Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crossing the Jordan River

I love the visual map of thinking of my spiritual  journey to the Promised Land  as a trip that began when I left Egypt(salvation) and trekked across the desert.  I am going to skip the trip details for now and concentrate on my journey just across the Jordan.  Yes, how I got to that point is just as important but the decision to let God take me across that river into my earthly Promised Land is what I have been thinking a lot about lately.  On February 3, 2004 (2/3/04) Mike and I flew home from Naples, Florida.  On that flight we both signed a statement of resolve or a covenant if you will that basically said, "LORD, we promise to lay down alcohol for the rest of our lives on this earth.  We know that this will be difficult but we know You are calling us to this.  We will definitely need You to help us.  We can not do this on our own.  We sign this today not knowing what life will look like from here but we believe that you will guide us down this road."  And we signed it.  It was difficult to do and much thought and wrestling went into the decision.  It was by far the scariest thing we had done to date with our God.  All I can say five years later is that I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.  I know we have seen the favor of God in this new "land" and He has been undeniably gracious and generous.  I truly believe that had we not "crossed over" we would have the love of God but not the favor and opportunities He has blessed us with.  It seems to me that most likely in every one's life they will come to this river and decide if they will indeed allow God to usher them over.  I think that it is a very difficult thing for each individual to exercise their faith at this place.  I know it was for us.  We actually wrestled for over two years from the first time I heard God calling me to lay the thing down.  I was in Cincinnati with Mike's office staff along with some friends who were at the Living Proof Live Event with Beth Moore at the US Bank Arena in July 2002.  At the beginning of the conference she talked about how God would have us "lay some things down."  I KNEW He was speaking to me about alcohol.  I also had just read how George W. Bush quit drinking on his 40th birthday.  I was just about to turn 40.  I whined in my Spirit about how I thought God was calling me to do the same at age 40.  Yeeesh!  Not what I wanted to hear at all.  Mike and I cut way back after all of this and by Christmas of 2003 we didn't drink at all.  However, we reserved the right to drink on very special occasions.  We basically did what God wanted with some strings attached.  But on our trip to the Ritz Carlton in Naples at the end of Jan., 2004, we had some wine with dinner.  And God began to speak.  Through food cooked in a clay pot (Lev 6:28), dolphins that came to within 5 feet of the shore, a mysterious fog that came out of nowhere as we walked on the beach.  And an awful "oppression" that set in to the point that I knew something was not right.  We made the connection and on our last night there and we did not drink.  I was so stinkin' mad and in a horrible mood at dinner.  The next day on our flight home is when we signed the deal with God.  There is some kind of accountability factor when you make a promise or vow to God and then sign a statement of resolve to not drink EVER again in this lifetime.  Literally, a reverence, respect and healthy fear of the LORD serves as a reminder of just Who you are dealing with.  Enough said.  We were motivated because we had signed on the dotted line.  Very scary.  The first year was the most difficult but we did it.  Two months after our commitment we went to an AAOS meeting in San Francisco but not without traveling first to one of my favorite places on the planet--Carmel, as in Pebble Beach Golf, as in Spanish Bay Resort.  I was concerned if we could resist out in Cali but we did it!  On our one year anniversary of not drinking,  God blessed us with a painting for our bedroom.  I had seen this painting several months before at an art show in Central Park.  But Mike was out of town and I didn't want to buy it without his opinion.  Just so happened, God timed it so we would buy it and pick it up on the one year anniversary.  And it just so happened to look like Naples, FL, but with a river which I am calling the "Jordan River" to symbolize our crossing.  (No Transjordanian holding  back here!) He is so into dates and anniversaries and "showing up" to reveal His love to us.  Looking back, I know it was important for us to stop drinking alcohol.  When Jason died in Feb. 2006, God was our sustainer.  I know we would have headed straight for the wine upon hearing the news of his  tragic death but it wasn't to be because GOD was all we needed!!!  Psalm 4:7 says, "You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound."  This, my friend, is soooo true!!

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