Furious Love

I wanted to share a experience that I had last night
For those of you who have already seen it, you’ll probably understand what I mean… for those of you who haven’t, please, put this movie on your priority list.

Last night, I got to watch the documentary “Furious Love”
the sequel to “Finger of God”, which I know some of you are familiar with.

Basically it is one mans journey into the evilest corners of society to test the lengths, depths and height of God’s love.

What a humbling, breaking reminder for me that there in NEVER EVER ANYTHING more important than LOVE, and that there is NEVER EVER anyone more important then the one in front of your eyes in your current moment.

It is all, and was only, ever, all about love.

After crying for alot of the night, and asking God to expose the darkest parts still in my heart, it has become absolutely urgent to me to do anything I need to walk in this love.
To learn this love, and to become this love.

The first thing that came to me was to refresh myself on my BLESS keys.
These keys have been the one thing that have time and time again, effectively re-focused me.

They have brought me back to a place where I was able to freely move in the love of God, freely and unhindered.

The truth is, no matter how long we have been walking with God, it is far too easy for the concerns of this world and the heaviness of the daily daily’s to wear us thin.

After refreshing myself in my keys, the next thing urgent on my heart is a time of prayer and fasting.

I have a particular purpose in mind, but if anyone would like prayer, or would like to join me in prayer, drop me a note.

The next thing that rose up in my heart was the urgency to make the BLESS keys available to as many people as possible.
The more of us free of “ourselves” and walking in God’s supernatural love, the better.

That brings us to this “quick” note~

The May I BLESS You’s 100% guarantee is still as is.
You will never lose a cent on May I BLESS You… ever….
But what will happen is that you will be challenged to become all that God always designed you to be. Far beyond anything you ever dreamed.

Don’t get caught up in the drudgery of your daily’s, folks.
Let this summer be a summer of soaring into all that God has for you!

I will be updating my blog over the weekend.
The past 3 months have been quite a journey for me, I have grown in areas I have never dreamed and I am beginning to write about the several supernatural healings I have had in my life.

I love you,
Jo

Irene’s Day

 

I opened the little card.
It was addressed  “Joanne Smith, c/o Neepawa Furniture Centre”.
With the words  “PRIVATE!  Confidential!!” written in large shaky handwriting across the front.

It was a little THANK-YOU card.
It had come from Irene, and it was an answer to prayer.

Her husband, Thomas, had died a month ago,  and I hadn’t heard from her since.

Part of me wondered if our friendship, which had been built around Thomas, will now dissolve.
A lot of me hesitated to contact her, because of the obvious upheaval her life would now be in, but also, secretly, because I felt an enormous weight over Thomas’ death.

I had to lay many what-if’s at the foot of the cross over my darling Thomas;  many questions I will never have an answer to on this side of the pearly gates.

But, here it was in my hand.

A lovely little note, thanking me for the flowers, the support during Thomas’ illness and an invitation for tea.

Today was TEA DAY.

As I drove out to Irene’s,  I reminded myself of what this was about, and why I was doing this.
I went over my BLESS keys in my head. I prayed them.

Yes, I pray them.
They are not just a “to-do-list” of proper behavior or etticate.
No,  they are keys that can supernaturally release the power of the Spirit of God in your life.

I know me.  I know that all I would want to do during  during tea, would be talk.
I would want  to talk about me. I would want to talk about my world, my problems.

If I let it, I would make this entire visit all about numero uno.

But Irene is a gift. Irene is a divine set-up.  Irene was my purpose for today.

So, today,  I chose to put me, myself and I to the side, and make Irene “numero uno’

BLESS does that. BLESS has trained me to do that so easily!

And the best part of  BLESS keys is that, not only was I able to love on Irene, but  none of me felt like I was missing a thing!  I never feel begrudged when I placed myself “second”.

I never feel like I have “missed out”, or “not been heard” anyway shape or form.

The beauty of this is that when the steps are working, I am the one that walks away floating on air.

Strange, I know, but completely true.

God meet me, by being a blessing to Irene!

What an amazing day!  What an amazing woman!

Thank you God for Irene!!

I LOVE HER!

Mending Bridges and Kindling Friendships

 

Today seems to be turning into visiting day.

So far (and its only nicely 2pm) I have been able to reconnect with 4 people who have been burning a hole in  my mind.

One of which was one of those conversations I had been avoiding, simply because it was going to be hurtful news, and I hate being the bearer of bad news.

I should have dealt with it in September, but I didn’t.  
Now, of course,  the prolonging made it ever worse.  I was very nervous.

I sat in my truck and went thru my key steps before popping thru his door.

