God’s ways are not our ways. Why He chose to uncover His plans to us when He did, remains a mystery.
Have you ever wanted to see God’s plan for your life? Psalm 139:16 says, “…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” NIV. God has a map for His perfect will, but He rarely gives us a peek in advance.
In November 2002, I started attending church with Mike. He was working a shift that gave him one Sunday out of three to go to church. So, I went with him on that third Sunday, and the rest of the time, I attended my church. While I didn’t like this arrangement, I’d made the commitment. At least I still had a connection with my congregation.
The pastor of Mike’s congregation approached us soon after I started attending. He asked if Mike and I would be willing to speak at the eleven o’clock service later that month. The theme that Sunday was “Come to Know God.”
This request surprised me. The pastor was aware I no longer believed their doctrine, but he valued my knowledge of the Word. We both prepared and shared our experience. It was well received. There was another blessing that day. All our children and grandchildren were present to support us. To me, this was a powerful sign of family healing.
“What are You doing Father?” It puzzled me. “You know that in my church women are not allowed to teach during the main service, yet here, in this place, the door is open. All our children were here for us. You are up to something.”
Then, several months later, Mike’s shift changed, and he was available to have every Sunday open. He was happy because it had been years since he’d had this freedom. My response was less joyful. No longer would I be able to be at my church for Sunday services.
Before making the change, I went to the pastors and elders of my church and asked them to meet with me. I needed more ears and eyes. “In a multitude of counselors, His word is established.” (Proverbs 15:22)
In that meeting, I went over all the revelation and happenings leading to my decision. If I followed God’s instruction, I’d only be able to attend small group meetings once a week. I asked them to pray.
These faithful leaders had walked with me for years, praying for our marriage. They knew the dynamics of all involved. One of the elders had also been a member of the church where I was returning. He was familiar with the doctrine, and his reasons for leaving were like my own. There was a consensus that God was calling me to return for the restoration of our marriage. They supported me in this decision and promised to continue to pray for us.
Again, my hope was for a short-term stay. And I hoped both of us could move on together to another church, free of false doctrine. But as before, our ‘sprint became a marathon.’
Over time, they asked me to head up their Sunday morning Bible study. Another surprise. I felt blessed and challenged. Few of these precious people had read the whole Bible before, the leadership included. It was a joy to see them discovering a truth they weren’t aware of before. It was also challenging when we hit up against old mindsets. I wasn’t always gracious in pointing to the truth, and Mike often counseled me to stop beating up the sheep. Ugh!
God has His ways of putting a mirror in front of us and helping us to see our real motives. I spent a lot of time repenting and crying out to God for direction and asking Him to help me love His children as He did. As a teacher, I felt responsible for sharing the truth. There was more than one Sunday that I came home not wanting to return.
My small group held me together with their prayers and love. They counseled me to remember, “You are doing this to honor your husband. Leave the congregation to God. You are not there to do anything but share what God has given you and let Him do the rest.”
At the end of May 2003, the administrator at my church called me. There was a part-time position open at the church office. She thought I’d be perfect for the job. I’d been looking for more employment for months, so this was an answer to prayer. “Yes,” I said, without hesitation. The position didn’t open until July. I looked forward to knowing what was going on in my church.
After almost two years of my commitment, a change occurred. My church in Liberty grew in attendance. The leadership decided to add another service. I was ecstatic. It was eighteen miles between my church and Mike’s church in Excelsior Springs. Now I could leave our house at 8 AM and attend my church’s 8:30 service. Then I could drive to his church for the 10:00 AM class and preaching service. From our house to both churches and back again was about thirty-five miles. God heard my cries, and He answered. This was a doable solution, and it met all our needs.
In June of 2005, Mike retired from his security job. He planned a trip to California to see his family and left days after retirement. I had a month to myself at home, which I didn’t mind. I got some craft projects done. I kept up with the yard and garden and attended some meetings at the International House of Prayer.
One night, our son Brett called and invited me to attend a Bible Study at his home. I didn’t have any plans, so off I went. One of the ladies in the Bible Study also invited her friend, Linda, from Independence, Missouri. Linda got lost on the way and arrived late.
When Linda walked through the door, everything in me came to attention. There was an immediate recognition. Though I’d never met her before, by the spirit, I knew her. Something was up, and God was behind it.
The class went well. We discussed a few chapters out of Joshua. His obedience to follow God’s word despite how illogical it appeared, was the topic of discussion. At the end of the class, Brett suggested we all pray for each other. He also opened the floor for any of us to share prophetic words. I hadn’t functioned in the prophetic outside of the sphere of my family in some time, but I told God I was available.
