The Courts of Heaven

heaven

I wanted to share something I wrote in my journal a couple of days ago about an experience I had.

July 4, 2016 (Freedom – Independence Day)

Courts of Heaven

Sue offered to take us to the Courts of Heaven on behalf of my sister in law to get a ruling in her case on the issue of cancer.

I had only gone to the courts a couple of times before this and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was actually there or if it was my imagination. My previous trips had been a fairly large corporate thing and I was more of a bystander instead of an actual participant. Because of being unsure, I was a little nervous about doing it again; not because I didn’t think it was a “real” thing but more so because I didn’t want to screw it up! I didn’t want to be found lacking and somehow disappoint anyone. Intellectually I know that’s crazy and it’s the enemy whispering his lies again but for some reason in my heart, I was still having some concerns. Fear! I hate it. Approval of men and the fear of disappointment – I hate that too.

I prayed about the upcoming session for a bit but didn’t “hear” anything, so when the time came for us to meet on Google Hangout, I just put on a brave face and went with it. Or as I like to say, I jumped!

Sue was leading the thing so I just stopped worrying about myself and let her lead. Paul also was in on the call and since he had gone to the courts more times than I had, I was starting to be at peace. Jesus was there and I kept getting distracted by Him – my heart kept leaping. Since I was getting a little emotional I discovered that I wasn’t “hearing” some things I probably should have. It didn’t matter, thankfully Paul was listening! Father was there too but Jesus had my attention. He took my breath away…

Without going into details, the enemy was bound and taken from the court room. We were given two different scrolls by Father. When we turned to leave, Jesus turned and followed us out the door. Sue mentioned to us that He doesn’t do that very often. When I saw Him coming with us, I heard in my heart, “I’m coming for you, Ginny. You were very brave to do this and I’m so proud of you.”

I hadn’t shared my fears with either Paul or Sue but Jesus knew of them and spoke to me in love. He never once condemned me for being afraid. Instead, He banished those fears and encouraged me with His words to simply trust or jump for he will always be there to catch me every time. I ended up getting a little emotional again… (He’ll do that to you!)

Ginny Wilcox's photo.
Advertisements

Entering the Kingdom of God ~ from the perspective of the unsaved spouse

leaves

I’ve been walking with the Lord 10 years now.  Who knew He could be so good to me!?

Paul got saved first and I’ve got to tell you, I was not happy about it. No, if fact I was pretty ticked off. I wanted to know who came and stole my husband away. What happened to my “cool” husband? He started acting really weird and quoting the Bible to Chelsea and me and frankly, it only made us both mad. Just who did he think he was anyway? He couldn’t judge us like that! HE was trying to share his new reality but it felt like condemnation to both of us. We didn’t appreciate the change in him at all.

Did this happen to you; did you get saved before your spouse or them before you? It does not make for a happy marriage I’ll tell you that much. When Paul got saved, we were living on the grounds of an Episcopal church in a one-room cottage, as caretakers and grounds keepers. Much of our responsibility entailed installing many gardens and all things landscape.

We were also members of the church and attended every time the doors were open. Due to this; I felt we were more holy than the Pope! I mean, how much more spiritual or holy can you get right?  I would later learn that church attendance had nothing to do with how spiritual or holy you were, much later.

I was also very much into the social aspect of the church because it gave me an opportunity to cook and entertain, which is my passion. This led to me befriending the new caterer who began using the church’s commercial kitchen. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I had found my tribe.

You see, I always joked around about writing a book entitled, A Day in the Life of a “Wannabe” Caterer; only eat the ugly ones. I lived for cooking and entertaining. As my friendship grew with this caterer, I began to help out and was able to share with her the many things I knew that would be useful in her business. I began helping with the flower arrangements, menu ideas, recipes and even working for free. Of course, I also worked full time during the week in our family business too. Every weekend, I would be up at the church lending a hand and have the time of my life.

I did get paid for my work after a few months, though. We become great friends, doing everything together for many years. We took care of each other’s children, we did charity events together, and we partied and cooked together, vacationed together; we celebrated life the best way we knew how.

