This Christmas was a time filled with blessings and busyness. Our time was filled with fellowship with family and loved ones, eating, laughing, baking, looking at Christmas lights, praying, rejoicing, staying in our pajamas all day…..and eating some more. I also spent a great deal of time quietly reflecting on the goodness of God and the blessings of spiritually appointed friendships and that including the memorial service for my dear friend who passed away on December 12 that I was blessed to attend yesterday.
Today is the last day of 2015 and I am still reflecting on the goodness of God…and mildly weepy and hugely sentimental as I shuffle through the house this morning. I awoke today eager to finish up my gleanings from spending time with Mary Jo. I knew that when I started this that I needed to take my time so that the seeds that Mary Jo sowed into my heart that day could really sink in and take root.
This is the last addition to a 3 part blog post, so if you haven’t read the first two gleanings you can catch up by going back and taking a look at them.
I asked the Holy Spirit this morning to give me a word that would describe what this gleanings have done to me, and I received this:
It has PIERCED me and is still PIERCING me. Mary Jo is gentle but the presence of the Most High that she carries pours out of her, and when she speaks it directly to your heart….it pierces it and lets the Most High in….and it keeps on piercing days…weeks…and I hope months afterwards. I’m so thankful that she had coffee with me and as a result has been mentoring me all month long. She has asked me to come to her house again to teach me to bake….I can’t wait. “I need to knead.”
Me: What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
Mary Jo: It came quick this morning when I thought about it….so…it’s the faithfulness of God. The scripture I thought of was….John 16:33…where…let’s look it up okay?
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Mary Jo: So I think the biggest lesson I have learned in hindsight…which is why I love getting older because you have hindsight…is the faithfulness of God. That we ARE going to have tribulations and troubles…mountains and valleys….but He has been so faithful. Prayers have not always been answered the way I thought….or wanted….but God has come to overcome and it brings me great hope for the days at hand and the days ahead. That we tap into that power and that peace of God, and pray from that faithfulness of God. He is faithful. If I have a whole bunch of time to think about it I would think about a whole bunch more…but also my motto is “Be Kinder Than Neccesary”. I think that kindness trumps a lot of hurts…and lets God have an opportunity to love.
Me: Hmmm….I need to keep that in mind….
Mary Jo: I’ve got it on a sign…I’ve got to keep it in mind too.
Me: …..I need to have something that says that on it….Be kinder than neccesary…especially when I am driving. What do you still WANT to learn?
Mary Jo: Ah…..we kind of touched on it a little bit…but if I had nothing else to do and in this season of my life…I want to learn the Word more. I think that’s it. I want to learn the Word more. Not here (points to her head), but here (points to her heart)…I’m fascinated by the word of God. And I’m not a read through kind of person….that’s never been a good fit for me. I’m a topical study reader…so if God gives me a word like “Pearls”…I’ll search it out. I’ll look it up in the dictionary. I’ll start a calligraphy…I’ll have a conversation with God. I love to go through the scriptures and get the whole of God’s heart on a word in particular. Here is my new favorite scripture. It’s in 1 Kings 8:58…and it says…my translation….Lord, keep me centered and devoted to You watching the signposts on the road of the path that You cleared for me….and find the pace and the rhythm of my life. Now that is a loose translation and I would have to look it up to get it quoted right. It’s on my blog. I wrote a blurb about it called “Recalibrate”. What I love about it is….its priorities…Lord, keep me centered and devoted to You. It’s keeping me in the center of His will….the path that YOU’VE cleared for my life watching the signposts. What are you saying? What are you doing? And then find the pace and rythym of my life. I looked that up because I thought…hmmm…because a lot of it came from the Message….and I thought pace…how did they come up with that? Because in the other translations it says following the laws and the commandments that you set up for me by my forefathers…but if you look it up with the Bereans who have studied the Word…that WAS the rest of God…the rest of God is a commandment. “Following Your will”…those are the commandments of God. And THEN what I found out when I was digging a little more…in First Chronicles 29:19…(begins to get choked up)…David prayed that for Solomon….so David prayed that for His son…and even in one translation it says that Solomon would be focused and uncluttered…to build the temple. These are important to God…that we would find the rest and the pace that God would have us live. We will accomplish all that we want to and not wear ourselves out, and wear out the people around us. So David prayed it for Solomon and when Solomon had built the temple he stood up and declared it over Israel….so First Kings 8:58 was part of his prayer…and dig into that more….it’s so…I mean….I used to say that if all scripture was just Genesis 1 and 2 it would be enough…now I am thinking…If all of scripture was just 1 Kings 8…it would be enough. So…what do I want to learn? (begins to get choked up again) I would love it to be said…she was centered and devoted to God. (Now I am getting choked up) Her life was a model of someone centered and anchored to God and followed the path that HE cleared out for her…I didn’t make this path for me…I just believed God and believed the things pastor Olen prayed over me….called out of me intercession, and believed those grandiose things that God was saying about me…that He could make happen….that I would teach prayer…oh what a privilege…that I would represent to others what it means to connect with God…what an honor…and that I would find the pace and the rhythm of God…I wouldn’t demonstrate that to serve God you have to “do”….so…I would like that scripture to be said over my life when I am at the end.
