The Sign That Freaked Me Out

It happened in the winter. It freaked me out so much I have told hardly anyone. It’s time to tell the story.

I was going through a “dry-spell” in my faith–going through the motions. I needed a revival inside my soul.

Winter sometimes gets me that way. The long nights and short days at home affect me. Seasonal Affective Disorder “they” call it. SAD is a perfect acronym for it.

The Lord called me to Proverbs 31 Ministries almost three years ago. It is a high calling, and one I don’t take for granted. I love where I work and the people with whom I work.

With the rapid way the Lord is growing us,  it makes us desperately dependent on the Lord. I call it “growing pains.” The kind of growing pains that sometimes leave stretchmarks.

We have a God-sized vision to eradicate Biblical poverty–to inspire people to become passionate about Jesus and reading God’s Word. Once that vision is cast and people engage with our Proverbs 31 Ministries resources, then they can influence their hearts, homes, communities, cities, and states around them.  Although I know God’s provision follows God’s vision, raising the funds to do God’s work weighs on me sometimes.

That freaky incident, mentioned above, happened in February of this year.  Our amazing Proverbs 31 Ministries President Lysa TerKeurst was the only female keynote speaker at the wonderful Kingdom Advisors Conference in Orlando. More than 1,200 Christian financial advisors attended this conference.

It was holy ground and such an encouragement to attend. Lysa delivered a powerful message on the spiritual continuum of only needing God, trusting God, and wanting God.

Afterward, I went to my hotel room that night totally convicted, crying out to God. I apologized to Him that He was not my sole heart’s desire.  I confessed to God that He is all that I need. All that I trust. All that I want. At that moment, peace came.

The last day of the conference was filled with worshipful sessions, praise and worship. I couldn’t take notes fast enough as I was hopeful about implementing some of these ideas professionally and personally.

When it was time to leave the conference hotel and head to the Orlando airport, a gentleman from Black Cab picked me up. I thought I’d have time to reflect quietly on the 45-minute drive to the airport. He seemed talkative.

“Oh Great,” I thought to myself. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to marinate on all that I had learned and experienced. Then doubt set in again.

Questions flooded from within me. “God, why did You choose a women’s ministry like us at Proverbs 31 Ministries to eradicate Biblical poverty”?

“Why us?”

“Why me?”

“Please give me a sign that I am right in the middle of Your will. I need You. I trust You. I want You.”

And then it happened. At that moment, I looked up out of my window. Written in the sky just as clearly as could be, was the word “Trust.” Shocked, I asked the driver, “Why do you think that word is written in the sky”?

The driver replied, “Oh, he’s not finished. Each day the skywriter writes a message. It’s different every day.”

The skywriter started the next word. “J.”

We were getting close the airport.

“E” was formed. Then an “S.” My heart is skipping a beat by this time. No way.

Then the rest of the word. The Name. Absolute shock. Tears formed.  I was speechless.

The driver must have sensed my emotion.

He said, “Today’s message is just for you.”

Teary-eyed I said, “Yes, He knows what we need just when we need it.”

Okay, Okay, I get it.

Yes, sir, Jesus. I Trust YOU with all that I am.

Friend, if you have doubts, like I sometimes do, please be encouraged that God is with you.  He will reveal Himself to You when you need it most. He is the ultimate Skywriter on our hearts.

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek You.” –Psalm 9:10.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. ” –Psalm 20:7-8.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” –Proverbs 3:5

Leave a comment here | 19 Comments

Ode to Dads

Happy Father’s Day!

For some of us, today is a more difficult day. It’s hard to believe my Dad passed away from colon cancer 13 years ago.

For so many years our relationship was strained, as my parents divorced after 37 years of marriage. He intimidated me because he was sometimes verbally and even physically abusive growing up.

The Lord helped heal our relationship. I know my Dad loved me the best way he knew how. It would be an honor to tell you some of the positive ways my Dad impacted my life. 

Here’s to you, Dad, just a few of your lessons for which I am thankful:

  1. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to check the oil dipstick in my old car, so that I never messed up my engine or blew my transmission. That little Ford Escort hatchback car I drove in high school–Awesomobile–burnt a quart of oil every 200 or so miles. Smile. 🙂 I loved that car and am grateful that I had it.
  2. Thank you, Dad, for providing for my needs and many of my wants. We were blessed with a house, plenty of food to eat, clothes and shoes. You even paid for my wonderful out-of-state college education. It was such a gift not to have to pay back college loans.
  3. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me to appreciate the outdoors and fishing. You even taught me to cast a fishing rod and how to bait my own hooks. I wasn’t squeamish about the worms and minnows most of the time.
  4. Thank you, Dad, for taking us to church most times the door was open. Your dedication to the Lord and His Word helped mold my faith.
  5. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to budget my money and spend wisely. I remember how you paid bills promptly and taught me how to abhor debt. I still to this day try to avoid debt, except for my mortgages.
  6. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me a strong work ethic. You worked hard at Delta Air Lines for 33 years before you retired. You liked to finish tasks you started and showed me follow through and doing what you said you would do.
  7. Thank you, Dad, for showing me to volunteer in the community and help others behind-the-scenes. You used to mow and weed eat the end of our street where no one would mow. You also mowed around the Turkey Creek bridge in Hanahan where you would walk daily. You thought no one knew. We knew and appreciated your quiet good deeds.
  8. Thank you, Dad, for trying to come to many of my basketball and volleyball games. Your presence was such a present.

