She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain….

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It should come as no surprise that immediately upon leaving the high mountains of North Carolina Sunday I would get a call yesterday that dad showed up at my brother’s because he didn’t know where else to go.  I’m learning to say “This is not my problem,” but confess that I didn’t handle it so well at first.  There really is no place for anger and if I go down that path it’ll pull a Darth Vader on me.  It’s a bottomless rabbit hole and I can’t afford to let myself go there even though I’m tired and it seems like the easy thing to give in to.  I cried buckets of tears last night and have had to do a lot of repenting.  Right now I’m feeling somewhat numb and wonder if I’ve told myself “Don’t feel” as I’d done most of my life.  Dad asked me to pick him up today and take him to the bank, the doctor, and a few other places.  It’s an hour and a half just to get to where he is let alone all the running.  At some point today I have to tell him I can’t do this again.  He is where he is at because of choices he has made (and he’s still making bad ones), but the compassion in me rises up and wants to rescue.  Jesus help us.

The Come Away Weekend at Mary’s was incredible.  I got there last Tuesday and decided to take a short nap because I’d left early and was pretty tired.  A month ago Mary had told me she’d had a dream that I was driving a van and it was broken down along the road.  She pulled up behind me and saw that the bench seat was broken and I was trying to replace it with a bench from a furniture store so she told me that I needed to go back to the dealer and get a real one.  Well, benches represent rest, and it is so much like me to try to fix things my way.  The happy thing about that short nap was I had a dream and in it I was at the dealership, and even in the dream I knew that I had gone there to get a real bench :)  So needless to say my level of expectation for the ensuing weekend ratcheted up!

On Wednesday we headed out to do food shopping.  It was a long day and we had a lot of stops but we got it done.  Some of the ladies had to come in early, and the rest trickled in Thursday through the day.  That night I cooked filet mignon and it turned out excellent (hey when you have a good cut of meat it’s hard to mess things up!).  I was kept busy until I left on Sunday morning making meals and doing dishes and other things.  I also played guitar and led in some songs.  At one point Mary asked me to share about living in hope and here I am being challenged again.  Anyway, it was interesting to see the transformation in the women (some of whom had never met Mary before) from Thursday night to Saturday night.  And yes, Saturday night we had another baptism in her pool and as He promised, Holy Spirit showed up in a big way.  That evening at dinner the ladies gave me a card with some money and really blessed me.  My plan was to purchase a Zoom recorder, but we’ll see.

The sun will be up soon.  I like this time of day, the quiet before everyone starts getting up.  Think I’ll go back down in the basement and pray.  God already knows what today will look like.  I pray He’ll guide me through it and give me the wisdom to maneuver over this rocky terrain and that He will straighten the crooked roads.  In the end, I just want to hear “Well done.”  The funny thing is that I did hear it at Mary’s.  Thursday night she went around and prayed/prophesied over everyone.  When she got to me she heard, “Well done,” and so that’s what she told me, following it with that funny laugh that she does, lol.  In fact, Sunday before I left she asked what was the highlight of the weekend (and it’s interesting that about three seconds before that I was asking myself that question).  I told her it was that, hearing “Well done.”  After yesterday and how I handled things (or didn’t handle them) I don’t feel as if that could be said anymore, but God always gives second chances.  And thirds, and fourths for that matter.  In fact, He never gives up on us, and for that I am eternally grateful.  I just realized it was after Jesus was baptized that He immediately was led into the wilderness, so I shouldn’t be surprised at any of this for I, too, was (re)baptized on Saturday night.

 

Good Time for a Break

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Since last writing my dad and his wife have split twice.  I am learning to wait on the Lord through this and that’s an important lesson to learn, so it’s worth it.  I know that parents often get accused of meddling in their children’s marriages, but it can go the other way too!  I don’t plan on trying to “fix” anything but dad knows I will help if asked.  We had a good, long talk today.  At the end he said he had a pain in the back of his head.  When you’ve had a stroke that’s the first thing you think about.  I asked if he was going to go get it checked and he said no, he’d rather just slip away.  He has no desire to end up in a nursing home, and I get that.  Volunteering in one myself, I have no desire to see him end up there either.  At one point we were talking about possibly having to start over on his own again and that it was a shame.  He said, “When someone you love begs you to come back what do you do?”  Of course you go back and hope for the best.  A couple hours later I called him again and he said she was back.  Only God knows whether they can work it out, but it’s our prayer that they do.

