Him, not just give us more knowledge. He talked about new revelation would cause us to need more anointing to be able to walk into what we learned. I know that as I walk through this grieving process, I am getting more revelation on Him and His love. I have to press into that as a lifestyle so that I can receive more anointing to walk it out. It’s not enough just to get knowledge; we have to make demands on the new revelation in order to walk in it. So I am choosing to walk, live and each more of the goodness of God. I feel it is becoming a life message that will be played out in many ways. I can already see and sense a difference in my life, and the anointing I have to walk in this. If this is part of His Glory, then I want it all, and the price of grief is well worth it. It’s time for bed. 3AM is going to come early.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 35 - Happy Valentines Day

Julia loved Valentines Day, so I learned to love it. Early in our marriage, I was very cynical about it and other “holidays” that I thought Hallmark invented just to stay in business. Valentines Day was a plot hatched between the Flower industry, the candy companies and the card makers. At least that was my opinion when we first got married. However it didn’t take me long to realize that my new bride was very into Valentines Day, and I had better learn to romance her the way she wanted to be romanced. In the early years that was chocolate and dinner. Don’t forget the card. I always had a hard time finding the right card. I hated the mushy ones. I still do. They can be so mushy that it almost makes you sick. On the other hand I certainly couldn’t get a funny one. No it had to be romantic but not too mushy. Most years I would wind up on the 12th or 13th looking for a card. I might spend 30 minutes to one hour looking. I never found the perfect card the first time around. It always seemed to take a while. Finally I realized that it would just take a long time. But a few years ago I realized something really important that I want to pass on to you men who find yourselves in similar situations. I was looking for the perfect card. Of course I couldn’t find it. Then I saw this plain simple card. It was very nice. It didn’t have much to say. The lights went on in my mind. What does Julia really want? She wants you to say how much she means to you. So I bought that card, and then wrote a long letter in it. I would tell her all that she meant to me right then. It was similar every year, but different too. I personalized the card just for her. That was definitely a winner. So from then on, it only took me about ten minutes to find the card. I spent longer writing what I felt. That is what she loved the most. I would get her flowers in the later years, and always dinner. Sometimes out but many times just an intimate dinner at home. Yes, I learned to love Valentines day too.

This year I didn’t have to find the card, but tonight I want to write to you my love. Julia, you never knew how much I loved you. You knew I loved you, but I don’t think I was ever able to show you how much. I know that I tried to show you, but too many times I was too busy, too involved with other things. I love you for the little things, for your smile, for your making sure I am dressed properly, even when I don’t want to be. I love you for the mother and grandmother you are. I love you because you love me so much. I love you because of your passion for the Kingdom of God. I love you because you push me to be better, but love me when I’m not. I love you when you are holding the grandkids, when you are worried about the kids. I love you when you need to talk to me. I love you when I need to talk to you. I love you when we can both just be together without talking. I still love you more than ever. I miss you so much, I always will. Happy Valentines Day My Love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 34 - Memories of Snows Past

The snow was beautiful this morning. The bright sun shimmering through the trees in the back yard made everything feel surreal. The birds flocked to the feeder to get some needed sunflower seeds. I know that they were having a hard time finding anything else. As the day went on the roads begin to melt, , but the back yard stayed pretty most of the day. Because of the trees, there was not as much melting as in other yards.

Snow was always a big deal at our house when the girls were growing up. I remember Julia and I spending what seemed like hours to get everybody ready. First we had to find enough winter clothes to put on them. The problem was always trying to find something waterproof. If the gloves or mittens got wet, the girls would get cold and want to go inside. This was one of the times I realized girls were not like boys. They wouldn’t stay outside all day with wet feet, or wet hands. They wanted comfort. I didn’t understand this, but Julia did, and she would go to great lengths to try and find something to protect them. Needless to say, they normally were able to stay out no more than 15 – 20 minutes. Then it was back inside to a warm fire, dry off, change clothes and then back outside. In one afternoon we might change the girls clothes three or four times. We would spend hours getting them ready for minutes playing in the snow. But it was fun, fun for all of us. Julia and I would help try and build a snowman, sometimes mud men. We would have hot soup or chili and hot chocolate. We live in the woods, and we would take walks in the woods. The scenery completely changed when it snowed. It was always so beautiful. We always had a dog, and it was fun to watch our dogs play in the snow.