Dad, I pray you can see from heaven I’m trying to carry on the Jordan legacy. Rest assured that I love my Heavenly Daddy–my Abba–with my whole soul. Thank you for loving me, Dad, the best way you knew how.

Reflect:

–What are some ways you are thankful for your earthly father?  Please comment.

–How will you strengthen your relationship with him?

Renew:

–“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12 NIV

–“Listen to your father, who gave you life…” –Proverbs 23:22a NIV

–“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad…” –Proverbs 23:24-25a NIV

Recharge:

–What is something you can do today or this week to honor your Dad?

–If your relationship with your father is strained, please prayerfully consider reaching out and forgiving him WITH boundaries. I reached out years ago. It wasn’t easy. I’m so thankful we reconciled before he passed away. God is faithful.

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments

Darkest Moments and Greatest Victories

That morning in Jerusalem I could hear the city sounds—car horns beeping, roosters crowing, and the ubiquitous Muslim call to prayer permeating the city.

Our Proverbs 31 Ministries Holy Land Experience with Lysa TerKeurst group loaded the bus and headed out of the city toward the peaceful countryside. In less than an hour we had reached our destination: first to hike to the Cave of Adullam, then to see the Valley of Elah. The Cave of Adullam is where David and his 400 men hid from Saul in 1 Samuel 22. The Valley of Elah is where David slay Goliath with a slingshot and stone.

The yellow mustard plants and lush green grass covered the mountainside.   The bus parked at the foot of the mountain. There was a quiet solitude as we began our ascent to the Cave of Adullam.

Our guides said out of 65 trips to the Holy Land, this was their first time hiking up to the Cave of Adullam. Our Proverbs 31 President and amazing Bible teacher Lysa TerKeurst had hiked there with her Messianic Jewish Rabbi Scholar.

The opening to the cave was small, only about three feet in diameter. We took our backpacks off and backed slowly into the cave. One by one, the guides helped us enter the dark cave entrance.

Each of us turned on our cell phone flashlights on as we entered the darkness. Once inside, the cave was huge, as tall as a hotel lobby.

Lysa TerKeurst made a joke that there was no housekeeping in this cave. We were sitting on the same rocks that David and his men sat on 3000+ years ago. You could feel the Holy Spirit so strongly as we listened to praise and worship music, echoing through the cave.

Lysa read from 1 Samuel 22: 1-2.

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred were with him.”

What a fun bunch that must have been to lead—400 hundred men who were in distress, in debt or discontented! So why was David hiding?

To recap, Israel kept asking Samuel for a king (1 Samuel 8:19).

  • Saul was made king (1 Samuel 9 and 10).
  • Saul served half-heartedly and with pride. The Lord rejected Saul as King (1 Samuel 15).
  • Samuel anointed David as King against his father’s Jesse’s wished, but not yet appointed (1 Samuel 16)
  • David slay the giant Goliath in the Valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17) .
  • Saul was jealous of David and tries to kill him (1 Samuel 18, 19,22, 23).
  • David spared Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24 and 26).

The Cave of Adullam virtually overlooks the Valley of Elah, where David slay Goliath a few years prior. As David and his men hid in that dark cave, he was able to almost see the field where he had experienced his greatest victory.

How true that is for my life also. So many times my greatest victories in life are so close to the darkest moments. God is using me, like He did David, despite my flaws and frailties.

Lysa taught that, “God loves us too much to answer our prayers at any other time than the right time.”

Like David, We have a choice. We can be a victim or a victor of our circumstances.

The same God in the dark is the same God in the light.

The same God on the mountaintop is the same God in the valley.

The same God who did it before will do it again.

As we sat in the cave, the 3000- year-old womb of the earth, it made me realize something. Even in the darkest of night, we have the Light of the World with us.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, the following are three ways to shine your Light in the darkness of doubt and experience your greatest victories over your giant.

  1. Pray boldly, humbly, knowing nothing is impossible with God.
  2. Ponder God’s Word each day. The Bible is trustworthy and True and is God’s love letter to us.
  3. Persevere with obedience to God. Our job is to be obedient to God. His job is everything else.

Whether we are on the mountaintop, in a cave of doubt or in the Valley of Elah, about to experience our greatest victory, God is with us. You shine, friend!

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments