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Patience 101 from Failure 02

Patience 101 from Failure 02.

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy.  Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. 

Romans 12:12 TPT

Slow-Starting Saturdays

Patience from Failure 02

The morning was a slow-starting Saturday.  While Saturday isn’t necessarily my favorite day of the week, I love the sluggish starts that Saturday allows. Extra patience never needed, I appreciate staying home as I get in extra stretches and don’t feel rushed to jump into makeup or other confinements that make one presentable to society.  I donned a very comfy pair of pants befitting the brisk breezy conditions outside. Unlocking the kennel gate, I walked my impatient dog and then strolled to the coffee maker.

I always prefer my table cleared and covered with a black tablecloth that matches my window valence. This morning, however, the table was completely covered with baskets and cleaning products.  I’d heard sounds earlier in the morning that made me believe that I’d find it in this condition. I mentally prepared myself to have patience and be calm.  Sure enough, it was every bit as bad as I had imagined.

The Mess

I saw my husband leaning over the still-full washing machine messing with the red metal twisty thing behind the heavy machine (post-coffee known as a water valve shutoff handle).  I looked at the dusty mess covering my table and his general stiff demeanor. Clearly what he was discovering was going to cost time and resources.  The amount of the cost was yet undetermined.

 

I felt poised.  The last couple of loads had given me a warning message.  The message usually meant that the screen that filtered dirt from our well outside needed washing off. In bright red lights, it read F02.  Failure.  This is not a task that I can do myself. I always wait until my husband has free time to look at it and muscle the hose from the spicket. He’d just returned from a business trip the previous Tuesday, which coincided with the day I’d left town for a writer’s conference. The washer had been free from use and corresponding error message for a week.  It wasn’t until this lovely, lazy Saturday morning, that the problem resurfaced when he started a load before I’d even made it out of bed.

Oh, No!

I watched my husband work and waited quietly until he explained the problem he saw.  He stated that the valve itself had a leak and he was concerned about the impact of the leak on the sub-floor.  I followed my initial gasp quickly with an audible, “oh no!” It had been less than two years since we’d completely gutted the kitchen and laundry areas all the way down to the floor joists.  The job had been a considerable expense, and my husband and dad spent a great deal of time to complete the project.  I didn’t want to ever repeat that messy, inconvenient experience.  My husband grabbed his jacket and his keys and headed to our local home improvement store for the parts that he needed.

As I poured my cup of coffee, I felt a nudging of the Lord not to worry. I put aside thoughts of a damaged floor.  I sat down to allow the warm beverage to help soothe my body as the Lord’s words had soothed my soul.

It wasn’t much longer before Keith returned, new valves in hand.  He told me that He felt God speak to him on the way to town that our floor hadn’t been damaged.  I told him God spoke the same thing to my heart, as well!

Thankful in the Mess

I Am Thankful Patience

He quickly replaced the valve and tightened everything down.  I cleaned up the now-damp dust bunnies that covered the floor area where the washer rested for so long.  I began to think about all the things I was thankful for in this situation.  First, we hadn’t had to call a plumber.  Keith had been able to make the repairs himself much faster than I’d have thought possible.  Keith hadn’t hollered, busted his knuckles, or made guttural sounds of manly agitation at any point in the morning.  Secondly, I was thankful that the floor under the washer felt quite sound.  We’d made wise purchases when replacing the sub-floor, a couple of years previously, and that investment had paid off.  Thirdly, I had the opportunity to clean an area that had been quite neglected for two years.  I even found a missing gardening glove!

As I cleaned with all these pleasant thoughts in mind, I felt thankful for Keith.  I spoke those words to him as he put the washer back in place.  Then I spent the next little bit cleaning out the baskets of cleaning supplies that I kept on top and restarted the washer to finish the cycle from the last load.

Continuing with my morning cleaning, in a rare throw-it-away stage of mind, I heard beeping permeating my brain once again.  Sure enough, F02 clearly flashed on the window of the washing machine.  Failure.  Two choices were before me.  I could get irritated or I could be patient.  I chose the latter while I texted Keith to let him know.  Once again, I began the process of taking everything off the tops of the washer and dryer.  Laughing, I thought that at least everything was clean and more organized on top this time.  It certainly made the job easier.

My Confidence

Each time Keith adjusted part of the machine, I was confident that this latest action would be the one that would repair the washer.  I would place my non-skid mats back down on top of the washer and dryer, and return my baskets of gardening gloves, vegetable buckets, and cleaning supplies.  I’d love to say that it my great faith pushed me to return everything back in place so promptly. I must admit, however, that seeing my table covered in these items caused me feelings of tension.  I can hardly stand my things being out of place if it is in my ability to make them orderly.

By about the fifth time, I just left everything on the table.  Putting items back where they belonged wasted my valuable time.  The beeping sound and error F02 message still sounded each time the washer got to the final drain cycle.  It was almost a taunting noise – coming just when we thought we’d found success.  At this point, we decided Keith had done all he knew to do.  The machine was an old one, and it would be best to make the drive into town to investigate the models available for a replacement of the much-used washer.

The Trip

Washing Machine Patience

I got ready to go, trading the comfortable black lounge pants for more confining

blue jeans and quickly added some color to my face – all the things I prefer to avoid on Saturdays.  I laughed and chose not to get agitated or feel drained just because my washer wouldn’t.  We drove an hour into town.  After the sixth appliance store visit, however, I was tired.  Patience ceased to be a virtue in my possession. I believe there must be a rule that appliances must be located in the furthest possible point from the entrance and exit doors. I was tired of comparing prices, looking for the best deal, and trying to stretch my too-short arms into a too-deep washing machine drums. So when the sales clerk stated that she had a front-load washer in stock and would give us an amazing deal on it due to our extended wait, I was elated!

We walked back to the front of the store to pay, headed to the truck, and pulled around to the loading area.  We waited and waited, and then we waited some more.  No one came bearing anything resembling a washing machine box.  Keith returned to the customer service desk to discover that the washing machine we’d paid for was not in the store and would need to be ordered.  It would be in the following Friday.

I felt impatient with patience.  My desire to go home, watch Keith put in our new washer, and unload my table of its burdens outweighed all other thoughts.  I wanted to crawl into bed listening to the quiet hum of a new washer and feel the zero-vibration promise of the new washer, so unlike our older model that made the glasses in my china cabinet chatter.

My Choice

Looking into the eyes of my husband, hoping by some miracle that he could make this news not be true,  I decided that, again, I had a choice to make.  I could choose to vent my frustration on the hard-working clerk, or I could remember that she could very well walk into my church the very next day.  What would I do if she did?  Would my behavior embarrass me now and later, or would I choose to follow my husband’s patient lead?  I chose the latter.

Patience is not always an easy choice.  I suppose that if it were, everyone would do it.  There is a verse in the book of John in which Jesus stated that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33).  Today seemed to have been full of trouble and opportunities to lose my cool. But in true Jesus-fashion, He left us with the promise that we could have peace no matter the troubles we face, because He’d overcome the world.

No matter how things appear on the exterior, the inside of each human is full of emotions at various states of expression.  Some are aloof, some are relaxed, some are joyful.  Others are volatile or on edge – but there isn’t one person on the planet who doesn’t have emotions.  No matter the difficulties we face, it’s wise to remember there’s nothing more important than showing love to people.

Be Patient in Trouble

I don’t know that Sharon will remember the tired woman with the nearly-bruised ribs who reached into every washing machine on her sales floor. I’m unsure if she saw the man who pulled my husband and me into a prayer huddle on our way out the door.  I don’t know how many other people she’d served that day.  I’m not sure who had lost their patience with her when things didn’t work out as they planned.  Thankfully, I held my tongue in check when I felt my emotions edge toward impatience.

Romans 12:12 (TLB) reads, “Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.”  I often fall short in various troublesome situations, but the Word reminds me to be patient. God never fails to help us overcome failure. Patiently hold to the hope of His purposes.

God never fails to help us overcome failure. Patiently hold to the hope of His purposes.

Tonight, as I avoid looking at the pile of baskets, cleaning supplies, and gardening gloves on my table, I thank God for the beeping of Failure 02.  We escaped serious, costly damage to our laundry floor because we discovered a leaking valve. We now own a new, much-needed washer replacing the broken one. I have a husband who sets the standard high when I feel my own emotions slipping.

What a blessing to have a friend we’d not seen in years pray over us!  It didn’t matter that he did so right in the middle of the front aisle of a home-improvement store!  I feel incredibly thankful for the messages of love God constantly pours over me through His Word and His people.  I’m thankful for the attainability of patience.  Like love, patience is a choice.

