Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 202 - What is Reality?

Is the top still spinning? I just saw Inception tonight. I will probably have to see it at least two more times. It’s about dreams and reality. The plot has people able to invade other peoples dream life and extract information; or do something that is even harder, plant an idea that will grow into an obsession. That’s where the title, Inception, came from. But living in dreams brings one to the point that it is hard to know what is reality. I can see this movie becoming the new “Matrix”. There is so much to glean, and so many prophetic insights to gain. I remember Bob Jones saying in the 90’s that movies were going to be more prophetic than most sermons. I’m afraid that he was right. Anyway it was great movie, and I need to see it again soon.

So much of our life is lived on this earthly plane. We think this is the only reality, and we spend our whole life working, raising kids; just living the “American Dream.” But there is another reality, an even greater reality that we must embrace and we must allow it to shape us and change us on this plane. That reality is the reality of the Kingdom of God, and God’s desire to see us bring this Kingdom down into this reality. The reality of the Kingdom is the greater reality, but most of us don’t believe it, and are very hesitant to act upon it. Instead we stay in this plane, never expecting Kingdom reality to invade our circumstances. We live, for the most part, as if God were far off, not caring about us. If only we could realize how much He does love us, and how much He cares about everything we do. Many of us, if we do believe in Him, expect punishment and judgment. We expect to sin, so we do. We don’t know His true character and nature. We don’t know His love and acceptance because we have not experienced it. For the most part all we have know is religion. Religion demands judgment. Religion is man’s way of justifying himself, or condemning others.

Christianity is not about religion. It is about relationship; relationship with the living Jesus Christ, King of kings. He wants relationship with us. He died for our sins so that He could have us as His Brothers and Sisters. We who believe are joint heirs with Him. We no longer have a sin nature, but His nature. We were saved by grace, but we are no longer sinners, but saints. We are ambassadors of His Kingdom. We really do represent a new reality. So we need to start living like we believe it. We represent a reality where the supernatural should be the natural. We live in a reality where healing should be commonplace. If we as believers lived and believed as we should, we would truly have community transformation. It wouldn’t be just a catch phrase or a slogan. It would be “reality”. I know that reality is what I want, what I am living for. I know it is what Julia was after too.

On a personal front, I feel things shifting. I am becoming me, not just the half of Julia that is still here. I think it is a good thing, but it is a little different. I no longer feel strange being by myself, or with my friends without Julia. At first, and for a number of months it felt odd. You know, me being by myself when most everyone else had his or her spouse. I felt like the odd man out. But I don’t necessarily feel like that anymore. Every now and then I might think about her not being there, but I am becoming more at home just being me. I am really at peace. I’m not necessarily lonely, just alone. I don’t know if that makes sense, but earlier this year I remember that I wrote that I wasn’t alone, but lonely. So that is a complete opposite of what I just wrote. So, I guess there has been a shift.

What I am realizing is that these shifts, or levels of healing, are gradual. They are so gradual that you don’t realize that they are taking place until there has been a major change. Then you realize that that change didn’t happen all at once, but through a process. I think that our reality changes through a process to. We believe the Kingdom and then we slowly start doping the Kingdom looking for breakthrough. But breakthrough comes as a process most of the time. It’s like the “and suddelys” of life. Most of them took years of perseverance and patience. Then the “and suddenly” happened. So, I pray that we all are able to see the real reality and press into the Kingdom until it “breaks through” into our present reality.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 201 - Back to the Vineyard

Being at First Methodist for a second time was the best of times and the worst of times. It was the best because we were reconnected with good friends. The embraced us with open arms, not even asking questions. As we were healing, they were there for support. It was the worst because we had tasted what worship and freedom in the Spirit was like. No matter how much we tried, it wasn’t the same. We weren’t there very long before we realized that it wouldn’t be permanent. As we got stronger, we know we had to go, but where? As we began to pray, we knew that our destiny was still tied to the Vineyard and to church planting. The first step was to begin to reconnect with our friends at the Atlanta Vineyard.

We didn’t know it, but while we were away, the Atlanta Vineyard had also been in turmoil. When we came back, they were just coming out of a very bad period. Johnny and Ann were very wounded, an had been ministered to by some old friends from years past. The friends were Tony and Sandy Cavaner. They were very gifted and very prophetic. They had both spoken into Johnny and Ann’s life and had helped bring clarity and healing to a number if issues. So when we came into the Vineyard, Tony and Sandy had just moved to Atlanta and had become associate pastors at the Atlanta Vineyard. Little did we know how much of an influence this couple would eventually have in our lives.

We came back to the Atlanta Vineyard like we hadn’t left. We immediately started a new kinship group and it began to grow. I was meeting with Johnny weekly. We were running together and it was as if we had never left. We truly loved Johnny and Ann. I think we liked their pioneer spirit. They were willing to risk it all to see the Kingdom advanced. He didn’t have elders or a board, but informally we were in the inner circle when it came to decision-making. We honored each other and the four of us became very close. As least as close as you can become living on opposite sides of town. We would go to concerts together and hang out when we could. When they would have leadership meetings at their house, we would be there. It was during this time that we also began to get to know Tony and Sandy better. They were an intriguing couple. We had never met any one quite like them. They had become small group pastors. The small groups were growing, and Julia and I had become area pastors. We were responsible for working with about four small group leaders.

Tony and Sandy began to meet with all the area pastors on a regular basis for worship and prayer. These meetings were great, and were the beginnings of us learning about impartation. We met at least once a month and it was life to us. We were being prophesied over, and poured into like we had never been before. Julia and I loved Tony and Sandy also. Every time we were around them, we received life. That year was awesome. We were growing so much. The Vineyard was thriving. Worship was great and home groups were growing. It was a great time of peace and growth for us. It was toward the end of the year, and the Atlanta Vineyard was taking a team over to Portsmouth England. We were doing a conference at a little Anglican church. I think we took a team of ten or so. The team consisted of Johnny, Ann, Tony, Sandy, Julia and myself and a few others. Johnny and Tony were going to do the teaching, and then we were going to pray for healing and infilling of the Holy Spirit. We were excited, but our expectations were pretty low. When we prayed back then, we were excited to see eyelids flutter or someone begin to perspire. We had never seen many manifestations and we weren’t looking for anything.

Boy were we surprised when, as we were praying for them, they begin to fall down and start shaking. The first night it looked like a war zone. People were all over the floor. They had fallen on each other and were everywhere. WE didn’t know anything about catching them. Shoot, we had never seen anyone fall. While they were on the ground, some were laughing, some were crying and most were shaking like they has electricity going through their bodies. At first, we thought it was all demonic and we started trying to cast spirits out of them. But after a while when nothing was changing, Tony said to look in their eyes. Their eyes were perfectly clear. It wasn’t demonic. If it wasn’t demonic, it had to be God. So we begin to pray and bless what God was doing. We say many lives changed. Night after night is was the same way. We just didn’t understand what was going on. We had never seen anything like it. This was in November 1993. In January 1994 at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Holy Spirit fell in a youth meeting. This renewal shook the world, and radically changed Julia and my life. I believe that this time in England in November was just a precursor to what happened in Toronto. Our lives were about to be radically shaken, and our destinies changed forever.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 200 - Another Milestone

Wow, it is hard to believe that I have been writing this blog every night for the past 200 days! I’m on page 263 and almost 168,000 words. I’ve probably written over 200 hours. I normally average about an hour a night. Anyway, that’s enough for statistics. What I really want to do is to thank you who are still on this journey with me. Your prayers, comments, emails and support have helped me tremendously in this process on healing. I am continuing to get stronger. My prayer is that my daughters and granddaughters will heal as quickly as I am. I pray that Julia’s friends will heal as well. We all mss her so much, and this has taken a toll on all of us. As I have been writing this blog, I realize that I have been writing it not only for myself, but for all of those who were impacted by Julia’s life. As I tell our story, I leave a legacy for the future. A legacy that I leave, I hope will be received by Adair, Meleah, Anna Roan and Julia Anne. It’s their heritage from their Nana that I really want to preserve. I guess a little bit of me will be there too.

Part of that legacy is at RiverStone. Tonight we had healing prayer. That was one of Julia’s favorite times, and a favorite ministry. We never missed it if we could make it, and even if I was working, she was sure to be there. She would have loved tonight. No, she did love tonight. I know that she was there in Spirit. We had a team of over 100. I remember when we had a team of less than 10. We prayed and ministered to over 80 people in two hours. It was an awesome night. The worship team did a great job of ushering in the Holy Spirit. The prophetic artists were right on with their drawings and the prayer teams were busy and engaged, releasing the presence of God.

I can remember when we first started. There were about 10 of us in a room with a CD. We didn’t do anything except have people sit and soak while we just went around and prayed silently while we laid hands on them. That was where we began. It’s a far cry from where we are today. But I think that it represents a prophetic representation of where we have come from as a church and where we are going. I am still waiting for breakthrough in the area of creative miracles and instantaneous divine healing. I can see it in the Spirit, and we declare that it will be released in our midst. As we have grown as a church, we have gained and lost many people, but most of that original team is still together and we were all here tonight. Breakthrough is about to happen! I can feel it in the Spirit. We will be ready, at least this part of the church.

I was just thinking, I’m over half way through this blog. Writing has become almost a way of life. It is definitely a habit, one that I want to keep. I am realizing that this hour that I spend every night is doing at least two things for me. First it is keeping me connected with Julia and her memories. Second, it is keeping me connected to Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Without that connection, I don’t know where I would be right now. I do know that I wouldn’t be nearly as healed as I am now. So, I guess this blog really is theraputic. My connection to Julia’s memories is important, but not nearly as important as my connection to the Trinity. That is where the healing is released and the goodness flows. It’s all about His Glory, the glory to know Him.

