God is Faithful ~ Part Three

God and Me

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‘How often it is a small, almost unconscious event that makes a turning point.’

~ Corrie ten Boom

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If anyone had told me how radical my life was about to be changed once I moved to Hawaii, I most likely would have passed up the invitation and stayed where I was or run as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

Looking back, I’m so thankful that this was not the case. I confess that I did not walk through this process with a spotless record of exemplary behavior one hundred percent of the time, in fact more like most of the time, but as C.S. Lewis says, it is funny how living by day by day, nothing seems to be changing but when we look back, wow, everything has changed because of how much we have been changed through the process.

Hindsight is fifty fifty someone once said…

So, here I was, an L.A. fast paced lifestyle living woman who now found herself living in a very remote part of a beautiful island, with no access to the ‘outside’ for most of her days…

Lonnie used the car I had bought to get to work and this left me on my own with no one to spend the day with and without any way of going to town to shop or visit friends so after he left for work, my long and lonely days began. I was experiencing culture shock because this was a slamming on the brakes at top speed lifestyle change. And I was not handling it very well.

I felt sorry for myself and began to whine in my spirit about how homesick I was for my life back in L.A., and then I would recall how it wasn’t that great in the end and so this left me in an in between place…

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 I worked on the Windward side of the Island with my best friend Jodi in a Restaurant and we would take the bus together to work. One morning I noticed a very strong lethargic feeling coming over me, and Jodi looked at me and asked me if I was okay. I said, ‘It feels like someone had pulled the plug on my energy, I can’t keep my eyes opened and I slept very well last night…’ Jodi asked me if I could be possibly pregnant. I said no and left it at that but agreed with her that if it didn’t stop I would need to make an appointment to see the doctor.

…One morning soon after this conversation I awoke feeling as though someone had beaten me from head to toe with a heavy metal pipe. Every bone and muscle and all parts of me felt extremely achy and I had trouble speaking when I asked Lonnie jokingly if he had beaten me up while I slept, it was a joke between us because Lonnie was a peace loving man. So, being without a phone, I asked him when he got to work if he would call my work and tell them that I was ill. I thought I had a bad case of the flu and that a few days rest would remedy this. The achiness subsided after a few weeks but not the lethargic feeling and so an appointment was made to see the doctor. After the blood work came back, the doctor walked into the room, looked at me and asked, ‘Did you know you were four months pregnant?’

Since I’d never been pregnant before this was news to me and Lonnie, and I asked the doctor if this is what a normal pregnancy was suppose to feel like and would I be lethargic and achy all throughout the pregnancy,  he said no and prescribed vitamins and told me to find a pre-natal doctor to see me through my pregnancy since I was already four months pregnant. The doctor was shocked because I was otherwise very healthy and had not yet seen a pre-natal doctor. I was shocked because I wasn’t showing just yet.

I would begin to show soon after.

No longer working left me with nothing but time and after Lonnie left for work, my day would consist of washing the two table settings from breakfast, and wandering around inside and outside the house. We had no phone, TV,  books, stereo…All the neighbors in this small cul-de-sac either worked or we had not met since we were new to the area…

I cried as I stared into my closet at all the beautiful clothes I had brought with me from L.A. hanging useless in my closet and very aware of my half unbuttoned skirt accommodating my abdomen swelling with child and a large t-shirt to cover over my half buttoned skirt. I had no maternity clothes and we were living in a financially challenging time in our life.

I cried even harder at the irony of my life. From glamour living to this. What a loss I thought…what a waste of my life…the days turned into weeks and my soul became more forlorn at wasting away in boredom with this nothing to do life I was living, I couldn’t see what if anything there was to do in this remote place far away from town and civilization…I felt stuck and hopeless…and again, in a desperate moment I uttered an under my breath prayer to an unseen and unknown to me God to please help me find something to do…

I wanted to make something with my hands…I would soon have my answer, and once again, this God would deliver, but because I still knew nothing of God or that He is listening and answering our prayer’s, the answer came in a way that was totally unexpected and I didn’t see it at first.

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One evening soon after the thrown in the air prayer, I heard the car pulling in and waited for Lonnie at the door, while he kicked off his flip flops and smiling at me pulled a crumpled up grocery sack from behind his back and said, ‘Here. I brought you something.’ I smiled and my heart was lifting as I thought of what it could be; something pretty, something edible, I was pregnant after all…and as I stuck my hand into the sack, my expression changed to one of puzzlement and then to disappointment…

Lonnie said, ‘You’ve been saying how you are looking for something to do and so I brought these Laua’e ferns home as a gift from my friends in the Arboretum for you to plant. These are the coolest looking ferns and rare, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to get some more of these as they don’t separate them out very often. I thought this might give you something to do while I am at work.’

