This year started out much more rough than I expected. Last week I finally hit a WALL. I became overwhelmed with weariness and hit the wall of TENSIBLE – being stretched beyond what I could bear. I began crying out to God in tears, “Eleven years! I have been caring for this man for eleven years and doing everything I could to lay down my life for him, earnestly trying to esteem him and his needs above my own! I just knew it was what YOU would do, Jesus! But I can’t do it anymore. It has become a life of laundry and cooking and changing the TV remote 20 times and being distracted by all the “where is…?” questions and not understanding the non-sensical communication. Eleven years is ENOUGH!” This was not pretty, friends. I'm being about as transparent as I've ever been here. I think most of you know me to be a person of much patience and compassion, but alas, it just seemed to run out and in the moment, I felt desperate.
Then I did something I've never done before. I got in my car and went for a very long drive so I could cry and scream and tell God how empty my tank was. No more compassion, no more patience, not even any love in my tank that day. I parked my car under a tree and called my one sibling, who is a powerful prayer warrior and I told her of this invisible, yet impenetrable wall I had come up against. She prayed in the Spirit and then told me she heard the Lord tenderly speaking over me and saying, “I see you, child. I am with you right there where you are and I have enough oil to refill your tank. I love you AND I SEE YOU.” A couple of days later I shared what I went through with one of the women in our Dementia support group. She felt led to send me a blog by Anne Graham Lotz, which had been given to her. The blog was about Hagar; cast off into the wilderness, unwanted and unloved. The scripture quoted was Genesis 16:13: “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees me’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”
What incredible confirmation! God breaking through the wall the enemy had tried to erect around me and not once, but twice, reassuring me that He sees me, He cares about my situation, He knows I have come to a place of weariness and emptiness, unable to go on in my own strength. Ah, how he loves it when we stop trying to soldier on in our own weak flesh, with the broken, empty tank! He reaches in and reminds us, “My grace (my oil) is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
He confirmed His word to me, and then by His grace, He refilled my empty tank with fresh oil. I could feel it when I woke up the next moning and I was happy to see John, happy to cook his breakfast, and to figure out the mumble jumble of words, the topsy turvy alphabet that spills from his lips.
I do not know how people get through this long, grievous goodbye without brothers and sisters in the faith to walk it with. I’m so grateful for the non-judgmental love and understanding from my sister and from my support group sisters. After this whole incident I began praying EARNESTLY for a weekly companion for John, to give me a break for FOUR HOURS. In a small miracle of events, a good friend intervened and made some phone calls. God used her in ways I could not have imagined. While I prayed to God for this one willing volunteer, HE sent me not one, but FOUR! Four men answered the call! I spent the next few days walking around in amazed gratitude, so thankful that suddenly I have some freedoms. HE IS THE GOD WHO SEES ME. He is the God who understood my tirade of exhaustion and wearines. He is the God who re-filled my tank to over-flowing!
Psalm 30 (the Message version):
I give you all the credit, God--
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.
God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs
and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!”
You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.
Shalom everyone and welcome to 2022! I have a strong sense that this new year is going to be more challenging than any year in recent times, but perhaps also far more glorious than any of our past years for those who are walking with Yeshua/Jesus! Some of the things that occurred during the horrific fires here in Colorado have given me that hope.
A Costco store in the area was filled with shoppers last Thursday when frantic, urgent announcements bellowed across the loudspeakers: "All shoppers have been ordered by police to evacuate the store NOW! DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING WITH YOU AND DO NOT GO BACK TO YOUR HOMES! The Fire Department has closed off the entire area and no one will be allowed back into their neighborhoods. Go NOW!"
When I heard about this from a friend, I sat in the silence for a long time, pondering the ramifications of this scenario. I imagined the shoppers leaving their carts and purchases in the aisles and running to their cars to flee from the encroaching flames. I suddenly realized I had read something just like this in Scripture:
"...then let those in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house [or in the store!} go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter." (Mark 13:15-18)
My friends, that Scripture became real for a lot of people last week. They had to flee without being able to get ONE THING out of their homes, and when they finally returned to the lot where their homes used to be, there was absolutely nothing but black, charred ashes. Nothing. Perhaps you saw it on your TV; the raging winds furiously driving the flames into neighborhoods on a very cold winter night.
Then I got to hear from a dear sister who works at a hospital in the midst of that evacuated area. She is a nurse on the Newborn I.C.U. floor. She wrote me, "I did not sleep Thursday night. I lay there thinkig about so many of my friends who lost their homes. But the Lord is so good! He reminded me of all the ways He showed up, all the miracles He did, things that could not have normally happened, that DID happen! I believe that Yeshua was right in our midst as we carried the tiniest, most helpless patients in the hospital to safety. We literally ran out of the hospital carrying the babies with nothing but the blankets swaddled around them, no tubes, no oxygen. And the biggest miracle of all was that every single baby was stable when we got them into the safe hospital, even though some of them had been deprived of the oxygen they needed to stay alive! The babies were so unbelievably sweet, so blissfully unaware of what was happening, and how the roaring flames had come right up to the windows of the I.C.U. that had sheltered them. It occurred to me that when we have Yeshua, we can have that same level of peace, no matter what the circumstances. "
Truly, my friends, I believe that when we are in the times of our Deliverance, we are going to see our God do amazing things! There was a striking parallel of this as I read this week's Torah portion in Exodus. In the time just before the great deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea, the Israelites were ruled by a cruel Pharaoh and his hard taskmasters. God was dealing with Pharaoh and with the false god-worship of the Egyptians as He brought plagues upon the land. But the Israelites only went through the first three plagues, during which Pharaoh's sorcerers duplicated some of God's signs and wonders. Then something awesome happened! The Lord God told Moses to make this announcement to Pharoah: "If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies. But on that day I WILL DEAL DIFFERENTLY WITH THE LAND OF GOSHEN, WHERE MY PEOPLE LIVE. No swarms of flies will be there so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I WILL MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN MY PEOPLE AND YOUR PEOPLE."
The Israelites were living in an area known as Goshen and do you know what this Hebrew word means? It means to draw near. Eventually the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob makes a distinction between HIS believers (those who keep His commands and hold to the testimony of Jesus) and those who are not His. And so, like ancient Israel in the days before their deliverance, we may be tested through some of the judgments that God allows; but if we do not turn away from Him, if we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony, we will find ourselves in an intimate relationship with Him, near to Him, protected by Him, in our own Goshen! And in that time, the wicked will be astonished and exclaim as Pharoah's sorcerers did, "THIS is the finger of God!" (Ex. 8:17-19)
We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us keen discernment and wisdom to know if the signs and wonders we encounter are the finger of God or if they are lying signs and wonders of the evil one (2 Thess. 2:9-10). And we should be praying for the Holy Spirit to give us strength and courage to be overcomers in the dark days ahead, filled with faith, marching forward with confidence, and resting in the peace of those infants being gloriously rescued by the grace of God!
Kelly Ferrari Mills