So, as I close out 200 days, I am truly thankful. I look forward to the next 165 days. I have much more of our story to tell, and time is running out so I will have to pick up the pace a little bit. Also I look forward to continued healing and knowing and releasing the presence of God. It is a great time to be alive!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 199 - So Little Time

One more 3AM wake up. That will be four in a row. I do like working early periods because it allows me to do other things the rest of the day. But four in a row is hard. I can remember thirty years ago when I wouldn’t be so tired. Sometimes my mind keeps scheduling my body to do things like I did thirty years ago, but I guess that might not be a good thing. The thing is, I don’t want to slow down. I want to keep pace and do everything that there is to do. I think that I had rather explode than slow down. I know that some day I will have to, but today is not that day. Anyway, I will go to bed as early as I can.

I did get to the Y to run and work out this afternoon. That was great and I feel so much better having been. I grilled out and had a salad for dinner, and then I tried to watch a little TV, but kept falling asleep. Not those who know me well would be the first to say that is not hard to do. After all, I have a sister who has narcolepsy, and I have always had trouble staying awake when I was sitting still. Of course I have never been diagnosed with it, I would probably have not been able to fly if I had. Anyway I think it was because I was tired that I feel asleep tonight. I woke up and felt like I had better get this blog done, or it might not get done.

I am getting excited. Next week we leave for Damascus Virginia for our biking trip. I know that it will bring back a lot of memories, because this time last year, Julia and I both were together in this trip. It is hard to believe that she is gone sometimes. There are moments when I think she is about to come around the corner. I felt that early on, but it is different now. Now I don’t get sad when I realize she is not. Instead I smile and laugh. I usually talk to her and say, “I sure wish you could”. That is why I think that I have reached a new level of healing. I missed her during the move especially. I really missed her when I had the granddaughters by myself all day. But there was no pain, no anger, and no regret. There were only good memories of what it was like when she was with me.

I am no longer worried about forgetting her. How could I ever forget the woman that I loved and lived with for over 38 years? She will always have such a big and special place in my heart. I guess the only real issue I am still dealing with is just missing her. I miss her wise counsel and even her chiding me about certain things that I do that she didn’t think that I should do. I miss not having her beside me in the bed. I miss her not being home when I come, or asleep when I leave in the morning. Growing old alone is not going to be fun, but growing old together might not have been fun either. There is something about growing old at all that doesn’t seem fun. I know that in 20 years I will probably be old : > ) I know that growing old slips up on you and takes you by surprise.

But I have so much I still want to do, and so many places I want to go. Right now I don’t have time to grow old. I guess it will just have to happen. I do know this: I am not the type to sit around and do nothing. I have to be involved. I really want to be involved in ministry. I was talking with Peter, my friend who is in Russia, today. He called and we were talking. He felt that he had a word for me. The word was that I was about to be launched into a new phase of ministry that would last for the next 20 years. I receive that word, and declare it to be true. Twenty years of active, fruitful, productive ministry. That is what I am asking for and declaring. Then I just want to leave in an instant, just like Julia. Well, I’ve written much more than I thought that I would. It’s amazing to me that I can start out with nothing to say and yet Holy Spirit gives me something if I continue to write. Well, it’s off to bed for my last early wake up for a while.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 198 - Forks in the Road

Do you ever look back at you life and see turning points? I can see them all the time. You know what I mean. Decisions that are really forks in the road. Decisions that when you make them don’t seem that life changing, but really are. I had lunch today with one of my best friends from High School. He lives in way out I 85 near Braselton. We don’t see each other that much, I saw him at Julia’s service and then at another friend’s wedding. The last time we had lunch together was probably almost two years ago. It’s funny how you c an be so close to someone when you are young, and then life happens and you drift apart. He has always lived way out in NE metro Atlanta and we have lived in the NW. It may as well be another city. Anyway, there were four of us in High School. We called ourselves the four Musketeers. We pretty much did everything together. Sure we all dated some. But most of the time we were hanging out at one of our houses. There was Randy, John and Tommy. I was called Tommy back then and my Dad was called Tommy. That often led to confusion. Anyway I had lunch with Tommy today. It brought back old memories. Randy lives in South Carolina, and John passed away in 95.

John was really close to me because we were almost neighbors and hung out together all the time. We spent summers out on our neighborhood lake. His dad was an Delta mechanic at the time and he had some big airplane tire tubes. We used to spend all day in the summer floating on the lake. John was the one who was driving when we hit a telephone poll and I lost my three front teeth. The four of us played soccer together, and were in all the advanced classes together. Then John got the grand idea to slip his senior year and graduate. We all probably could have done it, we had enough credits, but John was the only one with focus. He had a plan. He would go to Emory and then to Med school and become a doctor. I wanted to be a doctor also, but I wasn’t as determined as John. So John graduated early while Tommy, Randy and myself finished High School. Probably the biggest decision that I had to make was where to go to college. I wanted to be a doctor, I thought; so I thought I would probably go to Emory. But I loved Ga Tech, and I could get to med school there after I graduated. It was a hard decision, but eventually I chose Tech.

Looking back, that was the first big fork in the road in my life. What would have happened to me if I had went to Emory? Would I have become a Doctor? Would I still have become a pilot? Would I still have met Julia? Would I be walking with the Lord like I am today? So many questions that really don’t matter. But sometimes I find myself wondering. It’s not that I want something different; I am just amazed at how God uses everything even when it is not in his control to work for our good. I went to Tech and I didn’t become a Doctor. I became a pilot, and flew home to meet Julia. Wow, that’s another life changing decision. What if I had flown to Las Vegas for cross-country? That’s where almost everyone in my class went. Then I wouldn’t have met Julia.

When you really look at it, our life is defined by the choices we make. Each choice takes us on a different path. So it comes down to this. How do we make our choices? If we are believers, then hopefully we seek His guidance and help. But I believe that sometimes He says “Just choose”. To many of us are so afraid of making the wrong choice that we don’t choose at all. I believe Papa gave us dreams to help us make choices. Most of the dreams for our lives probably came from Him. He has a destiny that He wants us to fulfill. We shouldn’t be afraid to choose. We all have forks in the road, and we all have choices to make. We can’t please everyone, but we can please Him, and ourselves.

So I was asking Papa about my choices. Did I take the right forks in the road? Am I where He wanted me to be? It was if I saw Him smile at me am wink, as He said “You did fine Tom, you chose wisely”. I’m not really sure that I chose wisely all the time, but I know from the smile that I am right where He wants me, and that really is a good place to be.

I am being healed. I think I must be ahead of schedule, whatever that is. All I know that His goodness is so overwhelming some time, and although I think of Julia intermittently all day, the thoughts are of good times and memories and not of loss or of grief. I know that there are stiil times to come, especially the holidays where her loss will be severe. But I have a plan and He has a plan to show His love to our family in ways I can’t even imagine. Well, I’m late for bed. I’m glad I got a power nap in this afternoon. I love going to sleep focusing on His love and goodness.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 197 - Come Holy Spirit!

Today was a very busy day. I worked a double period at work, starting at 5Am and ending around 1:30. It could have been worse; the second period was very short. Then I went by RiverStone for a few minutes. I saw Tom, Daniel and Corey very briefly. Just long enough to touch base. I had to meet Jeff and Kristen Price at Starbucks. Jeff, Kristen and their kids are out at IHOP working in the school of ministry. They are an awesome group of sold out Revivalist. But more than that, they are a grand part for Julia’s (and my) legacy. We have known them all for I don’t know how many years. I cam remember Julia especially working with Kristen and inviting her to cell and intercession and then to conferences. We had her and her kids in our cell group fro a while before we got Jeff to come around. But once they all got on board, wow, they took off like a rocket ship. I am very proud of them, and proud that Julia and I could have a little influence in their life. They are setting an example of what it means to have a family going after God with all their hearts. Well-done guys! They head back for KC on Wed, so it was good to spend time with them today.

Tonight I went to dinner over at John and Biddies. Bud and Cathy were there and we had a great time telling stories and talking about old times as well as current situations. We were filling Bud and Cathy in on some of the earlier history of RiverStone. Especially looking some of the early days when we didn’t know that we were even going to be able to keep the church intact. Looking back, it is hard to believe that we were at that place, but I believe that God used all of that to prepare us for what is about to take place in the Spirit. I, and others, am sensing that we are on the verge of a great move of God at RiverStone. But we are not ready yet. We all have to press into Him and want Him so much that we are ready to endure shame and ridicule to be in His presence. I’ve been in strong moves of God since the early 90’s and I have yet to see one that didn’t cost the reputation of everyone involved. I also haven’t seen one that didn’t have counterfeit involved. It’s only natural. Those who want more have to be willing to accept some of the stuff that is not Him so that they can have most of what is Him. It is like the parable of the wheat and the tares. If you try to pull the tares up before the harvest, you might get the tares, but you will ruin a lot of wheat. A move of the Holy Spirit is like that. If you want to completely stop the counterfeit, you will probably shut down the Holy Spirit. Personally, I don’t want to be involved is stopping a move of God. I had rather live with some of the counterfeit for a while. I have seen the real thing as well as the fake. Believe me, sometimes it is so simple, and yet so hard.

The key to ushering in this next move of God is going to be how our leadership reacts. If we react in grace, erring on the side of freedom, the sky is going to be the limit. But if we react in fear, or even just to “stop error”. Then I am afraid that we will not see all that God has for us. There is so much we can do, to get ready. We can teach the word, but that doesn’t mean that what we teach will be what we see. The New Testament was an explanation of the experiences that the disciples had, not a list of all that can or cannot happen. Where did Jesus say we could only do what was written in the New Testament. No, in fact, He commanded us to do the “greater works” which are not even mentioned in the New Testament. So my main prayer is for grace. We need Grace to not judge, but be willing to accept things that are different. We must also have the grace not to react at what we see, but really seek His face when it does break out.