My face revealed my deep disappointment and the lack of gratitude at Lonnie’s gift, but I tried to recover with a mumbled ‘Thank you’ as he left the room to change. He said as he walked away, ‘They need to be planted within the next few days so they don’t die.’

I didn’t see the value of this gift at this stage in my life, and this was the beginning of many lessons to come in my life about living from the root of appreciation for all the gifts that are given and so often taken for granted by a spirit of indifference or downright ingratitude. The root of this kind of living is expectation.

I overlooked the fact that Lonnie had thought about me and instead focused on the effect, the outward appearance which was unpleasing to my critical eyes…I tossed the bag of ferns outside in the corner between the hot water heater and the washing machine and forgot about them. I was not after all a gardener, I was a former successful hair stylist who was going places from L.A. and again the irony of being turned from glamour to grunge was grating soundly on my soul. I cried in deep self pity, and threw a huge gala in honor of ‘me, myself and I’…

Several weeks later, as Lonnie was getting ready to leave for work, I was about to see him off in my now accustomed unbuttoned skirt with large t-shirt covering our five and a half month child, when he came back in from caring for our dog Sam, and in his hands he held the crumpled up bag of now very dried up and dead looking ferns, held with a sad but irritated look on his face…as he turned to head out the door for work, he said to me pleadingly, ‘Please! Will you just get these in the ground now, they are not available very often and I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to get any more, so will you please just plant these now? I will help you water them. They look pretty dead and I’m not sure they will still grow but will you just try to plant them for me?’

Afer he left, I stood there feeling very guilty for having treated him and his gift so carelessly, and I, at age 19, standing in this kitchen pregnant with the seed of a growing child, living on an island floating in a vast ocean, felt very small and alone in this moment. I felt the hurt inside for hurting Lonnie’s feelings and by rejecting his gift, so I looked around and wondered at how one goes about doing such things as planting plants. I had no real experience whatsoever and had killed more plants than I cared to remember. My rap sheet in the Garden Department was a short one but with the same verdict, ‘deceased’.

With much trepidation and very little faith I took a deep breath and wandered around the yard outside until I came to the only spot along the West wall of the house where a previous renter had plotted out a 15×2 foot plot of earth bordered by gray scalloped edging. The soil was lifeless and felt very sandy on top and I poked with my finger into this plot and my fingernail bent under the resistance of the fallow ground that lay underneath. I looked into the sack and was met by the sorry dead looking state of the ferns…my eyes moved back and forth between dead earth, dead plants, dead earth, dead plants…things were looking pretty impossible for this woman who had no teacher to show her how to even do this and my eyes spilled with tears at the thought of Lonnie arriving home and sensing his disappointment yet again of a desire unfulfilled, and I uttered a desperate call for assistance by repeating a prayer much like the one right after almost losing my life almost two years earlier…’Hello God?…um…if you’re real, could you give some pointer’s here? I really could use some help right now…

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Sitting Indian style cross legged on the ground next this lifeless plot with a bag of lifeless looking plants, I can only image the picture all these things combined must have made…an image of hopelessness and bewilderment and loss of what to do captured in a moment in time unfolding into eternity.

I don’t know how long I sat there but suddenly a warm breeze touched me from the right side of me and I sensed that someone was coming. I thought maybe I would be surprised by one of my friend’s from town paying me an unexpected visit…but as I turned my head towards the driveway, a strange thing was happening and all my senses were heightened to the air that was softly blowing towards me from the direction of my driveway, the air was visibly moving! I could see a movement in the air like undulating waves and then my eyes noticed the tall hedge shrubs moving like someone invisible was running their hands along it making their way towards me…and my attention immediately went to my baby and how I wanted to protect her…when she began to move inside my womb like she was dancing and leaping!

The next thing I can tell you is that I was still sitting on the ground but I did not feel the ground at all, I felt like I was in another place, as though a bubble had surrounded me, making me aware of something more than this physical world. The feeling was felt all through my being, my spirit, soul and body were experiencing this all at once. And peace and joy were filling me in all these ways. I felt such a great sense of rightness with life, a hope had entered into my deepest parts and then I cried at the wonderful sense of being loved unlike I had ever experienced in my life.

All I knew is that I was in the presence of someone Who was not of this world and the name I heard inaudibly was Jesus, and with this recognition, I heard a sound coming from far far away of doors opening and I looked around to see where it was coming from…right then I realized that I was sitting on the ground just like I was before this happened, yet now, my whole attitude was changed. I knew I could craft this garden because there was a spontaneous sudden knowledge of God being with me, and I knew He would teach me what He knew how to do. To grow living things because He is the Source of all life.