The next thing I knew, Linda turned to me and started prophesying over me and about Mike as well. She knew things that only God was privy to about us. Then she bent forward and blew on my stomach, reigniting the prophetic call on my life. I was flabbergasted.
In our brief time that night, I discovered she too had been a part of the church Mike, and I used to attend. She left her Independence congregation about the same time I left Liberty. We had a lot in common. I got her email and phone number and told her I’d call her.
While Mike was still in California, Linda and I chatted over the phone, and I invited her out to our house for supper. I wanted to get to know more about her. I wasn’t surprised when she called about six weeks later. I thought she called for another chat, but she called with a request.
“I feel like I am supposed to come out and pray for you and your husband,” she said. Immediately my guard went up. Mike wasn’t open to the prophetic much. We had a history of ‘prophets’ speaking what they believed to be God’s word. Many of those words never came to pass and appeared based on man’s opinion rather than God. A prophecy had often served to bring division in our relationship.
I paused at her request and then said, “Well, I will ask Mike if it is okay and get back to you.” She didn’t mind waiting.
When I asked Mike, he surprised me with his response. “Tell her she can come out. We will listen to what she has to say,” he said. “If I think she’s full of it, the words will go on a shelf, and we’ll wait and see what God does.” I agreed and called Linda back and told her the same thing.
On August 5, 2005, Linda, Mike and I sat down around our kitchen table to pray. The Lord prompted me to fire up my tape recorder so we could replay the tape, listen, and pray. I will forever be grateful for His suggestion and grateful I followed.
For the next hour and a half, Linda prayed and prophesied. God amazed all three of us. God spoke of where we’d been in our church experience and where He was taking us. He clarified our separate giftings and His intent for us to minister together in power in the future. The presence of His Spirit conveyed the authenticity of the words. Over and over what she was speaking confirmed prophetic things written in my journals God had spoken years before.
A strong manifestation of the Spirit came when she spoke about Mike’s and my ministry together. Linda was overtaken by Holy Spirit. Her entire body was shaking. She had difficulty staying in her chair. Up to that point, her words were in a conversational tone. But when the intensity increased, she was shouting in as she declared God’s word. Mike didn’t know what to make of it. He squirmed in his seat and was glad when the session was over.
I experienced something different. I felt the weight of His presence. It pressed in on me. What was spoken, confirmed what God revealed to me in 1992. Through Linda, God put words to what I’d felt in my spirit so many years ago. Each of us had gifts to minister. But, in our coming together as a couple in Him, power would manifest to do much more. Tears coursed down my face in gratitude. How gracious God was to share these previews of coming attractions.
In that long ago vision, I saw Mike, and I embrace each other. When we did, it was as if an atomic bomb went off. Power was released beyond my words to describe. While each of us had gifts to minister, our coming together as a couple in Him, would ignite a ministry neither one of us could do alone. Tears coursed down my face in gratitude. How gracious God was to share these previews of coming attractions.
Still, one thing said, remained hidden in words chosen. There was a suggestion of a physical move. By the Spirit, I heard it, and again my guard went up.
Mike had just retired. He’d spent the better part of twenty-two years preparing our six-acre property. His plan was to be self-sufficient and organic. He also wanted to be ready to help others. There were several big projects. He amended the garden soil with red granite sand from eastern Missouri and green sand from California. He improved the well with a larger pump. We had a wood burning furnace installed in the basement to heat the entire home and planted an orchard. We also added another bedroom in the basement to accommodate visitors. We were set for the future and open to house others if needed.
Mike didn’t have any plans of moving. I knew convincing him to do so would have to be God’s project. My husband was not going to listen to me or anyone else. So, I kept my mouth shut and prayed
I have eighteen single-spaced typed pages transcribed from that night. While many of the words looked impossible at the time, I knew even then that God would be faithful. His words do not return void. And I trusted Him with Mike. He was well able to get His message across to my husband. God gave me words and visions, but He used dreams to reach Mike, but that will have to wait for the next chapter.
~~ How About You? ~~
How has God revealed Himself to you? It may not have been this lengthy, but He often gives us flashes. Have you seen any of His words or visions come true yet? One thing I’ve learned along with God’s faithfulness is that timing can be tricky if not impossible to predict.
When God does speak, or show us something, it seems as if it is for right now. We start looking for the manifestation immediately. While some things do happen immediately or in short order, others take time and in our case, it was years.
Keep standing on the word. Keep seeing it as done. Pray into it and ask Holy Spirit if there is anything you are doing or failing to do that is keeping the word from manifesting. Or ask Him how to pray for the others who may be involved. God is always drawing us into a deeper relationship with Him. He wants us to get to know Him and help us realize how much He knows and loves us.
Keep thanking God that His plans for you are good and His words will not fail.