I really should be working on my current manuscript, but I have something that I need to say as a minister, as a wife, as a mom, and as an author.
First, I need to ask forgiveness to many. In our (mine and Cody’s) efforts to be about our Father’s business, we lost sight of some of the most important ministries God placed in front of us.
We all know that there are only so many hours in a day and so many hours in a week. And we all know time seems to fly. Every day we are faced with choices. Some of those choices are not easy to make unless God is doing the leading. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially people I love so very deeply. But I will not, disobey God’s leading, even if I don’t understand it. If God told me to quit writing I would, because I trust Him.
Several weeks ago, God specifically told me not to attend church. I did not understand it at the time, but over the last few weeks I’ve been gaining a clearer picture.
As many of you know, my husband graduated to be with Jesus in June. Prior to his illness and passing he owned his own business, some of the children worked with him, I came and went when I pleased. Clients stopped by and were ministered to, friends and family sought him out at the shop to be ministered to. Most of the time he was able to drop what he was doing and attend the needs of others. Owning his own business afforded him, us, that opportunity. If he would have worked for someone else that never would have happened. And if he had worked for someone else we wouldn’t have been able to spend the majority of our evenings ministering with our church.
Back to that night God told me to stay home from church.I argued with God. I honestly believed it was my own thoughts telling me to stay home, not God. But He gave me a Hebrew word, shama, which means to listen. Not just a little listen, but an immediate heeding, immediate obedience.
Hear (shama), O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
Who was I to disobey? It was so strong, a warning resounding in my spirit man. I didn’t understand it. My mother encouraged me to heed God’s instruction. She suggested I spend the time in my secret place and beneath the prayer shawl. God had other plans.
You see, since my husband passed, the kids and I were trying to bring old patterns into a new season. We were trying to continue as we had for the last few years. Parts were working, but parts weren’t working. The jobs we had no longer existed. My role as a stay-at-home mom and support system to my husband had changed. My daughter needed to get a job, my other daughter took on more hours at her current job, and my daughter-in-law was scrambling to do what she needed to do, all the while my son maintained a job out of state to help us pay bills. Easy access to each other had completely disappeared. And the times I had available to spend with them that worked with their schedules was filled by ministry functions.
Not only were we missing the man who fulfilled so many roles in our lives and the lives of many others, but our tight-knit family was missing each other. The night I skipped out on church wasn’t filled with prayer in a solitary secret place beneath a prayer shawl. Instead, due to the desire and needs of one of my children, I sat down with three of my girls and played a game. We enjoyed each others company. There was absolutely no guilt, because I knew God had told me to stay home. He asked me to invest time into them, to enjoy them, to have fun with them, to love them by giving them my time. Whether anyone believes it or not, it was ministry, one of the purest and most enjoyable. I quite imagine it was like the pleasurable walks Jesus took with his disciples through a field ready for harvest. Here they were walking along on a Sabbath and naturally, like a child, picking the heads off the grain to eat in order to satisfy their hunger, when they were rebuked by the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:2).
In the weeks since, God has been placing on my heart the need to reach out to other family members as well. To spend more time with them and being Jesus to them. And I know that if Cody would have beaten cancer he would have wanted to spend more time with his brother and sister-in-law, and with his parents, and with my parents, and with my brothers and their wives with his son-in-law and daughter-in-law. He would have wanted to spend time being with them, and ministering to them. I saw that during his last weeks, and I’m crying right now, because I know he had some regrets where family was concerned. His very last communication to anyone on this earth was directed at my youngest brother and his wife. He loved them both so very much, and I know if he had a do over, his ministry would have been less doing by chasing and more being with those God placed in front of him. He believed everyone in our lives was placed there by God for a purpose and we would have spent more time with the family instead of talking about spending more time. For Cody, his time here ran out. God is cautioning me not to allow the same thing to happen.
