Just Ask for the Milk

I was recently at the closest grocery store to my house – the one I go to for all the convenient things we eat or need – Grocery Outlet. I love that place…I just make sure I look at the expiration dates on dairy before I put it in my cart, but I love it there because they really do have what we need – all except “lactose-free” milk. I’ve been shopping there for years now, and every time, I just felt as if I had to make two separate trips – an additional one to Fred Meyer, JUST for our lactose-free milk. It’s so annoying! But I’ve just always done it.

Then it dawned on me to ask if it’s possible to get it there. Yeah… after almost 5 years, I thought to ask. The checker got a manager, and she walked up, and I asked her if I could ask for an item that I continue to not see -one that our family uses all the time. She turned me down right away, “Sorry, the way we work is that we get items delivered to our main warehouse from other stores, and if it’s not there, it’s just not there.” So I replied, “Oh, so it’s not possible to make a request for an item?” “Hmm… No, not really. No. Sorry.”

I normally would have just thanked her for her time and left, but that day I thought, why not let her know what it is. Not that it would change the policy or how they work, but why not. So I looked down, and then up at her again, this time, specific, “…it’s lactose-free milk. Not soy, almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Lactose-free.” She repeated it back to me and then said, I can ask our warehouse guy that does our orders to see if he can look for it next time he pulls he does one. Do you mind waiting here for a few minutes?”

“Not at all”, I said, surprised. And a few minutes later she returned.  “He said he’d add it to the order Thursday, and it can be here Friday. Homogenized or 2%?”

“2%.”

“Is $2.57 ok?”

“Yep! Thank you.”

What just happened? She went from saying they don’t “do requests for certain items” to “we can order that item for you this week”! What’s the difference?

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As I walked away, I heard her yell back to me, “2%, right?” I yelled back, “Yes. Thanks!”

And this might seem like the silliest analogy because it’s about milk of all things, but I really do feel like God was telling me as I drove home,

“Be specific when you ask for what you need of me. Even if it feels like the odds are against you. Even if you’ve not experienced it yet. Just ask. You never know.
I might say, Yes. I can do that.” This was a “wink from God” that really encouraged and empowered me.

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Voicing Praise Will Shake the Faulty Foundation of Lies

One night, it was around midnight, on the other side of the planet, two guys were thrown in prison – wrongfully. But their prayer and praise and hymn singing resulted in earth and soul-shaking miracles.

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The very foundations of the prison were shaken. This was literal. Today, we do not find ourselves in literal prisons – but rather, demonic strongholds, or fortresses. These strongholds also have foundations. What would be the foundation of addiction, for example? The foundation of depression? The foundation of pride? I would venture to suggest that the foundation for most if not all demonic strongholds – that which all outward symptoms are built upon, is deceit. Lies.

When we see our prison-like circumstance as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus (in prayer and praise), the very foundation upon which demons have been stationed – becomes powerfully shaken! The core of their arsenal, their “Big Guns”, Lies, are dismantled. Rendered impotent.

And as a result, every time, there is a releasing. There is a spiritual opening of doors, and breaking of chains! 😳

There is a supernatural freedom that accompanies the proclamation of Truth.

But notice – the last 4 words of this passage. “Everyone’s chains were unfastened.”

Freedom did not just come to Paul and to Silas. But when they used their voices in the midst of their utter agony, sitting in their pools of blood, to give praise to Jesus, and lift up expectant prayers…everyone around them who was held captive became free! Paul and Silas’s decision to praise in the prison directly resulted in not just their own release, but the release of everyone else in that dungeon.

Our praise in duress. Our fervent, expectant prayer. Our singing – can do the same. Make it loud. Our God will shake the enemy to his core. He will open doors that were sealed and locked before. He will unfasten tight chains that were once the source of pain.

When have you encountered immediate freedom from bondage after deciding to sing, praise and pray to Jesus?

To be Remembered as Your Preschool Teacher

Sometimes I wonder how much of a difference I’m making in the lives of the preschoolers I teach. I wonder why I’m throwing so much of myself into this.

