Wow! I just got back from a surprise birthday party with most of my closest friends. They really did surprise me tonight. I really didn’t see it coming. Almost two months ago, John and Biddie asked me to reserve the 26th. We would go out that night to Nuevo Laredo, my favorite Mexican Restaurant in Atlanta and celebrate my birthday. Then when their friend from FL was coming in for the weekend, we decided to do something last night. I really thought that tonight would be overkill, but I do love Mexican food so I was fine with the idea. I do remember wondering why they wanted me to reserve the date so early, but I was so busy working that month that I completely forgot about it. We always go early down to Nuevo Laredo because the line gets very long after 6PM. So when Julie Cone asked me to come over to pray for someone at 6, I asked John and Biddie if that would work out. To my surprise they were fine with being a little late. That should have been my second clue. But this ministry opportunity really was important and I knew it was something we needed to do, so I agreed.
Tonight, I met them at their house at 5:30 and we went to the Cones. They were not staying there because of their guest. They left to go to the square. Terry and I were there with Julie and Ed to pray for healing for someone. It was a powerful time, and we could feel the presence of Holy Spirit in such a sweet and peaceful way. We were able to pray for them and minister to them prophetically. It took longer than expected and I was hoping that John and Biddie were not getting impatient. As we left, I was in a hurry saying goodbyes so that I could get going as soon as possible. I opened the back door and I saw all these people. There was Bud and Cathy, Bob and Lynn, Susanne, Mike and Ginger and of course John. Biddie, Ed and Julie.
My first thought was “Why aren’t you all inside with us praying?” Then it hit me. There were tables being put up in the back yard. It was a surprise party for me! They asked me to say something and all I could say was “You got me.” I was truly surprised. We had a great meal and a good time. I had to open cards and read them out loud, but the cards were a lot kinder than they were when I had a surprise birthday party at 50. I had a great time. I think everybody did. It was really good to spend time with some of ny friends that I haven’t really been able to spend time with since Julia’s death.
I know that Julia must have been smiling in Heaven tonight. She would have loved it. We both love small intimate gatherings where you can talk and just be yourself. Once again, I am learning that she is not there, yet I can feel her presence along with her absence. That probably doesn’t make sense. Let me try to explain. I always feel her absence. It’s like a tooth that has been pulled. It doesn’t really hurt anymore, but you always notice that it is not there. You don’t think about it, you don’t dwell on the fact that it is not there. It’s just not there and you know it. Every time you move your tongue, you can sense its absence. That probably explains my feelings right now better than anything I have said yet. I can sense Julia’s absence in everything I do, every minute of the day. There is no pain, most of the time, but that sense of loss is always there.
But sometimes, not always, I can sense her presence as well. Tonight I could almost feel and se her laughing and having fun with the group. These were her dearest friends too. Oh yes, she was present tonight. I could feel her almost as if she were right here in the flesh. The other night, when I was almost asleep, I could almost feel her lying next to me. It was very comforting and peaceful. This is good, and I do enjoy these times. But they are becoming less and less. I don’t know how long they will last. But that’s OK. It’s OK because I am learning to sense His presence more. Holy Spirit is always with me and He does comfort me. Jesus and I can talk and hang out, but it’s when Papa comes into the room. That’s when I can just be the little boy and crawl up into His lap knowing that He will protect me and watch over me. The nuances of each personality of the Godhead are so important to learn if you are going to grow closer to Him. It’s like I am learning which part of the Trinity that I need to run to when certain things happen. Their presence is so much stronger than Julia’s. I love her presence because it reminds me so much of what we had. But I love the presence of God so much more because it reminds me of what He has for me.