Just Another Desperate Woman

August 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , )

A quick update on our surrogate journey:  We returned to Houston IVF Monday, August 6th, for a follow-up ultrasound to check and see if my sub chorionic bleed had reabsorbed any.  After a week of full bed rest, we were expecting it to at least be significantly smaller if not gone altogether.  However, the doctor did not have good news for us.  We were told that the bleed has actually INCREASED in size, going from 21 mm x 6 mm to 50 mm x 18 mm.  Nonetheless, the baby is doing AMAZING with a steady, incredibly strong heartbeat!  While the doctor quoted pretty alarming miscarriage rates and expressed that it does worry her that the bleed is growing, she also shared that she is “cautiously optimistic” that everything can still turn out okay.  She was especially impressed with how well the baby seemed to be doing.

Again, Not.  The.  Plan.  Because our own pregnancies and deliveries were such amazing carefree experiences, we wanted to be able to give a couple-Erin and Jesse-a wonderfully perfect experience, too.  Wrap it up in pretty paper and throw a bow on top.  A perfect journey.  A perfect baby.  A perfect gift.  And so far, I don’t think we’ve given them anything but a whole lot of extra stress and heartache!  Yet they remain upbeat.  They are so kind to me and express concern for me and how I am feeling.  They are pressing on with us, facing one day at a time.

As we were waiting on an elevator out, still stunned and trying to process the news, Jesse spoke something that began to resonate within me.  He simply commented something to the effect of, “I don’t know why this is happening.  I never thought we’d be here (referring to Houston IVF) in the first place…”  The conversation went on but his words kept running through my head.  And I began to ask the Lord, “Why?  Why is this happening?  What are you doing?  What is your plan?  Why is this such a struggle and not a perfectly wrapped up present for Erin and Jesse like I had planned?  What are you teaching me through this?  What will you teach them through this?  What purpose does this bleed hold in all of our lives?  What purpose have you brought our two families together for?”  I continued to ponder all these things late into the evening when the Bible story of the woman with the issue of blood came to mind.  So, I got up out of bed and searched it out.  The story is in Mark 5 and begins around verse 24.  A man named Jairus has approached Jesus and has asked him to come and lay hands on and heal his daughter who is at the point of death.  (She ends up dying later in the story but Jesus raises her from the dead!)

24 And Jesus went with him; and a great crowd kept following Him and pressed Him from all sides [so as almost to suffocate Him].

25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years,

26 And who had endured much suffering under [the hands of] many physicians and had spent all that she had, and was no better but instead grew worse.

27 She had heard the reports concerning Jesus, and she came up behind Him in the throng and touched His garment,

28 For she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health.

29 And immediately her flow of blood was dried up at the source, and [suddenly] she felt in her body that she was healed of her [distressing] ailment.

30 And Jesus, recognizing in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around immediately in the crowd and said, Who touched My clothes?

31 And the disciples kept saying to Him, You see the crowd pressing hard around You from all sides, and You ask, Who touched Me?

32 Still He kept looking around to see her who had done it.

33 But the woman, knowing what had been done for her, though alarmed and frightened and trembling, fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

34 And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health.  Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease.

After reading these words, I thought, “That’s exactly what I need.  I need this blood to dry up at its source!  I’m that woman with an issue of blood!  And all I need to do is reach out in faith and ‘touch the hem of His garment’ to receive that same healing that she did that day.”

Now, a lot of you may not have ever heard of anything like this before, but I went and got out my tallit.  A tallit is simply a garment similar to what Jesus and all of God’s people wore back in the Bible days.  In Numbers 15:38, God instructed Moses on exactly how the garments were to be made, Speak to the Israelites and bid them make fringes or tassels on the corners in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and put upon the fringe of the borders or upon the tassel of each corner a cord of blue.”

  We find much symbolism in the various knots and winding that make up each fringe and none of it’s weird or anything like that!  It all points to God, His Son Jesus, and the covenant they cut for mankind.  And there’s even a fascinating story about how the blue dye is derived for the single blue cord in the tassel at each corner.  But the thing that just blows my mind about this garment is the healing that is associated with it!

  In Malachi 4:2, scripture gives a promise that unto those who revere and worshipfully fear God’s name, the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His WINGS and they shall go forth and run and jump about playfully and leap for joy like calves released from the stall.

 The Hebrew word translated to “wings” in English here is Kanaph which actually has several meanings including the fringe-like feathers or edges of a bird’s wing, a wing or an extremity of an army, and also a wing or a corner of a garment.

While modern English translations of the scriptures miss this important Hebraic concept, God’s people knew and understood that this verse was not referring to the wings or the fringe of a bird, but to the wings or the fringe of the Sun of Righteousness’ garment, his tallit. 

The woman with the issue of blood was a desperate woman!  Having spent all of her money on doctors who could not help and cures that did not work, she was forbidden by the law to even be out in public in her condition.  Yet, she had heard the reports and anxiously sought Jesus out, not matter the cost or consequence.  She had heard of the Messiah who could heal and she remembered the promise in Malachi that healing would be found in His wings, or in the fringes of His garment.  She knew that if Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah spoken of in the scrolls of Malachi, then the place to find her healing was in the wings of His tallit.  So she reached out in faith and secured that healing!

The woman with the issue of blood is not the only one who understood this Biblical truth.  In Mark 6:54-56 we find that immediately the people recognized Him,55 and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was.  56 Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.  Matthew 14:34-36 confirms this account.

Now, obviously there are no magical healing powers in a tallit.  God alone was responsible for the healing power that Jesus displayed while He was here on the earth as a man.  The fringes or tassels on Jesus’ garment were simply a point of contact that helped the people to release their faith.  When their faith touched the fringes that represented His word and His authority, the power of God was unleashed and they were all miraculously healed from their infirmities!!!!

I didn’t waste any time applying the lessons of the Bible in my own life.  I wasn’t about to pass up my own opportunity for healing!  I wrapped myself up in our tallit, the most intimate place I can go to be with God and a perfect reminder of the covenant relationship that I have with Him.  I twisted those fringes tightly around my fingers and asked the only one with healing in His wings to dry my issue of blood up at its source just as He did for the woman in the Bible story from so many years ago. 

Our culture doesn’t seem to believe in healing and miracles much anymore these days and many people would probably say that I’m pretty desperate.  But I DO still believe.  And I’d have to agree that I AM desperate.  I’m desperate to win the battle with the enemy for this baby.  I’m desperate to be used for God’s glory and to make a difference in others’ lives.  I’m desperate for others to see and experience the raw active power and authority of the God that I serve.  I’m desperate for my friends and family to come to know more than just “playing church” and religion-but true relationship with the God that created them.