So as I looked at the snow this morning, these and more memories sort of lingered in my mind. But I was alone and it was great to look out through the window. It was also great not to have to go outside in the cold. Although if any of my granddaughters had been here I would have been outside in a heartbeat.

Since we had to cancel the Healing ministry training today, I had all day off. So I finally had to do the one thing I have been putting off. I had to clean the house. I washed my sheets yesterday, so today it was clean the bathroom and vacuum the house. It really wasn’t that hard, it’s just I’m not used to doing it. But once I got started, it wasn’t that bad. I needed to finish the task because I work for the next three days and then I go to Mobile to see Lisa, Anna and Julia.

I had a good time at dinner with the Steeds and Oswalts. We shared stories about earlier years, and I remembered more about our early days. I’m glad the roads have dried out. I know that tomorrow when I leave I will still have to be careful of some black ice, but at least the roads are mainly clear. I guess I will spend the rest of the night by the fire watching the winter Olympics. I think we had more snow than Vancouver had. I love the snow, but I hope that this is all we have for the year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 33 - Snow!

It finally arrived. After waiting almost all day, the snow came in around one this afternoon. It began fairly slow, but quickly began to pick up steam. I was prepared. I started making soup around 11. Before that I washed sheets and cleaned up the house a little. At 1:30, I went to the Y to work out. My plan was to go there, and then go down to Kennesaw and pick up my car from the repair shop before the snow got too bad. The car was supposed to be ready in the early afternoon. After leaving the Y, I called the car repair shop and they hadn’t finished the car. It didn’t look like it would be finished today so I went home. By this time the roads were beginning to get icy. It wasn’t too bad, just a little slushy. I got home and had my first bowl of soup. Now I’m not a great cook. Julia was so good that I usually stayed out of the kitchen. I would do all the grilling but she did most of the cooking. There were a couple of things that I taught her to cook. One was vegetable soup. I have been making that since pilot training. I learned the recipe from my Dad, and have been making it for over 40 years. The soup was great, and I was ready to “hunker down” in the house for the duration of the storm when I got a call. The car was ready. At first I said I would get it later, but after about three minutes I decided that the roads were only going to get worse, so I ventured out into the brink of the storm once again. Well, I got the car and got back safely. The roads were definitely getting worse, and I’m glad that I don’t have to go out again.

So here I am. It is beautiful outside. We probably have close to three inches of snow. That’s more than we have had her in over ten years. I have a fire, TV, movies and soup. I’m ready. I thought about watching Lord of the Rings, and I still might. It’s different though. That emptiness that is always with me is stronger tonight. Friends want me to come and stay with them, but there is a comfort in being here that I can’t explain. It’s not that I want to be a hermit, but I think it has to do with needing to be around “our” stuff. Julia’s presence is still strong in this house, even after a month. I feel comfortable here because I can feel her so near. Sometimes that is hard, but more often it is comforting.

How does a child grieve? What goes through the mind of a three year old, a ten year old, or a twelve year old when they lose their Nanna? That thought has been going through my head for the past two nights. How are my granddaughters grieving? How can they understand? How can I help them? I believe I have it easy compared to them. At least I can comprehend everything. My constant prayer is for them to understand, for trauma and abandonment to be broken off them. I know I need to talk to the older ones. What do I say? I’ve got to be real, but how does that look? These are the questions that I have been going to bed with at night. These are the questions that I am asking God to answer for me. I know that He can heal their hearts. I’ve seen Him do it in others. I just want is wisdom in how to deal with this. I know that it is primarily their parents who will deal with most of it. But I sense that I have a big part to play, and I don’t want to miss it. Well these are heavy questions, and I don’t have the answer to them. However I know that when I do get to talk to them, He will give me the right words to say. So even as I ask, I know that He will answer. Isn’t it funny how one minute you can be overwhelmed with questions and the next minute your fine, even if you still don’t know the answers? I know that Father God must get tickled at us sometimes.

Today is Julia Anne’s one month birthday. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I’m looking forward to seeing her and Anna next week. I know that she is growing fast. I am so blessed. I have two wonderful, strong daughters and four lovely granddaughters. They are the legacy of Julia’s life and mine. I love them all very much. I wish we could all go out and play in the snow together. I wonder if there is snow in heaven. Maybe there you can make snow ice cream like we used to do when I was a kid. That’s a good thought to end on tonight. Snow ice cream. Yum.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 32 - Decisions Decisions

It’s been a long day. I was up at 3AM to be at work at 5AM. The good news about being at work at 5AM is that I’m done around 10:30AM. Then I was off to the church to see Terry and talk about Sozo and Healing Prayer training. I got home around noon and ate some brunch. Then I went to the Y to run out of the cold. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the lesson for tonight’s cell meeting. I had supper with the Steeds at 5:15, than got to the church for cell at 6:45.