Unfortunately, my most natural reaction would be to make sure I came out of this pending conversation looking “justified’. 
I had been avoiding this conversation, and everything inside me had already condemned myself over it.
The need to defend me, grew each day I dodged the inevitable.

My oh my, how I needed to put that down before I sat with this man.

Remember Key #2, Jo. My stuff is taken care of; I am just “fine” and  this is about me, anymore.

I am now in a moment, and that moment is all about letting the love of God flow thru me to this man so something can be restored between us.

Only my BLESS keys could have prepared me to keep my nasty ego, and pride out of the way.

This was no longer about the choice that was made  months ago. It was now about the person at the other end of my choice.

I do believed he felt the love of God when we were done.
I hope he was left encouraged and inspired.

It went well,  I almost feel there is now room for fresh growth in our friendship because of it, and for that I am thankful.

The next was a sweet phone conversation, one from a dear sweet lady, who I knew was slso in alot of pain.  
I only had 2 minutes with her, but those 2 minutes could be enough to change someones day entirely.  She invited me for a visit, and I will go Monday. 

Then there was the coffee lunch. Ah yes, a surprise coffee for another dear sweet hurting lady. You should have seen the tears in her eyes when I showed up! 

I love how this stuff works.

There are so many people out there, just wanting to “connect” with someone, andwe need to be free in heart enough to do it. 
 We need to be in a secure enough place that the minutes we have with these people leave them wiht something impacting.
Our times together need to be all about them, loving on them and encouraging them.

The fourth re-connect was a short text from a darling girl, who I was hoping would want to stay connected with me and pursue a friendship. 
I guess she does.

We are doing lunch next week.

I work with  my keys, in each and every interaction, and with  each person my path crosses.

Reminding myself that God is the author of my faith and that my life is now His.
That each of these people are of immense value and a gift to me from Him.

Each of them I set myself aside and absolutely flourished in the moment.
I have learned to watch their face, and adore them.

I give them the entire moment we are in.
My thoughts and heart are all theirs.

Because it is all about the moment and that person in that moment.
They are the only person that existed in that time, and I felt such a huge love well up inside of me.

How free to be able to love someone unconditionally. How awesome to know that is how Jesus responds with me.

Family Drama Christmas Style~ Turkey, Stuffing & Stuff

 

Ah Christmas.
Tis the season for cascades of twinkling lights, the scent of the evergreen and cinnamon, everything chocolate and of course, the family drama..

Our traditional Christmas meal includes turkey, potatoes, stuffing and STUFF!

Amongst the twinkling lights, we have the fireworks.

Don’t get the wrong idea.  We are by no means nasty, violent folks.
My family isn’t  drinkers and gamblers and buffoons, and even with our variety of  personality quirks, there is tremendous love and support.

But the one personality trait that is consistent in all of us is our immense aversion to confrontation.

My mom, my brothers, and yes (believe it or not) even moi, can beautifully dance around a situation for as long as it takes to successfully avoid it.

So as things have it, when we all get together at holiday shing digs, things happen, or most likely don’t happen, which ever way you want to look at it.
Opinions and thoughts that should clash, don’t, and things that should be said, stay silent.

Instead nothing happens. Nothing moves forward and nothing changes.

The truth is this family needs a break.
It needs something to break.
A very big break, the sooner the better.

Well, this year the big break presented itself at Christmas dinner, with “Suggestion X”.

“Suggestion X’ is the  idea that was dropped into someone’s heart by God, and brought to the table as an option for all to consider.

“Suggestion X” is brilliant.
“Suggestion X” really is the change and the answer that this family needs.

“Suggestion X” was shot out of the water.
Boom!!
It was “Crazy” and “never gonna happen”. Period. Never to be discussed again.

So what does all this have to do with “May I BLESS You” and walking the keys out in my life?

I was the one who’s heart “Suggestion X” was dropped into.

I was the one who was shot out of the water.
Boom.

It has now been a  few days later since the shooting,  its New Years Day and mom is on her way over for dinner.

And I know in the privacy of our quiet dinner, I know I’m going to hear things.
Things that I am going to need to know how to respond properly too.

I am mom’s closest confidant, whether or not I want to be.

Mom did not like the idea of “Suggestion X”.
It made her very uncomfortable. Perhaps,  fearful.

Tonight, I am going to have the opportunity to speak hope and life to her. Sweetly and gently.

This is where I work my BLESS keys.

Because of them, I have become confident enough to be able to put aside any need to be right.
There is no room for ego or agendas.

Because of these precious keys, I have become secure enough to not have to argue a point.

There will be no fireworks tonight.
There will be no power struggle over what is right or who is wrong.
It will never get to that.

