On the move

The morning dew wets my feet as I walk out to cut the feverfew from its stem.

I place the flowers in vases throughout the house.  I will just have to get rid of it in a few days when it is brown and rotten, but this act of bringing the outside in fills me with enough joy that the extra work is worth it.

Isn’t that the the crux of work?  The reward must be worth the effort expended.  For many, the reward of a paycheck feeds their motivation as the alarm clock drones every morning.  Others of us are moved by a spiritual world that is beyond our understanding yet we are aware of this perishing world and look forward to a new Jerusalem.  With this hope in our hearts, we do our jobs with love that comes from the desire for everyone to feel that same hope.

What do we know that is so special?  Only that Jesus allowed his body to be broken so that we could be free.  And until that message resonates deep in the heart of someone they will look at us as fools.  To those of us blessed to be disciples we know that, finally, for first time in our lives we no longer are foolish. 

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

I return to writing after a few hours of life has passed.  The Lord prompted me to take a walk around our gardens and I reflect on how, for the first time in my life, weeding has felt accomplishable this year.  It may still not be enjoyable but I truly have felt a growing satisfaction from keeping my beds as weed free as I am able.  I observe my plants every day with the tenderness of a parent, excited to see buds forming and blossoms opening.

God tends us in this way, and when we are open to the pruning and to the weeding we are free to blossom and bud extravagantly into the true identity he has for us.  No longer will we have to be tossed around by the emotions of life here on this perishing earth, instead we have eternal life to look forward to.  An eternal life free of sadness, sighing and brokenness, filled with never-ending praise and worship of our one true King.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”  John 15:1-2

Look deep into the headlines and you will see the Gospel message coming to life around us.  God always keeps his promises.

“All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing”  Colossians 1:6

A few weeks ago, in that special place between wake and sleep, God gave me a vision.  I saw an amusement park and in the area near a row of carnival games there was a man who looked like a carnie, yet he was completely flat and one dimensional!  But, excitingly, he began to fill up like a balloon and came to life again.  God showed me that those that have felt dull and one dimensional are filling up with the love and Spirit of God to become some of the most wonderful, colorful and radiant human beings you’ve ever seen.

God is on the move.

 

A city redeemed

God is readying Zanesville for a season of transformation.  The old ways are leaving and new life is entering.

The Lord has been strategically drawing people here for decades.  I’ve lost count of how many people have told us they felt led to Zanesville by the Holy Spirit.  One person told me that saw our town as a “city on a hill that cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14)

Believers that have been crying, “Revival!”  and “Come, Holy Spirit” are beginning to see the fruit of their labor.  The sick are healed, the deaf can hear and the blind see.  The Lord’s presence is gaining strength and we GET to be part of it.

I urge you to cry out for His Kingdom to come in your homes, in your work, in your church, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt. 7:8)

God has graciously given me a vision of a flock of birds dropping the Holy Spirit in a circle over our city, so let us “fan into flame the gift of God.” (2 Tim. 1:6)

He is here, have faith!

Transformation

The other day I saw the first butterfly of the year fluttering outside the kitchen window.  I smiled with thankfulness for this season of renewal, joy filled me and I heard God say,

“Verily, verily I tell you, the Kingdom of God is like a butterfly: enter and be transformed!”

Healing.

This is the story of a miracle many years in the making.

Five years ago I sat in our little yellow car with two young boys outside of the minute clinic. Brad’s ear was pained with infection. One prescription later we were on our way home.

After a week the infection was not resolving so off to a primary care doctor he went. Another prescription in hand, a little stronger, and he was on his way home.

And again he went back, still with pain. “Here, try this one, it’s a little stronger”, they said.

Going to bed one night he told me his face looked off as he was brushing his teeth. I was quick to shake it off until I looked closely in the low light. “That’s weird,” I thought, “it looks like one side of his face isn’t keeping up with the other”.

We feared for a stroke and prayed about what to do. A little internet searching led us to believe that he was experiencing Bell’s Palsy.

He went back to the doctor where he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, most likely triggered by the massive ear infection his body was fighting. It would resolve on it’s own, but the ear infection required the strongest antibiotic that could be given.