Cell tonight was really good. It is great when the Holy Spirit shows up. I felt that the teaching was well received, and worship was great. It’s good to see the prophetic come forth in a corporate setting. After worship and some corporate words we divided up into a men’s and women’s group for ministry. We prayed for one another with power and boldness. I don’t see how people can go to a small group and not lay hands on each other for prayer and impartation. God moves when you step out and risk. It’s time we allow him to move in our lives and in our small groups. What is a small group for? It’s a place to be real, to minister to each other’s needs. It’s a place where the Holy Spirit releases gifts and allows us to participate in the process. What a privileged. It’s a real shame when small groups for some reason or another don’t allow the Spirit to move. The days of Prayer Request went away long ago. Julia and I have been leading small groups for over 28 years. I don’t think we have taken prayer request in at least 27 years. We need each other. We need Jesus with “skin on”. There is so much we can do, if we only will open up and risk being vulnerable.

During the afternoon before I left for cell I had to make some hard decisions. First, my older daughter Jennifer, who lives in Ft Lauderdale, was going to see my younger daughter Lisa in Mobile AL this weekend. I had her flying standby tomorrow morning. Everything was looking good until the magic weather word started being bandied about. SNOW was coming to the south. Snow is the bane of all transportation. One inch, even the threat of one inch can paralyze Atlanta, close schools and worst of all, cancel airline flights. All of a sudden I had to see if I could coordinate getting Jennifer to mobile ahead of the snow. I worked it out with Lisa and Jennifer. I changed the reservations. It was looking like she was going to get there. Everything was looking good, until Delta started canceling flights. It was late and I was about to leave. Jennifer was scheduled to get on the 8PM flight to Atlanta, and then catch a 10:50 flight to Mobile. For some reason, I was prompted to check the flights once again. What had looked good an hour ago was now total chaos. Jennifer could get to Atlanta, but would never get to Mobile. What had happened? Delta had canceled almost every flight from Atlanta to Mobile for tomorrow. In fact they had cancelled over 800 flights including half of the flights from Atlanta to Ft Lauderdale. Jennifer could get to Atlanta, but she wouldn’t get to Mobile, and she wouldn’t be able to get back to Ft Lauderdale either. Reluctantly I called both Lisa and Jennifer. I told Jennifer her best move was to stay home. I knew that both of them were really looking forward to seeing each other. I really felt bad. I know it is not my fault, but it feels like it is.

We have Sozo appointments every Friday night at 6:30. Tomorrow night we have 6 sozos scheduled. That means we have 6 people driving in to have a sozo, and at least 12, maybe up to 18 people on the teams driving in to give the sozos. So that is up to 24 people who would be driving in to the church for this ministry. Snow and driving in the south just don’t mix. Who knows we may not have any accumulation here, but we have to think of the safety of the people involved. So reluctantly I made the decision to go ahead and cancel all the sozos for this Friday night. I really hated to do it, but the decision needed to be made, so after prayer and looking at all the options, the sozos are cancelled.

Snow, I used to love it when it snowed. It was great to take the kids out and play. It was good to be out of school. Now it’s not so much fun. Well I did make the obligatory stop at Publix tonight to stock up incase it really does snow. I’ll make a big pot of homemade vegetable soup, light the fire and watch movies. It might be a good day for a Lord of the Rings marathon. I wish Julia was going to be here with me. She is here, but I wish she had skin on. Well I do know this, even as I miss her tonight, and will miss her tomorrow. God is good, and He is in a good mood. I’m His son, and He will be with me to talk to and hang out with. Enjoy the snow!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 31 - Fun in the Sun

I was off today, but it just seemed to fly by without me getting anything productive accomplished. It was a fun day. I had lunch with Peter Oswalt and then went to see the Book of Eli again. Twice in one week. I think that is the first time I’ve done that in a long time. The movie was better the second time than it was the first. I won’t reveal any details because I don’t want to spoil the storyline for anyone else. It has been bone chilling cold all day long. The wind chill was well under 30 most of the day. As I kept getting in and out of the car, I found myself thing back to our time in Hawaii. For almost 5 years there was no winter. Julia had a harder time with that than I did. I could go with out winter all the time. I do like spring and fall seasons, but I do not like winters.