It’s a good time to be taking a trip to Moravian Falls.  Mary is having another weekend with ladies coming in, and I help cook and clean up and get to be where Holy Spirit is moving.  He’s always up to something down there and I love to be where the action is :)  After the ups and downs and sideways of this past week I’m in need of some refreshing!  The wash is done, meals are cooked, and I think I’m good to go!  Now if only it wasn’t so far away….

The Second Time Around

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Just when I thought this summer couldn’t get any crazier, I talk to my stepmother today and she informs me she asked dad to move back up here.  I visited him this week and knew something was up.  At one point she asked him to leave so we could talk and she shared some things.  The thing is I don’t know what or who to believe and I am not the judge or arbiter.  They both have brain injuries, and I’m not saying that sarcastically.  She suffers from seizures and has memory and other issues associated with that.  And now dad has cognitive impairment and memory issues from his stroke.  They make quite the pair.  I had hoped for the best, but things are going downhill fast.  I’ve been saying, “It’s not my problem,” but that’s only partly true.  It’s not my problem until it is.

All of this makes me run to Jesus more, and I have been thanking Him for this trial.  I don’t have to understand why it’s happening, figure it out, try and “fix” it, I just need to listen to what He is telling me to do.  Sometimes, though, it comes in the form of “he has nowhere else to go.”  I was just starting to “get my life back” and am ready to lay it down again.  Somehow all of this will work out.  Somehow.  God’s already there in the future, and I just need to keep trusting.

But my heart is heavy and I am so sad for my dad.  He has no one, really, who looks after him but me and my two brothers, and they both have busy lives.  Somehow it falls to me (as it often does, falling on daughters to be caregivers).  Just this week we got rid of the last of the things from his apartment.  I see the sign is still out though, so it may be available.  ~Sigh~   Jesus, help.

You’d think this would be easier the second time around.  I hope I am trusting Him more this time.  I am praying for wisdom and would appreciate prayers for the same.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask” the Bible says, and I sure need it.

Learning to Just Be

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I finally got around to watching that Graham Cooke video I wrote about last time (it’s here if you want to watch it).  It was good to be reminded of a few things, like the fact that He is always present.  I may not feel His presence, but He is not a liar.  He is with me and never leaves me.  As Graham says, it’s not as if He’s running away, so why do we say we’re pursuing Him?  That’s what they had to do under the old covenant, but He has made all things new!  He actually is the one who pursues us, and I would like to be caught as quickly as possible, lol.

Yesterday I took Kevin to the doctor because he had been fighting something all week.  Turns out it’s shingles and it’s in his scalp (yesterday it started on his ear).  He’s on an antiviral and pain medicine.  The worst part is not the pain, though, it’s having to stay away from the grandchildren!  It’s the same virus as chickenpox and the boys are safe but the littlest is not.  I don’t know if his having it makes me more susceptible but we are sure praying!  I did lay hands on him Friday night when I got home and when I commanded it to leave he said he felt it “hiccup.”  We wrestle not against flesh and blood….

This week is filling up, but my focus has shifted and I’m more at peace…which is somehow tied to rest, so that’s happy.  When you give yourself permission to “just be” you may feel lighter somehow (just sayin’ :).  I started scrapbooking my year in pictures.  That project alone could take a few weeks!  And Wednesday is the start of the video course with Darren Wilson!  Time to chase some dreams.  To that end I’ve signed off Facebook for a time so I can stay better focused (hopefully–that’s always been a challenge!).  Of course there hasn’t been much about this summer that has been normal, so hopefully we’ll be done jumping hurdles soon!

