Part Two of my post “Forgiveness – God’s Mighty Tool.”
The morning after the women’s conference, my husband and I had breakfast with my friend, Jennifer, who not only conceived of the conference, but she also graciously invited me to be a speaker. As we talked about the weekend, Jen voiced her feelings: “without a doubt, the pivotal point of the entire conference was the forgiveness piece with the banner!” We chewed on that for quite a few minutes, recounting the beauty of what transpired through that unplanned God-moment.
Eventually we moved on to other matters in our lives since Jen and I only get to see each other occasionally. At one point I suddenly remembered something I wanted to share with her, a curious dream from a few nights before; my husband and I had been on the Oregon coast on vacation prior to coming inland to the conference where I would speak.
Some of you may be aware there have been many predictions lately of a very large and potentially devastating earthquake that has been labelled “imminent” by many in the scientific community for the entire coastline, from California to Alaska. While I don’t want to linger there, I must tattle on myself concerning this prediction. Impending calamities, real or predicted, have been known to cause me concern, some to the point of allowing fear to rise up inside me. I’ve learned fear is the opposite of faith and this is a lesson my Daddy in heaven is currently working with me on, helping me to learn to trust Him and Him only.
On May 20, 2013 we were in Branson, Missouri when an EF5 tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma with peak winds estimated at 210 mph, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others. We’d never been in “tornado alley” before and when the tornado warnings reached clear to Branson, fear rose in my heart. All this to say, I have to work at not allowing fear to take over when confronted with natural disaster type warnings. Obviously, we were fine (God showed up there too).
When we left for the coast, I must admit I was battling quietly inside. Thoughts of the predictions roared in a few times, but I took control of the fiery darts, told them to stand down and we enjoyed our time at the coast. We spent a week at one town, and left for another town further south on Monday, planning to leave Friday morning for the women’s conference beginning later that night.
Tuesday night I had a disturbing dream. My in-laws, both gone home to Jesus now, were in my dream. I’d gone to their house to deliver something and we were standing outside their house talking. Suddenly my in-laws saw someone they knew on the road in front of their house and they told me to wave him down, they needed to talk with him. So with arms flailing we all ran toward the road. The friend saw us and he stopped his car. Just as we walked up to his waiting car, his eyes got huge and he yelled, “LOOK!” pointing behind us. When we turned around to look, we saw devastation (although I don’t know what the force was). There where my in-laws’ house should have been was nothing but the foundation; the house was completely gone. My car was gone and my dog with it. Nothing was left. As we walked to empty spot, the total shock and weight of the devastation settled in; no memorabilia, no possessions, nothing was left. As I looked at my in-laws, and we felt the impact of the loss, I suddenly woke up.
Don’t much care for those kinds of dreams, a strange one for me. As I laid there coming fully awake, I prayed, “what does that mean Lord? Does this have something to do with the predictions? Are you trying to tell me something. And what’s the meaning behind my in-laws in this dream?” I lay there a couple of minutes waiting but hearing nothing I got up. My husband got up also and I immediately told him about the dream. He looked at me with a strange look. “What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Well, listen to this. At 4 a.m. I was awakened out of a dead sleep. My mind was raging with thoughts about the earthquake predictions. At first I thought this might be an attack, so I prayed, asking the Lord to quiet the arrows of the enemy. The thoughts of doom kept up for quite a few minutes. Finally, I felt like I could rest again, so I turned over to go back to sleep. It was then that I heard very clearly, “I want you to leave now!” At this point, I kind of had an argument with God: “It’s 4 a.m. Lord! This seems just weird. We’d have to get up, put the trailer back together, probably bothering the people around us in the RV park. Lord, if this is you, I need a confirmation that we are to leave. I don’t know, something like when we wake up Linda will have something of a confirmation to this. Father, I’m going back to sleep; please confirm this or I’m chalking it up to listening to too many disaster reports.” And with that, he went back to sleep. For him to get out of bed and have me immediately launch into my dream was a bit much; we looked at each other. Was this the confirmation?
“OK, I think we each need to spend a few minutes with the Lord to see what we should do,” he stated. So we did. And we decided, due to his request of a confirmation from God, that we should leave. A couple of hours later we were headed out of town. As we drove away, we prayed for the people who live on the coast, for their safety and futures.
“So, we’re going to have some extra time now before the conference begins. What shall we do?” I asked my husband, Butch. Almost immediately we thought about friends who travel up and down the I-5 corridor for work and wondered if they might possibly be in town. I texted Brenda and we were delighted to find they were staying at their daughter’s home near to where we were going to be for the conference. We immediately made plans to meet on Thursday morning, the men to play golf and Brenda and I to have coffee and a leisurely visit. As we visited I remembered my banners, that Brenda had actually made for me, left behind at home. “Would it be possible to borrow some of your banners?” I inquired. Brenda was more than willing and we then made plans for getting them back to her at a later date.
Back to breakfast with Jen the day after the conference. When Jen said she felt the pivot spot of the conference revolved around the forgiveness banner and the work God did in each woman in attendance, the light bulb went off. Oh my goodness! The dream, the banners, the conference! God had been orchestrating in the background amazing “coincidences”!
Long ago the Lord decided He wanted a women’s conference at my former church. He put me into relationship with a new friend two years ago. He built our relationship, long distance, over many phone calls. He then took us to a conference together last spring, where He planted the idea of a conference into Jen’s thoughts. He knew that the women of this church needed some quiet time with Him and He thought (I can only pretend to imagine His thoughts…He’s God after all!) it would be nice to use a banner for this purpose. So Jen put a conference together and invited me to be one of the speakers. We planned our vacation around this conference and unfortunately, I forgot my banners. So He used a disaster scenario we were quite familiar with to get our attention and through the use of a dream and a strong impression, had us leave the coast early (there would not have been enough time to see Brenda if we had stayed with our original plans). Now enter thoughts of good friends and they are actually in the area at the time. We have a great visit with old friends and I borrow banners. The rest of the story can be read in my previous post, “Forgiveness – God’s Mighty Tool“.
I used to believe in coincidences. Not anymore. God is, well, GOD! He is mighty and loving and creative. He had to find a way to move us from the coast to a position to have the time to spend with friends, one the maker of banners, so that a piece of painted silk could do what He wanted to do within the hearts of women. Wow!
And that’s the rest of the story!