What will it look like? What will this move of the Holy Spirit look like? I have no clue. I wish that I did, so I could help prepare our people and leaders. But I know that there is much truth in the saying that “God offends the mind to reveal the heart”. I don’t know what you think about Toronto. But I do know that when all the controversy and manifestations were occurring up there, I watched John Arnott pastor with such grace and love. Did he do everything right? Probably not, but it has been 17 years, and Holy Spirit is still moving in that house. He must have done something right. I want to go back and read his books. They can give us some insight as to how to pastor what seems impossible to pastor. What I do know is that he didn’t let the fear of error cause him to shut down what God was doing. In the few times when it wasn’t God the fruit would begin to rise and he would deal with it then, behind the scenes, quietly.

So, why am I writing this tonight? I’m not really sure. I feel that prophetically it is just a caution to prepare. To get ready for all that He has for us and not to be to eager to jump into one ditch or the other. The move of God is coming; it is almost here, sort of like a woman in childbirth. It can’t be stopped, but it can be quenched. My prayer is that we will be wise and rest in His Spirit as things begin to break loose. Come Holy Spirit!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 196 - My Soul will Sing

I am so blessed. I know the importance of worship. It’s like Scott said this morning. When we truly worship Him, He has to come. To do otherwise would deny who He is. I love corporate worship. When we all come together seeking His presence and He shows up it is just so sweet. My soul truly sings when He is near. Didn’t the Bible say that if we didn’t praise Him the rocks and hills would cry out for His glory. Moses asked God to show him His glory and God showed Moses His goodness. So His glory is represented here in earth by His goodness. It’s His goodness that people don’t believe. Our view of God determines our actions as believers. At our camp Scott asked a question. The question was this: “Do you believe that god gives us diseases to make us better people?” Almost 80 percent of the kids answered yes. 80 percent! And we are a church that talks and preaches the goodness of God. We still have a lot of work to do!

Last Wednesday when I talked with the kids at the day camp on healing I spent the first ten minutes talking about the goodness of God. I told them that God is good, all the time. I told them that He is in a good mood and wants to love us, no matter what. I told them that all good things come from God, and all bad things come from the devil. I boiled down theology to basically this: God – Good; Devil – Bad. Now you might think to yourself that that’s OK. These are young kids who can’t understand all the nuances of theology. They can’t understand how God “allows” things to happen to change us. Well. I’m writing to myself but I know other adults are reading, so I want to speak to us now. We who are more sophisticated and can understand. Here is my theology in a nutshell: God – Good; Devil – Bad. It’s all the same no matter how old you are. When we get old, we just allow more arguments to get in our head. We begin to try to rationalize events and make our theology line up with our experience. We have been doing it for years. The early church in it’s later years began to lose some of the fervor and power of the Holy Spirit. The gifts began to fade. Instead of crying out for a renewal and reformation of their thinking to call back the Holy Spirit they began to develop a theology that excused their lack of power. They said that the gifts had been taken away, that they were not for today. They began to interpret scripture out of context to justify their condition.

God is Good and He is in a Good mood. Look at Jesus; He is perfect theology. Hebrews 1:3 states that Jesus is the perfect representations of the Father. So really examine the life and works of Jesus. That is the perfect representation of Father God. His goodness is everlasting; His grace endures forever and ever. We have to really begin to get a true picture of who God is. Did Jesus ever condemn sinners? What about the woman caught in adultery? We need more love. If the church would rise up and release the love of Jesus everywhere, then sinners would repent, cities would be transformed, abortions would cease. It’s about releasing His love, not about judging and condemning. Jesus loves me this I know, is more than a children’s song. It should be the battle cry of the church.

I know that many if not most of us have been taught that “God may not have caused it, but He allowed it to happen”. Why would He allow it to happen? Would you allow your daughter to get cancer to make her a “better person”. Of course not! Then why do we put that on God. I challenge you to go back to Genesis and read Genesis through again, especially Gen 1:26 – 31. You see, God gave the earth to man. He relinquished control of earth to Adam and Eve. Nowhere else in the bible does it say that He has ever taken control of the earth again. No, He goes so far as to send Jesus to earth as the “Son of Man” so that He can redeem the earth from Satan after Satan stole control of the earth in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came as the 2nd Adam to be a “Kinsman Redeemer” to buy back the land for it’s original owners. But God didn’t take back control. Jesus left the church in charge. We as believers are God’s agents here on earth. It is our job to change things.

We still live in a fallen world. Bad things happen. We are in a war. We will win, that as been decided, but we have to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth by force. So to get personal, Julia god pneumonia and died. Did God cause it? NO! Did God allow it? NO! He is not in control. He has authority, but not the control. We have to get our authority from Him, and we have to begin to take control. The earth has been given to us to subdue, it is up to us, the church at large to begin to recognize who we are and take our proper place. That is happening, it just didn’t happen fast enough for Julia. So I am going after Divine Justice. How? I am filling myself with the love of God and all His goodness. I want to carry His presence wherever I go, and release His love and his power to bring His Kingdom wherever I am. That is how I will have justice.

So my soul sings of His love and His goodness. I want everyone to know the God I know so that they too can worship Him and help usher in His Kingdom. That’s it for tonight. I’ve got four straight 3AM wake ups this week, so I had better get to bed. I don’t think I have exhausted this subject, so I’m sure I will return to it many times in the next few months. If you don’t agree, begin to read Genesis, and then tell me anywhere else in the Bible where God took control of earth back from man.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 195 - Momentos

It’s amazing how fragile life is. Memories, what do they mean and what do they give us. I love my memories of Julia, but when I think of my memories of being a child, or even in High School, they are good, but they don’t bring everlasting joy or anything like that. They are just memories. Yes, they are good, but they are not something that can sustain me. I was in the basement tonight looking for something and I found Julia’s old jewelry box. It was a big 6-drawer box. I think that I got it in the Philippines for her in the 70’s. I didn’t know that she still had it. I figured she had given it away. Anyway, I started looking through the drawers to see if she had left anything in them.

To my surprise, there were some things. I found her high school ring. My younger sister took mine and lost it. I also lost my college ring. I’ve thought about getting it replaced, but decided not to do it. I also found Julia’s Camp Fire Girl pins and some of her attendance pins for Sunday school. I have to take back all that I have said for years about her not being at church. I also found some of the Olympic pins that we acquired during the ’96 Olympics in Atlanta. There were a few other earrings and a broach that I had given her a long time ago.

But the thing that affected me the most was the smell. The whole Jewelry Box smelled like Julia used to smell. The last few years, she had for the most part stopped wearing perfume. But that box smelled like I remembered her. The smell brought back more memories of her than the things that were in the box. I will keep the box. I’m sure that one of the granddaughters will want it eventually. It is still in great shape. It is amazing how certain smells can trigger such memories. The memories are strong, but not specific.

So, I found some of Julia’s mementos today. It’s funny how we save things. I’m sure that when I am gone, the girls will wonder why I saved this or that. We save things that really have no meaning to anyone else, but do have meaning to us. It really didn’t make me feel bad. In fact it was like she had given me a surprise: something to discover 6 months later. I think that love her even more now that I did before. Im sure that’s not true, but it’s how I feel.

I hesitate to write this because all of my “moms” will probably getup in arms, but I am excited about it, so here goes. Remember sisterhood, I still have a veto. I have registered for lessons to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I’m going up to the Cartersville Harley Davidson dealership at the ene of August for a three day course. It’s something I have always wanted to do, but my mom wouldn’t let me as a kid, and then after I was married, Julia didn’t want me to. I honored her wishes just likd I honored my mom’s wishes. Now I will honor my wishes and take the class. Of course the big question will be “ Are you getting a motorcycle?” Right now my answer is “I don’t know.” All I know is that I want to learn to ride, and that is what I am doing. Whatever eles comes down the road later, we will deal with when it comes.

I’m going to Bethel Atlanta tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone down there. I need to go to stay connected. It will be fun, but I will miss being at the “Stone.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 194 - Give Thanks in All Things

I’m sitting here in my rocking chair tonight, listening to Love Came Down. I’ve written for 194 nights now, and I would bet that at least 100 of them I have done the same thing. It’s not always the same time, but if I’m home, this is where I will normally be. I admit that I enjoyed the porch when it was cool enough. Maybe I will be able to get back out there if it cools down any. Sometimes we fail to thank God for all that He is doing in our lives. I know that today was pretty uneventful. I went to work early, then I went to my Chiropractor/ Naturopathy. I am in great health, and I have a good job. That right there is enough to be thankful for. When I think of all that He has given me, and how little time I spend thanking Him, I get embarrassed.

Sure, we all have our problems. Many people have a lot more problems than I do. I am so blessed to just be able to live here and pretty much do what ever it is that I want to do. Think of how many people in this world would give anything to have a day like I had. And yet, I find myself taking it for granted. Wednesday when I was teaching the grammar school kids, I told them that when God does something good, we need to celebrate, cheer; do all those things. Well when I think about my day, I need to take m own advice. It was AWESOME. I mean it. How do you describe your ordinary days? I venture to say that you are like me, and that you take for granted all the good stuff Papa does for you during the day.

I went to the movie with friends tonight, and then I went out to eat. I am so thankful that I am healthy enough to do all that. I am thankful for friends that have been there for my family and me. I’m even thankful for entertaining movies. You know that when you are thankful, it is hard to be mad or upset. I’m not usually mad or upset anyway. I’m usually pretty easygoing but just being thankful begins to release new levels of joy and peace within. I wish that I could just give some of this peace to both my girls. They have both been working, and they have different areas that are attacking what all they have done this week. Lisa is looking for a car. Her GMC Envoy finally did things that she couldn’t keep repairing. So she sold it at Carmax and is now looking. I hate looking for cars. I know that as she looks, she needs more peace and joy. I pray that she finds it this week. Jennifer has been working 12 – 14 hour shifts for the last few days. I know that she is very tired, and still has more to do when she is up for it, So I will make sure that I pray for both of then as I get ready for bed for the night.

