“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” ~ Zeph. 3:17
How blessed are we , to belong to the most precious bestowal from heaven…our Jesus!
He is the King of Kings, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Redeemer, our Peace, our Comfort, the One who carries all our burdens, our Strength, our Great Warrior, our Provider, the Lover of our souls, our Safe Place, Mighty God, and God’s divine gift of grace, where we are no longer bound by the law and our works, but free, empowered by His Holy spirit to serve Him and be pleasing to God.
The greatest gift we have ever been given is Jesus and growing in intimacy with Him is not only an honor, but it changes our lives in a beautiful way that nothing else could ever possibly do. Our relationship with Jesus is forever growing from glory to glory as He pursues us, His beloved. He takes us down untrodden paths within our lives that at times seem darksome, separated, arduous, and prolonged, yet He is there, all the while, completing another miraculous glory story within us. It is even HE that equips us with the faith to stand in our difficult times , with Him right by our side, as we continue to believe and then, blesses us beyond words that we can express, when we get to be a part of seeing His promises fulfilled, not only in the physical realm, but deep within our spirits.
As Christians, depending upon how long we have known the Lord, we all could fill a kaleidoscope of pages, journals or books with story after story expounding upon the marvelous adventures we have shared with the Lord, how we have come to know His love and faithfulness and how we were changed by His presence, awesome power and grace.Those times for me , are my most cherished experiences in life, because my head knowledge of His love became my reality, as my entire being experienced HIM in His glorious presence and love. As we all can identify, many of those times are birthed from trials and others, our wondrous seasons of rejoicing.
Some of those treasured events may be when we are first saved and the love of Jesus permeates our soul…He takes the story of our life and beautifully makes it His story, a work of art, a masterpiece we never knew could exist. In first meeting him, we walk around on could nine as we have never known such a love before. When we are born again and get baptized…coming up out of the water… we have a new knowledge and awareness that we are renewed, reborn and free as the Lords love and peace fills us to overflowing, or when we are worshiping and the presence of the Lord fills our spirits , and we bask in His love and never want it to end. My husband , during a very trying season in his walk with the Lord, was awakened out of a deep sleep…He felt the presence of God so intensely and heard the voice of the Lord say to him; “I love you and if I showed you the depth of my love, you would not be able to bare it.” Kit wept as with those words came a knowing within his spirit of How deeply God loved him , and that Gods heart of love for us was unfathomable, limitless and infinite, more than our bodies could contain at one time, if we knew just how much! I love it when God speaks to us and tells us what HE THINKS OF US, not what we believe about ourselves or what others have spoken over our lives, but how HE SEES US THROUGH HIS EYES OF LOVE… We walk away from our time with Him as if we had just won the Pulitzer prize, an Oscar or an Olympic Gold medal. (Small comparisons, I know, just examples.) …Our identity completely changes because of His Rhema words of love to us.
Another way our intimacy grows with Jesus, is when we see Him in our midst fighting for us, delivering us from our enemies and bringing us into a new place that we have never known..freedom from depression, an illness, grief, addiction, abuse…we walk in pure reverie for what seems like forever, not understanding how He turned our darkness into light, and we are so filled with joy and thanksgiving for His healing and the fact that He would even do something like that for us, after our many years of struggling.
For Kit and I , God had brought us to a place that not only did we feel His awesome presence, and amazing love, but we truly felt He was rejoicing over us , sharing with us the joy of our answered prayers, as well as the victories from the long battles we had endured with Him by our side. We could feel Him smiling as He saw our hearts and eyes witness His faithfulness and love for us and that everything He had said to us during our times of heartache, doubt and turmoil were true and that we had indeed heard His voice. I liken it to the soldiers on the front line of the battleground, where they have a season they are called to serve , and after that time, they are awarded a break and get to go home for a while .The battlefield time was over and now He wanted us to enjoy the rewards. (Yes, we were most definitely up on a hilltop and we did not want to come down for a VERY LONG TIME! ) (But you know He doesn’t let us stay up there forever.)
As Kit hung up from his conversation with ‘our soon to be landlord,’ his face was beaming…Alex let us know that even though our lease began June 1st, the bathroom painting was completed and if we wanted to, we could move in immediately, (two weeks early) with no extra cost. Our hearts were overflowing with thanksgiving, praise, and of course, many joyful tears.You have never seen two people get boxes and pack as fast as we did. We would fill up our jeep to the brim, (leaving the front passenger seat for Grahammy, as he just had to get in on all the action,) and then the two of them were off to Milford. I’d stay and continue to pack up our room as Kit would unload everything and come back to the beach, then we’d load up the car again, trying to do as many trips as we could before nightfall. No, we did not have a bed, a table, chairs, a desk for Kits computers or even cookware, but we were so blessed that we were going to be moving into our own place, we didn’t care if we just borrowed a few of Marks sleeping bags and got take out.