The ear improved, and Brad regained movement of his face (but not before we had family photos taken. What a way to remember this time in our lives!).

A few months later at a book party in the governors mansion Brad spent the entire time vomiting, laying on the cool marble floor of the swanky bathroom.

The only thing we could trace it to was a frappucino he had earlier in the day, something he rarely drank.

Later that year we were due to leave for NYC to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade but Brad had such excruciating pain in his foot the night before we were to leave he had to crawl to the bathroom. In the ER they diagnosed him with plantar fascitis and gave him some anti-inflammatory medicine. The medicine cleared the majority of the pain in a day or two leaving him able to trek the streets of New York.

Over the years dairy began to bother him more. He stopped drinking straight milk, then ice cream, then butter, and then cheese. Eventually, he couldn’t even have baked goods or cooked foods with a small amount of dairy in them. Accidental ingestion caused vomiting and flu like symptoms for a couple of days.

The foot and ankle pain would also reoccur often, something we eventually self-diagnosed as tendonitis. Brad would be laid up for a day or two until the pain and inflammation subsided.

Doctors diagnosed him with this and that but there were never any cures offered, never any hope for healing.

I don’t know why, I imagine it was God, but one day I began searching about the strong antibiotic that he was given.  I found heaps of information about the terrible side effects it can cause right away, and years later as well. The pieces were falling into place: the dairy allergy, the tendonitis, the awful heartburn weren’t random but were all consequences of a class of antibiotics that now come with warning label.

It was good to know why, but the prognosis felt hopeless.  How could this damage ever be reversed?  Would he spend the rest of his life dealing with these chronic symptoms?

We ate dairy free, yet Brad was still often sick or in pain. For a while he worked with a natural health doctor and we significantly changed our diet. Restoring his gut health alleviated a lot of ongoing symptoms, yet it did not completely heal him.

About a year ago God prompted me to start praying for restoration for Brad’s body.  I did pray and over time my prayers gained authority as I witnessed miracles and gained knowledge of who God is and what He will do.

This past December, a bad cold led to bronchitis and another ear infection for Brad. He began to seek natural health supplements, then, through prayer, felt prompted to give this infection to God and trust in His healing only. God was going to heal him, God was going to restore him and we had to be patient and trust.

After many weeks of pain the ear infection healed without the use of antibiotics.

Four weeks ago Brad caught a stomach bug. I had an inkling this was part of the healing process, and later when a friend sent us a picture of Brad receiving healing prayer from our small group I knew it was. He included the words: “I pray today that the prayers we prayed that day were answered.”

He recovered from the stomach flu and my prayer turned from one of healing to one for knowledge. I knew Brad would never willingly try dairy because of how sick it made him, so I prayed when the time came he would accidentally ingest it and have no reaction.

We waited and prayed.

One Sunday our friends had us over for a pizza party. There were two salads, one with goat cheese and one without for Brad. Well, Brad missed that memo, thought the goat cheese was cauliflower and accidentally ingested it! We prayed that there would be no reaction and for total healing.

He had no reaction, no vomiting, no cramping!  Completely and totally fine.

Brad has had no reaction from kefir, butter, or yogurt. Two nights ago he drank a few ounces of fresh cow’s milk and we woke up in the morning amazed at his health and God’s fulfilled promise.

All glory to God!  Praise him for his miraculous work in our lives!

a poem, aged 4 years

Our house on Harvard had a kitchen window that was right next to a busy walkway.  I wrote this poem on April Fool’s day, 2014.

—————————————

Windows open,
spaces commune.
The inside welcomes the outside,
private life seeps into public.
The clank of dishes drifts outside,
the smell of breaking bread
teases passersby.
It is spring again
and life is shared.

The fire ring

I walked out in the arctic air to dump the compost and stopped at the beauty of the setting sun on our fire ring.

I was reminded of the hot fall evening we spent with friends around that fire, roasting hot dogs and shooting cans with BB guns. Much has changed since that not long ago evening.

There have been new relationships formed as well as old ones broken, miracles and healing witnessed, death and tragedy lived through, hearts made whole, fears squashed. This, all of this together, is the holy work of living life together with others. There is absolutely nothing like it, surely evidence of His kingdom coming here on earth.