So, here I am, tired and sleepy. I didn’t get a power nap in and it’s been a long day. I think it’s really time to go to bed and catch up on a little sleep. That’s another thing I have to be thankful for: this house. It is such a great place to be with people, or when you are alone. So I go to bed tonight with thankfulness in my heart and on my lips. That is a good night, and I am so grateful for his love.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 193 - Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the most important aspects in the Christian life. In many ways it is what makes Christians stand out from the crowd. We all know that as Christians, we have to forgive, yet it is sometimes one of the hardest things that we ever do; especially if we have been really wronged and sinned against by someone. But Matthew 18 makes it perfectly clear. If we don’t forgive, then we are the ones who are in prison. When we forgive, we release the person we forgive to God to deal with as He sees fit. We are no longer judge, jury and executioner. We are then set free to move on and press into all God has for us. Still, it is so hard for people to see this. I know that when I do a sozo, one of the main things we deal with is forgiveness. Most of the time it is about forgiving parents or spouses or even children. Some times it is about forgiving yourself.

In many ways it is harder to forgive yourself than anyone else. The main reason is that you don’t even realize that you need to forgive yourself. Things just get so caught up that time goes by and you just live with whatever it was and just deal with all the pain it brings. It’s hard to realize that your forgiving yourself can actually set you free. How does it set you free? I mean are you holding yourself captive. I really don’t think so. I think the “what if’s” are holding you captive. When you forgive yourself, you have to release the “what if’s.” But releasing the “what if’s” is hard because they keep trying to come back. I know this from experience.

I’ve really done pretty good. God has given me much grace to walk through all the grief and pain of losing Julia and I guess I’m doing good because I couldn’t have written about this a few months ago. I have had to deal with the “what if’s” on many levels. I think I have dealt with them, but sometimes they try to raise their ugly head. Here are a few of them: What if I had made Julia go to another doctor? What if I had taken her to the ER earlier? Why didn’t I see she was so sick? Why wasn’t I more loving the night I drove to the ER? Instead I was more worried about getting there in the snow than I was about her sickness. Why didn’t I see how sick she was? All these questions are some that I have had to deal with on a personal level, over and over in my mind. Now if I allowed them to take over, I would still be a basket case.

No, I had to forgive myself for missing all the signs. I had to forgive myself for not knowing and realizing how sick she was. I had to forgive myself for being upset that she waited so late to think she needed to go to the hospital. I had to forgive myself for all these things. I know that I am only human, and I didn’t see, so I forgive myself for that too. But forgiving yourself is not enough. I had to ask Holy Spirit to reveal any lies that I believed, and to show me the truth. I had to renounce the lie that it was my fault that she died. That was a big one. I had to embrace the truth that neither of us knew what was going on until it was too late. I had to renounce the lie that I didn’t love her enough, and embrace the truth that I loved her more than I could ever imagine. As I was able to do this, I was able to forgive myself, to allow myself to be free to grieve and not feel guilt or condemnation. You see bot of these are from the enemy and that is one way to know that you are believing a lie. God’s grace will never condemn. It will only convict.

Anyway, that was one of the struggles that I was going through in the early days of my grief. I have tried to be very open, but that one was just too hard to deal with until now. So, don’t be afraid to forgive yourself. More than likely, it is not as bad as you think. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal lies. Renounce them and then embrace the truth He shows you. The weight will lift off, and a lot of the pain will pass. So, as I write about this I become even freer. I think that this is probably the only area that I didn’t write about as it happened. But now I have, and it is as if the sun (or Son) is shining o a field that has been dark. I am being healed. I think it is coming quicker than I thought. I still miss Julia so much, and think of her many times during the day, but healing is here, and it feels good. That bubble of Grace that protects me is still in place. I am thankful for all the prayers and support that has helped me get this far.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 192 - Generational Investment

Today was a great day. I was off, and was able to sleep in this morning. I then got ready to go to RiverStone. We are having a children’s day camp this week. It is for children from the first grade thru the sixth grade. It is a great camp. Adair and Meleah had gone for the past two years, and if Julia was here, I’m pretty sure Meleah would be up here going to it. Anyway I got a call from the director about three weeks ago. She asked me if I would be able to teach in the camp. Don’t laugh! I know that I am not a children’s teacher. It’s not my calling and I don’t have the patience that it requires to do it consistently. My hat goes out to anyone who works with children. They really are our future. I did work with the youth many years ago, but only sparingly have I worked with kids this age.

Well, she wanted me to teach on healing. That really intrigued me so I asked for more details. I would do three 30-minute classes. I was available for today, so it was done. Today I was at the church at 10:30 and I taught until about 12:30. It was an honor. We have to be willing to pour into the upcoming generations. I didn’t learn anything about praying for healing until I was older than 30. Just think where these kids will be. They are praying for healing starting at the age of 6! The big question for the past two weeks is what and how was I going to teach them. The good news is you have to keep it simple and short. The attention span isn’t as long as an adult’s. The bad news is you have to keep it simple and short. That meant I really had to look at everything I had taught in the past and boil it down to the core ingredients. Then I had to make it interesting enough to keep them involved.

As I was praying and thinking about what I was going to do, I remembered that we had heard Deborah Reed, the children’s director at Bethel Redding, talk about healing and children when we were out at the healing school summer before last. I remembered that she had used some different techniques to get the kids to practice. So, yesterday I watched the DVD of her message. I had remembered correctly. I used some of her ideas along with some of the things I teach our ministry teams and put a lesson together. It turned out great. All three classes were engaged and I think left knowing that God loved them and wants to use them to heal others.

I spent some time talking about the fact that God is good, and He is in a good mood. I also boiled down my theology to this. God is Good and all good things come from Him. The Devil is bad and all bad things come from Him. Then I had 4 volunteers go into another room. They had “boo-boos” wrapped in toilet paper. For example one arm was wrapped up. Then they came out and I modeled how to pray, and the person was healed. Everyone cheered wildly at what God did. Then after I had modeled all the examples, I had them pair up and I went step by step and had them pray for each other. If there was a real illness or injury I had them pray for that, if not I had them make something up to pray for. Then the other person prayed for their partner. That way everyone got to practice praying.

Well, in every class God showed up. We had colds healed, sore knees healed, sore throats healed, sore necks healed. One girl was going to the doctor for pain in her neck that had been bothering her for days. She was pain free when she left and was going to tell her mom she didn’t need to go to the doctor. It’s amazing what the faith of a child can do. They are not loaded down with wrong theology and doubt like we adults are. If we can get them to realize that this is normal Christianity, we can usher in the Kingdom that much quicker. I was blessed to be able to be a part of what God is doing in their lives. They also had classes on worship, hearing God, outreach and prayer this week. And this is first thru sixth grade. Wow!

If we are going to sustain Revival and Reformation, we have to reach these kids. Otherwise it will die with us. I want to know that if Jesus tarries we will still be going after Him and His presence and Kingdom long after I am gone. We should have a vision not for the next five to ten years, but for the next one hundred years. I want my granddaughters and their generation to be five times as radical and as passionate as I am. The only way to do that is to invest in them. Well, they are not here, but their generation is. I can invest here and pray that others will invest where they are. Yes it was a good day. I do believe the Kingdom was advanced today.

Tomorrow morning comes early. I work early periods for the next two days. I’m glad I got to sleep in today. It’s a 3AM wake up tomorrow. I guess it’s about time for bed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 191 - Church Planting volume 1 and 2

When we left First Methodist in 1988 we naively thought that others would come with us. All that we were seeing in the Vineyard; the worship, freedom, healing, all this was so new and so exciting to us. We just couldn’t understand whi those who were in our small group were so reluctant to join us. WE really thought that at least 2 or 3 couples would come. But no one did. As I have grown, I have come to realize just how hard it is to give up long standing relationships, even when it looks so exciting on the other side. But back then; we really couldn’t understand why people would settle for the status quo when there was so much more. We weren’t mad or angry, but we were committed to this path. We really felt that God had a plan in all this and we were going after everything we could.

When you go in a different path than your friends, things change. You don’t want them to, it just happens. It’s probably because you only have so much time, and you are busy doing one thing, while they are busy doing another. So it’s predictable that you begin to drift apart. We started a new kinship group in our house with the Atlanta Vineyard. It was a long way from the church, but Johnny and Anne came weekly to help us lead it and hang out with us. I was going over to Johnny’s frequently and helping him through some tough decisions with leadership issues. He was transforming Metro Church to the Atlanta Vineyard, and I was giving him my total support with that. It was a good season of growth and excitement. But at the same time, we didn’t see our old friends very much, and that was very hard.

Also we were concerned about our girls. Jennifer was in High School and Lisa was entering High School. They had their own friends at Marietta. They both would go with us on Sunday morning, and then go to youth group in Marietta on Sunday night. We believed that they liked the worship on Sunday morning, but there was no youth group for them at the Vineyard. We went on like this for over a year and then a new transition came up. A young vineyard pastor from California came to Atlanta and he wanted to start a vineyard in Marietta. That was our heart, so we got Johnny’s blessing to go with him to help start a new Vineyard in Marietta. It was really a struggle. We were a church, really a home group, of about 30 and it seemed like we were not growing at all. After almost a year, we met another pastor who had another struggling church plant, the Roswell Vineyard. They were a little bigger than us, but their pastor was talking about not wanting to pastor anymore. Julia and I were the key leaders of the Marietta Vineyard. Our pastor and us met with the key leadership of the Roswell Vineyard for a couple of months talking about merging churches. How would that look? It was eventually decided that the tow pastors would become co-pastors. I didn’t really like this idea, but everyone else was in agreement. Our pastor would really have ultimate control because the other pastor said he wanted to phase out.

