Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Amazing Spring - How Sweet Her Sound

Welcome to my newly designed blog page. Thanks to my brilliant daughter who can do things with Blogger that normal people cannot do I got to change thngs up a bit. The only change that really effects you is that comments are no longer moderated….so friends of mine that know me….you are live now.

I’ll explain the pictures of lilacs in another post this month. They mean the world to me.

But today, I want to tell you about my new tag line.

I went from “My Journey from the Institutional Church into the Father’s Heart....

To... “My Journey into the Heart of Grace.

I changed it because that is where I find myself after almost exactly a year. I no longer feel like I am journeying away from anything but toward a "Someone. "

That is why I capitalize the word Grace. Grace is not an idea, a concept or a vague word used in a theological lesson. The word has become a Who. A Person. Father. Papa.

I decided a week ago as I saw Spring suddenly burst forth in our Pennsylvania hills that Grace must look a lot like Spring.

Spring is fresh and new and colorful.

Spring sings of promise, new beginnings and hope.

Spring gives permission to live again.

Spring declares that we are no longer afraid of the cold winds.

Spring reminds us it is time to finally clean out those
old leaves and debris of last year around the corners of my life.

Spring begs me to plant something new.

Spring encourages me that the long winter is finally over.

Can you see how I can substitute the words of Spring for the words of Grace?

She is Amazing like that!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A String of "Bad Luck"

A few weeks ago I wrote about the subtle changes that are occurring in my life now that I have walked away from some of the old mindsets that I once had.

I've noticed another change. You see this week we have had a string of “Bad Luck.” At least that is what some people in the world would call it.

I run a small service company and for the life of me I can’t seem to keep our older minivans that we use in the business out of the shop. It has almost gotten comical. One van finally bit the dust due to a thrown piston – whatever that means - and so Husband took a trek to a dealership about an hour and a half away to buy a “new” van. He drove it home and on Saturday took it on an errand and it died. Yes he bought the short term warranty, it just goes to show the season of “luck” that we are now in.

Then last night I got a call from Husband's cell phone. It (the cell phone) was supposed to be with one of our daughters while visiting her sister in Philadelphia. Only it wasn’t my daughter on the phone. I could hear voices of a party that I was sure my kid wasn’t at. Sure enough she had left the phone in the car and the passenger side window was smashed and the phone gone. Not just any cell phone – the kind that you can get internet - $400 dollar kind.

It is things like this that have been happening with increased frequency over the past few weeks.

Now you need to know that a year ago I would have had three responses.

First I would have looked for any sin and especially rebellion that was present in our lives. (Yep this investigation would have spilled over into poor Husbands life as well.) I owe him a lot ;(

Then if finding no sin or rebellion I would have looked at our “giving.” After all I pretty much lived that we could buy God off - see my post on tithing here. We gave – He would protect our stuff. And since He obviously wasn’t on the job last night in Phily, it would be all our fault. Now if the giving was up, and frankly in our case it always was (although you could still feel guilty about not doing that “extra part” in whatever offering had been taken that week) then you had to move on to your third choice.

The third choice was that it was an “Attack of THE ENEMY.” (come one now…say it in your best Sponge Bob Hall Monitor voice) This choice was a good one. The “Attack of THE ENEMY” proposition left you feeling two things.

One, you felt kind of honored that THE ENEMY was coming against you. You must be doing something really important for God for THE ENEMY to single you out to steal your phone or make your cars not run. That made you feel good and it also gave you something to brag about to all your Christian friends that Sunday at church. They would pray long prayers for you that THE ENEMY would leave you alone and you would be protected.

But at the same time another feeling would kick in. We all know that we are not an angelic power. Satan has much at his disposal that he could hurt us with if he chooses and God allows. So in many ways, I again was left with fear. Fear that he had me in his sights and would take out something more important than a cell phone or a truck. I was always afraid.


How schizophrenic can one person get and still call it following God.