The Choice is Yours

In conclusion, I want to encourage you to choose patience if you are dealing with something frustrating.  There is a song by Hillsong Music, titled “Elohim” (2016) which declares that God’s promises will never fail even when we are in a trial. The song goes on to say that God is patient because God is love.  This refers to the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that declares that “love is patient.” (Click the title to play this amazingly peaceful song.  Music often sets the atmosphere and helps us achieve a more patient outlook on our experiences.)

Look for the things about your situation which are positive. Also listen to see if God is trying to speak to you, even in the midst of difficulty. God constantly whispers comforting confidence into the hearts of His children bringing calm to the chaos. I recently wrote an article about God speaking in the strangest ways. Read the article when you have time. But most importantly, hold on steadfastly. Be persistent.  Our failures are not permanent and God will not fail you. Choose patience and joy. Focus on the opportunities God may be bringing your way. Remember Romans 12:12: “Be happy in your hope. Do not give up when trouble comes. Do not let anything stop you from praying” (NLV).

We can learn patience even from moments of frustration or failure.  Patience 101 is a prayer away.

God constantly whispers comforting confidence into the hearts of His children bringing calm to the chaos.

References:

Sampson, M. (2016). Elohim [Recorded by Hillsong Music]. On Let There Be Light [CD]. Brentwood, Tennessee: Capital Christian Music Group.

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The Storm Dream

Storm Dream Tree Dreams Healing Cancer Believing for a Miracle

The Dream

Two nights ago, I had a dream.  In the dream, a storm was coming.  I was trying to batten down the hatches.  The wind was blowing.  The storm was dark.  I could see a tornado forming when I looked out of the front of the house.  I knew that my husband and two teenage boys were outside in the office.

There is a black iron dinner bell that hangs beside my front door in lieu of a doorbell. I ring it when I want the boys to come inside.  In my dream, I grabbed the chain attached to the clapper of the bell beside the house.  I pulled the chain and the bell moved back and forth, but I couldn’t get it to make any sounds.  The bell wouldn’t ring out, so there was no warning my husband and the boys of the storm.

I started screaming for them.  The effects of the wind was intense against my frame.  I could see how dark it was.  The tornado was just beyond our property line and we didn’t have much time to get to safety.   In my dream, I could see the trees being pulled up by the massive storm in front of me. I could see the tops of them rising out of the ground from the roots like they were carrots being pulled from a row.

Surrounded

I could see two other twisters swirling on the right side of our property.  There was danger from every side. I stood in front of the deck on the walkway, screaming at my husband and children to come inside the house to safety.  I could see my husband through the office window.  He seemed unperturbed by the storm, though he was aware of it.  It was like the three boys weren’t going to come out into the storm so that they could go to the safest place (inside the house) to hunker down.

At my persistence, my youngest son came out of the office.  He came toward me and the front deck.  The wind was howling around me and my clothes were flailing around me.  I was screaming for my son to quickly get inside.

Next, my oldest son came out of the office building beside the house.  He could see his little dog JJ out in the storm, and he grabbed him on the way inside.  Finally, my husband left the office and headed toward me.  We went inside the house and were all together as a family – my husband and me, both our boys, and both of our dogs.

Hunkering Down in the Storm

The storm was intense outside.  I didn’t have time to text my friends to get them to pray.  Not everything in the house was closed tightly like I’d have wanted it, but there was no time to fix any of that. I just wanted to stay low and remain safe – hunkering down and waiting out the storm, praying for our safety.

As I heard the storm wailing around our property, however, something inside me stirred.  It was like that storm was going to stay right there if I didn’t do something about it.  But what could I do against a tornadic storm?  Then I thought about what Jesus did in a storm.  I knew I had to speak to that storm.  I ran to the kitchen, which faces the rear of our property.

Speaking to the Storm

Standing at the window, I started screaming at the storm as it seemed to be circling the property.  I was telling the storm to go away in the name of Jesus.  I spoke that it had no right to be on my property and commanded the winds to cease.

The storm diminished slightly, and the confidence in my authority seemed to grow as the danger lessened.  Instead of just hunkering down, something inside surged.  I began to get angry that the storm had dared even threaten my family.  Before my eyes, the black, purple, and green storm clouds formed the shape of an angry, cloudy witch.  It felt demonic.  It was terrifying to see.  I continued commanding it to get off my property.  I spoke that it had no authority here, and it began to dissipate instantly.