 I AM that woman reaching out with every ounce of faith that I have, regardless of what others may think of me, and I fully plan on receiving an INCREDIBLE report at next week’s ultrasound!

I know that most of you don’t take the time to comment, but for those of you that are praying for us, Erin and Jesse, and the baby, I’d love for you to take a minute to comment below and let Erin and Jesse know that you’re lifting them up.  This whole process is extremely stressful and all they can do on their end is pray and wait.  Let’s let them know that they are not alone but are surrounded by many who are going to the Lord on their behalf!

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.  ~Romans 15:13

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Josiah Justice: Chapter 10 Treasure Hunting

September 30, 2011 at 8:53 pm (Josiah Justice) (, )

 
 Join Josiah as he treasure hunts ‘God style’ where people are the treasure and everybody goes home with a prize!  We last left off with Josiah realizing just why young Robert behaves the way he does and Grampy making a u-turn in the middle of the road to go back and get him.   If you’d like to start reading from the beginning of the story, click here.
 
Chapter 10

Treasure Hunting

Once Granna and Robert were both safely buckled up and I had confirmed for the third time that we did indeed have a box of crayons and some hand-cut paper dolls with us, I launched into my explanation as to why I had insisted that Granna cancel Robert’s doctor appointment and come on the treasure hunt with us.  “Robert is definitely a seer, but he sees something entirely different than the rest of the world!”  As I spoke the words, tingles surged through my entire body and forced their way to my skin’s surface in the form of chill bumps-the good kind.

We met up with the rest of the treasure hunters who had already divided into small groups of five or six.  Our tardiness earned us the great privilege of teaming up with the healer.  A young mother and her five-year-old daughter, Maddie, joined us as well.    We all piled into a van to head out on the adventure.  The healer handed each of us a piece of paper that was blank except for the photocopied words “Treasure Map” at the top of it.  “Get to work!”  He flashed a huge grin at us. 

I had paid extremely close attention during the teaching on treasure hunting.  In fact, I could practically repeat every word!  God considers each and every single person out there in this world to be a treasure.  Our job as treasure hunters was to go out there and find a treasure and bring them into an encounter with Him.  They might need encouragement, prayer, healing, or some other sort of miracle.  It sounded easy enough, but it wasn’t just any treasure that we were looking for.  We were looking for a specific person facing a specific situation.  The way it worked was that we were supposed to simply pray and ask God to give us the clues for our treasure map.  He then would impress a ‘word’ upon us, which was just a feeling or a thought.  We were instructed to write it down no matter how silly or strange it might sound.  When we no longer felt or heard words in our minds, we would discuss and divide up the words into categories on our maps.  These would all be clues in finding the treasures that God wanted to have an encounter with that day.  I was intrigued with the idea that God could download bits of information to my mind: a location, clothing, an ailment, hair color, eye color – very specific details of complete strangers whose lives He wanted to touch. 

“Here goes!”  I grinned at Granna.  She raised her eyebrows and then shot me a quick wink. 

Granna cleared her throat and spoke up.  “I just want to warn you all that I’m a dud when it comes to these things.  I really try but I don’t ever feel ‘spiritual’ or hear from the Lord.  So we might need to throw my clues out or we’ll be looking all day for the treasure!”

Everyone laughed lightly at her joke.  “Tell her she’s wrong!”  Kodesh’s voice passionately rang out from nowhere.

“Excuse me?”  I turned around and looked as if the voice might have come from someone behind me.  Of course, there was no one there.

“She’s wrong.”  Kodesh matter-of-factly repeated himself.  “Tell her.”

“I can’t just tell her she’s wrong.  She’s my grandma!  That would be…like… disrespectful or something!”  I argued back in my mind to avoid looking like a crazy person to those around me.

“She has believed that lie her entire life.  There’s no such thing as a spiritual dud.  Yahweh created each human for a specific purpose.  You are complex beings.  You do not all react the same to a situation nor do you experience it the same in the first place.  Some are emotional.  Some are not.  Some are sensitive.  Some are not.  Some wail out while others cry softly.  Some sing.  Some dance.  Some stand in His presence.  Some bow before Him.  Some lie prostrate on the ground.  Just because she does not hear the voice of Yahweh like this one or smell the sweetness of His presence like that one does not mean that something is wrong with her.”

I sat as still as I possibly could in hopes that Kodesh might somehow just forget the whole thing.  “Josiah, we can do this the easy way or we can do it the hard way.  It’s your choice.”  Kodesh warned.

“Okay!  Okay!”  I surrendered.  “What do I say?”

“Don’t say a word.  Just open your mouth and let me do the talking.”

“What the heck?”  Before I could protest any further, words began to pour out of my mouth.  Words I did not think up.  I tried to listen as they tumbled from my lips.  I began to recognize some of what I was speaking.  It was scripture.  Kodesh was relaying a Bible passage from the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians through me.

Everyone’s attention was now focused on me.  I had no choice but to allow him to continue.  “There are many different types of spiritual gifts but they are all from the same spirit.  The Lord gifts those that He calls His own and gives to each one as He alone determines.  While some gifts may appear to be better or more important to man, they are all equally important in God’s eyes.  To understand this, you must look at your own body.  Is it not one body made up of many individual parts?  Is each part not essential to the overall function of the body?  A foot cannot say that it does not belong to the body because it cannot do the same things as a hand.  Likewise, an ear cannot say that it is a ‘dud’ because it does not see like an eye.  If the ear also functioned as an eye, who then would hear?  No one.  The entire body would be lacking.  Just as God has perfectly arranged the parts of a body to function individually for the good of the whole, He has given each of you different giftings and abilities.  Each gift relies on the others, so all are necessary.”  

I caught my breath and looked at Granna with wide eyes.  Granna, just about as stunned as I was, stumbled around to come up with a response.  “It’s just that I…well, I never really…I don’t ever hear –”

“Don’t you get it Granna?   You’re not an ear.”  Ahhh!  I clasped my hand over my mouth a split second too late.  Kodesh had already released the words into the air. 

“Well if I’m not an ear, then what am I?”

The question genuinely surprised me because my grandmother’s gifting was so obvious to everyone who knew her. Grampy spoke up.  “You’re a heart.”  The others around us began to agree.