Nope, because God has already begun a deep work in this family. It is His work.

Being solid in the BLESS keys, help me keep “me” out of the way so God can continue to do His work successfully.

So I slip away for a few minutes and quietly work the keys in my heart before dinner.
And I share this with you.

I am asking and believing God for a heart of exceptional love tonight.

I am expecting for my mouth to be full of the right things to say.
Words of life and encouragement.

Words of wisdom and the knowledge to know when to speak and when to shut up.

Words that will give mom the sense of security and love that she may need.

That she will feel safe in the love of God and the hope God has promised each and every one of us.

She’s walking through the door.

Thank you for your prayers.

Breaking the Mama’s Heart

Her eyes were dancing as she proudly announced her big news…
“Next year we are going to get a place together”

My heart skipped a beat, (ok, several)  but my face tried not to show it.

I hadn’t even met this boyfriend of 4 months.

Good grief girl! You’re only 18!
What in the world are you thinking!!

But the deep profound wisdom of Thumper the rabbit ran through my mind.
“If you can’t say nuthin nice, don’t say nuthin at all”

But really!
What is a mommy to do?!

My first response was self condemnation. It comes way to frequently to me.
I guess I’m an easy target.

Somehow, this had to be my failure.
Obviously I did not do something right!

The girl was raised in church,  we had family devotionals, she went to camp, youth convention…

Had I not made my opinion on purity and the importance of marriage clear?

I think there’s even a copy of I Kissed Dating Goodbye somewhere around here.
I think I even read it. I think we even read it TOGETHER~

But  the heartbreaking truth was that this child had fought me, and all that was important to our home for longer than I remember.

Every part of me wanted to writhe and flail.
I might have been keeping my tongue from exploding, but my mind was doing somersaults.

I wanted to grab her and some how magically, brilliantly enunciate to her how every choice has a consequence and usually sooner more than later.

I wanted to explain to her that living together is a death kiss to self-respect, honour and the relationship.

I wanted her to understand how passions of the flesh may be thrilling at first, but soon it leaves you an empty shell.

I wanted her to look at me, see the light go on in her eyes, and have her say “oh, thank you mommy… I never knew that”, kiss me on the cheek and go dump the boy.

But I didn’t. And she didn’t.

Truth was, she had heard this all before in the past 18 years, and she is choosing to see it as unimportant information for her life right now.

I may have been standing on the outside, but inside I was crumbling.

Ok, here I am.. I’m in a moment…I remind myself.

I want to scream, run and cry… but I don’t.

I’ve been trained.  I know my keys and I work my tools.

I remind myself of who the  God of the universe says my daughter is.
Those promises I had already put before my eyes,  I screamed them outloud in my heart.

This is her! This is the TRUTH!

Bible scriptures that I memorized since she was a wee thing, And I choose to believe it.

I remind myself of what God tells me about my family and his promises
She does have a destiny to fill and she is precious.

Next I remind myself how much I love her.
I love her so much I ache.

I love her so much that, since she moved out on her own, I lay awake at night think about how much I love her.
But still compared to my tiny love,  how hugely God loves her.

And him, Yes, him… This boy with out a face

This boy who has stolen my daughters heart, and bewitched her.

Yes, he too is loved hugely.
Loved beyond anything he could ever comprehend and now, for however long, he is part of my world.
Now, he must be loved by me. He is a son, a precious son, who also has a destiny but who does not know who he is.
He has been lied to and stolen from.

I find my heart softening.
God please provide me opportunities to help him learn who he truly is.
God please, use me to love him.

Yes, the opportunities will come.  God has promised me.
I have to love him, and  her, with all that is not in me, but with all that is in Him.
I have to be His hands and feet to do that. Can I do it?

This is my baby… this could be such a heart wrenching disaster for her.

Can I extend grace so that this boy can encounter a living real God?
Do I know this real living God well enough to show him?

Can I love her in my own personal heartbreak and disappointment.

Its His kindness that leads to repentance. Romans 2:4

I stood looking at this young woman before me.
She was standing beside the Christmas tree that I use to find her slithering under at nights, trying to peek at the presents.
The same tree that we sat around and sung songs,  prayed for each other and took communion.

While the wrestle inside seemed like forever, but it was only a moment, then peace rose up in me.

I was still in “Thumper” mode; Bless key #3 was working well; I’m keeping my mouth shut!
But Bless Key #1 and 2,  had been working quietly in my heart.

Yes, repentance will come.Yes, she will serve God.
Yes, he will encounter the hands and feet and love of God.

Yes, somehow in this and in my family God will get the glory.

