...Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:4-6 NLT
Today as I sit down to write this, my heart is in constant prayer for my sweet sister M & Mr A & all the little A's & Mr M & little A...their sweet T finished her work here in this life after only 21 years & Jesus called her & her precious unborn angel Home with Him last week, just before the retreat they put their hearts into for me & my sweet sisters. We were all truly blessed by each detail God gave M & then she put into action...keeping her mind & heart focused on Him & His plan, instead of the unimaginable heartache & fear that the enemy would've liked her to...Thank you M & Mr A for your sacrifice in a time when most would crumble & fall...you are an inspiration to this old Nona, thank you for showing me what authentic faith looks like...for sharing with us how to walk into the darkest valley any parent could be asked to walk into & be the lighthouses to all who He places in your path...I am sorry for the pain, I know you wouldn't have traded a single moment...not one. T I met you as a total stranger your mama brought home...well via Special K & God's whispers...you didn't even blink, just look at me shyly with that sweet beautiful smile you have that showed the shiniest sparkle in your beautiful eyes & said "hello"...the last retreat I was blessed to enjoy with you there...the same sweet smile & twinkle...from the moment I met you all your little siblings flocked to you like baby quail following their leaders...the first vision God gave me of the moment you were called Home was of you holding a baby with many littles surrounding you & that same beautiful smile & your cheeks were glowing & eyes sparkled like diamonds. As I read the many woman sharing that they know that you are holding their lost children, I realize that God called you home to help love on those babies...He knows that the sisters your mama found will love your sweet baby A & remind him of who he got his twinkle from...you will never be out of mind, thank you for your kindness, acceptance & laugh...M, I am a mama praying for you mama...I am always here, for any reason...and if you know M you know that's a big statement. God moves mountains through her...in her...with her & Mr A's
Please if you feel led to help this young father who is now trying to raise their son & face life without his bride...click here to help with the mountain of medical bills he is looking at now. I know this would be a huge blessing...
So M, this one is for you...& your sweet girl...we will all laugh & hug & sing together again, when we go Home...
I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain,'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen. But you MUST REALLY BELIEVE it will happen and HAVE NO DOUBT in your heart.
Mark 11:23 NLT
So, this verse...well this verse was whispered to me several times the last year and a half...more lately for sure. If you have read my blog posts you know that I share how God teaches me...how He is trimming away the worldly fleshly parts of me & He's replacing them with Him...showing me who He created me to be. Along this journey, which began at a steady pace honestly about 11 years ago, God has walked me through some of the roughest, most painful times in my life...He's carried me through at least the end of all of them. Each time we make it to the end of the valley & reach the mountain top I almost giggle with giddiness as I recognize the feeling of weightlessness that comes with release, surrender...letting go & letting God. Well this valley has been no different.
I know that I've shared several times about my Little Girl...she had wandered off & away after a pretty painful argument several months ago. I struggled to hang onto God's hands in those first moments...each time I would go to church & be lifting my voice high in praise for God, I would see Him holding my hand & walking me into the next step of this journey then He would speak volumes in the moments the pastors would share their messages...He never left me. He carried me in moments I prayed for Him to take me Home & take away this pain...but God. God is in every moment. The moments we wish away & the moments we wish would never stop...in each moment it's our choice to seek God & His hand no matter the circumstances. He is ALWAYS there, maybe not in the way WE expect to see Him, but He is there. So even the moments when I thought I couldn't take another breath, He kept breathing for me...after all it is His breath in my lungs.