  In just five years Granna had mothered over thirty foster children.  Not only did she have an amazing ability to love these children orphaned by their parents, but she also taught them how to love again.  When working with Child Protective Services, it doesn’t take long to realize that regardless of the reason why, when a family splits up, the children are the ones who pay the price.  The kids that came to live with Granna and Grampy were scared and alone.  They were hurt and sometimes angry.  They had been let down by those they trusted.  They had wounded souls and broken hearts.  Granna cared for them as if they were her own natural-born children.  She saw past skin color, physical handicaps, and bad behavior.  She loved them unconditionally and provided the physical, mental, and spiritual nourishment that they so desperately needed. 

“You are a mender of broken hearts.”  I spoke the words softly but clearly.

“That’s not a spiritual gift.  That’s just who I am.  It’s what I do.”  Granna wasn’t giving in.

“Yahweh has chosen you to mother the motherless.  Most of these children will grow up to live happy healthy lives because of you.  Your prayers have kept many out of harm’s way.  Your love and acceptance has given them hope and a future.  And though you do not believe it to be an important job, I can tell you that it is one of the most selfless, difficult, and time-consuming ways to serve the Lord.  Most others are not capable of this work but you are fully equipped.  You were created to fulfill this calling.  Rest assured that your sacrifices do not go unnoticed and your reward in Heaven will be great.” 

I closed my lips tight as I felt Kodesh withdraw.  Boy was I glad that was over!  I huddled down in my seat and tried to calm my racing heart. 

The healer spoke up and broke the awkward silence hanging in the air.  “Okay everybody.  Now that that is settled, go ahead and ask the Lord to reveal some clues to you.  Remember, God will speak to you and every clue means something.”

I turned my head to the right and leaned my forehead on the cool glass window of the van.  “I’m ready Lord.  Lay it on me!  Nothing could possibly be stranger than what just happened…” 

An image of a green trash receptacle quickly formed in my mind’s eye.  Hmmm…that’s strange.  I closed my eyes again and tried to focus.  This time I saw a red bullseye.  The next few moments brought a continuous flashing of pictures through my mind.  The photos – a skinny but furry old dog, a red bandana, water dripping into a little bottle, and the written word Edward – were random and did not appear to be related in any way.  Hesitantly, I scanned the others in the van.  They were all busily writing down clues.  I quickly scribbled down my clues and folded my paper in half so that no one would be able to see what I had written. 

“Okay.  Did anybody get a location?”  The healer asked.

“I heard the words ‘shoe store’ but I don’t know which one.” Granna called out.

“How many shoe stores do you guys have in this town?”

“A lot.”   The young mother spoke up.  “We need more information.  Did anybody get a word that might be part of the name of a shoes store?”

“I saw arrows and a target.” 

My ears and eyebrows both perked up.  “Hey!  I saw a red bullseye like a target, too.  You know, like the store Target.”

“There’s a shoe store right next to Target!  I’ll bet that’s where we are supposed to be!”  The young mother excitedly exclaimed.  “What other clues did you guys get?”

“Tumor.”

“Knee and a telephone.”

“Green sweat suit.”

“White tennis shoes.”

“Pink and black plaid purse, sister, and unforgiveness.”

After all of the adults finished calling out their clues, a tiny voice called out, “Mister J.”

“What did you say, honey?”  The young mother gently questioned her five-year-old daughter.

“Mister J.  God told me ‘Mister J.’  You know Mommy, like J from our alphabet song.  J Joe Jeans and his jellybeans, let’s sing a song about J!” 

Everyone chuckled at little Maddie’s alphabet song.  Her mother stifled a grin and said, “Sure sweetie.  We’ll look for Mister J.”

No one noticed that I hadn’t shared all of my clues and I thought it might be better to keep it that way considering how weird some of them were.   We walked into the small shoe store located next door to the Target super store.  A handful of customers were shopping and sure enough – there stood a middle-aged woman carefully examining a black and pink plaid purse for sale.  Time seemed to stand still as we all just stood and stared at her.  The healer boldly took the lead and headed toward her.  We followed.  “Excuse me, ma’am.  We’re in search of a treasure this afternoon and our clues seem to have led us to you.”

The woman smiled kindly at us.  “Is that so?”  She seemed genuinely interested. 

  “You don’t by chance have a sister do you?”

The woman’s smiled faded right before our eyes.  She shook her head.  “I do, but I haven’t seen her in years.”

“You had some sort of falling out?”  The healer prodded.

“Why, yes…we did.  But how could you have known that?”  Now somewhat suspicious, the woman took a step back from us.

The young mother in our group mustered up enough courage to speak.  “The Lord wants to restore that relationship but you are holding onto unforgiveness in your heart.  You’re going to have to let that go before the relationship can be mended.”

Tears began to roll down the woman’s face.  “I’ve been carrying this bitterness around in my heart for so long, I’m not even sure I know how to forgive anymore.  I tried to call her once, but she hung up on me.  That was years ago…”

“Call her today.”  The healer instructed.  “She’ll accept your call today, but you must truly forgive her first.  Let it go.  This is a new beginning.”

We told the woman how special she was to the Lord, hugged her, and headed off to find our next treasure inside of Target. 

 White tennis shoes were everywhere.  “Hey, there’s a guy limping.  Maybe he’s our knee clue.”  I said.

“There’s a sweat suit, but it’s not green.”  Granna noted.

We searched up and down the aisles for about seven or eight minutes.  I looked through my own clues making sure I did not miss anything.  “Maybe we got it wrong.  I’m sure that happens sometimes.”  I tried to make my voice sound hopeful. 

Seeing that we were in search of something, a store employee approached us.  “Can I help you find anything?” 

Before anyone could explain what we were doing, Robert tugged his pudgy hand free from Granna’s grasp.  He walked right up to the saleslady and tipped his small head backwards causing his chin to point to the ceiling.  The woman smiled and kneeled down on the floor at his level.  Her name tag said “Betty.”  It was a fitting name for her outgoing personality. 

“Hi there little guy.  How are you today?”  She spoke sweetly and sincerely. 

Very slowly, Robert raised his right arm and reached up and touched the lower left area of her neck.  A single tear dropped from his eye as he quietly stood.  No one said a word for what seemed to be an eternity.  In reality, it was more like thirty to forty seconds. 

“Granna.  The dolls.”  I nudged her out of a trance-like state.

