This article was originally published on October 20, 2014.
In January 1997, I had a very strong God encounter. The Lord made such an impact in my heart and mind that I found it difficult to even try to explain it to anyone. He had given me “ears to hear and eyes to see” like never before in my Christian walk. The memory of that special time in my life is still as vivid today as it was back then. We both experienced the nearness of God each in different ways. The year 1997 turned out to be a year in which we would need to be spiritually strong. Bill was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and surgery was required immediately. We walked through his illness with such confidence and courage that it surprised both of us. We knew it was not by our own strength that we were able to do this. The Lord had prepared us. We had calm assurance that all would go well.
We married in 1978. We talked often about being able to minister to others. We were not quite sure how, but, we so truly wanted to share all the things we had learned (and were still learning) about what the Lord can do in “us” if we are willing. We discussed so many possibilities. We were eager, although, obviously not quite ready. No doors opened. We did not throw in the towel and turn away in defeat. We just kept seeking Him. The more we sought Him the more comfortable we became with the fact that we didn’t really know where we were going; we didn’t know if we would ever be able to minister to others as much as our hearts desired. We became so comfortable that we almost forgot our heart’s passion. “It” was not really our main focus anymore. We had turned our focus on Him with even greater passion.
In January 1999, I again had another very strong God encounter. That entire year was one revelation right after another. I had not even spoken about it to Bill. But, by October of that year, I knew it was time to speak. We prayed often about these things and rested in the fact that the Lord would show us our next steps. He was obviously up to something! We waited. In December 2000, I was a member of a missions team going to Peru. A dear, dear friend asked me if I knew “why” I was going on this trip. I responded with an intelligent answer. It was: “I don’t know.” To make a very long story short, upon my return she was quick to ask me if I had discovered the “why” for this trip. My answer was simple. It was: “He broke my heart for the people of the world.” The vividness of that faith venture is still as real to me today as it was then.
The year 2000 was also the first time we had a vision for what we thought the Lord might be calling us to do. That vision has brought us to where we are today. In 2004, the Lord impressed me to sit down and recall some of the things I had learned along my journey to that time. I did. It is entitled: “I’ve Learned.” I have listed three points from “I’ve Learned” that stand out in my mind about moving forward with the Lord to fulfill (our) personal desires in ministry. They are as follows:
- I’ve learned that God’s timing is always right. The vision He shows me today may not take place tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. But, He sees the end from the beginning. He alone knows when to birth the vision. I need only to nurture the vision and prepare. That will keep me busy until He moves.
- I’ve learned that if I stay silent in times of testing, I will be sure to hear His voice for instruction and direction in order to endure the test.
- I’ve learned that it is better to change my course, to forget my plans, to drop my net so I may follow Him.
Rushing ahead into ministry is an exciting idea. And, it might just work perfectly for some. However, from what we have learned and witnessed, God doesn’t rush into anything. Yes. I know. He does not have to do that. He’s God. But, I believe you know what I am saying. An effort executed too speedily quite often becomes a puddle of muddle and disappointment pours water on our desires; our dreams. Nurturing a vision – even if it is not complete – gives us time to prepare. Preparing our heartbeat in step with the Lord steadies our feet, our direction and our path as He walks along beside us. That will keep us busy until He moves. It also helps us to prepare in silence so we can listen for His small whispers. We will know when the time is right to drop our nets to follow Him.
At the close of each year, we always seek the Lord as to what is next. From experience, we know that the Lord always shows us something new. Even though our main ministry focus does not change we know the Lord always expands our thinking and our outreach. As we draw near to the ending of 2014, our heartbeat for 2015 is ramping up. We have learned that it is exciting to entertain anticipation for new ministry opportunities. We have learned that God is faithful. We will continue to let our nets rest on the sand in order to follow Him. As we enter this time of seeking Him once again, we ask you to join with us in prayer. The year 2014 has been most difficult up to the present time. Yet, we are preparing our hearts and listening for His small whispers. We are praying for all of you as well; that you will hear His small whispers for you. Blessings to you!
February 01, 2018: An Update to share with you.
We entered the year 2015 with anticipation and openness for what the year might bring. In April 2015, it brought something totally unexpected and totally unwanted. For 18 years, Bill had been totally cancer free. However, a new cancer hit between his annual checkups. It was stage 3 aggressive prostate cancer. No surgery, no chemo, no radiation could help. The only thing that medicine could do was to hold the cancer back from spreading any further. We are first and foremost grateful for God’s steady peace and calm inside our hearts and minds. We knew this was no surprise to Him. We heard His soft sweet whispers to “hold steady” as we started the medical processes.
We are living in an area where health, medicine and treatment are top-of-the-line across the board. Bill is doing well with his protocol and we are grateful! We are grateful for the many hours and years of medical research that have been done in order to produce medicines that can keep many, many people alive — “living with cancer” — today. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, but, we know Who holds tomorrow! Today is just what it is. Our love has deepened and our care for others as well. In the midst of this raging storm, we continue to minister. We continue to disciple, mentor, pray, serve, teach and write. We continue to honor the True and Living Lord Jesus Christ for He alone is worthy to be praised. We are the happiest we have ever been in our entire lives! Hallelujah!! Blessings to you!
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