The last few weeks haven’t been easy. There has been some warring. Not only internally but externally as those around me wondered why, and what was going on with me. At the time, I didn’t know. I still don’t have the full picture as God is unveiling bits and pieces to me on a daily basis. To be honest, I had wondered if my pulling back was because of grief, but one, I hadn’t grieved the way people thought I should because I trust God, and the voice of God was strong and the He began showing me extended family members. I believe these are family members, that Cody had prayed for while he was here on earth and is still interceding for right along side Jesus. Then I began hearing other people in various ministries say how God was leading them back to the family, some were folks I had only met. And then, I heard my oldest daughter say that if she couldn’t minister to her own husband, how could she minister elsewhere. I was beginning to realize it wasn’t just me hearing this. God was surrounding me with folks commissioned to minister to their families.
Does that mean I’m no longer running the race set before me? No, absolutely not! I’ll be running just as hard if not harder, but my course is changing, possibly a little rougher, maybe not. I’m learning when God is in it things run smoothly. He’s definitely in this and I just need to rest in the trust I have in God. I realize this different course could very well mean I’ll be facing more ridicule, as a prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and his own family. (Mark 6:4) But as long as God is moving me in that direction, I have nothing to fear and nothing to worry over. My obedience to Him will bring about blessings to all. And I know without a doubt that when I see the lost souls, freed souls, even if it’s only one, of my family and Cody’s family come to the full knowledge of Yeshua-Hamashiach that there couldn’t be a more glorious day. After all, how can I rest in the knowledge that I chased ministering solely to strangers when members of my own family are facing the gates of hell? Especially, when God is moving me toward them?
God desires mercy, not sacrifice and knowledge of Him over burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6) I can sacrifice all my time for the sake of ministry, burning my time on the altar in the name of doing ‘good’ for the ministry, but there is no mercy in that toward my family, the ones God placed directly in my grasp. There is no sharing a true knowledge of the love of God. Not every God thing is a God thing for me and the calling God has placed on my life. And just because God has called one person to a specific need and area does not mean He has called me to the same, and sometimes God moves us forward. That doesn’t mean that the individual callings are wrong. We are many parts and one body. We should be working together and encouraging each other in the calling placed upon us.
Back to family. God is a father! He has a father’s heart. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not Abraham and Ur, or Isaac and the Canaanites, or Jacob and the Egyptians. Yes, I know we were told to go into all the world and preach the gospel, but somehow the church system lost the idea of making disciples through fellowship, and turned the pulpit into a Pharisaical idol and used it to mercilessly shame and condemn.
A SIDE NOTE:
Instead of drawing people to Jesus, the churches have somehow chased people away, and left ministers worn out and exhausted. I can recall the times when I was a Sunday School teacher and then the ‘director’ for a time. The enjoyment of being with the children turned into a constant burden. It was never meant to be that way. And while we are on it, the church should repent for the burden they’ve placed on pastor’s spouses, especially the wives. They were meant to support their spouses, never meant to bear the burden of all the places falling through the cracks. Not all churches all churches have been like this, but it seems the majority.
Now, before your thoughts start spinning in your head about how what I am saying is wrong, I know we can and should preach the gospel, the whole gospel, the truth of it. But you see, when they brought the adulterous woman before Jesus, He did not stand in front of her and drill into her that she was a sinner and how dare she behave in such a manner, the merciless shame came from her accusers, not Jesus. Instead, Jesus showed her compassion and kindness. His love wooed her. And then He told her to go and sin no more. And she sat at His feet while He taught. While He taught. While He taught. Who is your audience? Lost sinners, pharisees who should know better, the righteous, the hungry and thirsty?
God has shown me my audience in two parts: the family (first and foremost and He has been very adamant about this to me) and to the dry bones within the church system. Soon, my schedule will fill with God appointed appointments all over the United States. I know this. He’s shown me, He’s shown my mom. And I need to rest and prepare. I need to gather a team, who very well may be my brothers and my sister-in-laws and daughters and mothers. Aunts and uncles. Who knows except God. All I know is God has given me a bit of road map, seek Him first, family second, and soon the world.
As God gave me in a dream a series of dreams over the last few weeks ago, I’m about to launch out into the world.