With a blank paper doll in one hand and a fistful of crayons in the other, I got down on my knees and spoke to Robert.  “Robert, can you tell Josiah what you see?  Can you draw it on this person right here?”  I pointed to the flimsy white paper doll.

Robert’s eyes, hosting a sea of emotion, lowered and rested on the paper doll and crayons that I was holding out to him.  Silence.  Then he raised them back to Betty’s now quizzical face.  He lowered his hand from her neck and carefully selected a gray crayon.  Again he looked at the doll and then back to the woman.  With every eye glued to him, he very slowly and very precisely drew a gray asymmetrical circle about the size of a pea on the paper doll’s neck.  I was instantly covered from head to toe in chills-the good kind again.  Tears began to cascade down the saleslady’s face and she sort of crumpled down into a puddle on the floor.  Granna knelt and embraced her.  The rest of us stood silently unsure what to do or say.  Robert’s drawing obviously implied a very grim prognosis.  However, we were all afraid to believe it since a two-year-old was the source of the information. 

Betty began to compose herself and after getting control of her emotions she explained, “I have cancer.  About a year ago, I got a sore throat.  After several weeks it still had not gone away.  I began to lose my voice.   My throat was super sensitive and I just didn’t feel right about it, so I went to my doctor.  I was tested for many different things, but the final diagnosis was a cancer of the throat – stage three.  We had some success with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, but it wasn’t good enough.   The doctor said we really have no other option at this point but to remove part of my voice box.”  Betty’s lower lip trembled when she spoke the last words. 

The healer patted her on the shoulder.  “Well, Ms. Betty…your doctor may be planning surgery to get rid of that cancer, but it looks like God will be overriding that decision today.”

“I don’t understand.”  Betty shook her head, a confused look on her face. 

“God wants to heal you.  That voice box of yours isn’t going anywhere for now!” 

“But I don’t know God.  I…I don’t even go to church.  I don’t know how to pray…”  Betty stumbled over her words. 

“He knows that!  He’s ready to introduce Himself to you.  You see, the Bible says that no one comes to the Father without first being drawn to Him.  That means that you don’t seek Him out on your own.  He seeks you out and calls you to Himself.  Get ready to meet the best friend you’ll ever have.  He wants you to know how important you are to Him.  He loves you so much Betty and He wants to give you a new life.  Is it okay if we pray for your healing right now?”  Betty nodded.

Just then Robert took a hold of one of Grampy’s large leathery hands.  He struggled to lift the weight of the strong arm but somehow managed to maneuver it to the base of Betty’s neck. 

“He wants you to lay hands on her Grampy!  Ha!  It’s just as Kodesh told me!”  I couldn’t restrain my excitement.  “Just do it!  Do it!” 

Grampy gently rested his hand on her neck, his large palm covering it entirely.  As the healer began to pray, Grampy’s hand began to tremble.  Then it began to shake rapidly. 

“I…I feel… heat!”  Frightened, Betty began to pull away.

“It’s okay!  Your tumor is dissolving!  Just relax!”  The healer gently comforted her.  Robert reached out again and tugged at Grampy’s arm but in the opposite direction this time.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  “It must be gone!”  I jumped up and down.  “He doesn’t see it anymore!  It’s really gone!”  Everyone backed away, giving Betty a little space.  No one spoke.  We were all too busy trying to process what we had just witnessed. 

Betty raised her tear-stained face.  “Thank you!  Thank you!” 

“Oh no.”  Grampy corrected her.  “Don’t thank us.  Thank God!   He is the one who has healed you.”

Betty beamed.  “I have never experienced anything like this in my life before.  This God that you serve – I want to know everything about Him.  I want to serve Him as you do.  How do I find Him?” 

Our team decided to split up.  The healer, the young mother and her daughter, and Grampy and Robert stayed behind to talk with Betty about giving her life to God while Granna and I continued to walk the store.  Scanning each aisle for an unsuspecting shopper that might match any of our remaining clues, Granna and I searched in silence.  Finally, she spoke.  “I just don’t know what to make of Robert.  How in the world could he have known that she had a tumor in her throat?”  

I decided it was time to let Granna in on the secret.  “You might as well get used to it now Granna.  The Lord has given Robert a paranormal gift like no other person on the planet.  He actually sees ailments in people’s bodies.  It’s like he has x-ray eyes or something.  He can look right through a person!  And that’s not all!  God has also imparted a healing gift into Grampy so that he and Robert can minister together!  The Holy Spirit told me that they will bring the kingdom of God to hundreds!”

Granna began to cry happy tears.  “Who would have thought?”  She shook her head.  “Never in a million years –” 

Her words were cut short by a call from the rest of the team.  We swiftly headed down an aisle of shelves stocked with children’s movies.  It didn’t take me long to spot our potential treasure – a very tall man in a green basketball jersey with breakaway sweatpants and new shiny white tennis shoes.   “Hey, I think that’s our guy!”  I excitedly whispered to Granna as we approached the rest of the group. 

“But there’s nothing wrong with his knee.”  She noted.

The young mother picked up on our conversation.  “Maybe he has a tumor and doesn’t know it yet.”

“What about her knee?”  Maddie chimed in.  Her little finger was pointing to a small girl who had just come around the corner of the aisle.  She was holding a movie up for the man to see and appeared to be asking him to buy it for her.  Brightly colored medical tape surrounded her left knee. 

“That’s gotta be them!”  We casually approached the pair.  After explaining who we were and that we felt that the Lord wanted to bless them, we prayed healing over the little girl’s knee.  The young father thanked us repeatedly and asked what church we belonged to.  Grampy introduced everyone in the group and then asked the man what his name was. 

The man responded, “J.”

“Oh, like J-A-Y?”  I called out the individual letters.

“No, just ‘J’ like the letter J.  People misspell it all the time.”

I turned to look at the young mother who was now practically choking because the man’s comment had caught her so off guard.  It seemed that her little daughter had heard from God after all!

Still marveling over the appointments that God had set up for the day, the team loaded back into the van.  I knew I was about to miss a divine encounter if I didn’t speak up soon.  “Uhhh…do we have time to…to drive around to the back of the store where the dumpsters are?” 

“Sure man.”  The healer backed the oversized vehicle out of the snug parking space.  “Did you get another clue or something?”

I looked down at the now crumpled sheet of paper that I had written my clues on.  “Sort of.”