In a Strange Place

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I’m headed back home tomorrow from NC.  It’ll be nice to get there (Lord willing, I actually do!).  I haven’t slept well here, just waking up a lot through the night for no apparent reason.  I’d like to tell you it’s because I’m having great dreams or crazy encounters, but it’s not.  I usually wake up and look at the clock and go, “One o’clock again?!”  I think the longest stretch of sleep I’ve had is four hours.  ~sigh~  My doctor doesn’t believe me when I tell her my thyroid numbers shouldn’t be at the low end of normal.  I mean it’s great not having to worry about what I eat, but I’d take gaining a few pounds to be able to sleep at night, lol.

I helped Mary with her book the last couple of days.  Today alone I typed over ten thousand words and read a lot of her stories, some of which I was familiar with and others which were new to me.  I believe this book is going to help many go on their own journey into healing.  It’s incredible what she has been through and what she’s learned and now has authority over.  Anyway, she literally has piles of composition notebooks filled with things she’s written down over the years.  Just hearing/reading some of her stories and encounters made me realize how mundane my life is.

This morning I got an email from Graham Cooke’s ministry and the title was something like, “Stop Pursuing God.”  No, I didn’t click on the video (which I believe was mostly about how God pursues us), but the thought has been going through my mind all day.  As strange as it may sound, I think that’s what I am supposed to do.  I mean, I keep getting the “rest” word.  This constant striving, though it sounds good to call it “going after God”, hasn’t exactly gotten me where I want to be, and in some ways I feel no further ahead than I did five years ago.  Or maybe it’s just because I’m comparing myself again.

Comparing my life to Mary’s is a recipe for depression, lol.  And yet I confess that I do it, mostly in the I-want-that-too way.  But you can’t impart relationship, and I don’t suppose a big encounter like the one I keep crying out for would do it either.  The relationship she has with Holy Spirit began when she was seven.  Mine took off five years ago, so she’s got about 45 years on me.  But who’s comparing? lol

Yep, I think it’s time to go home.  If I wake up through the night tonight perhaps I’ll get a head start.  I’m missing Kevin a lot.  And my garden probably needs some love…not to mention the grandchildren.  Here’s hoping I get at least four hours of shuteye.  Nite!

I get to hang

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Since dad has moved back home now, I get to hang up my hat labeled “caregiver.”  In some ways it feels as if it never happened, those two-and-a-half months of roller-coaster craziness after my dad had his stroke.  My brothers feel the same way, like, did that just happen?!  Anyway, it’s not a hat I’d care to wear again anytime soon, but I have “broken it in”, so if I ever have to put it on in the future it won’t be so stiff.  That said, I hope it gathers a lot of dust :)

This past weekend I got to hang out with a rock star.  No really, I did!  Brian from Korn (of the backwards “r”) stayed at Mary’s (yes I’m back in NC again) as he was doing a conference with some other speakers at her church.  Underneath all the tattoos and dreadlocks is an unpretentious, humble guy who loves Jesus.  His testimony is pretty incredible (there are many of those on YouTube).  He takes a lot of heat from Christians for going back to the band, but those guys are like family and God told him to.  Yesterday after the morning service a big group of us went to Olive Garden.  It was fun watching people’s expressions when they saw him.  At one point I was walking past a young man and heard him say to someone, “Is he a Christian?!”  I turned and said, “Yes, he is!” and smiled.  He looked amazed, lol.  Of course everyone wanted selfies (today’s version of the autograph) and most of the employees came out with a menu to get signed.  He was very gracious.  He’s in the middle of a tour, which can be very draining, so if you think of it say a prayer for him.  I’m sure he’d appreciate it :)

I’m still working on hanging on the cross, picking it up, or whatever you want to call it (basically dying to self).  This morning I awoke at 5:30 and was questioning whether I should do a fast again.  When I got up Mary told me she had a dream with me in it and I was all excited…until she told me the dream, lol.  Long story short, I got the “rest” word again.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but He was answering my question about fasting and the answer was no.  Why He chose to give her the dream and not me is a mystery, but as I had forgotten I even asked the question it felt like a rebuke and I took it waaaaay too hard and got down on myself.  When am I going to rest in the fact that He loves me, He loves me, He loves me?!  Anyway He finally brought it back to my memory that I had asked about fasting (or should I say striving, lol) and that this was the answer.  He is sure patient with me :)

