Words fail me when it comes to summing up five packed days in a few paragraphs. But before anything, I want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers. Each one made a difference. I could feel it.
We set off last Thursday with my dear mother feeling very weak from her violent D & V of the night before. But God was faithful and got her through the journey and the many times that followed of speaking on an empty stomach.
By Sabbath she was feeling somewhat better, and all four of us were able to speak together for Sabbath school. But the peace was not to continue for long. Moments after the preaching the 11:00 service, Father found himself in our bathroom with the trusted bucket that mother had used, and Caleb had missed. Another attack from the devil.
And along with the news that father was down came the realization that Caleb and I were now the only ones who were feeling 100% well. It was grace, and grace alone, that was going to get us through!
Another realization hit home to me… I was the only one who hadn’t gotten sick. I could be next…
And it was that day that the miracles really happened for me. After speaking on my own that afternoon, and then leading the choir, we had to fill the parents spot that evening and speak again. There was no more than fifteen minutes to go over the notes, and my head was pounding from the incessant noise. I don’t know if I’ve ever had to rely on His strength so fully before…
But what thrilled me as Caleb and I stood in front of the people that night --and still does now-- is the power He can give when we have totally come to the end of ourselves. We could feel it holding us up, and it is like nothing I had ever known. I wonder why we don’t come to the end of ourselves sooner…
In the last few minutes of speaking, I became suddenly aware of a wave of nausea washing over me. I’ll be honest… it struck fear to my heart, at first. And yet, even in that moment, He held us up to the end.
Just minutes after we finished speaking I found myself in our little bathroom, awaiting the fate that had attended this illness for the rest of my family. I had told the Lord just that afternoon that I was perfectly willing to go through this sickness if it was His plan. I had been resisting it all week, and now I given it to Him, and here I was. But what amazed me was that the fear I always had (ever since a little girl) of stomach illness was now totally gone. I now faced it with joy because it had come through His hand. That was a work of grace.
An hour passed and nothing happened. Finally I climbed into bed, taking the necessary bucket with me. But though I didn’t fear the illness anymore, I couldn’t bear the thought of being sick in bed the next day, when I should be out with all those precious people who had crept into my heart.
Lord please help me be well in the morning. We just can’t let the devil win. I don’t mind getting sick, but please, please, let me be fine in the morning.
And then the familiar little voice…
Child, are you willing to give even your desire to minister to me, and let me do whatever I know is best for the people?
Silence. Yes Jesus. Just do what is best for them.
I was sure I had resigned to my fate, and yet as soon as I said those words, I had a consciousness that the storm had passed. Instantly I started feeling better. So much better, that I went to my bed and turned to “Peace be Still” in DA. It seemed like it was written for me. And by the time I was done reading, I knew He had calmed the storm that had been raging in my stomach. Praise God, I never needed that bucket.
I was thoroughly exhausted physically, but sleep evaded me for hours. He had just performed a miracle for me! Every other member of my family (and my grandmother) had been down for several days with this, and it passed in a few short hours for me! And when I finally did fall asleep, my heart was bursting for joy.
The day before I had written in my journal the words the Lord impressed on my heart. As I looked back at them that Sunday morning, my heart skipped a beat.
Today will be a day you will look back on and see my hand. I will bless. I will strengthen. I will do miracles, pour out my Spirit, and open the hearts of the people. I will be there. “Greater is He that is with you…”
He was faithful to the end. It may not have been our typical UK campmeeting, with mother having to do three solo messages back to back with a bad stomach and on two yogurts-- but it was what He knew we all needed, and there were signs of His working everywhere. Just the fact that father didn’t get sick a moment before the 11:00 message, or during, but right after, is proof that He was in control.
And I am even more convinced than ever that Satan is very upset that the work is going forward. Sunday morning we found out that the father of one of the helper families had been rushed to the hospital that same night with chest pain, and had a heart attack. And there have been many more things… Satan is trying to crush out God’s work. We cannot let him triumph.
But what I love is that even though the devil may fire his darts to weaken us, he cannot win if we trust in God, for it is in weakness that we are made strong.
Can I plead with you… Don’t let him win in anything. Even when you find yourself utterly weak. We must fight and win this battle together. Grace will always be there to strengthen us—for it is in weakness that we are made strong.
So glad he could be up there with me!
Family Panel Sunday night. All together even if some were very weak.
Leading the choir (just love these children).
Some of our dear UK friends
My long time little friend (he never ceases to make me smile).
Men's singing Sabbath night
Some of our many young friends we've come to love.
So grateful for my dear brother.
We're off to start the next camp--this time in England-- and again the devil's not happy. Yesterday afternoon had the second member of the family go down with some very nasty stomach illness.
And that was enough to cause some fear and trepidation in the rest of us. If charcoal indeed works as a preventative, we've had our fair share.
But it struck me as we went to bed last night... this is the second time. Just a few weeks ago it was a broken down car. This time it's sickness. And to add to it, there's only the four if us over here to speak at the camp. None of us can afford to be down. This is probably our busiest camp of the year.