We drove around to the huge waste bins.  Maybe my treasure would be out there dumping the store’s trash bags or something.  I exited the van and scanned the area for the bright red shirt of a Target employee.  There was no sign of anyone.   I turned to the left and then to the right.  “Oh, well.”  I murmured, disappointedly heading back to the group waiting in the van.  “Maybe my timing’s off.  Maybe we should have come here first.”

As I held onto the handle of the van door and lifted my right leg to enter the vehicle, I heard a clang of metal. 

“What was that?”  I whirled around and faced the dumpsters.  No one was in sight.  My eyes darted back and forth and quickly came to rest on a half crushed aluminum coke can, still rocking back and forth on the ground. 

“Is anybody there?”  I called out.  “Don’t be afraid.  I just want to talk to you.”

A flash of movement caught my eye.  Cautiously, I headed back over to one of the dumpsters and peered around its left side.  A small furry dog happily greeted me, nacho cheese dripping from his fuzzy little beard. 

“Hey there buddy.”  I reached out my hand for him to sniff.  “You havin’ a snack?  Boy, you could sure use a bath!”  I held my breath as the stench of rotting food in the dumpsters now surrounded me.  “Do you have an owner or are you here all alone?”  I questioned the dog aloud as if he was going to respond back to me. 

Just then I heard another sound – a small scraping sound that lasted no more than a second.  “Who’s there?”  I called, bracing myself behind the dumpster.  To my surprise, there in a mass of crushed cardboard boxes and broken pieces of styrofoam crouched Crazy Jane, her unruly hair held back in a red bandana.  

“Jane, is that you?”  I asked, walking closer.  “Don’t be afraid Jane.  The Lord brought me here to meet with you.”

In a split second Kodesh took over my speech and continued.  “He has saved every tear you have cried for your son Edward.  He has collected them in bottles.  They are precious to Him.  You are precious to Him, faithful servant.  The word that was spoken over you so many years ago will now come to pass.  This is your spiritual son, Josiah.  The Master is ready for you to train him.”

“What?!?”  I blurted out the second my tongue was free from Kodesh’s control.

Jane’s eyes searched my disturbed face.  “I know.”

“What?!?”  I repeated louder. 

“He told me you would come today.  I have been waiting.”

“Will anybody please tell me what is going on?”  I wailed.

“Yahweh has purposed that Jane help further your journey into the supernatural.  You will sit at her feet and glean every ounce of wisdom you can from her.  She will be your spiritual mother and you – her son in the spirit.  Jane carries His mark and a mantle of anointing like no other.  In time, she will pass that mantle to you.  Once you have received it, Yahweh will then double your portion.  Do not let your heart be troubled when you are with her.  She only means to do you well.”

Shaking my head, I protested.  “I don’t think my mom’s gonna go for this.  A complete stranger.  I’m not allowed –” 

“It’s already taken care of.”  Kodesh cut my excuse short.  “The Lord told your mother years ago that a time would come when she would have to trust Him entirely and place your future in His hands alone.  A messenger has been sent to prepare her that the time has come.” 

I looked up at Jane and shot her a ‘what do you think about all of this’ glance.  Smiling, she spoke, “You’re welcome in my home anytime Josiah.  No need to call.  Just stop by.”

“You…you have a home?” 

Jane smiled again at the stunned expression on my face.  “It’s not much to look at, but it’s a roof over my head.  That’s all I need.”

The confusion on my face seemed to provoke Jane’s sense of humor.  “Did you think I was a bum or something?”

“Well, uh…no…er, I mean…yeah kinda…that is, I mean I did…uh you know think you were…homeless.”

I knew that I sounded hopelessly foolish, but there was no way around it.  I had just assumed that Jane was homeless.  I didn’t actually know it.  In fact, I didn’t really know anything about her.

“I live on Sleepyhollow Drive.  Number seven.   Stop by soon.”

“Okay.  Maybe I will.  It was nice to uh…meet you…Jane.”  I backed away and turned to head back to the waiting van.

“Hey Josiah!”  Jane called out as I neared the humming vehicle.  “Just so you know, I’m not really crazy either.”

I waved, acknowledging her comment, and scrambled into the van.  “That’s good to know Jane, good to know.”  I muttered as I buckled up. 

“So did you find your treasure?”  The healer anxiously questioned me about the encounter.

I scratched my head.  “Actually, I think that I may have been the treasure this time!”

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Josiah Justice: Chapter 8 Miracle Before My Eyes

September 18, 2011 at 8:59 pm (Josiah Justice) (, , , )

For those of you following along as I release the book, this is the chapter that we skipped over last week.  I received permission to post it today, so we’re going to back track a little to get you all caught up!   As always, click here if you want to start from the beginning.

 Many of you followed the news coverage of our dear friends Matt and Tara Way and the miraculous pre-mature birth of their precious daughter, Myla Faith.  This is “my version” of how that fateful day transpired.  I pray that through it you’ll catch a glimpse of  the unseen spiritual realm that parallels this physical world that we live in.

Chapter 8

Miracle Before My Eyes

I raced out the door, brushing my teeth and spitting leftover toothpaste in the grass as I ran.  The team was already gathered at the picnic table that we had officially declared to be our meeting spot to discuss new missions. 

“So what’s the story?”  I huffed. 

Gabby quickly briefed me.  “Twenty-three year old pregnant woman stroked.  They’re trying to get her brain to stop bleeding right now.  They’re going to have to deliver the baby early.”

“Stroked?”  I said in shock.  “How in the world does a 23-year-old have a stroke?  That doesn’t happen until you’re like – really old!” 

“Don’t know.  But it’s way too early for her to deliver that baby.”  Gabby shook her head.  “The girls said it’s actually a lady from your church.  Her name’s Tara.” 

“Our Tara?”  I asked, stunned that she could possibly be the one.  Tara was young, beautiful, healthy…and newly pregnant.  She didn’t even have a belly to show for it.    “How early is she delivering?”

“Early, early.”

“Too early for the baby to live?”

“She may live, but not without severe complications.    She’s not due to be born for another three and a half months.”

“How’s Tara?”

“In bad shape.  Not responsive.  They aren’t sure she’s even gonna make it through the surgery.”

“How’s Matt holding up?”

“They say he’s doing amazing – considering the circumstances.”

“I’m sure he is.”  Matt was a perfect example of a godly man.  The son of our pastor and his wife, he had been raised right.  From the time he was a small child, he chose to follow God rather than to rebel.  He absolutely adored his wife, Tara, and considered her to be a treasure straight from Heaven. 

