Within weeks of God unveiling His plans to us in August, Mike started having dreams about where he grew up. The family home, their old address, and his old friends were all popping up in his dreams. Now Mike had dreams before but rarely remembered them. Now they were vivid and stuck with him. What was going on?
I suggested to him that he start logging his dreams in a notebook. Over time he may be able to see some pattern or message come to light. It didn’t seem unusual to me that he was having dreams about his family and where he grew up. Those kinds of dreams are typical for most people. I was hoping that God was not showing us where we were going to move. Neither one of us was anxious to return to California.
For me, something else was going on. As I entered more and more into prayer over the prophetic words and what God wanted us to do, my times with Him grew richer. He approached me with a project that opened My relationship with Him in almost daily conversation.
On November 13, I asked the Lord a question, “Lord is there a way for your Word to be woven into every cell of my being?”
He was quick to respond. “Yes, Light treatments. Stand and gaze into the Light of My Word. Let it penetrate and change Your chemistry. It can and it will. The healing you need for your body, for your soul and for you spirit to flourish, will be found in the Light of My Word.
“Psalm 91 and Isaiah 61—Read and reflect on these in tandem. You don’t have to do things like anyone else. I am your Creator, trust Me. Psalm 91 will lead you in prayer, and Isaiah 61 will empower you for ministry.
“I will lead you to a deeper place in prayer. Because of your prayer and hidden times with Me you will be empowered to minister. In turn, your times in ministry will cause you to go back into prayer for more leading and direction. This is possible as you trust in My Spirit and trust in My will. I will not lead you where My Spirit won’t empower you. I have anointed you. You will walk in that anointing as you learn to watch the signposts of My Word fulfilled in you and around you.
“I will show you in the place of prayer, and as you go, you will see what I’ve shown you in the natural. Both are important – the hiding and the going—receiving and pouring out. Start receiving.
“Explore the depths and heights of these scriptures and find their treasures. Set Psalm 91 to music and let Me sing it over you. Let me release its fragrance of faith. Let me unlock its doors of safety and security. Let me free you of your demons of fear and close you in with Me, Your God. Your Mighty, Unstoppable, Mighty God.
“You are right, I am big, but I want to show you how big you are in comparison to your enemies. You are bigger than all of them as you are one with Me.
“Come and close the door and enter into the secret place with Me. There are delights here and healing and hope and joy.
“Fear not. Throw aside all battles of the mind and come. I am your resting place. I am your stronghold and high tower. I will hide you. Come, My beloved. I will reveal My Name to you. I will show you who you are as you see more clearly who I am.”
That night, I started a ‘Secret Place’ journal and started praying over and digging into Psalm 91. Verse by verse, word by word, letter by letter, over the next six months, I unearthed the deep treasure. (If you are interested in seeing what I discovered, you may begin here: https://heargodsheart.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/are-you-ready-for-a-treasure-hunt/
One of the things that became more frequent was that I’d wake up with songs going in my head. I loved the songs but also wondered if He had some purpose behind them. When I asked Him about it, this was His response:
“Pay attention to the songs I bring to your spirit. Listen to the words with care, and meditate on them. You will discover hidden truth and direction for your circumstance. It’s more than melody, I use music as an anesthetic to inject truth. Let truth penetrate. Sing the songs I send you, pray over them and ask Me for understanding. I will show you their purpose.”
For a week afterward, I found myself singing this song all day. “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for You.”
When I asked Him why, He told me, “I want purity in the inward parts.”
I sensed He was zeroing in on my cry for Him to remove a critical spirit from my heart. While I rarely voiced the criticism, it festered in my heart. It built walls of pride and resistance in relationship.
While I’d told God, I’d return to our old church to honor my husband, a big part of me did not want to be there. I felt like a little kid being disciplined. When she was told to sit in the corner until mom said she could get up, her inward declaration was, “I may be sitting on the outside, but inside I am standing up.”
Because of this rebellious attitude, my critical spirit was most active when I attended church. As the preacher spoke, I’d sit there thinking, “He isn’t covering the whole truth. There is more to the story. If I taught this, I’d do a better job.” When the worship team sang, or the organist played, I criticized. My inner dialogue often whispered, “They need to slow this song down. They are running over the lyrics.” Or, “She needs to speed up the tempo. This isn’t a dirge.” Miss ‘know it all’ Saint went home grumbling to herself. Later, when Holy Spirit shined His light on her behavior, she beat herself up for a lousy attitude. I was tired of living with this cyclical behavior and wanted it uprooted forever. I wanted to love the people and be content in God’s will. I knew the spirit of criticism was an enemy blocking God’s plan for my life.
He went on to say, “I made your mouth, and I made your heart. I know how to correct, change, and heal both. This thing permeates your whole life, and it’s kept you from My purposes many times. Are you willing to deal with it now? Are you willing to pay the price to see it forever removed? Just say yes, and we will begin.”
“Lord, I feel like I’m giving you permission to do heart surgery without anesthetic,” I sad.
“Worship will be your anesthetic. I will never leave you.” He said.
A week later Holy Spirit led me to Proverbs 16:23.
“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips—pleasant words are like honeycomb. Sweetness to the soul (mind, will, emotions) and health to the bones (body).”
Immediately I said to Him, “This is a snapshot of what You and I are working on right now isn’t it? It begins in my heart. Lord, have Your way in me.”