After the Storm

As soon as the storm left, I heard a knock at my front door.  I went to the front of the house and opened the door.  It was the devil.  (Keep in mind that this was a dream.  I have no idea what the devil looks like, but in the dream, I knew exactly who it was.)

The devil looked like a dark, eerie mist.  Almost like the storm that had just left, only intense and thick right in front of me – like it could be touched.  I was trying to claw at him and fight him.  I kept closing the front door but he kept coming back.  Using my fists, I would swing at him, but it was like my arms got tangled in my shirt somehow and my punches were not swinging fully.  He then turned into flesh.  It was like he thought it was hilarious, my feeble attempts to hit him.  I bit at his chin and tore off chunks of flesh.  I scratched his arms.  But nothing I did hurt him, and it was like he was laughing at me.

Then I realized I was fighting him the wrong way.  I didn’t have time to get out my Bible, but I had to recall Scripture to fight with.  I began to use Scripture, but had a hard time thinking of any.  He continued to laugh.  My mind was coming up blank, and I was terrified.

I woke up at 1:43 a.m.

Making Sense of the Dream

God doesn’t waste anything, especially not something as precious as our time.   We spend a lot of time sleeping, and I know that Father God always wants to commune with us.  Prayer, after all, was His idea.  Because I know this, I try to always write my dreams down, in case the Lord is trying to show me something, warn me about something, or just communicate with me.

This is not an original idea.  All through Scripture you find story after story of God speaking to people.  In Acts 18, after Paul is opposed by the Jews, he goes to share the message of Jesus to the Gentiles in Corinth.  God speaks to Paul in a dream, telling him to remain there to preach as he would be safe (Acts 18:9).

Though I don’t always know what my dreams mean or what He might be trying to communicate, if anything, I look at them to see what He might be speaking.  This dream was very different, however.  As soon as I woke up, I realized that God was speaking to me through the dream and I knew exactly what He was telling me.

The Lord immediately spoke to me of the importance of being in His Word every day.  How can we expect to victoriously defeat the enemy when we aren’t hiding the Word in our heart?  We will have no sword to wield if we aren’t in the Word.  The devil has to flee at our resistance, but we have to be equipped.

God Speaks because He Loves Us

When I woke, I did not feel condemned, but convicted.  Like most people, I get busy – teaching, taking care of the house and the children, researching and creating things, writing, cooking – all noble callings.  I also spend time on Facebook and watching TV when I’ve wanted to decompress.  Those are not necessarily bad things, either.  But how much time am I spending in the Word?  How many times have I disregarded the notices that come on my phone to take 10 minutes to read Scripture and meditate on the Word?

Sword, Bible, Word, Dream, Cancer, Scripture, Healing, Believing for a MiracleHe wants us, His children, to be equipped.  It is not because He wants us to be afraid of the enemy or of the storms of life, but so that we will have a way to FIGHT them!  We fight them with the Word of God.  And there isn’t always time to text or call a friend to ask them to pray – to battle for you.  Sometimes you must act fast and take on the battle for yourself, to defend yourself, your family, your home.

His Love for Us is Personal

God was even specific about the time He woke me up from the dream.  143 might not mean anything to anyone else, but it means a lot to my family.  My husband often sends me the message 143.  For us, it means “I love you.”  God knew that I would recognize the time.  He wasn’t waking me up at 1:43 to scare me, but to tell me that He loves me and wants to spend time with me.

God wants to speak to me.   There are probably other nuances of things in the dream that He is saying if I took the time to really pray it through and ask Him.  I am only writing about the big picture – the very first thing He spoke to me upon my waking.

But God wants to equip me for the storms of life.  He wants to equip me to be a warrior who will victoriously overcome the enemy no matter what form he comes in.  God doesn’t always want me to hunker down and just endure the storms of life.  He wants me to stand up against the storms and speak to them with the authority Christ died to give me.

He wants that for you, too!

 

Connect and Learn More!

Connect with Holly on Twitter or Facebook.  How is God speaking to you?  You can also receive more encouragement when you read her new book, Believing for a Miracle – available on Kindle and in paperback.  Stay up to date with the book release by clicking here.

Read about using the gifts God gave you in the post, What’s in Your Hand?