I shot off a list of orders in my best take charge tone of voice.  “Gabby, I’m going to need you to organize ‘round the clock’ prayer.   Grampy, can you and Granna get to that hospital later tonight and lay hands on Tara?  Joy, back them up here at home by petitioning Yahweh for healing.  Grace, several things.  I need you to war for Tara’s life.  War for the baby’s life.  War for Matt.  I’m sure he can use all the strength he can get right now.  I’m headed to the hospital.  I’ll let you guys know if I need anything else.”

I raced back into the house, grabbed a pair of red warfare flags and two chocolate chip cookies and stepped into my awaiting elevator.  “Hey Kodesh?”  I called out as the elevator surged through the clouds.  “Would you mind cranking my spiritual vision up a notch?  I’ve never seen a miracle before.  I wanna know how it all works.”

“And what makes you so sure you’re about to see a miracle?”  Kodesh countered.

“Well, my team was given the mission.  And our job is to restore God’s justice.  We take back what the enemy has stolen.  I can only assume that we are taking back Tara and her baby.”  I quickly finished up my mint-y cookie snack as the clouds parted and a hospital building came into view.

“You’re a pretty bright kid, Josiah.  Pretty bright…”  Kodesh stopped in mid mutter as we entered an operating room. 

The sight filled me with a mixture of fright and awe.  An entire team of doctors surrounded Tara causing her small body to be barely visible.   As I leaned in to get a closer look, my spiritual vision kicked into high gear revealing huge, beautiful, bright beings of light.  I could not tear my eyes from them.  They had to be angels.

The spirit-like body of the first one mingled with the human flesh body of the lead surgeon and carefully guided his hands.  The second being gently cupped the tiny fetus nestled up in Tara’s womb which was now radiating a yellow glow.  The third angelic being hovered horizontally – creating what appeared to be an impenetrable force field above Tara’s body on the surgical table.  The fourth and final angel, the strongest and largest of them all, was in constant motion fighting off demons and dark powers sent on a mission to destroy Tara and her young child.  I watched, dumbfounded that what happens in the physical realm is a direct reflection of what is going on in the spiritual realm.  This random emergency was not an accident and it was not random!  It was a direct attack from the evil one.  I wasn’t about to let him steal our Tara or her precious unborn child.  Looking down at the shimmery red fabric of the warfare flags in my hand, I sighed.  “I guess now is as good a time as any.” 

Though I was very familiar with the flags, it had been a really long time since I had used them.  Years ago, our church did a small study on the Biblical use of banners and flags, or standards, as they are called in the Bible.  While flags are often used to make the worship of the Lord glorious, they are also used for other specific purposes.  My mother had fallen in love with the worship art of flag twirling the very first time she saw it performed.  The flags, created to express a particular thought, prayer, or declaration, were skillfully crafted out of beautiful fabrics of various colors. 

I’ll never forget the day Mom’s first pair arrived.  Rounded off into huge half circles and two different shades of glistening blue in color, they represented the Holy Spirit.  Sheer sparkly white fabric shaped like wings billowed out from each flag, creating the flapping sound of a  flying dove as they sailed through the air.  As she stood in our den late at night practicing, she looked silly, like an awkward teenage girl trying out for the high school drill team.  But once she got the skill of flag twirling down, it was absolutely stunning to watch.  Every movement had purpose.   It wasn’t a fancy dance routine but an expression of her worship and adoration to Holy God.  The flags, an extension of herself, released the unspoken cries of her heart to permeate the room and rise to rest in the Heavens. 

That first pair of flags was followed by many, many more – all used at the right time to lift the right request up to the Lord.  In the mix of all of the gorgeous colors and fancy fabrics to praise and petition the Lord with was a plain rectangle flag made of dull colored material.  It was divided into thirds: one black, one red, and one white.  Though it could not possibly compare in splendor, it was my favorite of all of our flags simply because of its meaning.  The black portion of the flag was chosen to remind us of the sin that once ruled our lives before we came to Jesus.  The red represented the blood of Jesus that was literally poured out to take those sins away.  The white was a picture of the new righteous life He gave us when we chose to forever commit our lives to Him.  The flag was a constant reminder of how we were once slaves to sin and death but are now new creations in Christ.  Anytime I messed up and did something I knew was wrong, I could raise that flag up, pour my heart out to God, tell him how sorry I was and ask for His forgiveness and for a fresh start.  It was a sign of surrender, a petition to make things right, and an exclamation of gratitude and freedom-all in one!

It wasn’t long before I had my own pair of twirling flags – a pair of double red and gold shaped flames representing the fire of the Lord.  Though I was fascinated with the speed and accuracy required to twirl, it wasn’t quite a fit for me.  The thick metal twirling poles were heavy and they bruised and blistered the insides of my fingers within minutes.  Mom’s flagging was slow and graceful in worship and fast and graceful in praise but my style was quite different.  In fact, from the time I was just a few years old, my flagging had been raising the hair on people’s arms on end…

 My style had but one purpose – to kick some enemy butt!  It’s no joke!  There is an exact flag sequence that declares war on Satan.  It came naturally to me as a toddler and I simply couldn’t stop doing it.  Mom realized very quickly that her sweet little boy had a not so sweet job to do.  Now, most people prefer to steer clear of directly engaging in warfare with Satan.  But for some reason, I loved it!  At the time though, I was way too little to understand what I was doing.  Mom was advised that she should be cautious when allowing me to flag – as I was unintentionally entering into a dangerous battle that I was not yet equipped to handle.  She somewhat  listened to that advise and we sort of put the warfare on hold.  Life got busy and that was pretty much the end of that…until now!

I lifted one crisp red flag into the air and hesitated.  It had been years since I had done this.  Was I ready yet?  Was I strong enough to take on evil itself?  “Better be sure and put my armor on again!”  Quickly voicing a prayer, I took my stance.  There was no time to spare.  Tara’s brain was still bleeding heavily and the doctors looked slightly shaken.

It appeared that Satan had unleashed another group of his hellions.  The force field angel was now assisting the strong one in keeping the creatures away from the operating table.   Horrific snarling demons were clawing at both Tara and the baby.  I watched with disgust as one tore at the baby’s eyes.  One at her lungs.  And one at her kidneys.  At that moment, one of the goblin-like creatures squealed in delight.  He had gotten a claw into the small area where the surgeons had removed part of Tara’s forehead bone to operate on her brain.  I wasn’t sure how much damage he had done, but judging from his glee, I knew it could not be good.  Just inches away, heat radiated from Kodesh, reminding me that I was not on my own.  “Let’s do this!”