Then this Vineyard song came to my remembrance:
Create in me a humble heart
An innocent and childlike heart
Create in me a tender heart
That I might know You, Lord.
I want to know You in all of Your ways.
Revealed in mercy
And clothed in Your grace
Give me a new heart
Devoted to You
That knows how to love,
And mourns for the lost
And will not turn back
From all You have called me to do.
Give me a heart like Yours
I need a heart like Yours
I heart like Yours.
(A Heart Like Yours -1998 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)
“Yes, the lesson today is on humility.” He said. “My heart was pure as I walked the earth. I could see the sin of men. I knew their thoughts toward My Father and Me. I saw how twisted the Word had become. I never spoke to confront unless I heard My Father speak or saw Him act. I humbled Myself and became a servant to My Father. I reverenced Him and His wisdom. I honored His discernment and His knowledge above My human inclinations. Yes, I did face temptation daily. I learned to respond rather than react.
“You can either re-act (return action for action) to circumstances that you see in the natural. Or you can respond by the spirit. One brings death and the other life. Even as I brought harsh words of confrontation to the Pharisees and others, those words were coming from a heart of love, bringing life.
“The living water is in you, but the well has been capped by life and its trials. It’s time now to remove the cap and throw it away, into the depths of the sea, as far as east is from the west. So far have I removed your iniquities from you. Fear not. The fountain of living water is already starting to bubble up.
“I am cleaning your heart, I am washing your eyes with eye salve and removing ear wax. You will see more clearly now. You will hear My voice calling. I will instruct and shepherd you as you stay in humility, submitted to My plan and My voice. Come when I call and stay until I send you out. We will go together even though you will not always see Me.”
God was working in ways unique with Mike and I. His ways were more profound than we’d experienced before. He was catching Mike’s heart in the night with dreams and encountering me in my quiet times with Him and the Word.
The other thing that happened within a month after August 5th was Hurricane Katrina, on September 1. When it hit the Louisiana and Mississippi coast, the devastation impacted everyone. My church was full of carpenters and tradesmen who wanted to go and help. After many prayers and research, in October, our pastors put out a call for volunteers. They wanted to take a small scouting team to Mississippi. Their plan was to help and see what we as a congregation could do in the future.
Mike, had always wanted to be part of this kind of hands-on help, but because of his job, he wasn’t able. Now he could. Still, I was a bit surprised with his enthusiasm to join the team. He would be working alongside a group of my church members, who he didn’t know well. This would be a step out of the familiar.
On November 4th, the team left for a week in Mississippi. They stayed at a Baptist Church in Moss Point just north of Pascagoula. They saw the destruction first hand and saw volunteers from all over the nation pouring in to help. It was life changing for all who went.
When he returned, I saw a change in my husband’s heart. God uncovered treasure I never knew was there.
Mike was always a man of few words about what was going on in his heart. But, when he came home, he told us, “Before I went, I wondered why anyone would want to rebuild there. But, after seeing the beauty of the area, I realized, if my house had been destroyed, I too would want to rebuild. I also realized we are going to be doing more than rebuilding homes. We are going to be rebuilding lives.”
Then he shared this beautiful analogy, “An oyster builds a beautiful pearl around a piece of irritating sand. This storm had to happen,” he said, “for the real beauty of community to be revealed.”
Wow. My husband was transforming before my eyes. He also brought tales about the fun he had with my church friends. And there were stories of the wonderful people at the Baptist church. God was opening new viewpoints and expanding his view of the Body out of this deadly disaster.
In the next six months, Mike returned with our team four more times. I went twice to do the cooking for the crew and be an errand runner when needed. Hearts were forever knit together as we worked alongside each other and ministered to those who lost everything. We learned new skills–I’d never been the meal planner and helped cook for a crew for a week before. Mike learned some plumbing tricks. But the highlight of those trips was the faithfulness of God displayed over, and over, and over.
We also came to love our Baptist hosts and their congregation. They did all our laundry for us and brought in a trailer with showers in it so we could take a daily shower. The church had a room full of canned goods and supplies that was open 24/7 for anyone to help themselves. People affected by the hurricane came into the church night and day and loaded up on groceries and toiletries. Other people came and left cases of vegetables, or spare sleeping bags, boxes of baby diapers, etc. The trust and generosity of this group of saints challenged all of us.
Through these experiences, Mike and I grew stronger in our relationship. He was now open to coming to the services at my church once in a while. He loved interacting with those he’d worked with, and they looked forward to seeing him as well.
The dreams continued and my rich times with Abba grew. God, in His own way, was preparing us for His mission. He knew we needed to be stronger together than we were when Linda brought His word to us. He was working all things together for our good, and soon we would see more of His plan.
~~ How About You? ~~
Have you ever received prophetic words or had dreams that involve other people, who need to agree before you can move forward? Have you ever felt you were right about something only to have Holy Spirit shine His light on it and discover you were in sin? These kinds of circumstances are familiar to most of our lives. God rarely calls us to do something that doesn’t also include others. He loves knitting the hearts of His children together and often does it through resolving conflicts and bringing consensus.
If you find yourself up against a wall of waiting for circumstances or people to line up, I’d suggest increasing your time with Him. Ask Him for His perspective on the circumstances. Be willing to repent and follow Him with new resolve.
These are two prayers I pray often:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 51:10-13, 17
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You…
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
He will answer when you call with a sincere heart. God bless you on your journey with Him.