To our amazement and surprise, during our busy days of packing, cleaning and taking jeep loads, God was blessing us left and right with our every need being met. The first of many miracles was a call from Sam. It had just so happened, (I love the way the Lord works,) that his sister Elaine moved into her new condo in Milford from out of state , and her beautiful, white oak sleigh bed did not fit in her bedroom, could we use a new bed with a mattress and box springs? (He had no idea that we got the green light to move in two weeks early.) With absolutely no delay, the Cable guys were able to come and hook us up immediately, so we had the ability to set up our phones, Television and computers upon their early arrival. Tina and Mark brought over their patio table and chairs and set them up in the dining room… voila, we had a place to eat! Mark had just bought a new desk for his office so he had an extra computer desk and asked Kit if he would like to have it… We couldn’t believe how quickly the Lord was filling up our new abode with everything we would need for the two weeks before we’d be going back to the Carolinas to get all of our things. .
As we had finished cleaning our ‘little room with a few,’ and loaded our car for the last trip, Vito came out to say goodbye. I remember that day so perfectly…the sun was beginning to set and I felt such diverse emotions within my soul… Pure joy and gratitude for Gods bringing us our home, but there was also a sadness I couldn’t deny that things were ending as they were after our long stay. Vito was so loving, gave us both big, warm bear hugs and told us how happy he was for us and that he would miss us being his housemates. It made both Kit and I feel a lot better! I knew in my heart that nothing had changed with the close bond, friendship and love the three of us shared and we would continue to see him at bible study, maybe a fishing trip or two over the summer and for a latte every now and then. I also knew deep in my heart that one day, God would bring a healing with Lillian and she would once again be apart of our lives, even if at the present time, their was no relationship. As we waived goodbye and drove over the bridge , (my favorite time of the day, the gloaming hour,) Kit and I took a deep breath, smiled at one another and thanked God for all the many gifts, lessons, growth and memories He had blessed us with during our 13 month stay...(We both laughed at our belief that there was a rule that said three months is the limit for friends to stay with friends before things can get a little hairy .) (And we still don’t know who made up that rule,) Our hearts were filled with so much joy, hope and excitement to be moving on in our journey,to our new little haven, looking forward to all that God had in store for us there.
Upon arriving to our new home, with it’s charming four columned front porch and 14 windows, we unloaded our last of box of accumulated things, (which was far more than we had realized,) ordered take out, made up our resplendent new sleigh-bed, and the three of us fell asleep to one of our favorite shows, (which neither Kit nor I were even really watching, as our hearts and minds were so overwhelmed at the goodness of God.) He had thought of everything, down to the very last detail! He knew long before we did, the very day we would be leaving the beach and moving into our home. He was so gracious to allow us to move in two weeks early, as well as supply our every need as we waited to drive to the Carolinas to bring our belongings home at the end of the month.
As the renowned musician Rod Stewart soulfully sings in his 1971 top chart hit; “Every Picture tells a story,” as well as the very popular belief shared by many, that every person has a story, (told or written in all different types of genres of course,) Kit and I learned that every home has a story as well. It was not something we had really spent a lot of time thinking about, except for the time our friend Shep told us the story about his home. He had recently bought a breathtaking Antebellum home in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. Even after he renovated it, he was thoroughly convinced it was haunted. His unearthly visitors, (in whom he had no desire to get rid of,) were several soldiers from the civil war who walked his staircase, (the only part of the original home he had kept in tact.) . He was not one to make up stories so whenever he shared his encounters with us , we’d just make sure his tales were accompanied by a large bag of buttered popcorn. (Just joshing…about the popcorn that is.) Both Kit and I were taken aback as we learned from Tina, (after her friend a few houses down from our home, had just revealed to her that she and a few other prayer warriors felt a burden from the Lord to begin praying for our house to be cleaned out spiritually before we moved in, as it had “quite a story.”) As it turned out, there were a lot of wild and crazy happenings that went on within this abode. (WE DID NOT ASK ANY QUESTIONS.) We both were so touched, blessed and honored that God would do that for us as well as a group of women in whom we had never met. God was certainly looking out for us. Tina, Kit and I did a lot of praying ourselves during our days together before we moved everything in from the Carolinas and yet, Kit and I still had many a battle in the spirit after that…To this day, we continue to not ask any details…We are just so happy it finally got cleaned out! WHEW!