And then Paul got saved. . .

That changed everything. He was seriously making me not want to be around him very much. He stopped hanging out with our friends and began going to meetings every chance he got.  We were still members of the Episcopal Church but when not attending a meeting there, he would run off to meetings where he could be around other people like him who were experiencing God. When he’d return from these meetings, he wanted to share and talk about what he’d experienced, but I would have none of it; I didn’t want to feel condemned by his words.

He really was only sharing the awesomeness of God, but I only felt condemnation. I began to find opportunities to be gone when he was home which often meant I was at my friend’s house, 35 miles away.

Our marriage began to suffer and I began to not even care. I felt hopeless. We had always been able to converse for hours and hours and now all of a sudden, we had nothing to say to each other. All he ever wanted to talk about was God and I didn’t want to hear it. What I didn’t know was at the same time that I feeling hopeless and experiencing these things, Paul was also. But, he wasn’t content to let things just drift apart, no! He began talking to God about how He would have to send him a new wife because he (Paul) was so holy and pure now that he simply couldn’t have a wife who smoked and drank and cussed like a sailor. No, he needed a holy wife. (Dang!)

I was already feeling somewhat rejected and not good enough anymore so I’m glad I didn’t know he wanted a new wife! Yes, even though I was mad at him and didn’t understand what was happening to us, I would have been devastated to know what he was feeling at the time. I only learned about this years later.

God told Paul He wasn’t going to get him a new wife but instead, Paul would have to fall back in love with me. Paul needed to start making a place for me in his “new” life. This struggle continued for a couple more years.  In the mean time, we left the Episcopal Church because they began ordaining gay Bishops and although we both had personal friends who were gay; neither felt it represented God at all. When we left the church, we also had to leave the cottage we’d been living in for years and that was sad. The good news was, we were getting our own place and that was a dream come true, finally.

Paul had begun praying in the local healing rooms a year or so before and was now in leadership. He still kept running off to other meetings and conferences while I kept on catering, but now I was working with my brother. We were almost living separate lives, but God was still working on this thing!

This is just an excerpt of the journey but needless to say, Paul did make a place for me. He prayed for me all the time, without me actually knowing about it except things began to feel different. He no longer fought with me or tried to correct anything I was doing. He literally just loved me where I was. And also, by falling back in love with me again, he made a way for me to enter into the kingdom. My offenses began to fall away. God started whispering to me there in that place and I even began to love my husband again.

Prayer works as we know but it also takes honor and respect. When I began to receive that (and I absolutely did not deserve it!), my heart changed. I felt a tangible place being made for me to come alongside my husband. I had no clue what it was, or what it meant. What I did know was that it felt good and it felt safe.

********

I pray my story might encourage you to pray for your spouse and simply love them right where they are. We can change nothing on our own, but my Jesus certainly can. Persistent prayer along with respect and honor is a game changer and I know we all need change to happen.

********

Note: This post is about a journey, not theological understanding. Many things I believed at one time are not what I believe now. I call it a progressive revelation. That is to say, if something I have shared in this post offends you, stop it; this is not where we land. This is where we have journeyed through. We’ve all come through many things . . . GG

What if…

Around the bend

Last night before going to sleep, I was talking to the Holy Spirit, apologizing for not consciously spending more time with him throughout the day. I heard Him say, “All is well. I’ve been with you all day long as you know and it’s wonderful, but I have so much more for you. It’s not about what you should do; it’s about what you could do.”

As I lay there ponder these things I realized in a deeper way that He is not the one holding back anything, it’s me that holds me back. He has offered me things greater than I can imagine, there are no impossibilities with Him. He’s beckoning me to trust Him right now and simply believe the things He says are completely possible for me, not just others.

Why am I holding back, why do I not seem to trust Him when He tells me these things?

I think the business of processing things internally or should I say, over-processing these things, have a way of causing thoughts about the fear of failure and the whole process of ‘what if’ thinking, like: ‘What if I fail? And, what if people find out I’m not who they think I am?” None of these are questions He asks me, so why do I ask these things? Why do I entertain these thoughts?

