Back Porch Revival (conclusion)

Back Porch Revival pic

Often I go out onto my back porch to have devotions or to pray.  There’s nothing special about it really.  It’s screened in, but we have to leave the sliding door open so the dogs can get out to the yard when needed.  Flying insects that find themselves trapped in my screened in haven from time to time and for some reason love to fly in my face.  My view isn’t especially great as there is a house right behind us, so I’m not out there to soak in a majestic view of all God’s created.

But, you know what, that small place, like my park trail, has become holy on more than one occasion.

On this particular morning, a few days after hearing the podcast with life changing words about receiving, I was kneeling in the center in my screened in space, right under the ceiling working hard to provide a breeze.  I was staring out into the backyard just as the morning dew was lifting.  A cardinal had taken up a home in a nearby tree, she landed on the fence and stared at me as though she wanted to speak.  I stared back at her; she was as radiant and red as fire, perched proudly and she began to sing.

I bowed my head low and began to pray again for peace, sweet peace.

It was in this very sacred moment, in my black fuzzy robe on a not so fancy back porch the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart.  “Peace has always been there, Sandi, you just have to receive it.”  “Receive it, Lord?” I whispered for me and the cardinal to hear.  “Yes, just receive.”

“What exactly does that mean?” I thought.

My mind was quickly taken back to a time when I was kneeling at an altar with a friend and she, even back then, was praying for peace of mind and soul.  As she was praying she spoke to me, “I can feel the peace of the Lord like RAIN in my soul, can you feel it friend?”  Weeping, I said, “no.”

Reliving that moment reminded me the Lord had been trying to give me this gift of peace for so long but I didn’t know how to receive it.  Just like the podcast speaker, I was too afraid and I didn’t believe.   More out of desperation than anything noble, I cried out to the Lord for help.

It was at my back porch revival I spoke the words that bubbled up from my heart, “I receive, Lord, I receive your peace.”  There were no bells or whistles, no big fanfare, just a strong sense I had been heard and a solid feeling everything was going to be okay.

Peace.

It’s funny because nothing about my life changed in that moment, but everything about HOW I LOOKED at my life changed.

I’ll never forget it.

I’m marking it here on this page, like a chronicling of the beginning of a deeper place.

In the days since this experience, I’ve learned peace is not something that comes to stay; it is something to receive each day.   It’s been a challenge to keep peace as the enemy loves to stalk us with fear and uncertainties.  He wields unbelief like a sword slicing away our resolve.  But day after day I continue to ask the Lord for peace and then I remind myself to receive it.

Receiving is an invitation to fill my mind.  I looked up the word in the dictionary and one of the definitions kind of surprised me.

  • RECEIVE- to act as a receptacle or container for –ex. the cistern receives water (RAIN) from the roof.

I want to be that empty cistern; the empty container that receives peace my Father wants to RAIN down from heaven.

I nearly jumped for joy and cried all at once a couple of days later as I walked my familiar trail and the next topic in the podcast series was “Receiving.”

It was just the confirmation I needed to look toward heaven and pray for “RAIN.”

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Back Porch Revival

pic of me

A friend of mine has introduced me to the wonderful world of podcasts.   I know, I can see your eyes grow wide in my mind’s eye as you read this.  Podcasts have been around forever, or so I’ve heard.  I’ve been slightly aware of them for quite some time, but not knowing who in the world records them or exactly how to use the podcast app on my phone, I conveniently ignored the whole idea.  

I’m not very good at diving into new things; does that mean I don’t like change? 

I’ve discovered I enjoy listening to these podcasts as I walk around our little small town park.  I’ve had some holy experiences while walking, listening and, many times, raising my hands and giving a hearty “amen” for the birds and heavens to hear.

Occasionally I get a strange look by a passer-by, but, mostly it’s just me and the Lord and He knows me, so it’s okay.

Lately, I’ve struggled some as I’ve questioned my motive for writing this blog or helping anyone in general.  I never want to have a pious attitude or secretly harbor feelings of self-righteousness in my heart.  I was sharing this with my friend when she suggested a podcast that features the series “Postures of the Heart.” 

I knew instinctively I was supposed to listen the moment she told me about them.

Despite my best efforts, I’m still not very savvy with technology.   After a small struggle, and a few desperate prayers, I finally found the series she mentioned; I plugged in my earbuds, laced up my tennis shoes, ready to walk and listen.  You know, I’m not even sure how many times I circled the park; I was so involved in the story flowing into my ears, piercing my mind and heart, that I lost count.

I wiped tears and felt my heart tender with compassion as I listened, I know how it feels to suffer and long for God in all of it. 

She talked of personal trials and how God was walking her through with such tenderness, teaching her dependence in the deepest places of her weary heart.  She told of doctor’s visits and feelings of hopelessness that compelled her to fall on her face and pray hard for peace and rest in her painful storm. 

I just wanted to reach through all the technology and give her a big hug.

While sharing the healing stage of her struggle, she said something that nearly stopped me in my tracks.  What she said wasn’t so profound really, but because God had said something to me a few days earlier that sounded eerily the same, it made me take note.  You know, when the Lord speaks something into your spirit, it may lay there for a while and it may or may not take root.  But, it doesn’t go away.  After some time, or a lot of time, it seems He will bring something into your life and suddenly that Word, the one you hadn’t thought of for so long, springs to your mind and you realize there’s been a resurrection and a revelation. 

This type of revelation doesn’t happen to me often, but I love it when it does.

Even though the doctor told the podcast speaker the good news she longed to hear, she still found herself sitting in her car in the parking lot in disbelief.  Instead of the joy she should have been feeling, she felt numb.  The next words she said resonated so deeply, “I had been given this gift of good news but I didn’t know how to receive it.  My fear was stopping me from being able to celebrate and believe what God had done for me.” 

I felt so totally understood in that moment.

Many of you know I’ve been on a personal campaign to find joy, only to realize joy is directly related my own level of thankfulness.  (If you would like to read more about my personal journey and discovery in this matter, check out “Baptized in Salty Water.”)  It was a beautiful moment of revelation when I could see how thankfulness increases joy which increases thankfulness which increases joy and the cycle never ends. 

Well, I’ve also been praying for peace.

Not momentary peace, or situational peace, but real solid, here-for-the-long-haul peace of mind and heart.   I’d been praying and seeking God for it for so long my asking started to feel stale.   I wondered if peace was just an illusion, something people talk about, but is really only a pipe dream. 

To be continued next week…