The change in me this week is that I didn’t attribute the things happening in our lives to our giving, my sin, my husbands sin or THE ENEMY.

I found myself living like the pagans do in a small way this week. I am just going to chalk it up to the fact that I live in the world. This world is broken. Trucks don’t last forever and there are broken people around who want to steal my stuff. No one sinned, no one deserved it for their disobedience in finances and I’m not going to make Satan more powerful and intimate than he deserves.

I know that we Christians hate the word Luck. I was taught to avoid it at all costs. No pot lucks when I was growing up. No wishing “Good Luck” to someone. No lucky rabbit’s foot in our pockets. You can't have your kids looking for 4 leaf clovers in the grass - at least not at the church picnic!

But every now and again, when it seems that life is just a bit lopsided toward the unwanted, it would be nice to be able to chalk it up to a bit of “bad luck” and not make it all the other huge things that I used to make it.

Can I have permission to use that word….just for today at least?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dying the Cloth with Grace

I have always maintained that the message of Grace had to be absorbed into my life bit by bit. It reminded me a lot of the process of dying a cloth. You can take a cloth and dip it once into the dye and it will take on a light shade of the dye. You can dip it a second time and it takes on a bit more color. Dipping again and again produces a vibrant color of the dye that it is dipped into.

The first time I read Wayne Jacobsen’s writings (who writes so much about Grace in anything he is writing or talking about) I told Husband that I felt as if I needed to listen to the book (He Loves Me) again and again. I felt as if the “cloth” of my spirit could only absorb just a little bit of this wonderful Grace that he was speaking about and that it would take multiple times of hearing it to be able to wrap my mind and my spirit around this concept before it began to make a major change in my actual life.
(btw, I capitalize the word "Grace" because I believe it is a "who" not a "what," a person, not an idea)

In reading the book, “Families Where Grace is in Place” I again had the same feeling about being dipped yet again in this vat of dye called Grace. I realize that there are areas of my life that it is really helpful to have Grace applied specifically to that one area. The area of Grace that this book addresses is of course marriage and parent/child relationships. It is a life changing, life giving message to these relationships and I can already see how it is beginning to give me perspective on what is God’s job and what is my job. How I can give input into Husband’s and my children’s lives but I don’t have to effect the actual change. Nor is it my fault if change is not the outcome.

The biggest way I tried to effect change in the people around me was to be the BEST wife and mom that was possible. I felt if I could be the perfect mom that my kids would love me enough to want to obey me. That if I was the best wife for Husband that he would always choose what I wanted. That if I could be the BEST member of our CLB (church left behind) that they would never question my loyalty.

It was amazing to me that this was just a form of manipulation. I was manipulating the people around me by trying to not make any mistakes. No wonder I got so very tired. I used to say I (my personality) was nothing but the sum of all the expectations of others. I never understood that this was MY FAULT. Of course I was nothing but a bag of expectations – but they were my own expectations – put on me by me.

And I was tired. And I was worn. And I was ready to give up.

But Grace gets this job thing right. It is not my job to control people – not through anger, or sham or threat or by being the best you can be. Grace says, “This part is my part, that part is God’s.” Grace says that I don’t have to make people do what would make me happy. Grace lets me be me and it allows others to be themselves – and above all Grace loves through it all.

Erin nominated me for a “Subversive Blogger Award” yesterday. I decided that if this new message of Grace and the color my heart is being transformed into is “Subversive,” then I accept the award with great delight.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Isn't this how you feel somedays?

The tags I added to this post say it all. Doubts, Faith, Fear, Father's love, Shunning, Trust, Depression. They are all with me in my little tub.

I've always seen the ocean as the vastness of God and his love for me. So actually this is a peaceful picture to me. Lonely but peaceful.