I know I’m there to demonstrate love, first, to nurture and teach them their ABC’s, bend down and coach them on how to write their first name, and give them room to explore and play like tiny civil humans. I know I do so much more than that, too. Like… give them tips on pencil-holding, nose-blowing, turn-taking, Bible verse-remembering, and germ-containing.

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Curious…but Content

Tonight we were called “downstairs” for a little meeting with our landlords, to discuss some changes in the future. We kinda knew what this meant… a move is upon us. There are many, many good things about this, including the fact that they’re giving us 5+ months notice!

As I lay down next to Angel and Braylon individually when it was time for bed, and asked them both to pray, they both did. And they both thanked God genuinely for the time we’ve had here at 1528 Hess Creek Ct. in Newberg. By the time we move, around July 1, I assume, it will be 5 years in this gorgeous home and quaint little town together.

I wrapped up each of their prayers with a declaration of faith and thanksgiving, to God, for preparing the way ahead for us. And as we delight in Him, and seek His Kingdom, our desires will be met ~ and even more. This is not a hope or a hunch. It is a promise.

And I am curious… but content.

To Let Out the Great Power

At the preschool where I work, during “nap time”, I sat by one of my little students who had a rough morning. As I draped my fingers lightly down her face and rubbed her blanket covered tummy until she fell asleep, my eyes wandered to another little one 2 nap mats away.
This one is special to me as I believe her mom is struggling with addiction and/or relapses since a rehab experience in September. 2 months ago, as nap time approached, this little girl would say repeatedly in a state of absolute panic,

“Will I wake up?!”

But this day, just a few days ago, she was wired. Not necessarily anxious that I could tell, just flopping around like a fish out of water, trying all kinds of positions to get comfortable. 


I got up as I sensed the Lord nudging me her way. As I began to walk,

I envisioned myself

blessing her with peace, with my hand on her forehead…& her just falling right to sleep.

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Simple. But highly improbable. Here’s the thing. I had nothing to lose. Some thoughts are our own. Some are straight from the enemy of our soul. And some are from God’s Spirit. I do not believe that thought, or vision was my own.

It was the Lord’s thought in MY mind.

Imagine! It’s got to happen so much more than we realize. For the Word of God says:

We have the mind of Christ himself. We have boldness and access to the Father.

So I walked over and did just what I (He) thought to do. I bent down, pressed my hand against her head and said, I bless you with peace in the Name of Jesus. May you have peace and comfort not just here and now, but at home as well. May you sleep …”
and even before I finished this declaration, she laid flat on her back, of her own volition, positioned both arms by her sides, and closed her eyes.  This was just as encouraging as it was surprising to me. As I continued for just a bit longer, I watched her face. She was completely motionless. Relaxed. Not even her eyelids were moving. Within those maybe 2 short minutes of declaring, her body came under submission to the words of God.

I believe it, because I saw it. She was out. I am believing still, for more peace to manifest in her home.

We have a Great Power at work within us.

How incredible and humbling this is. Ephesians 3:20 gives us this promise.

We have it…at work…already within us. My next question then would be,

What if we let it out more?

Lord Jesus, keep speaking – we want to hear your voice, we want to recognize it as YOURS, and see your beloved ones as you see them. Treat them as you treat them.

Love them as you love them.