I wish that I could say that Julia and I both heard God on our first date, and that He told us to get married. I do believe God used us, but neither of us was walking with Him when we got married. I never remember asking God if I should marry Julia, and she didn’t ask Him about me either. So with that background, when we got to Hawaii, church was not on our priority list. I think we were both nominal Christians. We both had been raised Baptist. She was probably more inclined to go to church than I was. I was still burnt out after being raised a preachers kid. I never wanted to sit foot in a church. So, for the whole time we were in Hawaii I think I remember going to church maybe twice.

Our Sundays were usually spent on the beach. Hawaiian beaches are a lot different than the Atlantic or the Gulf. The sand is a lot coarser, and sticks to you more. Also the beaches are usually coves that are small and very steep. You can take three of four steps and be over your head. Plus the waves are bigger and have more power. Needless to say, you have to know what you are doing, or you can get into trouble very quickly. There were a couple of places that were not like that at all. One was Bellows Air Station. Bellows is an old WWII air station with an abandoned runway. It is right on the shore, and has one of the best beaches on Oahu. Since the property is owned by the Air Force it was a natural to become a prime recreation area. It used to take about an hour to drive across the island to Bellows. But it was well worth the drive. The beach was long and fairly wide. It was a great place to body surf, or to surf for that matter. It had picnic tables and camping facilities. You could rent cabins just off the beach for the weekend, bring your food, sheets and just stay there. Also since it was military, only the military could use it. It was never really crowded. It was our favorite spot. We had a friend with a catamaran and we would often go sailing off the beach. So this is how we spent our Sundays. Normally Saturdays were too busy doing other things like shopping and getting ready for the next week. Julia would shop, and I would often play golf. So Sundays were our day together. They were the day we spent talking with each other and with our friends. They were really the day we got to know each other. It seems like every other day of the week we were each busy with our jobs and what all that entailed. Sunday was our day to spend together. I really believe that God gave us so much grace because He knew what we needed. At that time we needed to know each other more than we needed religion. If we had gone to church back then it would have been out of a religious duty rather than a desire to know Him more. So that brings up the question. When is it better not to go to church than to go to church? I don’t have an answer for that except to say that you should do what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. If you don’t hear the Holy Spirit, chances are you are doing it out of a religious spirit. That can be good or bad. That’s food for thought.

Anyway, I was thinking back on those warm lazy Sunday’s on the beach today. I was thanking God for letting us have them together, and I was thanking Him for bringing us together in Him, so that we could really grow close.

I know that winter is coming to a close, and sooner rather than later the temperature will rise, and spring will come. But for tonight, I think that I am going to try to drift off to sleep remembering the Sundays on the beach at Bellows. It’s hard to believe that was so long ago.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 30 - 30 Days?

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog for thirty days. It’s just as hard to believe that Julia died a month ago yesterday. In many ways it seems like yesterday. As I write, I don’t know where I’m going. I sort of just begin to flow. I do know that this writing has helped me. It’s helped me to understand that grief is a process, and it is not something that is continuous. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows like the tide. It moves like the fog with a light breeze, coming in and out at odd, unexpected times. Grief is something to be embraced, but held loosely. If you hold it too tight, it can take you down the well of self-pity. That well is easy to fall into and hard to get out of. So far, by the grace of God, I believe I have avoided falling into that well. I’ve found that for me this works, at least so far. When grief comes, and I have time to deal with it, I allow it to wash over me. I embrace it, and let the tears and pain flow. This allows the process to cleanse me and empty me of pent up feelings. But there comes a point, when I have to take my focus off my loss of Julia and all that means and place my focus on Father God and His goodness. I have to allow His goodness to pull me up and bring joy back into my life. Yes, joy. It’s like the scripture “Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. As I begin to focus on Him, the heaviness begins to lift.

This morning I spent a lot of time addressing and writing in Valentine cards for all my girls. Five total, I didn’t have to do one for Julia Anne this year. Anyway, I was writing in each one when I really felt Julia’s presence near me. It was if she was standing over my shoulder urging me on. She loved Valentines Day, so I loved it with her. As I was doing all this and feeling her presence, I just let the fog roll in for a little while. I wish that I were writing her, telling her how much more I loved her than last year. I look around the house, and it’s all decorated for Valentines Day. There is a red spread on our bed, valentine plates on the walls. She had it decorated for Valentines Day the minute the Christmas decorations came down. So now, I will probably have to get Biddie over next week to help me find the Easter decorations, because I know that they would be coming up next week. The house is still empty, and I’ve been sleeping too late on days I don’t have to work. I have to get back on more of a schedule.