(comic by xkcd)

Moral Busybodies

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ~ C.S. Lewis from God In The Dock: Essays In Theology and Ethics

I found this quote somewhere on the internet last month. If I got it from you…please don’t be hurt that I didn’t tag you. I truly forget where I found it.
But it has been dogging me ever since. Subsequently, I read a book by Jeff VanVondren – “Trying to Measure Up.” (ht – Tracy – great recommendation, thanks) and when I ordered it I also added another one by him that sounded good – “Families Where Grace is in Place.”

This last book was amazing to me in how we should relate to those closest to us – your husband and children – with grace in place instead of trying to control them. He talks about the difference between a curse filled family (filled with control and emphasizing “doing the right things”) and a grace filled one. He talks about which jobs are God’s and which are ours. And he speaks of releasing them to the Father to change them and stepping back from the process and giving grace.

This is amazing to me. It is how I want to be treated but somehow so hard to implement into relationships. I realized that I think I can control people by giving them the right information and like C.S. Lewis says, I do that, “for their own good,” thinking that I have the moral or ethical or intellectual upper hand. In looking at my interactions with people, how I treated other Christians in my old ‘church,’ how I treat my husband and my kids and even sometimes how I have treated you that read here in my comments to you, I realized that sometimes I am more interested in saying what I think people need to hear than I am in giving grace.

My goal in all of this was not to be a newer, better version of Church Lady. It was, instead to be transformed. I want to be known for my grace to others – not for my vast knowledge and experience that can change someone’s life if they will only listen to me. I want to be a learner first.

I certainly don’t want to be an “omnipotent moral busybody.” And that persona is so easy for me to slide into. It is only a small step then to being a tyrannical omnipotent moral busybody. At that point, the "Church Lady" in me is resurrected and potentially more dangerous than she ever was.
(cartoon by xkcd)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Worship Songs Come to Life

(Pic from David Hayward @ Nakedpastor)

I’ve been contemplating something that Abmo wrote today over at Windblown Hope. He writes of the loss that so many of us have experienced or are experiencing. I know for a fact, I wish for what was and am having a hard time imagining what is ahead. He talks about the old life being like Egypt and the new life falling into the Son.

He says, “In the first instance, we can trace back what went wrong. Why did all those awful things happen? Perhaps, we can create a better Egypt. We can have a place where all the slaves are equal. Perhaps a smaller Egypt will be the right thing. Perhaps then, every slave will be seen as an individual that is an important part of the mechanism. No longer will the slave be overlooked or taken for granted. No, we will create a place where all slaves can be valued. Egypt after all is not that bad. We were fed. Ok, Ok… we had food.

The second option is to fall into the Son. That means, life as we knew it, is over. Jesus will become the whole lot. The Everything. When we fall into Jesus, warmth, ceases to exist. Destruction. Consumed. Decreasing. We lose. Only “I am” is left. Love. Freedom. Forgiveness. Delight. Silence. Endurance. Kindness. Righteousness. Vast open spaces. Friendship. Closeness. Gentleness. Playfulness. Good humor. The end of loneliness. These are some of the puzzle-pieces of the Person I worship, that have I have “gained”.”

Read the whole thing here.

Now I know from reading his site for a while that he is not saying that all small groups are Egypt (evil) so don’t even go there with him. I do think what he is saying is that it is much easier to cling to and try and replicate what was before than it is to move into the unknown with Jesus leading us.

But at first reading I took it as an either/or option. Meetings vs no Meetings. Leaders vs no leaders. Program vs no program. Intentional vs non-intentional. Buildings vs no buildings. Corporate worship vs no corporate worship.

And there again is my biggest problem. I want a pattern. I want the RIGHT way. I want which side to pick of the either/or scenario. I want the directions to put this whole thing together. I don’t want to get hurt or hurt others. I want answers.

But I’m not going to get them. At least not in the way I would like them handed to me. I know what Jesus wants of my life is relationship with Him. He wants to be the “I Am.” He wants to be the Meeting. He wants to be the Leader. He wants to be the Intention. He wants to be the Building and he wants to be the Worship. And I am just going to have to wait to see what he says about how that will look in my life today, tomorrow and the next day.