During this time, we got a new building in Roswell and we were finally growing. Jennifer met the other pastor’s son. And they started dating. I think it was the first time that Jennifer really had a steady boyfriend. They were a great couple, and we became good friends with the other pastor as well. All was well for a while. But that did not last. I don’t remember what started it, but there became differences between the two pastors. Each wanted to go in a different direction. I felt that my pastor from Marietta was wrong, but he was stronger and took control of the church. There was a big division and a split. Words can’t describe the pain it caused. We were devastated, and we left with the Roswell pastor. His leaders stayed with our old pastor. We just didn’t feel things were done right. The Vineyard leadership came to mediate the situation, but they sided with the pastor from California (where they were from) and didn’t seem to give a fair hearing. We ere devastated. We didn’t know where to go, so we went to Charles and asked if we could come back to First Methodist. He welcomed us with open arms, like we had never left. We stayed not quite a year, getting healed. We didn’t get involved in anything for a while, and then started going back to our old group that was still meeting.

As Julia and I looked back on this time we saw some clear warnings about what would happen. I would never enter into a church with a co-pastor situation again. Someone has to be in charge. There has to be one senior leader. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in team ministry, but someone has to lead, and everyone has to know who the leader is. Most importantly, we didn’t realize what this was doing to our girls. We were so involved in ministry that we exposed our girls to all the pain and disappointment that comes with a church split. We didn’t realize how much they were affected. We didn’t talk and communicate with them like we should have. I know that both of them were wounded deeply. They reacted differently because they had different personalities. But they were both deeply wounded. For that Julia and I were both very sorry. We were doing the best we knew, but we should have known to do more. Jennifer was probably hurt more, because her boyfriend was hurt so bad.

So we had helped one church transition to becoming a Vineyard and had planted one church that eventually blew up and disappeared. These were not good results, but probably pretty typical of church plants back then. So after all this, we were back at First Methodist with our tail between our legs. We felt like failures, that we had missed God. We hadn’t, and He would use all that happened to us to help other churches, but right then all that we could see was failure. We are so thankful for His goodness. He began a healing work in us and restored our fire. We realized that what we had tasted had changed us. We could never go back, no matter how tough it was. We had to press forward. So in late 92 we began to feel the itch to move out and go back to the Atlanta Vineyard. This time when we left First Methodist, e never went back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 190 - Through Different Eyes

You know I see so many of the same things and the same people that I saw before Julia’s death. They were our friends, and they are my friends, I love them all, but sometimes it seems like I see them through different eyes. This is not a bad thing, and means nothing negative. It’s just I see them as if Julia were there, and then I see them knowing she is not there. Tonight Russell had dinner with Amanda and Jeff. It was a great time, and I have missed seeing them. But holding Tessie, their 4 month old, I was just seeing her as if Julia were holding her, because she would have been if she were here. I know that there is so much left unsaid because Julia is not there to say it. I know how much she loved Amanda, and was so excited for the baby. I know how we prayed together with them over Tessie, and her absence was felt strongly by me tonight. Yes, we had a good time, but she was still missed.

It was the same at lunch today. I could almost see everything through her eyes and then through mine. There was just so much left unsaid because she wasn’t there to say it. Some days it is so easy to miss her while other days just seem to go buy without really thinking about her as much. I know that this is probably normal, and it’s OK. But it certainly is different. I can just sit around the table with other friends, and feel her absence. It’s not painful except in the fact that I miss what she would add to the conversation. I miss her wisdom and her passion. I miss the fire in her eyes when she would get on “a mission”. I even miss her nudge or kick when she thought that I was doing something wrong. Well, maybe I don’t miss that as much.

Anyway sometimes I need to see through totally different eyes. I am so used to seeing things through her eyes as well as my eyes that it is hard not to have that option. The thing is, I can see that others miss that too. I can see the loss that others fell by her absence. That really emphasizes my loss as well. It’s OK, because they have suffered a loss. We all suffered a loss. She is gone, and any wisdom she would share must come from others now. I can’t succumb to the pressure of trying to make up that wisdom. Unless God gives it to me, I don’t have anything to give. I can’t make it up.

So I try to look through different eyes, eyes that wouldn’t attempt to see what she sees or to say what she says. That’s not my job. I want to be able to look at everything through the eyes of the Spirit. I desire to see things as Holy Spirit sees them. Only then will I be able to give the true wisdom and direction that I know He wants me to give. So I guess that my prayer tonight is that Holy Spirit would give me His eyes to see, and that I would stop trying to look through old eyes. I can’t look at things through the eyes of “the way they used to be”. Once again, change happens. How many times have I said, “Change is inevitable”? Well it is, but I wasn’t thinking about change like this.

The good news is that change is occurring. I am being healed, and I am adjusting. The “Grace Bubble” that surrounds me has continued to surround me and let me heal. I know that the prayers of the saints, and all the ministering Angels have helped sustain me in His grace, and that my healing and pregress is a testimony to His goodness. So I do give Him honor and glory. I thank Him for his mercies and I look toward His total healing for my girls and me.

It’s another short night tonight, so I guess I had better sign off for tonight. I thank Him for the eyes of the Holy Spirit that He is giving me. Goodnight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 189 - Generations

My dad and my youngest daughter were born on the same date. So every year I get to celebrate with different generations. This year it was just a call to both of them, but they were both on my heart all day. I think that it was a gift that they share the same birthday. It makes me reflect about the past and the future. As I think about my dad, memories of the past fill my heart. I am thankful for the strong heritage in the word that he gave me. Growing up as a preacher’s kid had its good points as well as it’s bad ones. The strong heritage I had gave me an anchor, a point to return to after my period of rebellion against God. Mom and Dad’s love for Julia and I and then our children and grandchildren has always been a blessing. He taught us all that he knew, and gave us a strong heritage. My dad’s destiny for the most part has been fulfilled. He has run a good race, especially in these last years. I hope that I can run as strong a race as he has.

My daughters, on the other hand, represent the future. They are still early in their race. I know they don’t think so, but the early to mid thirties is still very young and they have much life to live and a strong destiny to be fulfilled. Right now they are caught up with life. Working and raising a family are both fulltime jobs. No wonder they are tired and sometimes overwhelmed. But what they really don’t realize is that there is still plenty of time and seasons change. They won’t always be so caught up with just surviving. As I look back on Julia and my life, we didn’t really start ministry until our late thirties and it was really in our forties when we really got involved. There are seasons when your number one priority has to be your children, and that is pretty much all you have time for.

But that is not an excuse to ignore the call of God on your life. Some people have different situations and are able to do much more early on. We are each called to our race. We can’t compare ourselves with each other. We have to do what we are called to do: nothing more and nothing less. So I do look at my daughters and I see destiny not yet fulfilled. But I also see a process, God at work in them right now. I would love to be around to see their destiny fulfilled. Maybe I will be, but no matter what, I know that it will be fulfilled.

So here I am tonight, sandwiched between two generations. Each has its on sweet spirit. God is at work in both. Yet His work is so different in each. I am blessed to be involved with each. It is my joy and His gift to me. So as I celebrate birthdays I thank God for generations past and present. I thank Him for heritage as well as destiny. Our heritage is the floor on which He uses to build our destiny. My prayer is that the heritage Julia and I have given my daughters will alow them to far surpass anything we have ever done or thought of doing. I see in the Spirit that that is not only possible, but also it will happen.

Today was a good day. Worship was awesome. I have been walking in His presence all day, and the ministry training tonight went very well. He showed up, and over 50 people were blessed by His presence. God is so good, and He is in a good mood!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 188 - Life is in the Little Things

Sometimes you just have to take the time to do the mundane things in life. Who ever thought that ironing could take so much time. I guess it’s because I have let it pile up. Anyway, that’s pretty much all I did this morning. Ironing shirts, most of which need very little ironing. That’s why I bought them. Still, they need some, so today was the day I got caught up. I also went out this morning to pick blueberries. I got about 4 cups worth. The plants have been very productive this year, and they taste great. So all of my morning was spent doing things that Julia would usually do. I still need to get out and weed. They are gaining on me again. Julia was such a great housekeeper; it’s all I can do to keep things in somewhat of a decent order. As I look about though, I learned a lot from her. The house was in pretty good shape when I picked up Russell from the airport this afternoon.

Tomorrow we get to go to RiverStone. I missed last week, but it seems even longer, and I am really looking forward to going. I am hungry for more of God, and I want to go into the service tomorrow morning expecting Him to move powerfully. Just think what church would be like if all over this city everyone who went into church tomorrow went with the expectation that God was going to show up in power. How much faith do we need? We need the faith of a mustard seed. Just a little from a lot of people will change the face of church as we know it. Tomorrow will be a pretty busy day. We have Healing Ministry Training tomorrow night. I love 11AM church because it is so lively. What I don’t like is that by the time it is over and you go out to eat the day is almost gone. Tomorrow I have to be back at 5, so that doesn’t leave much time in the afternoon.

I was talking with Russell tonight and I realized that I have a tendency to continue to take things back that I have given up to God. You know, like take back control and responsibility of my finances or take back responsibility for things that I can’t change. It’s like I give it to Him on Monday then by Thursday, I am taking back ownership and responsibility. It really doesn’t help when I do that. In fact, it normally hinders what God is trying to do in me or in others. I have found myself doing that over the past few days. All I can do when I realize that I am doing this is to repent and give it back to Him.