I began to violently wave the warfare flags in front of me in fast strong strokes repeating an ‘x’ pattern.  Cool air rushed back at me, summoning chill bumps up and down my arms and chest.  The sharp popping of my flag resounded like an approaching army’s footsteps in cadence.  Left.  Left.  Left, right, left.    My enemy was not deterred.  He faced me dead on, threw back his head, and began to laugh.  “Just who, little boy, do you think you are?” 

Refusing to allow him to intimidate me with my young age, I called back to him in my bravest voice.  “It’s me, Josiah.” 

“And why would a human boy think he has any power over me, the Prince of Darkness and every evil thing?  I.  Rule.  Your.  World.  You are mine.  Stand down you filthy sinner.”

Again I braced myself and thrust my chest out.  “Think again dark one.  I may have been born under the curse of sin, but I have chosen of my own free will to be a son of the one true and living God.  I have been bought with the very blood of His son, Yeshua. By the way Loser, how did that feel when He rose from the dead and beat you once and for all?  How’d you like handing over those keys to the grave?”  I knew better than to taunt him but I just couldn’t seem to help myself. 

“Silence!”  His shriek pierced my ears.  “You better shut your mouth now or I’ll drag you right down to hell with me.”

“Fat chance!  My salvation is sealed.  My name is forever in the Book of Life.  I am not yours to take.  Not to mention the fact that you have to ask my Father God if you can even do anything to me in the first place!  Why don’t you just go back to where you came from!  Oh Da-aaaad!”  I called.

A wind that sounded like a thousand twisting tornadoes swept through the room and the enemy and all of his demons were gone at once.  It was Yahweh. 

“Thanks for backing me up!”  I breathed out a sigh of relief.

“Remember, your battles are my battles.” 

Yahweh Himself led me to the packed family waiting room.  Practically every family from our entire church was represented.  The members of our congregation stood encircling Tara’s young husband, Matt.  Matt was voicing a prayer for his precious wife.  Tears streamed down his face as he cried out for God to save Tara and their unborn daughter.  “Lord, you know my heart.”  He prayed.  “And if there is anything I want – it’s for my girls to be safe.  You are sovereign; You are faithful.  I know that your ways are not like my ways.  But I can trust you.  I know that you have a bigger plan than this.  I know that there’s a reason for all of this and that whatever the outcome is, it will bring you glory.  So, I give them up to you right now.  I trust you with both of them.  May your name be forever glorified through our lives.  If there is anyone who needs to come to know you, use our situation to do it.”

I lifted my head to meet Yahweh’s gaze.  He was beaming.  Pride filled His voice as He spoke.  “That’s my boy!”  

I couldn’t help but laugh at the goofy image forming in my head.  Yahweh, Master of the Universe, was wearing one of those bulky “That’s my kid” sports ribbons that parents buy with a photo of their kid playing ball on it.

“Hey.  You better watch it!”  He grinned.  “I have one with your picture on it, too!”

“Yahweh, can I ask you something?”

“Anything, my child.”

“Are they going to be okay?  Uh, you know, Tara and the baby?”

“Matt’s great faith, along with that of everyone else believing for a miracle, has already unleashed my power.  I have already restored the child’s lungs, kidneys, eyes, brain, and liver and I will continue to heal her as the enemy attacks.  The doctors will deliver her in perfect health at one pound, thirteen ounces.  The world will watch as a child born too early to survive thrives.  She will be called ‘Miracle Baby’ and people will marvel at her astounding story.  Thousands will unite and lift her continued health up in prayer.  She will be blessed her entire life.”

“And what about Tara?”

“Tara will struggle immensely, but she is strong and I will mold her character through all of this.  Your work here is not done.  You all must continue to fight for her.  The enemy has requested permission to destroy her.  He believes that she will turn against me and against her faith if she has to endure such hardship.  I have granted his desire.  He has already taken part of her brain function, the use of her right arm and leg, and her speech.”

“What?!  Are you kidding me?  Why would you allow that creep to do that to her!  She’s a good person.  A really, really good person.  I know she’s a Christian.   I can tell by the way she acts.  She doesn’t just talk the talk.  She walks the walk!  She loves you and obeys the Bible…It just isn’t fair.”

I decide what is fair.  But you are exactly right.  Tara has done nothing wrong – nothing to deserve what has happened to her.  On the contrary, she has done everything right.  Her heart belongs to me.  Satan can take anything he likes from her and she will still praise me.  She will still worship me.  She will still place all of her hope and trust in me.  She’s about to display that to a whole lot of people.  Her story will change lives and hearts everywhere.  And while everyone’s eyes are on her ‘loss,’ I will have great opportunity to heal her and display my sovereignty and power.   Her season of hardship will bring me more glory than an entire carefree lifetime of ease.  I am greatly pleased with her and am allowing her the awesome privilege of bringing me glory.”

“You said you will have great opportunity to heal her.  That means she’ll be normal again, right?”

“Tara is still normal now.  She’s still the same Tara on the inside.  Her thoughts, values, and dreams are just as they were before she had the stroke.    It is not what is on the outside, but what is on the inside, that makes a person who they are.  Tara will struggle greatly with this – as I will only partially restore her natural body.  She will feel inadequate.  She will feel incomplete.  She must learn that she is worthy ‘as-is.’  It will take some time but she will come to realize that she is just as beautiful to me and to everyone else now as she was before anything happened to her.  She will see that people love her for who she is and not for the things she can or cannot do.  You see Josiah, a person’s worth is not measured by how they look or by the skills or talents they may have.  Those things won’t last forever.  But a blameless heart will.  In the end, those who invest all of their time in the things of this world will have nothing to show for it.  But those who invest their lives in me and the things of my Kingdom will have gained everything.  They will have eternal life as their reward.”

God’s ways truly are a mystery to man.  We definitely do not think like He thinks!  Relieved that Tara was truly going to be okay, I turned to board my elevator.   A small commotion in the corner of the hospital waiting room caught my eye.  Matt, now on his knees, had a visitor.  I listened in as the messenger spoke.  “Do not be afraid Matthew.  For it is by your faith that the child has already been healed.  You are to name her ‘Faith’ as a remembrance of what the Lord has done for you.  Every time you speak her name, a charge resounds to trust in Yahweh, the living and active God.  Take heart and do not grow weary.  Your journey will be long.  It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.”  As he spoke the last word, the angelic being vanished into thin air.