It is not an either/or and I miss the whole point when I make it that. It is a Him. I need to hear from Him.

We used to sing a worship song in my old church by Sonicflood.

I Want To Know You

In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret, In the quiet hour I wait, only for You
'Cause I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, Pushing every hindrance aside, out of my way
'Cause I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

I have not sung this song for over a year. And let me tell you, I had no idea what I was singing when I did sing it. I didn’t need to hear from Him then. I had everyone else telling me what to do, what to believe and what to become.

But now I need Him. Now, I really need to hear his voice, because if he does not speak, I’m lost. He has to speak and I need to be patient to hear from Him. I just need Him to speak.

So, if I talk to you directly, or leave a comment on your blog or blog about something and you can see that I am waffling between an either/or, right/wrong scenario, would do you do something for me? Would you simply ask me what Father is saying right now to me? I would appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friendship - Through Thick and Thin

The leaving of our old “church” left us bereft of friends. People who had lived with us, others who had known us for 20 or more years, no longer called, wrote or visited. Our house – once lively and full of friends day after day, was now mostly quiet.

Best Friend still was the same – as was the rest of her family. (They eventually left also) A few would go out for coffee if we asked - but most just acted as if we no longer existed.

The purpose of this post though is to tell you about the one couple that toughed it out. They were really good friends. We had been there from the conception of their relationship, the wife had lived with us for a few months, we had been at their wedding and we were in the midst of witnessing their first pregnancy. They ate dinner with us at least twice a week. We were very close. So when everything hit the fan it was very hard for them. They thought we had lost our minds. After all, it had been us to whom they had come with questions when things did not make sense. We had been the ones that talked them into staying a few times. We were the ones that told them that we didn’t want them to miss out on their destiny or leave the covering. Now we were the ones leaving, and with virtually no explanation.
One thing you need to remember. Seldom was there one in our group who spoke aloud their questions or voiced their problems to anyone else. And never had there been a leader who had. Not one. Even as we went through the process of leaving, Best Friend did not know. A girl that was living with us had no idea that something was up, and this couple, the closest people to us at the time had no clue that we were having a hard time or on the verge of leaving.

So when we had the final meeting with the Apostle and the Prophet of the church, and the leaders subsequently “explained” everything to the church that very night, our friends were virtually blindsided. We had tried to prepare them a few days before but again, we did not want to speak badly of the leadership or the problems we were having, so we were purposefully vague.

They came over that night, after the members had met and heard the “explanation” from our leaders. They cried. They were so mad at us. “How could you of all people leave,” they raged at us. We tried to explain it a bit without saying anything, my tongue tied by the teaching of “Not Touching the Lord’s Anointed.” By the time they left that night we thought we had lost their friendship.

But you know what? They waited a few days and then came over to tell us that they loved us and that they did not know what in the world was up but that we were “family” and they were not going to cut us off. They stayed.

It was hard at first. It was so awkward. Without the “Church” we had no common topics of conversation. If “church” did come up, we were so angry that it became impossible for us to really talk to them. They were not in a place yet of hearing us. So we kept the conversations ‘”safe.” It was still hard. All their friends were in the old church. The people that we had taught them to trust were still there. Nothing had changed except for our seeming disobedience of “walking out of covenant.” But they were determined to still love us and so they continued to come over.

Can I tell you what that did for me? It saved my life. It made me believe that true covenant, true friendship, was actually possible. That it was possible to actually work through something awkward and really, really hard with someone outside of your own family. (by the way, Best Friend actually falls into this category too but our friendship had been tested through the years by so much other stuff that this event actually did not strain it much)

As the months rolled on we became more open with our story. I think we also became less angry and more apt to talk about the whole situation where someone could listen to it and not be offended. They listened, they helped us process, they continued to love us. These “kids” (the age of our own older children) actually gave correction and asked some very hard questions.