I am really tired tonight. I guess that I am still sleep deprived from the drive home the other night. But I normally live in a sleep deprived state, so that shouldn’t matter so much. Anyway, I think I will close this down and go to bed. Tomorrow will be a good day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 187 - By Myself, Again

Last night’s drive was uneventful;. It’s always good when a 600 mile drive is uneventful. I started at 8PM and entered my house at 6:30AM. I stopped at 3AM for an hour nap. It was relatively easy with out much traffic. The good news is that I was less sleepy than I would have been if I were driving it during the daytime. Back when I was flying from Atlanta to Hawaii and back, we were always happy if we landed back in Atlanta before the sun came up. Well I got to my house before the sun came up, and it felt good. Maybe I am weird, but after flying all those all night flights during my career, I find it much easier to drove all night than drive all day. Anyway, I am home, and it feels good.

The house is quiet and clean. I have spent most of the day washing and folding sheets from all the beds. After two weeks with at least two grandchildren (sometimes four) and two dogs, it really is quiet. It’s time to get back to my “normal” what ever than is. I do know that my “normal” has become living alone doing what I want to do at night. School will start back soon, and that normal will change again. I guess the thing is, I am learning to be by myself. I don’t consider myself to be alone; I’m not. However, I am by myself, and that’s OK.

Lisa and Jennifer are slowly settling in to their new places. I’ll try to go and see both of them in August if possible. I really have only two months until things get real busy again. Not that things haven’t been busy over the past three weeks. Sometimes I feel like my life is a whirlwind. As I look back on this past month, all the travel and helping Lisa move. All the kids were here, and going to camp twice to take Adair, driving back and forth between Mobile and Norfolk. I get tired just thinking about it all. But what is causing me so much concern tonight is that I feel that Julia is slipping away from me. I still have her memories, and I know I always will have most of them. But until now, her presence was just so strong. I think I have sensed this before. There is becoming more and more distance between us. I guess time does that. There is no pain, and although there is still that empty place, it is not as big. I don’t want it to fill in. I want it to stay so I can feel her in it, even though she is not. But It is getting smaller. I guess that should be a good thing. It’s like an open wound; the body begins to heal itself by closing it with skin and making it smaller until it is totally healed with a little scar. I know in my spirit, that that is happening on one level. I’m sure that is good, and it is God’s plan. It’s just that the pain and loss have been my deepest connection to her. I really don’t want to lose that connection. I had rather keep the pain and sense of loss. Is this wrong? I don’t know the answer to that.

Yes I do, I talked about it last night. It is change. My heart doesn’t want this change, but I know that in my Spirit I have to embrace it. This change is what is designed to happen. It is good in the long run. But it doesn’t feel good right now. Now I find myself having to stop and focus on an aspect of her in order to bring her totally back into my focus. I hope that ability doesn’t leave me as well. It scares me a little, because I think of my mom. She has been dead for fourteen years and as much as I loved her, there is so little that comes to memory without me stopping to focus on her. I don’t want to lose what I have with Julia.

But wounds do heal, even emotional wounds. God is good, and His mercies endure forever. I have to trust that He will keep Julia in my heart and as close as she needs to be. I have to submit to this healing process in order to move on to what I have been called to do. There is so much that I want to do, and so little time left in which to do it. I am asking Papa to multiply my time and direct all my efforts so that they will be more effective for the Kingdom. So I acknowledge the fact that I am being healed and I want to continue to be healed, however that looks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 186 - Course Corrections

I’m sitting here in Lisa’s house. Looking around, it seems like it is in total chaos. But it’s not. It is in process. It is in the middle of the process of being put in order. Just looking at it doesn’t lend any hope of that. But if you have been here from the beginning, you can see where order is going to come out of disorder. It might take a while, but it will happen. Our lives are like that. Many times if you just took a snapshot of our life, it would look in total disarray. By looking at that snapshot, you would think that there was no way it could ever be in order. But if you were looking at the video of our life, you would see things taking place that were causing change. Slowly this change would begin to cause order to flow.

I sometimes look at my own life as a snapshot instead of a video. When I see the snapshot, everything seems hopeless. When I see the whole video then a different view emerges. I admit that I have a tendency to this when I look at other’s lives also. It is so easy to do this, to just look at a snapshot and then “judge”. I am so glad that Father God doesn’t do this with us. No, He looks at the video. In fact He has seen it already from beginning to end. He sees the change; in fact He helps design it.

I can do that when I try. As a father, I can see my daughters’ lives over the long view. I can see where they have overcome and had success. I can also see where they need more love and understanding to help affect the change that is taking place in the moment. We are all changing, whether we know it or not. If you don’t want change, you may as well die. Change is inevitable and it is happening to us. I am changing right now. I’m not the same person that I was last week or probably even yesterday. The biggest question is what are we changing to? Someone said, and I can’t remember who, that you become what you behold. So then the question is what are you beholding?

That question is one that we should all ask ourselves periodically. It is not naval gazing, but more of a course adjustment. As a pilot flying over the north Atlantic, I am very aware of course adjustments. We had to make them all the time for wind corrections, thunderstorms. In fact, if it weren’t for course adjustments flights would be very boring and we would probably not land where we intended to land.

I believe that it is the same thing in life. We periodically have to make course adjustments to stay on the course God has called us to run. Course adjustments if made properly don’t even let the passengers know that a change has been made. The idea is to make them often enough so that it looks like you never even made one. Julia and I were partners. We loved each other and were friends, but we loved God even more. Because we were beholding the same thing, and had the same focus, our course adjustments rarely caused friction. We didn’t bump into each other because we both changed course at the same time. There were a few times when one of us would make a course adjustment without the other one. Then there would be friction and misunderstanding until we both eventually got in sync with each other again.

I know many couples that are not beholding the same thing. They are constantly having friction when one or the other makes a course correction. You see, we learn to live with someone else’s course, even when it’s not our own. But the least little change from us or from them causes everything to rub the wrong way. Planes flying in formation have to be on exactly the same course or there will be trouble. It’s the same way with couples. Julia and I were one of the fortunate one’s, our focus was on the presence of God. It was our passion to see more of Him in every area of our life.

As I leave Virginia tonight, the prayer I have for Lisa here in Virginia and for Jennifer in Ft Lauderdale, is that they would embrace the change that they are in. It is so easy to stay in the past, but life is about living and that is about moving into the future. I pray that they are willing to make the course corrections that they need and not be afraid of change. I pray that they don’t worry about the “snapshot” of their lives, but look at the video and see how God is working, because He is. In fact, I guess this prayer if for myself too.

Well, it’s time to leave for Georgia. I’ve had my “power nap” and I feel refreshed. I look forward to a long night of driving and quiet reflection.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 185 - Moving Day and Moving Day - 1

The truck showed up this morning at 8:45. We were all glad that they came early. We really didn’t know when they were coming until they called around 8AM. There were four guys, and they did a good job unloading everything. I was in charge of inventory control. Every box and piece of furniture had a sticker with a number on it. As one was brought off the truck, they would call out the number and I would mark it off. It is amazing, but everything was there. I stayed out in the garage marking off numbers and directing traffic until the truck was completely unloaded. That was around 1PM. Then I went and got lunch for the guys so they could stay and work.

Part of their job is to put all the beds together and unpack as many boxes as the client wants unpacked. Lisa decided that most all of the boxes should be unpacked. At least that part would be done, and all the boxes and paper would be gone. I think she made a wise decision. Sure, right now the house looks like a tornado has come through. But she already has the kitchen about 70% complete. Ther is no way she would be that far if we were unpacking all the boxes. The challenge tonight will be to get the beds cleared off and mad so that we will all have a place to sleep.

Things are looking better than I thought that they would and I am so glad for her. I plan on helping tomorrow and then leaving tomorrow night and driving through most of the night until I get tired. Then I will stop at a rest stop for a map like I did coming up. I should be home sometime late Friday morning. I know Lisa still has a lot to do, but I have work on Monday and my friend Russell Black is coming in on Saturday afternoon.

Down in Ft Lauderdale Jennifer and her family are moving tomorrow morning. The movers come and pack up their stuff and move it to their new house. In some ways it’s an easier move because it is a local move. But in other ways it’s harder. For one thing, they have to pay for the move themselves. The government pays for Lisa’s move. Secondly, they had to pack all their own boxes, and will have to unpack them as well. So it will probably take longer to get organized. I wish I had been able to help them, but I am only one person and Lisa really needed me more this time.

What are the chances that both of your children are moving the same week over 1000 miles apart? I mean what do you do? I know that if Julia were alive, we would probably be separated. One would be with Lisa and the other with Jennifer. I can only be with one. It was funny today. I kept thinking Julia would come in and take over like she usually did with any move. This is hard on both my girls because this is the first time they have ever had to move without her help. Even if she wasn’t there for the move, she would be there within a couple of days to help get things organized. Jennifer and I were talking and she said that she hadn’t ever hung a picture without advice from Julia on where to hang it. Julia had an eye for decorating and could place things in a room the way that they should be placed. I was thinking about her as Lisa and I were trying to organize the kitchen today.

But she is not here, and the girls will be all right. Things will all work out. God is good, and He will give us all the ability to do what needs to be done. I see so much of Julia in both Jennifer and Lisa. It’s funny, there are different aspects of her in each of them, but I can see her nonetheless. I’m going to wrap it up early tonight. I know that I am needed back at the house. There are things to move and beds to make if we are going to sleep tonight. I give God the glory for a great day and thank Him for all that He continues to do with my family. I don’t know about tomorrows post yet. I might try to get it done before I leave, or it might be early Friday morning. I’ll play that by ear.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 184 - One Night that Changed Everything

If my memory is correct it was in January or February of 1986. Julia and I were involved in almost every aspect of ministry that First Methodist had going. From EE to Youth and we were there. The previous fall we had heard a pastor from Bedford Texas talk about the “home groups” they were experimenting with. We were so excited, we went to Charles, our senior pastor, and asked him if we could go out to see what they were doing and then start a home group. We got his blessing and flew out to Texas for a long weekend. We learned everything that we could and were so excited to come back to Marietta and start a Home group ministry. While we were out in Texas I heard the Holy Spirit for one of the first times. His voice was so strong and clear that I had no doubt. He said, “Home groups are going to help change the face of the church in America”. I have believed that since. That is the primary reason that we have continued to be involved in small groups. So we came back and started the first home group in our church. We had no clue what we were doing or where we were going, but that was about to change.