Fear of failure and fear of man are huge stumbling blocks of comfort-ability. They can become so ingrained in my thinking that I begin to think they are my own thoughts. They are not! This familiarity and comfortableness will keep me stuck where I am, whether I consciously realize it or not, and it prevents me from enjoying all the things He has and desires for my life. It will also prevent me from influencing, for the good, the people I come in contact with.

I believe it’s time for the limitations to come off; the governor on my accelerator needs to be removed. It’s time for me to start asking myself better questions, or at least quiet myself and hear His questions. What if I succeed, what if I’m more than who I thought I was, what if I have great influence on someone else’s life? All great questions, really.

The traditions of bad thinking have to fall; they are only holding me back. They are so safe that they have become too familiar. I also believe that if I don’t boldly jump over this line of comfort, I will begin defending my current position as if it’s the pinnacle of my life; it is not.

Please know this is not me beating myself up or coming up with one more spiritual ‘to do’ list either. No, it’s realizing my life has been laid down for Him, freely and if I really believe that, I need to show some evidence of it. The influence that I have on my relationships and the interactions with everyone I meet need to be the evidence of the more than He desires for me.

Yikes, why does this seem so scary; maybe because on the other side of fear, life truly begins?

Okay Holy Spirit, what about today?

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

I’ve found that things are a little different in the kingdom than they are in the world. For instance, if I need something, I usually have to begin to give something away. If I need kindness, I need to be kind. It’s a kingdom of opposites in some ways.

What seems right to a man is death, (Prov. 16:25) Hmmm. I think this scripture may have something to do with the ‘kingdom-way’ of doing things. If I keep doing things only for me, me, me, all it will do is bring death. If I am so full of things or information and never give back or pour back out to others, I’m a virtual dead sea with no outlet. I’m dead.

So, when I need encouragement, I encourage. When I need wisdom, I first of all ask, but then I give the wisdom He’s given to me, to others seeking it too. God will always be faithful in giving to us what other’s need.

Encouragement is often like an affirmation. It’s the turbo boost we sometimes need at the very end of a project or season. When things seem like they couldn’t get any harder but still do, encouragement is the juice that will keep us contending for the breakthrough we know is just around the corner. It will cause us to stand up straighter and know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

So, am I right; don’t we all need encouragement? I would challenge you to purpose your day to go out and find someone who needs exactly what you need and encourage them to not give up, to keep pressing until breakthrough comes. Tell them exactly what you need to hear, use the same exact words you are longing to hear yourself. You will be amazed how refreshed you will feel. Holy Spirit may even now be whispering to you some of the things you need to do or say to bring about this refreshing to others and vicariously for yourself.

I’ve done this before with great success. This is not a formula of course because we all need different things. But it can be a tool. One day when I was feeling pretty discouraged I went into the grocery store to pick up a few things. All I wanted to do was get what I needed as quickly as possible and then go home. When I got my things and approached one of the checkout lanes, I noticed that one of the cashiers was really looking down and discouraged. I knew that if spoke some encouragement to her and simply spoke blessings over her, she would be lifted up and maybe even begin to smile; she would be encouraged.

Of course that’s exactly what I did. I began by telling her what an awesome job she was doing and that immediately brought a smile to her face. I spoke other encouraging words over her and not only did her countenance change but so did everyone else who was standing in line behind me. By the time I left the store, which was really only a matter of ten minutes, I was encouraged myself! Win, win.

encouragement-and-words-of-kindness

The kingdom of God is here, living inside of each and every one of us. It’s not supposed to remain there. It’s supposed to be shared, transplanted in dark places or even in people who have no hope left. We have the answers to all they need. When we encourage others we are bringing light into their current darkness and isn’t that where light belongs, in the dark places? Aren’t we to be messengers of hope? I believe encouragement can be (and is) a great big doorway into bringing the kingdom to earth and transforming our neighborhoods and cities; one kind encouraging word at a time.

Let’s purpose to do this and if you do, come back and tell me about it; I will be greatly encouraged too!

So go! Get out there and encourage someone, right now, today!