What Clint was referrin’ to in his statement was a quote by Leonard Ravenhill who said, “it takes 20 years to make a man or woman of God.” Thus, my two years! As I reflected on the past two years I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of all that me Heavenly Father has been doin’ in me life, and the level of relationship with Him it has required for me to press on; continuin’ to answer His call in me life.
Over the past two years, we have had a surge of growth at the monastery with four students enrolled in the Adult Character Programme; started havin’ regular Sabbath services; teachin’ K12 home school for four of our students; provided supplemental instruction for community home schoolers; and begun a seemin’ly impossible addition project. Furthermore, Henta, our Music Director/Worship Minister, has written and recorded a new CD of songs for worship, I had major reconstructive surgery to my bladder and other important parts, Henta was diagnosed with cancer – had surgery – and is now cancer free.
Now here is the deal, prior to two years ago, things were just kinda static. Yes, the ministry started, we committed all to God, we had our first two students, we had the fire where we lost everythin’, we accepted that we were to wait on God for direction on what to do next, but then it all got very still and quiet. For three years it was clear we were to just wait, that God was doin’ a work that would open the floodgates and we needed to be ready when He was ready to move.
Do I understand why we had to wait for three years? Not completely. What I do know is that God can be trusted, that I never have to ask Him “why” He is doin’ somethin’ a certain way. I only need to be ready to ask, “what do You want to come of this Lord?”, “and what do you need from me in this situation?”, and He always makes it clear. Maybe not right off the bat, but He does answer in His perfect time.
Fast forward to five and a half weeks ago, and I find me-self with those all too familiar questions once again bein’ asked. Only this time I have students askin’ me “why?” Let me explain…
I have lived with chronic pain and PTSD for much of me life, due to traumatic life events, which God has truly helped me to overcome time and time again. As I have been healin’ from my surgery over the past year and a half, I have had many hurdles to maneuver and it has been a slow process. However, five weeks ago, I had a different sort of pain begin in my lower back and travel up into me shoulders and neck. Accompanyin’ this pain was what I can only describe as feelin’ like me back was sunburned and someone was scratchin’ it causin’ it to be raw and very sore, and yet there is nothin’ to speak of that can be seen on me skin. As you can imagine this was disturbin’ to me especially as it began to get worse and worse movin’ to me arms and neck.
Well, yesterday I finally got in to see a specialist and after spendin’ nearly three hours with me. Goin’ over me entire history, from the car accident when I was 7 months old that nearly killed me and me ma and did in fact kill me da, to me becomin’ the mother of four of the most beautiful boys you can imagine, domestic violence, drug/alcohol abuse, rape, mercury poisonin’, major surgeries, dizziness, continuous swooshin’ sounds in my right ear, and so much more over the past 48 years. I was left with more questions than I really had answers.
The diagnosis? Fibromyalgia, and hypersensitivity of me chemical, mechanical, and neurological centres, and well, he is not sure what else. There are many more tests to be done and we are hopin’ we will know more once those tests are complete. Hmm…what now?
As I sat there with the doctor tellin’ me that I had broken the record for the longest appointment he had ever had with someone, I was overwhelmed to say the least. As the doctor put it, “I am giving you this diagnosis, but it really doesn’t help us know how to help you. At this point all I can say is you are a very difficult and intriguing case!” One that he is determined to decipher; for that I am grateful.
However, this did nothin’ for answerin’ the many questions I have gotten from people wonderin’ why all of this would be happenin’ to me. I even asked God if there was anythin’ I was doin’ that would cause this? Am I bein’ a good steward of my body? Did He want me to do somethin’ different than I have been doin’? Well, as I sat in the quiet of me room last night unable to sleep, I pondered on what I believe to be the answers.
First, for months I have been prayin’ that God’s power would be evident in me life and that that same power would move through me to touch the lives of those around me. I also, had been askin’ God to take me pain and physical struggles away. Little did I realise that my Elohim might tell me “no” that He would not remove the illness, nor could I have imagined what it would take for His power to be evident in me life, but He showed me the key is found in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.
In this passage Paul shares about how he was dealin’ with an issue in his body, he asked God to remove it and this is what he got in response. ‘Concerning this I pleaded with the Master three times to take it away from me. And He said to me, “MY FAVOUR IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, I shall rather boast in my weaknesses, SO THAT THE POWER OF MESSIAH RESTS ON ME. Therefore, I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Messiah.’
I am gettin’ the answer to me prayers!! It is in me weakness that His power is made perfect! It is through struggles, illness, and weakness that HIS power can rest on me. Additionally, it is because His favour (grace) is sufficient for me that I don’t need Him to remove the pressure of affliction. I can rest in Him knowin’ that He knows what is best for me.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit brought me to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, which says, ‘Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master Yeshua Messiah, the Father of compassion and Elohim of all comfort, who is comforting us in ALL OUR PRESSURE (affliction), ENABLING US TO COMFORT those who are in every pressure (affliction), THROUGH the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by Elohim. Because, as the sufferings of Messiah overflow in us, SO our comfort also overflows through Messiah!’
What I know is that it is absolutely impossible to truly comfort someone who is goin’ through a difficult time when you have absolutely no understandin’ or point of reference that is similar to their situation. Therefore, it is often necessary for God to allow us to go through what others are goin’ through so we might comfort them with the very comfort that God gives us!
Lastly, NO…I am not doin’ anythin’ wrong. I HAVE been a good steward of my body. NO…He does not want me to change what I have been doin’!! He wants me to trust that He knows what He is doin’ and He will get the glory for what He does in and with my life!
Does it take 20 years to make a woman of God? Whether the exact time frame is completely accurate or not does not matter. What I do know is that prior to two years ago, I would not have been ready to face what I am facin’ at this very moment; especially not with the understandin’ that it is not about me!
I have learned that a woman of God is made in the quiet of her closet. Her life and deepest convictions are born in her secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of her spirit, her weightiest and sweetest messages are gotten when she is alone with God. Prayer and affliction make the woman; prayer and affliction make her a powerful messenger; prayer and affliction make her the minister of God’s peace and joy.
You see, when we begin to see that everythin’ in our lives is for a purpose and that purpose is to glorify God then we can face even the toughest days with joyful enthusiasm that is contagious and brings comfort to those in great need.