This couple moved away this weekend. They are off to start another chapter in their lives and we could not be happier for them. That is what kids grow up to do. But I want them and you to know something. While I know they would tell you that we gave of our own lives. And I know they realized over and over the value of those dinners and a place to call home when they needed it. But the one thing that they will never realize is the place that they have in Husband’s and my and my family’s heart for doing the one thing that meant the most to us during this crazy, crazy year. They chose to love us – even when they thought that we might be wrong and deluded and crazy. They chose us.

And that, my friends, is true friendship. And for that I will forever be grateful. And to the both of you guys, may God richly reward you with friendships like you have been to us. Friendships, that will lift you up and sustain you through the toughest of times. And friendships that will in turn show you the heart of the Father towards us, his kids.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Leadership Dilemmas

Jeff, over at Losing My Religion: Re-Thinking Church was answering some questions from Terra Rose about how to do small groups/home churches. It is quite good and attempts to answer some questions that people have about leadership in small groups.

This made me think today, as it usually does, about what we are going to do in the future.

Should we:

1. Continue to float along this river, letting Father bring in and out those he wants us to have a relationship with in his own timing. This option may contain never having an intentional time to “meet” as we all understand it. (A meeting for worship(singing together, fellowship and some form of Bible study or a message) This option eliminates the need for a specific “Leader” and I can see why some would choose it. We can still employ the gifts that we have been given. But in this form it would be randomly as the Father sees fit.

Frankly I’m still not entirely comfortable with this. I think you loose out on being in contact with people to the extent of making deep relational bonds with people who are not necessarily your best friends. I think you loose out also in the ‘corporate-ness’ of the body of Christ. It just seems too loose and not what I see the early Christians doing.

2. Join a smaller group or a group that has some kind of leadership established.

I still, have a hard time imagining myself ever being able to put myself in the position to be lead by a “pastor” or leader. I don’t believe I am not willing to submit. I am just very wary of submitting myself to someone who is not obligated to submit themselves to me in the exact same manner.

But here is the kicker. I am a realist enough to know thatI have never seen a group work without a true leader. Someone always needs to be the one to step in, direct, correct or place limits. Without this, I know, things fall apart. In the vacuum of no leadership the unhealthy lead. There are power struggles like Terra Rose related. Even in my own family of 7 children, we constantly need true leadership.

I would love a small group to work like the leadership works in my marriage. . Husband and I submit ourselves to each other. We decide things together. There are areas that we each have “leadership” over. But there is not one leader in our marriage. We work at it together. If someone HAS to have the final say on something, we would both say that he would be the “Final Sayer.” But to tell you the truth – in our 28ish or so years of marriage we have only had to revert to that maybe 3 times. And even that was decided together. But honestly, we can’t even run our family like this much less a group of believers. This kind of leadership necessitates mutual submission and maturity. Kids just aren’t there yet and I’m afraid grownups are not much better.

But at the same time I’m still so very skeptical of leadership that to join someone else’s thing would scare me to death. I have a hard time visiting another group let alone ‘join’ it in any way. Maybe there is healing still needed (you think?) but I’m not so sure I’m going to change much on this.

3. The third option I know is out there and many of you would say is, “Start your own thing.”

And it is here that I am having a problem. I do trust myself or Husband (somewhat) to lead a group of people – but mostly because I know we are so committed to not being a controlling leader and trying – as we do in our family – to make the bulk of our life something that each can have a say in. As, in a family, I want shared leadership of various parts of the group. Sounds good right?

But here is my problem with starting our own thing. How can I ask others to be led by me (or Husband) when I am not willing to put myself in the same position (to be led by someone else)? Doesn’t that smack of pride to you? What I am honestly saying, if I am truthful with myself, is, “I don’t trust anyone but me to be the leader, but you must trust me to lead.” “I’m going to ask something of you that I’m not willing to commit to myself.”

Doesn’t that sound unhealthy to you? It does to me.