I rolled myself up from the ground with a sense of purpose of a woman on a mission by grabbing a spoon from the kitchen drawer and began the digging process. The spoon bent right away under the pressure of hard pan soil but I kept at it until I had dug a one inch deep trench that was an inch and a half wide. I took the plants out and saw that their bottoms with roots were twig like, narrow and long and so they fit perfectly into the trench as I tucked and stuffed them in, I used the bag to prop up the most flopped over ferns. We didn’t have a hose to attach to the tap that was on this side of the house so I used my palms to ‘water’ these sad and forsaken plants. I stood back satisfied with my accomplishment and asked my new found friend Jesus to bless them and help them grow. He did. And today, I can share this story about the hope that is found in God, through Jesus Christ, Who visits the homeless children of all ages in this world no matter where you live and may be in this moment.

God is not so far away that He cannot reach you. I did nothing consciously to prepare myself for this visit. I looked anything but ready and expecting to meet the King and Owner of the Universe because I had no idea that He would come calling upon me.

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So…I planted my very first garden that day, and this experience left me with such a sense of satisfaction so deeply felt that it is hard to describe. It was honestly the most pitiful first garden you would ever imagine but God blessed it and Lonnie was delighted with it, watering it along with me and soon after our precious daughter came into this world, as I was walking with her around the yard one day before her first birthday I noticed how these dead ferns had been resurrected to life and flourishing wonderfully, they now had filled in their apportioned space with their lush and bumpy fronds waving like greeter’s on this side of our home.

I remember standing in silent awe and immediately giving thanks to God for His miraculous intervention in my life in so many ways, being validated by this visual garden,  while holding the bloom of my womb in my arms. My harvest was doubly blessed.

Once your soul has been enlarged by a truth, it can never return to its original size.

~ Blaise Pascal

I had had this small seed of life growing deep inside my womb, unseen but still growing, experiencing inwardly what was happening to me outwardly. By talking a tiny step of faith forward with God…just as the ferns showed no visible outward signs of life God had breathed His new life into them, as was being experienced in my own life. God’s Spirit is naked to the human eye, but the evidence of His life giving Spirit now living in mine would become increasingly evident as I surrendered to the process of letting go of trying to control my life and by letting Him do what He does best. Give authentic life and more abundantly.

Such a simple and basic lesson was the way God used to open my eyes, setting my feet on the path of the wisdom of God, giving me real life examples that the hand of an Unseen God is always working behind the visible scene, able to bring life from what is declared dead, to the praise and glory of Himself. I knew without a doubt, with absolute certainty that it was God Who grew my garden, and He gave it to me to tend and take care of for Him. As I grew with Him inwardly, the garden of my life was growing outwardly as well.  Lonnie continued to bring home plants given to him by his friends at the Arboretum and our garden grew into a lovely place for us to be with our children and friends and family.

This was the beginning of the change in my soul’s attitude and perspective, from being one of hopelessness and lamenting on the futility of life to one of hope and rejoicing in the blessing and beauty of life as gifts from our Creator.

And to think my whole life changed because of a gift that came wrapped in a common everyday crumpled up brown paper sack!

Who knew…God knew.

My life changed radically and unexpectedly in a moment. It only took a moment in time for my viewpoint of God to change to believing that God is very real even though we cannot see Him yet. He leaves His signature everywhere if we have our eyes open to understanding what His signature looks like, being able to recognize it through intimate relationship with Him.

Never say never my mother often said. And now, with this unexpected experience, one of many to come throughout my life, I can say the same thing from personal experience.

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“He found her in a desert land,  and in the wasteland of the howling wilderness;  he led her about,  he instructed her, he kept her as the apple of his eye.”

~ Deuteronomy 32:10, (paraphrased by ‘her’ in place of him )

It was the time appointed for me, to enter into enjoying an intimate one on one relationship with God through having an unexpected encounter with Him. And the Book learning and knowledge would come after this encounter, and is a very necessary part of being able to grow in relationship with its Author. It gives us the ability to grow in wisdom through practical application of understanding God’s way of living life, and how if I followed this Book’s guidance by listening to His Spirit teaching me, I would understand more deeply what His Spirit knows is in the Mind of God, revealing to me how much He loves me and enjoys having a relationship with me because this is why I was created, to become a loved by God, Child of God, who loved God back because discovering His great love for me.

