Letters Between Sisters

April 29

Dear Jess,

Lots of feelings roll around inside. I know you know! It’s all the stuff our hearts have shared as sisters of one Heavenly Father all these many years.

You the lengthier in faith, I’ve always looked up to you for direction. I have in the past downright demanded you to assist me with my angst of doing faith wrong. (Ha ha – like chasing you down the elementary school hallway and into the Media Center, ignoring all your attempts to shoo me away!)

And then again there’s been a couple of rare moments when I believe I’ve gone a few steps before you! Ha… rare moments indeed. However, regardless of the season, whether faith, parenting, marriage, relocation and now grand-parenting, God has been faithful to connect us at just the right times for mutual encouragement.

You know, almost as much I, about God calling me and my dear man out to the desert. I’ve tried in desperation sometimes to find the words to describe what He has shown me in my imagination. At times, in the most recent years, I’ve shared tears of fear and angst, anger and frustration as I felt helpless to find the appropriately descriptive words to help you (along with the most important people in our lives) see the path on which we tread.

How does one see into God’s vision for a life path and then form earthly broken words to adequately communicate His way?

All I know to do is to go back to His words. Read them. Repeat them. Memorize them until they come out of my mouth as my very own vocabulary. And pray that He will help me communicate His invisible voice in a fact-based scientific world.

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Psalm 86:11

And then one day as I lamented the ridiculous idea that we could ever pull up 34-year-old roots and transplant them in the arid desert on the other side of the country; you answered me with His words. Words that fed my heart and filled my mind with possibility.

“Two fish and five loaves are more than enough to get a miracle started.”

Jess, you heard from His Spirit the answer I needed to take the next step of obedience, and you spoke the manna to me out of your own obedience to Him. These few words still carry me and sometimes are the total of my ability to comprehend this past year.

Please let me hear from you so I can know how you, too, are experiencing Him as you walk your own desert path. I look forward to your thoughts through words.

Thank you, Jess. Thanks doesn’t seem enough, but between sisters…you know…I love you.

Lisa

~~~~~

April 30

Lisa,

In answer to this comment in your recent letter, “When we first met I was chasing you down really demanding that you teach me in spiritual things.”

It is true, you did chase me down and you collided with an intercessor who was happy in the secret place. You collided with a Mother who walked her daughter into school every single morning. Making herself slightly known by the teacher.

And then it happened, you pursued me at the Bookfair to get with you about Moms in Touch. You wanted to gather women to pray.

I was not coming…so I set out to spook you. “I’m a signs and wonders type of girl, so I will go pray for that! A sign and a wonder! I went on a prayer walk, arguing with God. “Who is this girl? Why me? I don’t want to pray with her! I need a sign.”

After the walk, I gathered the mail, and there was the inaugural copy of “Spirit Led Woman”

A Sign. A Wonder.

Moms in Touch led me to get in touch with a deposit imparted to me when an Argentine Evangelist prayed over a room of pastors and intercessors within that very year.

I remember coffee in your home, and you admitting you did not pray out loud! That was why I was there. You squeezed your hands so tight, rolled up in a ball. Your body was praying hard! I just wanted to rub your hands and get you to relax. Next thing I know we were having coffee with the Cluster director, the Mom over all the schools in our area for Moms in Touch. She cried at meeting us. She’d prayed in the school parking lot for God to raise up the Mom to start the group…There you were.

She handed you the booklet and made you lead us as a small group. I chuckled under my breath. Who knew at the end of that very school year I would be standing in front of a class singing a song I heard in my head. The room where I was singing with kids turned out to be a standing room only…who chuckled then?

I had to leave the secret place to do all that happened in that season.

~~~~~

May 1

Jess,

Thank you for helping me remember the beginnings of my walk into the Secret Place where I would find our Shepherd waiting for me with whisperings and love. Perhaps He called you out of the Secret Place because someone like me needed to know for herself that such a place really does exist.

It makes me laugh out loud to remember how resistant you were to the idea of leading a young mom like me. I remember your confession that you didn’t want to ‘hang out’ with a Baptist woman. I laugh because I never saw myself that way. I had only become a Baptist woman by marriage.

The truth is that I simply wanted to become a Jesus woman, and I didn’t know how. Coming late to membership in the church club I was only imitating those who had always lived inside. I, unfortunately, fell for the lie that if I talked, walked, and dressed like them that I would find the abundant life Jesus offered in His Word.