And therefore, here is the crux of the matter:

I really don’t feel like I can truly be a leader of anything until I am ready to make that same commitment to be led by someone else.

That is where I'm at today. Sigh.....

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Wasted Morning Laughing

Somedays you look at someone's blog and then waste the rest of the morning just laughing.....

Well, go over to Rick's Ramblings and watch the videos from Tim Hawkins. Then watch the two that we loved best. Then just go to You Tube and you too can waste hours...

Hedge of Protection

And Husband's favorite: Why I don't Drink Beer

Glenn's Revolutionaries Synchroblog - My Response

Glen from Re-dreaming the Dream asked those of us who are “expressing our Christian faith in ways other than through a conventional church” and, (in my particular situation) “have been wounded through serving and separating from “church as we have known it” to answer the following questions:

What do they/you need?
What did/do you need as you as went/are going through this transitional phase?
How can a ministry or service help them/you?

My answers to these questions are below:
(Note: I condensed Glen’s first two questions and answered both of them as one.)

Question 1: What did we need upon deciding to leave, leaving and the time shortly after as we went thorough this transitional phase?

We needed to hear from people who had similar stories to tell and people to whom we could tell our story.

We needed a community of believers that wanted nothing from us.

We needed anonymity and safety.

We needed the ability to heal without being judged. We needed the freedom to be angry, caustic and ill tempered. We needed the space to be able to rethink many major tenants of our faith without judgment.

We needed the message of grace. We needed to hear this message in different forms so that it had the chance to change the paradigms that we had built our whole religious life around.

We needed to not feel any financial obligations or pressures.

We needed to have more people listening to what we had to say and fewer people telling us what we needed to believe.

Question 2: How could a ministry or service help us or have helped us during this time?

I think my biggest need at this time was for a Resource Center to put at my finger tips the aids to help in recovery. Here are a few ideas of what this resource would look like:

This resource could provide the space for a place to tell and hear other’s stories

A space to link topically to resources on the web and in books that could speak to your particular situation.

A resource for legal help for those whose finances or legal rights were severely damaged (as in common property with the church left behind and such).

Resources for the various facets of the messages of grace that are available on video, audio, web and books.

Resources for a forum to answer various questions.

Resources for those who wanted real ‘physical’ contact with others in their area.

Resources for physical places of counseling and healing.

(In my case I would not have been open to any personal contact because I was so unsure of my own ability to evaluate another person to be able to tell if they would hurt or help me. Maybe others are different.)

Throughout the year I think this sums up what I would have found useful in a ministry designed to meet the needs that I saw we had. Good materials and sites abound for people like us. It would have been nice though, to have them accessible in one location that was periodically updated for as new material, websites, blogs and people became available.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Prophecy - Flushing the Ducky

Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. (1 Th 5:19 NIV) KJV says, "Despise not prophesyings."

Something that you need to know about me. I tend to react to things and not respond to them. I know it is a fault. I even know it hurts people around me. I try and try to keep it uppermost in my mind so that I remember to slow down and respond wisely to someone instead of reacting immediately to them, but unfortunately my system seems to be wired to react first and think later.

So when leaving our old group behind I wanted to distance myself from EVERYTHING that I had learned there. This was true especially of those things which I had struggled so hard to believe and live under.

Prophecy was one of those things. I wanted NOTHING to do with it anymore. Even the other day when I posted about how it still shakes me, I felt myself reacting to it. I want to push it away. Not deal with it. It goes beyond throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. I also want nothing to do with the soap, the towels, the little spongy thing that the baby lays on, or the rubber ducky floating innocently on the surface of the water. I HATE THOSE DAMN DUCKS!!

See. I am crazy.

I am keeping my ear to the ground (in a Google kind of way) for those who are begining to write about spiritual abuse. The other day I read still another story of a woman who was dealing with this whole subject of prophetic utterance, the devastation it caused a beloved friend and how she is now dealing with it in her life. I can so relate to these stories.