After a bit of walking in bitterness, self pity & just throwing a plain old temper tantrum I finally got tired of the way I was feeling. So I sat still, I got with God, I let Him show me...show me the parts He needed to trim. The parts that didn't bring glory to Him, but instead shined a light on those parts that needed to be trimmed so I could find His peace...let others see Him in me. This was about the time the women's retreat that Poppa God brought me to for the last 3 years was about to happen. but God. God knew that wasn't the time He had set aside for this retreat...none of the schedules could be synced & suddenly His plan was in motion...a plan none of us could expect...not this plan. Instantly I felt it...the usual build up of excitement. It was dashed by sweet hubby getting laid off & trying to finance 2 households in separate states became our reality...one day M posted a status update on the Facebook page for the retreat & my heart ached so I lifted up my request to God, "Lord if it's Your will, You will make a way." The next day, the next day, the very next day God sent M with a question..."if it was covered, would you come?" To which I looked up & said "thank You Poppa" then sent back a text with His answer for me, "yes of course." That was the beginning of blessings in the form of being attacked continuously from that moment...those attacks let me know that I'm on the right path, God's path, so they are true gifts, sign posts if you will. The closer the retreat got, the more fiery arrows that started to fly...the harder it was to focus on God's path & not focus on the shiny arrows flying right by my face.
It was easy for me to focus on the distractions the enemy was showering my life with...but God. God opened up my eyes. God reminded me that it's not about me...but about the ones He places in my path...it's about loving like Him, about sharing in other's pain & not looking only at my circumstances. That's when M shared that T was in desperate need of prayer, that she was fighting for her life & the life of her unborn child. In that moment I dropped to my face in prayer for this sweet young sister...praying for M, Mr A, T, her hubby & son, her siblings & extended family...begging for a miracle, begging for her life, for M never to feel the loss of her child...or Mr A to feel the loss of his little girl. I stayed in constant prayer for T like I never have...my Spirit constantly groaning in prayers I couldn't understand, nor did I try.
The day C & I boarded the plane for Texas was long...but we finally landed in Texas & were taken to a sweet sister's house, by K & her daddy, D. We stayed at the same house we stayed at for the last retreat, it was comforting to know L & E...we didn't have long to rest our bodies, we had to be up about 4 hours later & ready to hit the road. Which actually surprised my exhausted body, but excited my wide awake mind. We were up & headed outside where we found several of our sisters already loading up the many bags & tubs of the hard work M had been putting into this weekend with God...the weekend He was asking her to stay behind instead, to trust Him & His plan...a plan that didn't include her physical presence...a plan that was asking her "am I enough? do you trust me?" & probably reminded her that He knows how much this ministry means to her, but it's still His.
So as I walked out I spotted G & A, they were playing tetris with the bags & tubs...there were a few other women I didn't know & a couple of hubby's helping get it tied down...I walked out & hugged G & A...then went & introduced myself to little J & songbird K. Then like a bright light here came C-1 walking up & the joy just kept coming...hugs from my sparkly sister. Mr D followed, the first male speaker at one of our retreats. Before too long we were loaded up & just that moment God's perfect plan...here came M. Just in time for us to all hear from her, hug her & then lay hands on her to pray for her & her girl. Then hugs around, pictures & off we went. God placed me in C-1 & Mr D's car...with little J. Wow He knew what He was doing when He created His seating plan for this trip. As we drove into the darkness, waiting for the sun to rise, we talked & laughed...we shared with each other the words God gave us. I am like an open book, really...I'm sure y'all are surprised by this...wink wink. But I learned that where there are secrets, that's where the enemy has control...so if I keep it in the light, he can't have any power. I know that others are a little more reserved, they like to keep a tight hold on their struggles & share them only with a select few...don't get me wrong, I have things I only tell God Himself, but most of myself is an open book.
Little J reminded me of my favorite aunt...she was so elegant, always looked put together, never a hair out of place...just knew how to take care of herself. Not that they are vain, just that it's naturally that way for them to take care. The part that spoke to me loudly was the part of this wise sister was her gift to speak to the truth into me & also share her struggles when she learned that I am walking a very similar path. She & I had more in common than I would've ever guessed...one of which was our Little Girls had wandered off & away from us. She too knew the pain of begging God for her girl to turn back again...so she could hug her & tell her how much she means to her. I know others may look at my Little Girl & say "wow, she's a lost cause" but Little J, like this mama, looked & saw a Little Girl who was hurting & lost. She spoke hope & life into this heartache...& I hope I did the same for hers. I know that her Little Girl is not lost, but Poppa God is giving her the same choice as He gave each of us...they just have to choose to say yes...we can't choose for them, as much as we want to & try to...when they choose to say yes, then He will flick that mountain in their way into the sea. During the road trip to the retreat, M called & let C-1 know that Poppa God had called her T home...she was with Jesus. With this news a somber quiet took it's place...& we all lifted a prayer for this sweet family, as the other cars in the caravan came along & we all joined hands in the middle of a few gas pumps...joined in one common request of peace & comfort for T's family.