That January, or whenever it was, Charles asked me, Bucky Smith, Lynn Sanders and I think Mark Nyswander, but I’m not sure, to come with him to a Healing Conference that was being put on by Metro church. It was being held downtown in FUMC Atlanta. The conference was being put on by a church in California called “The Vineyard”. We went ,not knowing what to expect, and really not expecting too much. Boy were we in for a shock. All the people leading it were in jeans and Hawaiian shirts. They were all so young. We saw people being prayed for by other people and actually being healed. It was all so real and so new. They were doing what the bible said to do. They weren’t just reading about it, they were doing it. Did I say they were all so young. I knew right then that I was not going to be left behind. These kids had something I wanted, and I was willing to do anything to get it. Whatever it was. But the thing that really changed everything for me forever was this. They spoke about their home groups. They called them kinship groups and they used these groups to practice praying for the sick and prophesying over each other. In fact they used their groups as an incubator to nurture and grow all the gifts of the Spirit. Up until then, I thought that if God wanted me to have a gift, He would just give it to me, fully developed. They talked about the gifts and how they had to be practiced, like practicing the piano, in order to get proficient at them. It all made perfect sense. Now I knew what home groups were really about. They were about ministry, ministry to each other and then, ministry to others. This night totally changed my life and focus in ministry. As I explained it to Julia, she “caught it” and we were off to the races.

So as far as we were concerned, we knew the focus of our home group. I started buying every cassette tape I could find from John Wimber. I started with his series on leading “kinship groups”. This early training so defined us that if we were not leading a small group; we had a hard time finding one that we wanted to go to. I guess that is why we always led. We led because we knew where we wanted to go. The problem was getting other people on board. I know that some of our friends wandered what we were doing, and where this all was leading. We had no clue where it was leading, only that we knew what God wanted us to do. Some people in our group “got it”, but they still weren’t willing to push the limit as fare as we wanted to go. We started going to Metro church on Sunday nights. They met at Oglethorpe University on the other side of town. We connected with the pastor and his wife, Johnny and Anne Crist. We loved it, even better than Mt Paran. It was giving us life and pushing us into wanting more.

In June of 87, I believe it was, Mark Nysewander, Thor Colburg and Myself went out to Anaheim California. We went for a week long “Signs and Wonders” conference put on by the Vineyard and John Wimber did most all of the teaching. That week cemented everything I had been going after. He spoke of the Kingdom of God. I had never thought about the Kingdom of God invading earth before. It was a total paradigm shift. That week I went from loving the church, to seeking the Kingdom. That week changed all three of our lives. Mark wound up leaving the Methodist Church. Thor was a Methodist pastor in Augusta Ga, left the church and planted a Vineyard. Julia and I were about to leave at the end of the summer. We had already decided to go to Metro Church. Johnny wanted to become a Vineyard church, and we wanted to help him. All we had left was to complete or obligation to the youth by going to Youth Camp. We knew it was going to be good because the preacher had been there last year. Camp back then was OK as far as the preaching went, but worship left a lot to be desired.

Anyway, at camp I got a big Holy Spirit surprise. Tom Tanner asked me to be director of the 1988 camp, along with Angela Erhmann. I really didn’t want to do it. We were ready to leave and had all our plans made. But as I prayed and sought God, Julia and I both felt that we should stay another year and do the camp. It was the least we could do for a ministry that had given so much to us. So we did. I was camp director in 1988. We introduced new vineyard music, at least as much as we could. We out words up on the screen for the first time. There were no “camp songs”. We finally had worship. Jeff and Kibbie led the music and it was definitely a transition into the type of worship we had today.

Camp was awesome, and my time working with Tom Tanner would sit the stage for later. We were right to stay, and God blessed us. After camp, in the fall of 1988 and with the blessing of our Senior Pastor, we left first Methodist and all of our friends to go to Metro church, clear across town. It was exciting, but it was also one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I’ll end with this quote by John Wimber. I think it has in many ways defined Julia and my life together as we pressed into more of Him. I may have used part of it before, but here it is in its entirety. Take a while and meditate on it. I believe you will find it true. I know that I am willing to press forward. I hope that you are too.

The Next Step

The economy of the kingdom of God is quite simple. Every new step in the kingdom costs us everything we have gained to date. Every time we cross a new threshold, it costs us everything we now have. Every new step may cost us all the reputation and security we have accumulated up to that point. It costs us our life.

A disciple is always ready to take the next step. If there is anything that characterizes Christian maturity, it is the willingness to become a beginner again for Jesus Christ. It is the willingness to put our hand in his hand and say, "I'm scared to death, but I'll go with you. You're the Pearl of great price."

--John Wimber

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 183 - An Empty House

Empty houses are a lot like our lives when we are young. They are clean, awaiting new life and full of potential. That is just what I saw this morning when we got the key to Lisa’s condo. It’s very nice and will suit them just fine for hopefully the next few years. But just as a life full of potential with no risk or direction, this house if it stays empty is almost useless. Yes, you can sleep in it, as I am doing tonight. But it is uncomfortable because there are no chairs to sit in, no table, no pots or pans to cook with; and especially for me tonight, no bed to sleep in. So tonight it will be lying on some blankets on the carpet in the bedroom. Our lives, without Kingdom direction and the grace of God are like that. Maybe they will get by, but they are extremely uncomfortable.

It’s also important what we put in the house. We can fill it full of junk and it will still not be great, or we can fill it full of beautiful things. Have you ever been to the house of someone who “hordes” things. Last year I went into this house to help someone move something. I couldn’t get through the rooms. There was a little pathway, every inch of space was filled with, in my eyes, junk. It took me three times as long to do what I said, because I had to move all the other things to get to the one thing I wanted to move. Sometimes our lives get like that too. We have so much going on, so many things we think are “good”. Our lives get so filled with “stuff” that we don’t have time for the “one thing” that we need to be doing.

So, here I am in an empty house for the next two nights. The movers come Wednesday morning to bring all the furniture. That begs the question I had earlier. Where am I going to do my blog. The good news, for more reasons than one, there is a Starbucks less than a mile away. Yes, I did help Lisa pick this house out. So here I am at Starbucks. The bad news is that they were already closed when I got here tonight. But it is a beautiful night with a nice breeze. I’m sitting outside at a table using there wireless to write and surf the web. Life is good, even in am empty house. I don’t think the police will arrest me for “Wi –Fi theft”. At least I hope not. As much money as I spend here, I feel like I own it anyway.

I am really tired, but much more alert than last night. I haven’t read what I said, but it was all I could do to keep my eyes open between sentences. I was totally exhausted. I got some good sleep last night, but I needed it today. I now know why most parents are young. Lisa went to work today at about 9:30. So I had both girls in that empty house until about 5 this afternoon. Did I say it was an empty house? There was one small box of toys. No place to sit except the floor. The voices echo,echo,echo… and sound so loud. Oh, I had two dogs too. Well it really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The girls were very good, and we went for a walk and to the park and also out to the “Tropical Smoothie CafĂ©” for a late lunch. The bad news is that I will have them from around 7 AM until 5PM tomorrow in that same empty house. But Hernan will be there with me and hopefully that will give me a little relief. I now have new empathy for parents of toddlers. I remember the old Air Tran TV ad where the elderly grandparents drove up to see their kids and the kid’s handed the baby to Grandpa and left on vacation. The Grandpa was shuffling out toward them saying, “Help, Don’t leave me with the baby! Don’t leave me with the baby!” It’s not nearly that bad. I did have a great time with them today, but there were times I was thinking, “What in the world am I doing?”

I was able to spend some time today praying in the rooms asking for His protection, peace and presence to fill every room. So the house is no longer empty. It’s already filled with Holy Spirit. That’s the first step to filling an empty life too. Pray to receive Jesus as your Savior and then have your “house” filled with Holy Spirit. Well, it’s time to go check out the carpet and see how comfortable I can make it. I am praying for healing in advance. I declare “no back pain” tomorrow morning.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 182 - Happy Anniversary

I am listening to the song “Love Came down” for the fourth time, and I still don’t know where to begin tonight. Here I am in a hotel room outside of Norfolk VA. I drove from about 10:30 last night until about 4:30 AM. Then we stopped at a rest stop for about an hour and a half. We picked up Lisa and the girls at 11AM. Sp here I am. I think that I have gotten a total of 4 ours sleep, at the most in the past 36 hours. Tow of those was a nap this afternoon at the hotel. So I’m sure I will sleep well tonight. But that’s not the focus of tonight’s blog.

It’s hard to believe that Julia and I would have been married 39 years today. On July 11, 1971 in East Point GA, we got married. Last year we were talking about taking a trip on our 39th. Little did I realize that the trip would be to Norfolk VA and it would be without Julia. But as much as I would like to romanticize this day, I know deep down that if Julia were here. This is where we would be, helping Lisa move. She would have been our primary focus, so I know that this is where we are. But that doesn’t stop me from missing her so much I miss her and how much she loved me, but I also miss her for how much she loved the kids. That is why we would still be right here if she was alive.