After hearing about our homes history, I had to smile as I finally understood Grantham’s strange behavior all the days I would take him with me to the house to measure for our furniture. We’d leave the beach and he was so full of energy, joy and so excited to be going for a ride to see our ‘new home‘. As we’d arrive to the house, park the car and begin walking toward the front porch, Graham immediately stopped, laid down and he was not budging. I opened up the front door, went in first and thought he’d follow. Still not moving, I began coaxing him to come in and finally he’d stand up, take a few steps up the porch, peek in, take a few more steps into the house… then turn right around and bolt out to the lawn running! This happened several times. ( I guess those ladies were still praying! )
Tina was at the house everyday and she never came empty handed. She brought over a few pieces of her cookware, utensils, (we already had a medley of beautiful pates she had given us while at the beach,) and she and Mark were always asking us to dinner or bringing over leftovers. I joyfully went grocery shopping, got a few essentials, ingredients to make a big pot of chili, (even though it was the month of May,) bath towels, light bulbs and all the little things you need when you are starting a new household. Kit was having more fun setting up his computers and and screens and he was up and running , working with his business within a day. I spent many of my days in pure reverie with my notebook, pen and decorative magazines in hand, planning and mentally creating what each one of our rooms would look like. It was my dream come true to finally be able to create a home for Kit, Graham and I, with everything we owned, (in which we had not seen in over 2 years.) This new beautiful house God gave us was my blank, white canvas and I could not wait to fill it with rooms that would be warm, colorful, cozy, inviting and embody all of the things Kit and I had collected together since we got married, our family heirlooms, our abundance of decorative items and the melange of gifts from Tina and Mark over the last year.
Our two weeks in the house flew by…. Everyday was filled with bliss and peace accompanied with loads of excitement to finally be going back to the Carolina’s, this time to bring everything home. Grantham finally made his peace with the house and seemed to feel more at home everyday. Both Kit and I could tell that he missed Vito deeply…he kept going from room to room looking for his buddy …(I think he thought Vito was moving in with us.) He could hardly contain himself when we’d go to bible study at Tina and Marks and he got to see Vito.(It took him over 5 minutes to just calm down.) Graham absolutely loved that his girlfriend lived on the other side of the meadow…(a path he would soon be sneaking off by himslef as he just could not stay away from her.) Kit and I would laugh, (as I am sure Tina and Mark were too,) as we all could hear Graham and McPherson pining for one another every evening, right about dusk, when they both knew we weren’t going to be getting together anymore for the day. Seeing all the many blessings God was bestowing upon Kit, Grahammy and I, I thought about how in His word, He says that He waits (in His timing of doing things) so He can bless His kids… Sometimes we are tempted to think He has forgotten us or is taking to long, (As you already know we had felt at times,) but all He is waiting to do is bless us to the uttermost. We knew that only the Lord could have picked a home, with such a beautiful, Brobdingnagian yard that Graham would end up making his own. First he had to let all of its long time inhabitants KNOW that he had arrived and who the real boss was. Kit and I would laugh as he would chase after every bunny ,squirrel, chubby groundhog , kitties and deer…(Yes he actual chased herds of deer into the woods, but that is another story! )
Memorial day weekend arrived and the three of us packed up our jeep with our lattes, a few treats for Graham and headed for the Carolinas for our moving emprise. The Lord could not have given us a more beautiful day to make the nine hour drive…light azure blue skies, billowy white clouds and and abundance of sunshine. As we were driving, we found ourselves reminiscing about how many times we had driven this exact route in the last years, whether to South Carolina or to Delaware. No two trips were the same as they all held such diverse emotions and expectations. At times, an abundance of hope , eager enthusiasm of all God was showing us and doing within our lives and hearts of joy as we were going to be with famiy and friends in whom we adored. Other times, confusion and dismay with the timing of Gods call on our lives, insecurities of where we would be settling as well as what God had for us next. Though each nine hour trip held either ample laughter, tears, (some joyous and others doleful,) sharing from our hearts or our dreams , they all had one thing in common…our all time favorite road trip stop in junoesque Annapolis as they had a Cozy and inviting McDonald’s right before the colossal Bay Bridge. We refueled our coffees, and picked up a few breakfast sandwiches ( in which Graham was already drooling over ,) knowing he was definitely included in our morning ‘comfort food’ meal.
If there is one saying I know to be absolutely true, it is; “In the South, sumptuous, ambrosial food is at the heart of every celebration!” Ellie had organized a heartening family Reunion for our arrival, with a scrumptious and appetizing array of all our favorite Southern dishes…After our warm hugs, smiles and plenty of “Hey Yalls,” we entered the house and the aroma of homemade macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, freshly baked biscuits, fried Okra and apple pie baking in the oven, made Kit, Graham and I feel welcomed and at home once again. All my cousins looked wonderful and the boys had grown so much in the last year, we hardly recognized them. It certainly was an evening of celebration. Our coming back for a visit to get our things for the home God had provided, the friendships and bonds we shared with each other were stronger than ever, Tyler, Jackson and Julian had done so well in all their sports events and everyone was doing so good.