What about Key #4 and 5?
Would I actually be able to love on and put this young man first?  Could anything possibly be sown into his heart that would touch him?  Can I, the protective mommy-bear do that? Or would I chew him up and spit him out?

Well, I will have to meet this young man first.
But now I find  myself strangely  excited.

I keep thinking of ways to bless him. Christmas was over. Was there anything under the tree for him? Oh Jo!!! How could I have forgotten!!
Is it too late to run out?

Out!  Yes, out!  Maybe start with an evening out?
Yes! Supper and a movie for everyone.
Brilliant! How fun!

I can’t wait.

That is what these keys do, folks.
They will change you. Right before your eyes. They will free you from anger and heartache.

You can have peace no matter what you are facing AND the tools to change what you are facing.

When you let these keys work your heart triumphs over anything.

It is power beyond anything on earth.

I didn’t condone her decision. I’m sure she knew I wouldn’t.
But I was humbled that she chose to be honest with me.

When my words finally came, I know it gave her courage as she left  to step out again into that big scary world she is trying to find her place in.

“Baby girl, I love you no matter what. Merry Christmas”

On a Fast Road to Hell

 

If a man was on a fast road to hell, is there anyway to turn him around in a hurry?

I still hear those words just as clear in my ears as I did that morning.
I can hear his thin, frail voice and I can see his eyes staring at me in absolute terror.
His face was hollow, and white with an oxygen tube out of each side of his nose.
Thomas clenched my hand with strength that should not have been in such a tiny body.

“Bob So-and-So had to go on oxygen and once they put you on that, its just a matter of time” Thomas informed me,
“If a man was on a fast road to hell, is there any way to turn him around in a hurry?”

My heart sank and as quick as it sank, it leaped for joy, “Oh yes, Thomas,”I grinned from ear to ear “ it is so easy and you don’t have to be afraid of anything ever again!”

Tears ran down his cheek.

We all have Thomases in our lives.
One day, when we expect nothing but they ordinary, they just walk in, and our ordinary has suddenly  taken on the resemblance of something  of purpose.

We aren’t quite sure what to do with them or why they are there.

But we do believe there is a reason, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the reason isn’t about us.
God is the most purposeful being there is, whether it’s a someone or a something, when our lives are His own,  there is significance in the insignificant.

I met Thomas 9 months ago in the  spring.
He was a dear sweet unassuming man, but wise in the simple things of country life.
His sweetness had a humor about it that would make me grin ear-to-ear, a little mischievous, and brilliantly witty.
You would find your self caught between wanting to hug him or slug him.
Mostly I wanted to hug him.

Thomas was a man with little time on the clock. He had several heart attacks, and was in and out of the hospital regularly with close calls.
He was a man that did not want to die.
He was desperate to live and that is how we met.

Thomas invited me to be his nutritional consultant (the other hat I wear) to see if I could find any flaws and glitches in his diet that may be stealing valuable years of life.

I found Thomas, doing everything right, and then some.
He raised his own chickens, ground his own flour and dug the dandelions out of his yard for salads.

This man ate better than I did, and the brutal truth was that his 88 years old body was just wearing out.

On a professional level, there was nothing I could do for Thomas.
How badly he wanted to throw away the rainbow of pills that he was taking every day.

But as a nutritionist, by law, I could not even discuss his medical condition with him, just his food.

All summer, I drove out to visit Thomas and his wife, mostly asking myself why.
Sometimes grumbling to myself.   More often, however, just praying.
There was nothing I could say or do that would turn back this man’s days.

Only a miracle from God.

I explained that to him, but still he wanted to see me.

So I would drive out early on my mornings off for a house call. The one hour consultation would turn into a morning of tea and bran muffins, and I found myself telling him to put his wallet away when time came for me to leave.

I would tell him to keep doing what he was doing, and there was nothing I could teach him anymore;  my service was now a friendship.

He would smile delighted, and ask me to come back soon.  Come early in the morning, but not before 6.

I would leave, discouraged and heartbroken, like I was failing him, and thinking of all the “better” things I could be doing with my  one morning to myself.

Our odd little friendship continued to blossom.
Thomas would go into the hospital, and as soon as he was out, I’d receive a call from his wife, asking for a visit.

Visit we did.

My  son, who has a wonderful knack with the elderly, would come to.

Trevor would captivate them with all his profound 12 year old knowledge and dimples. Personally, I think the dimples charmed them more than his knowledge.
Trevor took a particular fancy to Thomas’s  chickens, and Thomas loved to share stories about “the flock”

Shortly before winter, “the flock” came home to roost with Trevor and mom, when Thomas and Irene decided to leave the farm for  an apartment.

