Okay, my life is not entirely in my control at this moment. I am totally trusting God for the “whys” right now. I have to say though, that I am so thankful for the miracles He has provided for me and my family. We have a primary home in Santa Rosa, California, and just two weeks ago our neighborhood was burnt to the ground. Without the extraordinary effort of the Berkeley Fire Department, our house would have been part of the 5,000 homes and structures entirely destroyed. Prayer changed everything, the fire stopped short a half a block away from all that devastation. Without the valiant efforts of the fire department hosing our houses down with water, all would have been lost to us, too! The thankfulness that we feel cannot be adequately expressed. We were evacuated in the middle of the night not knowing the fate of our house until thirty-six hours later when satellite pictures showed our house still standing. Praise God! So many of our dear friends and neighbors lost everything and our hearts are so extremely saddened by their loss.
(The following photos are of our neighborhood and personal friend’s homes.)
Though it was a terrifying ordeal, we stayed in peace and found thankfulness in the situation. The area was closed to us for a week because the fires still burned and toxic smoke and fumes made it almost impossible to breathe. We are so thankful for family who took us in and cared for us, and the unbelievable door open to stay at the last hotel room in the area, in Occidental. The air was so clean closer to the ocean. My family is back in our home, dealing with the emotions and feelings of having gone through the “fire”, getting adjusted to new changes and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
Thank you Lord for Your great mercies and abiding love. You are so good, gracious, and kind.
It will be a long journey for the residents of our town who lost everything…but God is in the restoration business and will provide for needs beyond imagining. Keep praying, this is just the beginning of many days ahead and a new beginning for so many.
This is a crazy life here on this Earth, one day to the next produces unforeseen difficulties and extreme blessings – sometimes simultaneously!
Having the Holy Spirit living inside my heart is the only thing that grounds and stabilizes all the whacky things that life throws at me. Honestly, I have a hard time comprehending how pre-believers navigate on their best days. My story of the past few months is almost unbeliveable. First, I have to apologized for not posting in quite a while, literally I just was not able to. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have some clue about my journey. I will try and give you bits and pieces of what has been happening in today’s post, then I will elaborate in more detail later….so this is the bullet point draft of the past two months. I left you on my way to Where in the World was I going, and I’ll start there.
Israel and Jordan
The trip to Israel and Jordan at the end of May was the most fabulous journey ever! Landing in the Holy Land was the beginning of 13 days of awe and wonder! I thought I kind of knew what to expect but there was really no way to have known the fun, glory, and awesomeness our team experienced – for me personally it was transforming. It is quite awesome to have every team member in one mind, one accord, and one spirit. We were all focused on the same purpose there; which primarily was to pray in every part of the country; that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be known and peace would prevail in every aspect of life. We had some divine encounters, divine appointments, and truly exemplary fellowship with a great commitment to fun. Like I said, I would post next time just on the wonders of that journey.
Heal the Sick (Heal Thyself)
Some of the difficulties that I’ve had in the past two months are issues with my health. Before this, I basically felt invincible because I have never been one to tolerate any sickness in my life, since prayer for the sick has been a focal point of my ministry life. I’ve been in many countries throughout the world and have seen incredible miracles from praying for the sick. God still works in great ways, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever…He is the Great Physician!
Then I began suffering from my own illness, praying diligently trying to reconcile why I suddenly had an electrical problem with my heart, that sent me to the emergency room and a hospital stay four times with Afib, in a month. I have cherished all the prayer from everyone that I’ve gotten, but there was no change.. which led to frustration and sometimes anger at this continual attack. I needed to get at the root of the problem and to understand the triggers for these events and had to reconcile my beliefs with reality.
So now I’m on a journey of another kind. I have begun the change of a mindset many years in the making. Habits are ingrained and have to be pulled like weeds, or you find your consistent effort sabotaged. I had to learn a new way of how to live in the natural to one of a more disciplined life. Benefitting me the most is sitting quietly before the Lord, soaking in His Presence – discovering the whys. “Be still. I will fight for you.” Exodus 14:14. It is interesting that a recent fall at a Christian conference, causing an injury to my knee and possible surgery, has slowed me down even more…however, I am going after that one with lots of prayer. I am definitely listening more to the Lord’s voice now that He has a captive audience – my heart. Just being real here.
Being creative is like breathing, something I live every moment doing. I created a Fourth of July sign, transformed our fireplace with a new mantle, and started landscaping our front yard (which is temporarily on hold).
Revamp – Before and After Fireplace
My house continues to evolve. This week I added a new mantle to the fireplace. Now I can hang all my Christmas stockings there for the first time. That makes me so happy!
I am always in the process of writing and journaling. A new journal is emerging with a combination of writing, art, and bullet entries. I am loving it! Working on a video preview of two months work. This is just a page sample. Another blog post soon.
I’ve got many projects in the works that will change (remember it is inevitable) some of the course of this little blog. Look for it!
Last Saturday could have been my last…I was taken to emergency where they had to stop my heart and restart it again, absolutely no guarantee that it would work. My son, Peter, was watching the monitor and saw my heartbeat flatline only to come back seconds later. When I was under the anesthesia I had a vision of this long, long road and all kinds of people were coming out to greet me and love on me. Then I woke up. This was all due to stress and not paying attention and taking care of me. I do many things for others and tend to neglect important every day things in my life. Lesson learned. I’ve had to really rest this week and contemplate what I need to do next.
One thing from this experience that I feel strongly about is that my life is truly in His hands. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to us the smallest things, mostly because He is practical and His wisdom is always the truth. I really feel that my experience was a life changer and I have a new perspective on everything around me…the most important things! It makes me think of this scripture:
“but you ignore the more important aspects of your [life]—justice, mercy, and faith….. donotneglect the more important things.” Matthew 23:23 (paraphrased by me)
Obviously, the more important thing for me is to rest and wait on Him, he will restore my heart…I expect a miracle. Live life to the fullest in Him.
It’s been my goal for a while to start taking what I know about journaling and begin to teach others about how to hear from God, and incorporate it by creating an art journal.
I have been journaling since I was sixteen, then about a road trip our family took to Arizona to visit my grandparents. Since that time I have written about important events we lived through and everything I could remember about encounters with the Lord. It is fascinating to read back and see personal growth and changing mindsets over the years, realizing that the Lord set a path before me and how that journey has taken me on a roller coaster ride to the present. Not everything was a smooth road but He has been so faithful and kind to lead me even when I got sidetracked.
A local church group of women came to my house and we had our time of creating art in my backyard. The day was beautiful and everyone said they loved the event and couldn’t wait to come back for more. In the craziness of teaching and managing the event, I didn’t remember to take pictures of the actual ladies and their art projects while they were here…worst blogging mistake ever! I did capture a few pics of the setup and decor. Of course, part of any successful event is food and we had plenty of apps (appetizers) and drinks
I started the Art Journaling class with waiting on the Lord – listening to what He may be speaking to our hearts, so that we could create a picture depicting what He was saying. Here are some examples of the techniques of layering paint and paper that I used to teach the ladies, resulting in creation of a journal page of “words” that we were hearing. Their projects turned out fabulously and many were surprised that the Lord actually spoke to them. All-in-all it was a very special day and one I won’t soon forget – I’ve actually journaled it, ha ha!
I have worked on this Faith Art Journal since the end of June with weekly assignments given by Erin Leigh @ Art by Erin Leigh and with Melissa @ Pink Paper Peppermints, both with websites and Etsy businesses. They were offering free classes via Facebook and I welcomed some new ideas and tutorials that would help me develop my own journaling. Enjoy! May it inspire you to begin journaling and finding the heart of God for you in your life.