I can’t even describe how much I have missed her over the past six months. I’ve missed her on so many levels. It’s just that 39 years is a long time, and there are so many things that tied us together. I was thinking about her as I was driving early this morning. I was thinking about her laugh, I can see her blue eyes sparkling as she laughed. Her friendship can never be replaced. I don’t know how people get involved and married again. I know that they do, especially men. My dad remarried after my mom died, and He loves Allene, but I know that he also still carries Mom with him in his heart. Right now my focus is still on Julia. That may change someday, but not right now, and I really am not sure how it could change in the future. Her absence from me at times is much worse than others. Tonight I really needed her. We survived, but I missed her so. I just don’t know hut we will survive without her, yet I know that we will, and that as we press into Papa’s presence he will provide. It’s just that there is such a hole in our whole family. It’s not just about me, sure it’s my blog, but it’s about the loss that all of us have. It’s the loss of a Nana to Adair, Meleah, Anna and Julia. It’s the loss of a mother to Jennifer and Lisa. Not only a mother, but a mentor and a support in their goals and desires. I miss her so much as a wife and course, a friend. But, even in the midst of crisis’ where I know she would be a great help in, I can truly rest on Papa’s goodness.

That’s all for tonight. I keep falling asleep as I think between sentences. I hope this makes sense. So, Happy Anniversary Julia Just because you are not here, it doesn’t stop me from celebrating all the wonderful times that we had.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 181 - Preparing to Leave

It’s been a long day and in many ways it hasn’t even started. I was up early this morning checking flights for Adair. Everything was booked solid and I knew that I had to get her out today if we were going to be able to leave tonight for Norfolk. So I changed her flight to where I thought she had the best chance of getting out during the day if she missed the first flight. I sent her to Ft Meyers. That’s over 100 miles away, but it least it gets her close to home. Long story short: she got on the first flight when I didn’t think she would make it. Hernan flew in from Mobile and we were leaving the airport around 9:30. Praise God, it was good to see her able to finally make the first flight she tried.

The rest of the day has been very hectic. Packing, washing, playing with the kids while Lisa tried to pack. Really most of the burden was on her. The best thing that I could do was to take Anna to the pool this afternoon so that Lisa could get something done. She was able to get everything packed so I now have the Envoy mostly packed. It should take less than 30 minutes to be ready to go. My plan was to sleep a while, get up and leave around 2AM. That would put us at the Norfolk airport around 11:30. I thought it was a good plan, but a wise group of counselors has asked me to leave earlier and stop midway for a 2-3 hour nap. Then we would finish the drive off. I didn’t really think it was a good idea until I realized that if we left around 10:30 Starbucks would still be open. That settled it, so I am about to take a quick power nap and get up at 9:45. So this will probably be one of my shortest blogs ever.

What I just realized tonight as I stopped to write is that I had tried to take control again. I don’t mean take control from Lisa; I mean take control from Him. You see, I had placed all the burden of getting everybody home; everything packed and ready to go on my own shoulders. It had become my responsibility instead of His. The weight of all this was really getting me down.
So just about 15 minutes ago I asked Him if He would take it back, I didn’t want it. He lovingly agreed and now I am free. We will get there. Lisa and the girls will get on the plane and we will make it to Norfolk. I truly believe that this move is key to Lisa and her family, so I know it is God’s will for her life

Anyway, I’m getting tired, and I have to get up soon. I’ve got CD’s and Podcasts to keep me occupied as I drive. It should be a good night.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 180 - Return From Camp

I went out to camp this morning to pick up Adair. It was good to see her, and good to talk to her about her experiences during the week. I fully expected her to fall immediately to sleep, but she was ready to talk xo I was ready to listen. I asked her what her most favorite thing about camp was. I was not surprised when she said it was the worship time. I’m not surprised because that is usually the answer I get when I ask that question to anyone that goes to our camp. It should be that way. The way I see it, our job as adults and consolers should be to get the kids connected to God. They need to be able to go and ask Him questions. They need to begin to rely on Holy Spirit to help and lead them. Many times I can give them the right answers, but I won’t always be there. We don’t want them dependent upon us; we want them dependent upon Him. Worship is one of the best ways to teach intimacy and pressing in to His presence. So it is of the highest importance that we have a good worship experience at camp. This is especially important for someone who comes from another area or another church, someone like Adair. That is why I was so pleased that her experience was so good. Worship in the Spirit is addictive. The more you experience it. The more you want it, and the more you can’t live without it.

Another way to get the kids connected to the Trinity is through a Sozo. This helps deal with wounds and lies that keep us from reaching our potential. We all have wounds and lies, even rising 7th graders. I sm so thankful for all those on the sozo team who sacrificed their time, energy and money to go down every day and sozo as many people as they could fit into the allotted time. A am especially thankful that Adair was able to get a sozo. It’s not that she has a great need, but it’s just a good thing to get, to help you get connected. My prayer is that through worship and her sozo, she got as connected to Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit as she possibly could. I want her to know God’s goodness like I know God’s goodness. I want her to know it tem times greater than I do. I know that she was given that opportunity this week at summer camp. Not many kids get an opportunity like this, I’m so thankful to Cory and our staff at RiverStone for making our youth a priority.

When we got home, we went to the pool with Lisa, Julia and Anna Roan. Then we came in and started washing Adair’s clothes ( I know that Julia would have then all clean when she went back.) Adair took a nap until it was time to go out to eat. All the clothes are done. She is packed and in bed, ready for an early wakeup. Tomorrow I do it again. Here we go trying to get family on airplanes. I’m praying that seats open up. No I am declaring that seats will open up for tomorrow. I am going to try to get her on the first flight to Ft Lauderdale. Miami looks overbooked and so does Palm Beach, so the first flight tomorrow is our best bet. Well we will be there, and she will get on some airplane tomorrow. I am praying for just a little opening. Tomorrow will see Adair back home wither family. I know that she is missing them, especially now that camp is over.

My children and grandchildren are my and Julia’s greatest legacy. It is so important to me to see them be able to have the opportunity to press into more of Him. I am thankful that their parents are willing to let them press into the MORE. If they can get a taste, they will never want just the old “normal”. I can sleep well tonight, I have seen another generation brought deeper into the things if God. This is good!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 179 - Six Months

Today is July 8th, it was six months ago tonight that Julia went to be with the Lord. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe that she is gone. I almost sense her about to come out of the bedroom, or come around the corner. And yet, time continues to push forward. There is no stopping time. God is the only one who can move in and out of time at will. After all, He is the beginning and the end. So as humans we are stuck in a linear progression from birth till death. I’ve heard it said many times; that from the day we are born, we are dying. It’s probably true but it seems to morbid. I know I will die, shoot; I don’t want to live forever. But I want to continue to expand, to make a bigger footprint on this world for as long as I can. How long that is, only God knows and ironically only time will tell. Anyway, it just seems like yesterday. They say, whoever “they” are, that time flies when you are having fun. I say Time flies. It doesn’t matter what you are doing time flies.

So, the big question is how am I doing now, six months after Julia’s sudden death. I guess tonight is a night to begin to take inventory and reflect on what my life is like now, and how changes have occurred and affected me. This will probably take more than one night, so I will try to organize my thoughts a little bit. So where do I start. Well, I am living, which is much more than surviving. I think part of that living is learning to understand the fact that I will always miss her. She will always be a big part of me and who I am. That missing is taken on different forms over the past six months. It started as an unbearable almost uncontrollable pain. It was a pain that would reach deep into my soul. It was like the Indiana Jones movie where the guy reached his hand into a guys chest and pulled out his living heart. The heart was still beating in his hand as the guy that had it taken out was screaming until he fell over lifeless dear. That’s how I felt, except I couldn’t die. The pain was so strong that all I could do was cry out to Papa and let Him wrap his arms around me and tell me it would be all right. I couldn’t talk about the pain, because I refused to focus on it. It would come, and I would embrace it and explore it’s depths and then focus on the Goodness of God.

A friend asked me how God had prepared me for this. I immediately told her that He had shown me His goodness. Over the past four years I had been focusing on His love and goodness. I had been learning to commune with Him and meditate on His word. He had showed me who I am in Him, that I have a destiny and a calling, and that I don’t have to accept this horrible event. That I could go after Divine Justice. He had taught me about His Kingdom and how when it invades our atmosphere, things change. He had taught me to not run away from reality, but to press into His love for grace, the grace to endure. These things were all in my spirit, like little seeds. My deep loss of Julia was in many ways the fertilizer that has caused all these truths to grow in me. I am not the man I was six months ago, how could I be? But I’m not bitter or angry. I’m not mad at God; on the contrary, I’m more in love with Him than ever. I really don’t know how to say this because I’m not sure that I understand it. But I feel heavier, not in physical weight, but in Spiritual weight. Bill Johnson says that if you continue to push against that 1000-pound boulder in the Spirit you might not move it. But it sure will make it much easier to move the 500 pound one. I guess that’s what I’m talking about. It’s like I’ve been working out in the Spirit. Things are just different.

That deep piercing pain has gone. I’m sure that it might come back every now and then, but I know that season is over. The emptiness still remains and I know that will continue for a long while. For a while I was very lonely. I could be in the middle of a crowd or with close friends. I would interact with them, but I was lonely. That deep loneliness seems to have passed to. The new normal, for now at least, is that it’s OK to be alone, and its OK to be with friends and family. I can enjoy doing both. I love my kids, and this past week has been wonderful. I miss them terribly when they leave, but it’s OK to be alone. I’m fine with that right now. It’s OK, because I am not really alone. Whether I’m watching a movie or TV or just reading, I know this one thing. Papa, Jesus and Holy Sprit are always with me. I’ve come to be able to feel their presence. That presence makes me want more. More of that presence is what I really long for. Julia’s absence has drawn me deeper into their presence.

So, where I am right now is in a good place. I love Julia, I always will. But more and more, I am thanking Papa for the memories that I have rather than wanting to go back. We can’t go back, and to continue to try to live there is to deny your destiny. As I write this I realize how good God is. Look what He has done for me over the last six months. I wish that I could share with others the depths of His love so that they could understand what I feel, and how I have come to this point. He is good, and His goodness is everlasting.