Speaking of He loves me, that reminds me of a daisy, and the other day I had a crazy dream.  I was at a gathering with a group of women getting ready to do crafts.  Abby Abildness was leading it (she has a healing ministry).  We were going to make stained glass and I was excited!  There was a beautiful beveled glass and crystal one laid out.  We gathered around a table (standing, not sitting) and I was surprised to see we were doing the little plastic sun catchers (the ones you paint).  I remember being a bit disappointed but thinking oh well, it’s a start.  The one I had had a man with a tux on it.  I remember thinking I’d paint the lapel a different color.

Anyway I was at one end of the table.  The woman across from me said under her breath, “I hate you,” and I was like, “Hey everybody, that lady just said she hates me,” and kept working.  Then she said, “I’m going to kill you.”  Again I repeated it to the group.  Then she came at me and I touched her and put her down on the ground somehow (it wasn’t a struggle) and got back to work.  I was one of the last ones done because my sun catcher was intricate.  I remember wishing I would have chosen one a little simpler, lol.

I woke up to the first line of “Turn, Turn, Turn,” playing (“To everything, turn turn turn, there is a season, turn turn turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven”).  Then I drifted back to sleep and “saw” (more like a vision than a dream) translucent daisies (like the “flower power”) ones being laid in a line and knew they were put there for me.  They went across the top of a clear butter dish like the one dad just got and I heard myself wonder if Jesus or angels put them there.  At that point I saw the “fingertips” place another and I was overjoyed.

I get to hang onto those dreams and wait in wonder for more revelation.  God reveals all things in His time, in His season.  Until then I will turn, turn, turn on my bed every night and ask for more dreams and visions!  I want more, Lord!

Answered Prayer

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It should come as no surprise (though it often does) when our prayers get answered.  Still, I found myself surprised last week when I got a call from my stepmom saying she wanted to get back together with my dad.  That’s how we had been praying, for God to make a way, to move in her heart.  In fact, I listened to a recording of a word I got at Shawn Bolz’s church in June which touched on this exact situation.  God is faithful, and yesterday my older brother came and picked up my dad to take him back home.  We are praying for reconciliation, a tighter bond than ever between them, and a plan for them to move forward and build a better life.  He’s not totally healed yet but is headed in the right direction.  They are contemplating selling their place down there and moving up here.  I hope they can make that happen.

I have enjoyed getting to know my father.  He shared stories the past two weeks that I’d never heard, and God in His goodness blessed me with opportunities to share my life with him.  I don’t remember his coming to anything while I was in school, but he came to Perry Village eight days ago when I preached.  He told Kevin afterward, “I didn’t know she could preach.”  And when I led worship, “I didn’t know she could sing.”  I remember I’d invited him to see me in the lead role of “Bells Are Ringing” in high school but he didn’t come to that or to my graduation.  I remember my disappointment at the time, though I brushed it off and told myself I didn’t really expect him to come anyway.  It was special having him at the service as well as at the hymn sing a few nights later.  Some of the residents who had been praying for him got to meet him.  Oh!  And he told me one day, while I was driving him here and there, that I was a good driver!  I think there’s a part of us that always wants that affirmation of any kind from our fathers.  I waited a long time for it, and it was especially sweet hearing that.

So assuming things work out for them, I can shift gears and begin to look at life returning to “normal” again.  Summer is more than half over, but that’s okay.  It’s funny how we lay our lives out as if we have ultimate control over them.  My plans are written in pencil now and as always begin with, “If the Lord wills….”  I’m going to start by planning as little as possible, lol.  It’s amazing how much I am enjoying today, that I have “nothing to do” but wash and gardening and mowing and making dinner, all the while talking to and worshiping the Father of Lights, from whom all good gifts come!  I think I shall just enjoy being His daughter today and loving on Him.  I can feel His smile on that one :)