I had read His words as a promise. I was seeking the key to unlock the door to His treasure chest of promises. And when I watched you following our Shepherd, I saw freedom and grace, laughter and joy. I wanted that kind of knowing Jesus.

Holy Spirit of whom I knew very little whispered and nudged that you would teach me how to pray. The Spirit of God highlighted you as someone I needed to know. Not someone I needed to become, but someone who could teach me.

I wanted to know Him more than I was afraid to step forward. I wanted freedom and grace and joy more than fear threatened to silence me. Like the blind man who cried out to Jesus for mercy. Though everyone tried to silence Him and rebuked him for trying to bother Jesus, His desire for life Himself caused him to shout all the more.

I was desperate. I was going to step forward despite my fear and trepidation.

I want to be bold for Jesus. My heart’s desire is to love Him best and most, but I care too much about what others think of me.

People tend to think I’m bold. People seem to think I am brave. People might think that most of the time I’m not afraid because I have bold mottos like ‘do it scared’. But that’s a facade.

I desire to be bold for Jesus. I desire to not care what other people think because time is short here on Earth.

And suddenly I can see the pattern of my walk with Him. It starts with a desire for more intimacy with my Savior, and then I reach for it. Finally, I step in, and act bold. It’s then that I see with broken flesh that I have become exposed to the world. Criticism is sure to follow and so I run to my familiar cave to hide.

I see it now. It is shame. I want free of it. And so I run back to familiar scriptures as a salve for my open wounds.

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Psalm 86:11

Lisa

~~~~~

May 3

Jess,

All this remembering has become for me a path of increasing revelation inviting me to look back upon our letters. These letters written back and forth to each other during this past year of transition were not contrived by either of us. Rather our email letters became a way of connecting over the distance as we each set off on diverging paths once again.

I wonder if it’s our more mature stage of life that allows us to stay connected over the long distance. The children are out of our homes and we’re possibly more focused on the eternal than the temporal things of life.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve shared our individual longings for the Secret Place. You shared a book with me, Slow Brewing Tea, and we once again formed a small group of women to read and discuss this interesting story of a faith journey.

We’ve both sought to go lower and exalt God higher. You began a quest for the baptism of love. I continue to seek intimacy and wholehearted trust in our Lord Jesus. We’ve both sought to surrender ourselves under the Mighty Hand of God because we believe it to be our safest dwelling place.

And so now, with a year of conversation behind us, I’m looking back to see where we’ve been. I believe our journey was ordained by God. Even though change and uprooting is painful God’s purposes are best.

I thank you for writing pretty much daily for a long period of time and especially I thank you for sharing the psalms you’ve written from the Secret Place. God has done a wonder in you. I see it. Your family sees it.

I think you will say that it all started with that beautiful bundle of granddaughter. I’m sure you’re right. You’ve walked that grandma’s path before me as well. We all recognize how a new life has breathed life into you and revived you and dipped you into a baptism of love.

So, as I go back to my archives to retrieve our year-long letters of transition, surrender, seeking, and sister love, I hope to hear from you. I hope it’s okay… I think we’ve agreed to share letters and psalms from this past year here in hopes that God will use them for His glory.

I admit it’s pretty scary to stand naked before God, but I am learning to expect to feel safe in His presence. It’s even scarier to walk into the world offering words of hope forged in the Secret Place with only the protection of His approval.

Let’s do it scared!

~Lisa

~~~~~

May 3

Lisa,

What deeply connects us now?  Well, it’s that we find ourselves BOTH burning for closeness with Jesus.  We yearn for the Secret Place.

Our hearts are truly set on pilgrimage.  We recognize the yearning, stretching, and seeking in each other.

Our travels and trials have matured us to stay the course and pay the price.  For you that has been a calling out and away. For me, it’s a calling in and low.  We have a common thread of surrender weaving through our lives at this time.

We have each stepped into new land, and have been unpacking and settling in.  We both find ourselves in deserts with heat.

Your lack of awareness of the new land kept you close to home.  My choices led me to commit to a small room with much less freedom.  You did not know where to go, and I was not allowed to go…It’s been a year, and we have been changed by our deserts.

More later ~

Jess