I had found my home for the very first time in my life, but time would reveal once again my propensity to take a gift for granted by still nursing a spirit of ingratitude…

It has taken me over thirty years of my life to return to Him in willing surrender of handing my life over to Him…through a long process of running away for a very long time that has led me back to Him, because I found out that what I thought was freedom from God showed itself to be a falling into a miry pit that was destroying me, and only Jesus came looking for me once again. I knew it was Him because I recognized this time, His presence that was experienced the same way at age 19, beginning with the soft warm breeze blowing across my side, only the left side this time, the air motion moving in undulating waves only this time I was surprised and I asked, ‘Jesus? After all these years you come back to visit me?’ And He said, ‘I am He Who lives, died, and lives forever. I never left you, you ran away from me.’

I couldn’t argue about that, it was me who ran away from him…I perished in relationship with Him from a lack of knowledge, the right kind of knowledge. And I continued on the path of knowledge that I left Him with and He allowed me the time to find out for myself that there are two kinds of knowledge. One I possessed, the other I was yet to possess. And it was this other knowledge that would be the saving of me and turn me back towards the road not taken. The narrow one that many like I once was, refuse to go down…but it’s there in the back of our minds, buried deep in our conscience and we choose to drown it out by louder or we surrender to it and find peace and joy that cannot be taken away by any outward circumstances.

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My loyalty to Him is due to His willingness to let me go and run through the ways of this world and their methods of trying to reach God and finding that they led me no where but to self destruction. In this time after my psuedo life had been destroyed, I saw clearly that there are many who are out there ‘preaching’ like a broken record of how they are unconditional love, yet ones like this were the ones that did absolutely nothing to help me in my situation at all. They never even offered to stretch their hand towards me all the while they are telling their public how willing they are to die for them. They have their reward, the praise of men. I found that I was seeking a greater reward and I had to have my eyes moved from seeing from a temporary life view to an eternal one.

I saw the reality of the nature of many who are involved in the new age theosophical movement speaking soothing and enticing words based on the wisdom of earthly men and seducing spirits, yet they lack the power of the Spirit of God to work His miracle of regeneration in the life of a dead to God spirit. The glory of these guides and teacher’s are turned and pointing upon themselves and it seems they have no intentions of it being otherwise…self empowerment glorifying man’s way and not from empowerment by the One Power that created the Universe and all in it. And so, I remained in a state of not knowing until this unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ happened to me.

I learned it is not about following your heart, I did that with full abandon, it is about following the Holy Spirit of God Who will never lead us astray.

He gave me a new heart and a new spirit to live for Him, and I had forgotten many times that it wasn’t about my power and efforts and this is why I burned out and ran away, I had to learn this for myself and thanks be to God, I did learn my lesson.

And He said, ‘Go and speak about these things I have done and am doing in your life with other’s because the time is short and there are those whom I am still waiting on to enter into relationship with me before the things that are coming to pass will come to pass.’ Share your journey so that other’s will see how God can and does work in the life of a person who is bent on following after the way of the foolish. God takes the foolish things of this world and makes them wise. And He does it in a moment. That’s all it takes. One moment in the presence of God to change our life forever, even when we are off running to find a better way, I have come to know in relating with Him…

He waits.  He Who is Love Waits.

I never thought I would see Jesus ever again let alone read His book when I ran far away from Him all those years ago…

~*~*~~*~*~

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different?”

~ C.S. Lewis

Never say never.

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To anyone who may read this, wherever you currently may be in relationship with Jesus Christ and our Father, perhaps you like I once was, have never met Him nor known Him, I can genuinely say that whether we are near or far, I wish to encourage you by sharing from personally experiencing this to be true in my own life;

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans 8:38-39

Now I can say with a resounding Amen with the whole of my being, that God is faithful, no matter what and this is a promise I can now say with certainty, that He is more than able to keep even when I have not been faithful, and it is His faithfulness that leads us to become faithful to Him.

He woos us with His love and grace.

I wish you many Blessings in your journey that will lead to your spiritual maturity, well-being in spirit, soul and body, the whole person ~

May God cause a tiny seed of faith in you to sprout to believe that He exists, by giving you the ability to take the first step towards Him, becoming open and willing to enter into His rest, by surrendering your life over to Him and see what it is like to live from being set free from the burdens of trying to do life in our own strength and trying to be good.

You will be wonderfully surprised as you grow in relationship with Him by finding out from first hand experience that as you let Him do what He does best, you will discover that He is faithful to keep His Word and has only the best plans for you and your way of life lived with Him and then for Him out of love and not duty or obligation.

You will uncover authentic Peace and Joy in His presence and obtain His goodness by drawing nearer to Him.

InJoy this day!

Still Growing In the Loving Spirit and Grace of Christ,

Julia

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In case you want to read the first two parts of this story, here are the links:

God is Faithful ~

God is Faithful Part Two ~

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