After a wonderful night of sleep in the very room we stayed in our first night upon arriving to my cousins home years before in June, awaking again to the delicious aroma of fresh coffee brewing, we dressed quickly, picked up our herculean Penske truck and headed over to our storage unit that had been taking such good care of everything we owned...We spent the entire day loading up the truck... it probably would have taken less time if I had not been opening boxes to take sneak peaks of things I had forgotten we even had.(Kit had a lot of patience with me that day.) Mike arrived around 4:00 Pm to help Kit with some of the heavy furniture, (as he kept us entertained.) Mike could take any situation in life and turn it into a comedic event! One of Gods gifts to him, I am sure. We swept out our unit, let the owner know we were out and said goodbye to yet another part of our journey…
That evening, Mike blessed us with a variety of takeout from our favorite Chinese eatery. We sat up talking for what seemed way to short of a time as I missed my cousin so much… It was like night and day as Kit and I sat with the family in their gorgeous living room with its 14 foot ceilings. It just did not seem possible that it had been 2 years ago, that we were spending many of our days, worshiping , praying and seeking God in this very room for His will and direction in our lives. It brought back feelings of our once heavy anxiety, emptiness and confusion, where God at times did seem silent. But on this particular night, that was all in the past and we were filled with such a joy… feeling like a huge load had been lifted. We were no longer there to look for jobs, a home or a church, we were there to be with family and fellowship, and bring our belongings HOME to Milford. Oh how I wished I could have persuaded Mike to throw caution to the wind and just hop in the car and drive back with us to stay for awhile up North. (It is not often you can get a true southerner to leave the south and go north, and I have learned that firsthand! ) We all knew that no matter how far the distance between us would be in the years ahead, we’d always be close within our hearts and were forever friends and family .
Still dark, as we were determined to get an early start, we dressed, filled our thermoses with freshly brewed Maxwell-house and were off on our adventure before the sun had made its glorious debut for the day. This time it was not Kit, Graham and I together…Kit was driving the moving truck and Graham and I were in the jeep…now, what I did not tell you is I had asked everyone I knew (well almost everyone) if they wanted to help Kit and I with this move so that I would not have to drive alone for the 9 hour, ( with all of its bridges) drive back to Delaware… Everyone had other plans...I then found myself trying to bribe, BUT, God wanted me to face my fears…so, Kit got walkie- talkies, chose another route home, (with less bridges,) and promised me (at least 5 times,) he’d never lose me on the big -unfamiliar highways. All I can tell you is, there were unexpected bridges that I had no choice but to cross…I think I lost at least 4 pounds that day as we had no AC at the time, it was in the high 90’s and I was so nervous that my hands were sweating profusely.. (When we arrived to Milford, they were black from the dye on our steering wheel cover.) True Story! With our heavy load and my turtle like driving, Our trip was almost 12 hours, with only one stop for Graham…Neither Kit nor I cared about eating…we just longed to get to Milford… God is so faithful as we arrived safely, even Graham in his fur coat…( thank goodness the breeze from the windows being down in the jeep kept him cool enough, as he hates heat.) I will never forget driving down main street in Milford…as we stopped at the light on the corner of the church, the bells began to chime. The song playing was an old time Hymn of Gods faithfulness. (How apropos!) We knew the Lord had given us all the ability to make the long trip in two trucks and even though our legs felt like rubber bands as we arrived to our home, we were so filled with joy, elation and excitement, we had already forgotten the trials of the day.
It was 7:00 PM…we started to unload a few things and then looked at each other and said; “NO! This can all wait until tomorrow…Its pizza night , American Idol finale and hot showers!” We turned the AC on, took our showers and ordered the pizza. As we laid there on our bed, thinking about how God had not only saved everything we owned for us, (when it looked like we almost lost it all,) provided fully for our move, a new home, supplied everything we needed for the two weeks we stayed in the home before heading south, Kit and I were so in awe, humbled, grateful and honestly could not express fully to God or one another just how much all He had done for us, meant to our hearts. Only God knew! If I were to sum up this season in our life, I would liken it to one of the beautiful lyrics in Chris Rice’ inspirational song “Come to Jesus.”
“And when the love spills over and music fills the night and you can’t contain your joy inside….Then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus AND LIVE.”
We were certainly dancing, for a long time!
A unique and beautiful song that will bring tears of joy to your eyes. Just to think of how much Jesus loves us, is in love with us, sees us through “Love eye’s,” not just when we are ‘doing really good in life’ but when we are at our worst is hard to truly grasp…He cares about every single detail of our life, nothing is to small for him or to large.. His love for us is the reason He came and He gets all the glory in our lives for everything He has done, is dong and will do. WE ARE TREMENDOUSLY BLESSED TO BELONG TO HIM. I hope you enjoy this song over and over…I know I sure do!