Hello, SUMites! Wow…what a joy to be with you today…I’m just taking a moment to drink in God’s presence here and being with you again. Lynn asked me to share an update, specifically about my recent anniversary, and I was thrilled to do so. What I didn’t expect was the rest of the story God wanted me to share with you…
September 5th marked Mike’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. That truly blows my mind when I think about it, because the generations of my family are marked with multiple marriages (per person) that resulted in divorces. I give God all the glory, my friends. His love and blessings are the catalyst behind the unity, love and peace I have in my marriage, which are the fruit resulting from partnering with God to cultivate and protect my marriage. We are not only partners with our spouse but also with God for that very reason and outcome.
To celebrate our anniversary, Mike and I planned a vacation to drive to Vermont to see the Autumn colors. Do you remember the dream list Lynn encouraged us to make a while back? I stumbled across mine a last week when I was looking at previous words and promises the Lord had given me. One of the items on my list was to perhaps one day live in a place that displayed the beautiful colors of fall.
As an artist, this has been a long time dream, as I’ve never lived in an area that displays these vibrant colors in the fall. And I will unabashedly say that the first sightings of these amazing colors brought me to tears. That’s just the artist in me delighting in God’s brilliance!
I believe this trip (which fell into place with great ease) was God’s way of giving me that dream in a way that keeps us where I know we are supposed to be (in Florida), yet to experience this longing of my heart without moving. (We’re considering making this trip every couple years.) Don’t you just love how God can surprise us with answers we never thought of? Or imagined possible?
A Year of Promises
A few weeks ago the Holy Spirit told me to go back through my journal and tab each page that I had written something down that I felt I heard from God. I sensed He wanted me to do this, because I’d begun to feel like I wasn’t hearing God as much. I knew He’d changed things up earlier in the year so I was hearing him differently, but tabbing those pages showed me I was hearing Him more than I realized. I thought that was the point of the lesson.
Yet God always seems to have much more in mind for us in those lessons than we think. An encouraging word showed up in my email a week after my tabbing session that the Holy Spirit used to lead to make a list of the promises on those pages. So I made my list, going through each one. If I hit a page that I wasn’t sure about, I added it anyway.
The best part was seeing my entry from January 1, 2017 in which I wrote “2017 will be a year of promises. Two fold: the revelation of promises already given and new ones.” I’d almost forgotten about that word, my friends.
I believe this is a corporate directive from God for all of His people right now. Make that list of words and promises. Sew, pray, cultivate and protect them. Declare the truth of His heart in each one and trust Him to bring the harvest as He has designed it. I have no doubt that you will be surprised by the fruit that comes.
Like you, my family holds a big place in my heart and the promises God has given me for them. Yet the one I’ve asked God for a promise or word is my oldest daughter. I’ve asked God many times the last two years for a promise or word for her and her husband, yet nothing clearly came. So, I chose to stand on God’s Word, specifically Philippians 4:19, because they have struggled for several years financially and to get their careers off the ground. I’ve prayed it over them and with them, encouraging them to declare this verse together as well in their joint devotional time (I love that they do that!).
It’s a story longer than I have space to write, dear friends, but suffice it to say that my daughter stepped away from a difficult job and chose to trust God for their provision. Within a week of that decision, she was offered a potential full time position as an illustrator for a national cartoon, her husband’s requested raise was approved, and more opportunities are in the works that will launch their careers in astounding ways.
And as I looked at my promise list, I realized I hadn’t put this verse about God’s provision on my list, because I considered to be a direct word from God. That’s when I realized God wanted me to see that even though the promise didn’t come as I expected, in a word or leading directly from Him, it was still a promise from His Word.
What struck my heart further was that it’s the first one fulfilled and revealed. Not what I expected, but very clearly what God wanted me to understand. His Word, the Bible, is His promise to us. All of it. I know we’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but the truth can never be over-spoken. God is faithful to His Word (Jer. 1:12) and to His people.
I see this happening around me in this new territory where God has positioned me (healing rooms and a new school) and in the people I have the pleasure to work and do life with in these places. It’s as beautiful to see as those astounding colors of fall.
So, my friends, next time you read your Bible, read it like a hungry child feasting on food made especially for you and with an expectation to recognize a promise waiting for you to claim. Write it down. Make a list. Hold it close to your heart in prayer, trust and expectation.
Because God has spoken to my heart about 2018, SUMites. It’s to be a “year of blessings.” I have a feeling there’s more though. With God, there usually is.
Much love to you, dear friends!