When we loaded up, I moved over with C in Special K's truck...I was blessed to meet a couple more new sister's coming with Special K & Miss K. Cphone & baby J. Instantly I felt that connection with baby J. She was an open book like me, I appreciated her honesty, her complete vulnerability...she brought joy & laughter...thanks baby J, my fellow squirrel. The trip was long but we finally got to MC's house...the rest of this I will be sharing in another post but for now I will begin with the mountain in this post & start back up with us in worship on Saturday, before R-2 spoke about "releasing our children"...
As Little J & I began to sing praise to God with the other beautiful sisters...He broke that last piece of my desire to control & hold onto my Little Girl...I crumbled into a heap of pain & snot as Little J watched & came to my rescue with a tissue, then stepped up to hold this broken mama in her arms...she began to pray, I felt the calming of His presence immediately surround & cover every part of us...she spoke of God moving the mountains of anger & hurt...of us giving up the control we so desperately tried to hold onto...I prayed over her mountain too...we just stood there with sisters lifting up praise to God all around us, feeling the love...suddenly I felt the heaviness lifting, I felt the joy returning...I felt the release & the joy pour down. We continued with the session...the speaker was right on the mark...at one point I turned around to Little J & we just looked at each other & nodded, knowing that was a whisper of confirmation for us, directly from the LORD Himself...we smiled, grateful the other knew. After worship, I checked my phone, which was on silent...the red blinking light, that red blinking light. I just assumed it was my hubby, again. I quickly entered my pass code & when the home screen opened, I saw it...my Little Girl's facebook pic...I had a message from my girl!!! Less than 2 hours after asking God to move this mountain...He flicked it into the sea in Panama City, Florida...it was GONE...then as I began to cry with joy, the enemy automatically tried to steal my joy, to keep me from opening up the first message from my Little Girl in a while...he whispered "she's probably telling you not to text her friend...not to check up on her, to leave her alone forever..." just then my sweet sister, one who knows & understands my struggles as well...she & I met at my very first retreat...it was her first as well. Sweet B came beside me & asked if I was ok...I looked at her & she knew, I just lifted up my phone & she looked at me concerned..."it's a message from my Little Girl...but I am afraid to open it..." at the moment she didn't hesitate, she extended her hand & asked if I wanted to go outside...then helped me up. We walked outside where I really lost it, I burst into tears, uncontrollable for several minutes & when I had released all my worries & fears to God...I knew I was ready, ready for whatever that message contained. I knew God was there, He surrounded me with sisters who loved me & were there for me...I knew that if she wanted me to stay away, it would hurt...but God.
I started to read...my mountain was gone...He had kept His promise...I had asked, believed & He didn't let me down...He was faithful, He is faithful. She was inviting me into her life...she was sharing her life with me. My heart was overflowing down my cheeks & I joyously shared with B what the message said...my heart filled with gratefulness, with love & with an even stronger faith...faith in the power of prayer.
As I was riding back from Florida to Texas, God shared this whisper with me..."a mama who's little girl is breathing her last breath, as Jesus calls her complete & takes her Home...she's praying for a mama who's little girl has wandered away...the mama who's wandering little girl is united with another mama who's little girl is wandering, on the way to a far off respite God has predestined them for...they begin to pray for each other...God answers each prayer in His time & the little girls wandering mama finds herself on the other side of this struggle..the first part of it anyway...while the first mama is laying her child to rest & the last mama is still waiting for God's perfect timing, one mama is being reunited with her wandering little girl & celebrating her little girl marrying the man God created just for her...in the heart of the one mama...me, the enemy would love for me to question why? why did God answer my prayer this way?? What about the other mama's??? ...but God.