Thomas was obviously displeased at the thought of leaving home and  of the apartments.  “All those people and all those germs”. But I never saw him complain or refuse.   He would just have to take more garlic, he would say.

I believe his love and support of Irene and her decisions was far to strong.
They would go together, what ever may come.

Thomas was  scared to die.
Although he made jokes about cheating death, it was breathing down his neck, and Thomas knew it.  Fear emanated out of him.

It was during these drives out to Thomas’ that I would let my mind work through my BLESS steps.

I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do, or what to say anymore.
But I did know that this man and his wife were in my life for a reason and I had to keep my heart ready.

Off of myself, my thoughts and my plans and ready for what ever God wanted to do.

The beauty of the 5 keys in  BLESS is that they prepare you to do that.

With these keys you are trained to  be ready for when the insignificant significant invades your world.

You are prepared, and while you may not know exactly what to do, you will have all the tools and guide lines that will lead you.

With BLESS I have learned to effectively give God my hands, my words and my heart.
And I trust that He uses them exactly as He desires.

Because of BLESS I can have confidence that I am making a difference in the live of everyone who crosses my path. Whether I ever see the evidence of it.

I know God did that in Thomas’ life.

I believed God would use me and speak through me and touch him. I let my heart open up to fall hopelessly in love with this little man and his wife, and trusted the love of God flowing through me to captivate and  draw them.

Because I now know how to BLESS, I know that every thing I do and say is seasoned with the power of life.

I was just planning to sit down and write a Christmas card to Thomas and Irene, when I received the news.
Thomas stepped into eternity yesterday. December 9, ironically my son’s birthday. My heart broke into a million pieces.  I shocked myself at the thought of how much I will miss him and how much I loved him.

Over the last few visits Thomas let me pray for him.  I think he realized only God could heal him, and prayer was his last option.

When he begged me for a way to turn him “from his fast road to hell”, I had the honour of praying for him.
Sadly, Thomas could never find the courage to pray with me.
It is a question that I will carry until I, too, walk over into eternity.

I must be real with you at this point, dear ones, there are many times when we may never know what God has done with and because of us.
We may very well have to walk out our own days wondering.

You will have nagging questions as I will always have that question in my heart about Thomas.

But what you learn in BLESS will anchor you to a confidence and a peace you have never dreamed, so that the questions never become unbearable.

Tears streamed down Thomas’ face and he marveled at the simplicity of the “good news’ and the saving love of the Father.
“Thank you” he smiled softly “now I have something I would like to give to you…. a hug”

Its funny how you always think you will have the chance for that one last visit.

I had mentally prepared one more appeal to convince Thomas to trust God.
But tomorrow is not something promised to any of us.

It is the one thing that Thomas has forever changed in me.

I am thankful for it.

I am humbled because of it.

I will never look at my minutes, days and moments the same.
They are an immense precious gift.
A gift that many would desperately do anything to have more of, as Thomas did.

Bless you Thomas.  You made a difference to me.

man feeding chickens

Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

How do I get this Love?  How do I use this Love?

And the questions of all questions,
could it really be genuine coming through someone like me?

I needed to understand.

I desperately wanted to become that person that would be so filled
with the love of God that it would just ooze.

I wanted to somehow, in some way, make some sort of difference,
no matter how unseen, in lives that crossed my path.

But the ugly reality remained; I fell horribly short.

When I was quiet and honest before God, I would find my heart
being occupied with yours truly; my worries, my plans,
my thoughts, mine and mine alone.

I knew it wasn’t how it should be, I knew from all my years studying and
enjoying the Lord that was not what He wanted for me.

Forget what He wanted for me, it is not what He requires of me.


***************************************************


My reality was, that this ugly stuff was inside me,
ready to pop up without any warning what so ever.

When I looked at what I should have been,
I would have curled up in a ball in discouragement and quit except for one thing.

When you receive this, His command to walk in the same
unconditional love stops being impossible.


******************************************


You will be equipped to love them as He loves them.
With complete adoration.
With so much passion you could sing and dance.

It is true.
It is happening to me, daily
They will see love in your eyes; hear it in your voice.

When you are face to face.  You will be captivated.
They will be the most important person in the world in that moment.

Your plans, your worries, pains, pre-occupations
will be the furthest thing from your mind.

You will see only them and you will see all of them.
Every moment of everyday.
Every encounter.

Your own busyness will slow down and
you will see these people as they really are.

Broken and precious.

Your thoughts will be no longer consumed with yourself.

You will take all of you up to the foot of that cross,
turn your back and walk away.

You knew you were not your own, but now you know you are safe.

You are free to give love away, fearlessly.