Saturday, October 29, 2011

08.06.2011 Stones of Remembrance

The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.

Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

Stories are powerful. Stories remind us of our heritage, our purpose, and   our hope. And, in particular, God's stories proclaim his power and sustain our faith.

I have only known God for twelve years, not even half my life. But I LOVE sharing the stories that he has given me! I have set aside the month of August to seek God in some specific ways and as I have sat in his presence this week, I was freshly reminded of how good he is to me. I thought I would share, throughout this month, some of the "stones of remembrance" that I hope will be passed down through the generations of storytellers in our family.

It is my prayer that these stories will encourage those of you who know Jesus to love him more and will challenge those of you who are undecided about the Christ to give him a second look.
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One Sunday morning, in the fall of 2000 - just months after Michael and I were married - I was sitting in a back stairwell of our church building, praying with a good friend. Our church had two Sunday morning services, and we had both attended the first one, but our husbands had obligations during the second, so we used that time to pray together. While our congregation was worshipping together, right above us, we prayed for them in a dark stairwell, hidden from view.

Just as we were closing our time of prayer, I suddenly saw a distinct headline flash through my mind. As if the Holy Spirit were practically shouting in my ear, I heard "Michael should go to seminary." I was taken aback by this statement, as my friend and I had not been praying anything remotely related to this idea, and, save for a very casual comment months before we were married, Michael had not mentioned any intentions of pursuing seminary (especially this early in our marriage).

In the moment that I hesitated to respond to this word, I clearly heard it again, pressing into my heart with great power. So I spoke it aloud: "God, I have no idea if this is from you, but I have a very strange sense right now that you are telling me that Michael should go to seminary."

My friend instantly grasped my hand tightly and said, "I'm feeling the exact same thing."
So I made a deal with God. I said, "Lord, if this is from you, then have Michael ask me if he should go to seminary. Because we have never talked about this, then I will know when he asks me that you have also told him."

My friend and I ended our prayer time, looked at each other with wide eyes, and then giggled nervously about this weird thought we just had. We had no idea how long I would have to wait before Michael might bring up seminary. What if he didn't say anything for months? Then could I really trust that it was from God and not just in our heads?

About an hour later, the church service ended, Michael and I had pulled out of the parking lot and were talking about where to go for lunch. In the middle of discussing the merits of Chipotle vs Arby's, Michael glanced over at me and said, "Honey, what would you think about me applying to go to seminary?" 

My heart stopped.

Michael, understandably, interpreted my shocked look in light of our lack of prior conversation on the subject. "I know we haven't really talked about this before, so I'm not saying I should go to seminary. But today, during the second service, I just really got the impression - maybe it was from God, I don't know - that I should ask you about it. So, what do you think?"

Needless to say, I had my own version of what God was telling me during the second service and the rest, of course, is history. Our history. Of God leading us, together, in the wonderful path that he set before us. Can't wait to share more with you!

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