Husband and I talked a bit about it the other day. We talked about those who had prophesied over our lives. We have some great stories. I forget so many of them.

There was the man who early in our lives here prophesied that our sons would be like trees, grounded and established in God’s love. Well unbeknownst to him, we had daughters – not sons. But unbeknownst to me, 9 years later we would have 3 more children – all sons.

Then there was the preacher who stopped in the middle of a service and came to Husband and said, I don’t know if this will make any sense to you but I see you in a sort of office….or closet….no it’s an office – but it seems to be a closet too…..oh well never mind….. on the 2nd floor of a house. God wants you to know that he is not punishing you for bringing you out of full time ministry but is instead answering the very prayer that you prayed in that closet. The preacher then went on to pray the exact prayer that my husband remembered praying one day about 3 years before. The closet was a dormer that was used first as a small study and later closed in as a walk-in-closet. The prayer was that he was willing for God to do anything that it took for him to know Father better. This very act, released my husband out of a dark, dark, depression and back into relationship with a loving Father who was not angry at him.

Then there was the quiet humble man who looked at Husband and said, “I see you on a roof – Do you do some sort of Construction?” Husband owned a chimney sweep company at the time. That prophet went on to “read our mail” and give great encouragement.

Then the last time was a big black Prophet man who came into our home. He prayed with us and then said, “You have a daughter who is causing much heartache.” We laughed/cried and asked if he wanted to meet her. We brought our daughter down to him. He gently asked her some questions, told her that he didn’t want the “spiritual” answers, told her that he was grateful that she was honest and then assured her that God always would be there for her and would always love her. After dismissing her he told us that we were going to have to let her go and find God. Another sermon from us was not going to change her heart. We could trust Father to chase after her and be there for her. From that point on we were changed. Peace flooded our home and our hearts from that day even till now.

We have seen major prophetic stuff. We are privileged and when I recount these things, blessed.

But we have seen horrendous things too. The same kind prophet that spoke over our daughter later prophesied from the front stage of our ‘church’ that the Apostle and his wife and their children were “The Royal Family”. They were Royalty and should be treated as such. We have heard the same prophecies of, “This is the year God is going to release great wealth” or “2000 whatever (Pick a year – any year – in fact each year) is the year of breakthrough” or “God is establishing his kingdom on earth in the governing body of Apostles and Prophets of this movement.”

How can fresh water and salt water flow from sometimes the same well? How do you tell the difference? How can you keep some that brought so much health and throw away the rest that brought so much death?

I don’t’ know the answers to those questions. I only know this. I can’t throw my brain and spirit away in the process. I am required to do what the verses following the ones that say we shouldn’t despise prophecy say:

(1 Th 5:21 NIV) Test everything. Hold on to the good.

For me, this is easier when I am one on one with a prophet. I think I am mostly done with “stage prophecy” – that done on a stage where often there is money involved. I realized, in those prophecies where we were truly touched – each one of them had the same similarities:

- They told us something that only we were knowledgeable of – that the prophet had no way of knowing – before going on to encourage us with what God wanted us to know. We felt the prophet must be hearing from God to be able to have this information about our lives.

- They were not directive – they were encouraging. They didn’t demand that we DO something to prove that we believed. They were strictly for our encouragement. For building up. For strengthening.

- There was no money involved. No ego trips.

- They were personal

- Because it was personal and not public, we were free with each one to go – “No, that does not sit right with me.” We had the time and freedom to test each one.

- No one was going to further “their ministry” or schedule more conferences because of their insight into our lives.

I would love to know the similarities that you see to the true prophetic words that you have received over your lives. Do you have more to add to my list above? Do you have any good examples of what I call “Stage Prophecy?” Husband, am I missing some valuable “Stage Prophecy” that you can remember? I would love to hear your stories.

But as for me, and where I am now with the whole prophetic thing – trying to respond and not react …..Maybe I’ll keep the duck.