And yet a reassuring voice whispers in my ear...
I'm not going to leave you, child. This is my work, and it will go forward. "The Lord will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
I'm learning slowly. It's another chance to trust. And by grace I will...
This family camp starts tonight and runs through Monday morning. And I know that we will need every ounce of strength He gives us. And yet... "My grace is sufficient for thee, because my strength is made perfect in weakness."
Thank you Jesus, thank you.
Alone--helpless. With Him--invincible.
I'm excited. I don't know what Grace is going to do this week, but I know that He does all things well.
If you think of it, would you please keep us, and all the precious people attending camp in your prayers? I know there's four hearts over here who would be very grateful.
The car hums quietly as the sights of home drift behind us. I pull my old computer out, well aware of my great need of Him. The journey has begun! Not just the journey to OK Family Camp, but the beginning of the 2013 camp meeting season, and for me the journey of writing book number two. Excitement is hanging in the air.
Ear buds in, I start typing. But not for long. I haven’t even finished the first paragraph before the car slowly glides to the side of the interstate. I pull my ear buds out. I don’t hardly need to ask what’s going wrong. We all know.
Our much-loved car has developed an annoying trait of not starting some of the time, which has been turning into half the time lately. Normally father or Caleb can fix it and we’re fine in five minutes.
But it’s never stopped while running before. We conclude that it happened because we were driving up a hill. (I’m thinking, this won’t be the only hill between here and OKFC). Praise God it starts first time and we’re back on the road… for about a minute. This time as we drift to the side of the interstate, we know something is really wrong. That becomes even clearer after we try and start it ten times without success. Many prayers go up. But the points clear—the car won’t start, the battery is dead, and we’re on the interstate 30 minutes from home, and over an hour from the nearest reasonable size town.
After about an hour, a wrecker is on the way to take the car to the auto repair for the week, meanwhile father calls every rental company he can think of in Flagstaff. They all answer the same way. "We can give you a full size car, but not an SUV." Just try putting four personal suitcases, a lever harp, a full size cello, and all the sound and video equipment in a little car! It didn’t even fit in our Tahoe without a pod and rack on the back. J
I try to ignore the battle in my mind. I want to get to camp so much. I don’t want this to interfere with our plans. I don’t want to be stranded in Flagstaff with no way to leave.
But another voice penetrates my thoughts… Trust me. You have been praying for trials to help you grow.. Now you need to trust that I will work this out.
I put my computer away and forget about book writing at this point. I have the distinct thought to go read my daily devotional for the day. I almost know before I get there that it will be just for me. But I never dreamed how much.
Let the words sink in. They weren’t just for me…
“That ye may know what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Thou knowest what is best; And who but Thee, O God, hath power to know? In Thy great will my trusting heart shall rest; beneath that will my humble head shall bow.
To those who are His, all things are not only easy to be born, but even to be gladly chosen. Their will is united to that will which moves heaven and earth, (thinking… then He can move our car if He wants to, right?) which gives laws to angels, and rules the courses of the world. It is a wonderful gift of God to man…To be at the center of that motion, where is everlasting rest; to be sheltered in the peace of God; even now to dwell in heaven, where all hearts are stayed, and all hopes fulfilled. ‘Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace because his mind is stayed on Thee.”
Study to follow His will in all, to have no will but His. This is thy duty, and thy wisdom. Nothing is gained by spurning and struggling but to hurt and vex thyself; (that one really hits me hard) but by complying all is gained—sweet peace. It is the very secret, the mystery of solid peace within, to resign all to His will, to be disposed of at His pleasure, without the least contrary thought.
Oh Jesus, You are so good.
I read that over and over. I have full confidence that His heart understands the desires of my heart, and will do what is best. The peace I find on the side of the interstate is even sweeter than the peace I have when we’re breezing along at seventy. Peace in the storm is always sweeter than peace in the calm.
After trying almost every imaginable option, father finds a Suburban in Flagstaff, and as soon as the car is dropped off at the auto repair, father and I head to the airport in the cab of the wrecker to pick up the car.
“We’ve come to pick up the Suburban we booked through the 800 number.”
“I’m sorry sir, we don’t have a Suburban here. The 800 number doesn’t really know what we have here. I can give you a full sized car.”
Sigh. We rent a compact, go pick up the rest of the clan, and head to the hotel for the night.
Before we go to bed father has another Suburban booked from another rental company. We’re a little dubious.
Another phone call Monday morning reveals the same answer as night before. No Suburban.
Oh Jesus, help me trust. I've read that devotional again and again in the last few hours.
Finally, father found a car that will fit our stuff—hopefully. After an hour of moving everything between cars, we’re on the road.
We’re a bit behind schedule, but I’m grateful. He knew I needed that wake up call to trust Him with my plans. The devil is not happy about this year of family camps, or the beginning of another writing journey for me. But if God be for us, who can be against us?
Jesus, thank You for being trustworthy. Thank You for teaching me to trust, even if it’s on the side of interstate 40.
20. Lover of Jesus. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Servant. Fan of the kitchen. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.
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