Opportunity Surge

When God is faithful to my husband, he is faithful to me. I am an extension, and I feel privileged to be connected to the blessing. Tonight, Ricky and I got to go on a little date – we tried out the new sushi bar in town, Momiji’s. On the way there, he told me casually that he gets a bonus (a Christmas bonus… a little late?) from the boss he just resigned from! He resigns and his boss not only gives him a bonus but a solid lead for a freelance project for a wealth management firm! This new lead might even end up as a year-long retainer – what an incredible answer to prayer that would be!!
Then he told me about some of the recent encounters he’s had with inmates, as the new representative for the Freedom Through Faith program for the Washington County Jail. His title is Professional Visitor – such a strange thing to see in print inside a plastic lanyard. He has been given the honor of visiting inmates every week – many a week – to talk, to spend some time, to discuss how they’d like to connect with a faith community from the outside, maybe have a pastor from their preferred kind of church visit them. The fact that he has 3 past convictions of felonies in that same county makes it really hard to believe he’s allowed in there, let alone appointed to help the inmates in this way. The head Chaplain who offered him the volunteer position said he’s never seen it before. But here he is. Tonight, he said that one man told him from behind the glass, “I guess your prayer for me worked last time you were here. I didn’t think about slitting my throat once this week.” And today, an inmate looking at 12 years in prison soon, offered to pray for him.  It completely took Ricky off guard and blessed him to pieces.
Then we get home, and Ricky says – I didn’t want to firehose you with all kinds of news, but today when I was leaving the jail, I got a call from an old friend I used to work with, and he’s now working with John Maxwell and asked me if I’m freelancing again, and if I’d have time to help them with some projects. He offered to fly me to Atlanta to talk over everything. He even mentioned flying to a few countries to work on projects with movie clips or interviews or something…asking if he has a valid passport.
WHAT in the World!? No, he doesn’t! He’s never needed one!
This is all happening within weeks of resigning a job he knew that he knew that knew was not a good fit for him.  It seems so crazy – all kinds of opportunity (there are 2-3 other ones, too) showering down on him at once. But this has happened to us before – so we recognize it now – we are saying OK, Lord, we just want to be open. We want to keep trusting you. So bring it on, whatever you have for us. Whatever you think we can handle. Help us to walk in your wisdom and make choices that reflect boldness and faith. Help us to seek always and first, your kingdom. Your righteousness. It’s as if the moment things would seem wobbly and unsure in the world’s eyes, God swoops in and says, “Pick a Hand.” and then He starts pulling out hand after hand after hand after hand after hand from behind his back. And we watch them open and so often they are things of eternal value. Opportunities. Influence. Joy. Peace… They open and we look at each other like, Really?! Is He serious? Take it!

Thank you, God! All I can say is Thank you. For blessing my little family, often times by blessing my amazing husband. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

A Start to a New Life of Hope

A few nights ago, I was sent a text by an acquaintance from church. He said his son was downtown and came across a young lady, J, who was scared and needed help. Later he discovered she was caught up in the sex trafficking scene, had been literally running for her life, and offered to bring her home. He lived at home, himself, at 24. She’s been sleeping in their garage this last week, and getting a chance to relax, and observe how this family lives. Eating with them, worshiping with them (dad leads worship at church and plays guitar), talking about all kinds of things. Dad thought of me to see if I could help, as this is a temporary solution. I texted Rebecca (Bender) and she agreed to talk with dad and J. But I have the privilege of being the in-between advocate, which makes me light up inside.

I stopped by the mall and asked the associates at The Body Shop if they would be able to help me support her by providing a gift of some kind…and they asked their manager and he approved 3 different gift boxes worth over $30 each, for 3 survivors I know. This kind of generosity amazes me, and yet didn’t surprise me. I’ve known TBS to be a big supporter of anti-trafficking since my SCTNow 5k awareness campaign days (’10-’12). So after the mall, last night, Angel and I got a chance to meet her in person at their home. I love to give gifts to survivors and pray with them, if they allow me. And she allowed both. She said on three different occasions how she sees a strength in Angel. “You are so strong. I can just tell”.

Her smile was almost constant the whole time we were there. She seemed genuinely happy to be there.  With the gift box of Mango scented things, I included my own box of little things: Rebecca’s book, Roadmap to Redemption, 5 nail polishes, and some Freedom Stickers with the National Hotline on it, that she can ask bar/club owners if she can stick on the back of their women’s bathroom stalls (she is extremely interested in helping others out of the life of trafficking and this was the best thing I could think of that she could do at this point).  Oh, and some peppermint-scented play dough I made yesterday. So weird, but I thought it would be fun and almost therapeutic for her. She seemed to just love smelling and playing with it, which made me smile. The last thing was a rubber bracelet that said “Don’t give up. You’re worthy of love”…and she liked it, but immediately asked Angel if she had one and when she replied no, J gave her the one I’d just given her. It was obvious the joy she had to be able to give to someone else in that moment.

I prayed on the way home and am praying this week, for peace, true rest, divine guidance and HOPE for J’s future. She will need addiction and mental help, spiritual guidance and over Holy Spirit covering.

Will you join me?

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