Tonight we went on Prayer Walks. Our team went to Ga Tech. We met at Starbucks on 5th street, and walked over the tech campus to the student center. As we walked, we were trying to feel in the spirit what was going on, so we would know how to pray. When we got to the student center we met up with a bunch of Tech students who are in a home group from Bethel Atlanta. Then we talked about what we had picked up, and asked the Holy Spirit how to pray in the Kingdom to counteract the se areas. It was a powerful time of prayer, and I will be looking to see what kind of breakthrough we had there. As we started the prayer walk, I realized that I had graduated from Tech 4o years ago this May. 40 years, that is significant in the Spirit, and I felt it wasn’t “a coincidence” that I was on the team praying tonight. It was cold and windy outside, but well worth the time spent. I’m excited to see what God does.

I’m finishing up a little early tonight. That’s good, because I haven’t watched 24 yet. I think that is how I will spend the next hour, catching up on Jack.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 29 - Sunshine for a Change

Today we saw the sun in Atlanta. I think it was the first time in at least a week. It seems like longer than that. It even got up in the low 50’s. It was a perfect day to go for a run. I’ve wanted to go outside for a run for over a week. Today was the day. Only one problem, I was too busy to run. I had outreach down in Tyrone at 3PM. We minister in a trailer park on Monday afternoons. Before that I had to take the envoy to the repair shop and pick up a rental car. The envoy will be fixed by Friday, I hope. Then I had to go to the East Point Police Department to pick up the police report so I can get my deductable back from the insurance company. I also had to go to Target and buy Valentines Cards for everybody. I used to only have to buy one, for Julia, and she would by the rest for all the girls. That took a while. Most of the cards were really cheesy. Anyway, all that took up most of my day. I really don’t know how Julia ever got anything done. Shopping takes forever. I didn’t even by presents. I know I’m out of my league on that score. Gift cards will have to do. Then I went to school. That was the best part of my day.

At BSSM tonight we had John Sheasby. He is from South Africa, and his teaching on being a son instead of a servant is awe-inspiring. It is basically a teaching on the covenant of Grace, and the goodness of God. I don’t have the time nor the words to do it justice tonight. But he says and I believe that most of the church comes into salvation by faith and grace, and then spends the rest of the time trying to earn everything by works. It really makes sense, and I know it ties in so much with our receiving from God and knowing His goodness.

How does the enemy attack us? Think about it, it normally comes as an attack on our identity. When the Devil tempted Jesus how did he come after Him? He said IF you are the Son of God. This was just after God had spoken the words at Jesus’ baptism, “Here is my beloved son …” If he would attack Jesus this way, doesn’t it make sense that he attacks us in the same way. We have to know who and whose we are to withstand these attacks. We spend too much time trying to measure up, to deserve something. We need to learn to receive. In the Old Testament, what did the priest look at when a sacrifice was made? Did he look at the person offering the sacrifice? No! He looked at the sacrifice itself. He looked to see that it was free of blemishes. Jesus was our sacrifice given for us. He was perfect. God is not looking at us. We don’t have to measure up. We have to realize it’s not about us. It was about Him. We have to learn to receive. I have to learn to receive.

I am so thankful for friends. I got a couple of emails today from dear friends. They ministered greatly to me. It’s good to know that as I walk through this, so are others. Julia meant so much to so many people. I know that many are grieving as I am. I just wasn’t to say to each of you that I love you all very much. I’m proud of the way our church as a whole and our friends in particular have dealt with this loss. Last night when we on the healing team were getting prayed for, the Holy Spirit was really blasting me. Someone was praying for me to have more discernment and to be able to see clearly in the Spirit. During that time I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that He was giving me the discernment that I used to count on Julia for. I was getting a double portion to make up for her loss. During that time I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. That word was confirmed tonight at school when somebody told me what they had seen in a dream. I say yes because I know that I need it, and I know that God wants to give it to me.

Today was a sunny day. I enjoyed it, and there were no patches of “fog”. I miss her so much. I know that she isn’t coming back. But for today, the deep pain wasn’t there, and for that and many other blessings, I am thankful.