Me: Amen. I love how you look at the Bible like a treasure chest. It’s like you are finding jewels and treasure every single time you open it….you’re like…I DIDN’T KNOW THAT WAS THERE!
Mary Jo: Like 1st Kings 8:58….there is that generational blessing. David prayed for his son passing it on…I want to be an answer to that prayer that David prayed. I want to be an answer to that prayer that Jesus prayed in John 14, 15, 16, and 17….you know….I want to be an answer to prayer that they wanted in the upper room….and God came. I want my life to be answered prayer….for the word of God.
Me: Amen. Can you tell me about Jesus?
Mary Jo: Mmmm…..I had a very interesting encounter with Jesus….in wanting to know more of who He is…and knowing Him as friend and go deeper even. So who is Jesus? Besides my King, Redeemer, Savior…you know all those things that scripture says He is…He has been….You know how you can reach out and touch someone like I can reach out and touch you? Jesus has been that connecting point to understanding the Trinity. (Begins to tear up) Jesus has become…Emmanuel…God with us. A couple of years ago…I was sitting in my listening chair…it was at the end of November. I thought…I have nothing going on in December. I wasn’t fasting for anything in particular, and I thought I would really love to get to know Jesus better….He walked with me and He talked with me…what’s that really like. I had this idea and I went and bought a red journal and a red pen. Did I tell you this before?
Me: Yes, but go ahead and say it….
Mary Jo: I took the Gospel of John and I had a conversation with the Lord just using the red letter words. It started out very childlike. On the very first page I said…”I just want to come at You like a child….like in scripture in Matthew, Jesus, where You lay hands on the children and You say ‘suffer not and let the children come unto me.” You laid hands on them and prayed for them….and I want that. (begins to tear up again) I want you to come and lay hands on me and pray for me. I want to come to you as a child. So I started the journey through the gospel of John, and I thought it would take me a month…or 21 days because there are 21 chapters. I was going to check them off my list and….it took me a year. In March I told the Lord, “Do You realize we are still at the well?”…which was chapter 4. It’s become my richest treasure. In the process there was a time I was crying out to God…I was going through a difficult time…I needed a healing…and I sensed…Megan it was right here. (Points to the area right in front of her prayer chair) I was sitting here…and I sensed that Jesus was right there. I can’t say that I saw a light…but there was a presence. I sensed that He came over and He laid His hands on me and He prayed for me. Let me go back a minute. In that journal at one point when I was crying out to God He said, “Give me your hand.” So I took my right hand and laid it on the left page and I outlined it. I looked at it and I thought…that’s odd…why did I do this? It felt unsymmetrical to me so I took this hand (her left) and outlined it (on the opposite page). When I cried out to Him, He reminded me of this page and when the Lord came over to lay hands on me it was exactly like the book. Jesus has become…I want more…I need more…I feel like I have just touched the hem…but walking with Him through those scriptures and having a conversation with Him…He has really become my personal introduction…my ambassador in to the Trinity…my flesh on the ideas….the reality of who the Father is and the promise of the Spirit…so….it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve just started.
Me: Yes, the more that you are with Him the more you realize how big He is.
Mary Jo: Yes…and I would like to say something for the….I love getting older. I will be 70 next year, and I love hindsight…but I really want to encourage young women…young mothers…young business women…young men and women…wherever they are on the journey to count their days…to value their days. You are in full time ministry…fully embrace that apron season. Fully embrace the three year old who is learning to communicate to others…there will be more….there’s more…God’s plans…no question about it….but don’t want to rush through….or despise a small beginning…or neglect the seasons that are so rich…for thinking of the by and by.
Me: Thank you Mary Jo…I have so much to glean.
Mary Jo: Let me pray for you.
I will try and keep this brief…not sure why but I am. In this last part of our coffee date I gleaned three things:
- Pray from the faithfulness of God.
- Be kinder than necessary.
- The Bible is a treasure chest.
I needed to write this out in bullet form so I can keep it fresh on my brain. I will probably write a post tomorrow just listing all of the wisdom I have gleaned this year. Oh…YES…that’s happening.
Pray from the faithfulness of God: If when I leave my prayer closet or prayer tent and still feel a burden, then I haven’t left it with the Lord. If I consistently do not leave my burdens with Him then I must ask myself a tough question…do I trust Him? Is He faithful? If I say yes…then why are my actions not proving it? Why do I walk out of my prayer tent carrying everything that I was to entrust to Him? He is faithful and good…I can trust Him, and if I truly trust Him then my actions will prove it. I will leave my burdens with Him. I will stay focused on Him…and never lose site. What you behold is what you become.
Be kinder than necessary: I like this, but what does it look like in my life? I need to go to the Lord on this one and have Him show me. I already know that sometimes it will mean to just keep my mouth shut….eek.
The Bible is a treasure chest: Seeing how Mary Jo approaches the Scriptures has forever changed me. They are like a treasure chest that I can open up every day and see what treasure they hold and what adventures it will take me on.
So…let me make this statement…confession…declaration: I will daily get in the presence of the Most High, look at His Word as a treasure chest, allow it to continue to show me the faithfulness of God and allow it to change my heart so that I am kinder than necessary…every day. (Whew…here goes nothing.)