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Josiah Justice: Healing/Dark Beings

August 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm (Josiah Justice, Uncategorized) (, , )

If you want to start back at the beginning of the story, click here.

Healing in Her Pockets

It was 4:30 a.m. and I was sound asleep – ‘was’ being the key word.  One minute I was nice and cozy under my covers and the next I was jolted awake by a hard turn to the right.  I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and looked around.  I was zooming across my front yard into my grandparents’ yard next door.  The only thing was, I wasn’t dreaming!  

“Uh, Kodesh?”  I called out through the early morning darkness.  “Any reason I couldn’t have walked?  I mean, they literally live right next to me.  No need to waste elevator gas or whatever it is that powers this thing.  And can’t it wait until a more reasonable time anyway?  A kid’s gotta sleep, ya know?”

“There is a set time for every thing.  His time has finally come.”

“His time?”

“Yes.  Be quiet and watch.  I’ll explain later.” 

 The elevator came to a halt in my grandparents’ dimly lit kitchen.  My grandfather sat alone at the kitchen table.  His old gray leather Bible was open in front of him just like I had seen it so many times before.  I watched as he silently read and prayed, unaware of my presence.  Then, almost as if someone suddenly turned up the volume, I could hear his unspoken thoughts out loud.  Lifting his hands into the air, he cried out to God for the gift of healing.  A few seconds later, Joy came wandering into the kitchen. 

“Huh?  What is she doing here?” 

Before Kodesh could answer, I remembered that Joy had asked to spend the night with Granna and Grampy.  “Can he see her?”  I asked.

“No, not this time.”

Joy was wearing a white silk dress that I had never seen before.  It was long and lovely and it swished as she moved.  She began to dance gracefully around the kitchen table.  To my natural eyes, she looked rather ridiculous.  To my spiritual eyes, she looked kinda beautiful.  As she danced, an amazing aroma filled the air.  It was sweet like candy.  The sweet perfume, somehow now in the form of a fine shimmery mist, was actually rising up out of the pockets on the front of her dress.  It encircled Grampy and swirled around his sitting body.  After a few seconds, it came to a rest on his outstretched palms and disappeared. 

Joy quietly left the kitchen and headed back to bed.  Amazed, I lingered and watched as my grandfather curiously examined his hands.  Had he felt the mist?  I couldn’t stand the suspense!  “What was all of that about?”  I blurted out.

“Joy just imparted her gift of healing to your grandfather.”

  “She has healing in her pockets!  Cool!” 

For Kodesh’s sake, I tried to re-focus my thoughts.   After all, he had brought me here to learn something.  “Did you say she ‘imparted’ it to him?  Like gave it away to him?”

“Sort of.  It’s more like sharing it with him.  She still gets to keep it.” 

“But why?”

“Your grandfather has prayed to receive a power gift of healing every day for the past ten years.”

“Oh I get it.  Yahweh finally decided to answer his prayers.  Ten years sure seems like an awfully long time to make someone wait for an answer to prayer though.”

“Josiah, Yahweh answered his prayer a long time ago – the very first time he asked.  The answer wasn’t ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it was ‘wait’ on my perfect timing.” 

“He’s almost sixty years old.  Why does he need the gift of healing all of a sudden?”  I wondered out loud. 

“Well, Yahweh will soon move your grandfather and his young son, Robert, into an incredible healing ministry.  People will come from everywhere to be touched by his hands.  Together, as a team, they will change hundreds of lives and lead them into Yahweh’s kingdom.” 

Wow!  I was sure that Grampy had no idea what God was up to.  And Granna – well she was just not going to believe the awesome plan in the works for her little Robert. 

Robert came to live with them fresh out of the hospital.  He was born and immediately taken from his birth mother by the state child protective services.  Because of the very poor life choices his mother had made, he was put in the care of foster parents.  Granna never saw him as just a foster son but as her true little boy.  Not long after his first birthday, Grampy and Granna adopted Robert as their own son.  A day didn’t go by that Granna didn’t pray that the Lord would bless him with a spiritual gift and use him in a mighty way.  It seemed that Robert would not have to wait near as long as Grampy to find his destiny…

Dark Beings

The next morning when I woke up, I was tired.  Really tired.  Really tired and grumpy.  So, naturally, when Grace came into my room without permission and totally ruined my new comic book, I jumped all over her.  I yanked her hair out and she pounded me from head to toe with her fists.  Boy was she strong!  It hurt!  The fight continued to escalate and by the time mom got us separated, we were both angry, hurt, and in tears.  Mom sentenced us both to our rooms for the rest of the day.  Practically bored to death, I sat down on my bed and felt sorry for myself.  “I just can’t stand her.”  I muttered through clenched teeth.  “Why does she have to be so stinkin’ mean?  She’s tougher than any girl I know.  Shoot, she’s tougher than any boy I know!”

“Okay.  That’s it!”  Kodesh was using his no nonsense tone again.  “Let’s go.” 

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go anywhere.  “Where are we going?”  I nervously asked. 

“You want to know why she’s so tough… I’ll show you why she’s so tough.  Let’s take a little trip back in time.”

I blinked once and found that I could see myself and my mom and sisters grocery shopping.  My youngest sister, Glory, was happily riding in our cart, playing with a toy cash register.  “Hey, I recognize that toy.  Mom bought it for her yesterday.”

“Correct.”  Kodesh confirmed.  “Was it a normal shopping trip for you?” 

“Of course.  Miserable to the very last second.  I…hate…to…shop!”

“Did you see anything out of the ordinary?” 

“Um….”  I thought for a second.  “I saw a guy with a mohawk and a metal spike coming out of his chin.”

“Why don’t you have a look at what Grace saw?”  Kodesh said in his ‘up to something’ tone.  Instantly, I was lifted from the ground.  Air surged into my face as Kodesh thrust me full force into the virtual Grace.  We collided and became one.  Now, everything I saw was through her eyes.  All of the people looked the same, but they weren’t alone.  The single guy with the mohawk that I had seen the day before now walked arm in arm with two other creatures.  The one on the left ducked its head down low.  Its shoulders were raised and tense and it was clear that the creature lacked confidence.  Made of smoke, the words “Self Pity” formed a ring around its head.  The being on the right side of Mohawk guy was the exact opposite.  An angry scowl sat upon its face.  It was dark and ugly.  It walked with great force – almost dragging Mohawk guy and critter number one behind.  Just as they passed by our grocery cart the creature turned toward me and snarled the word, “Rebellion!”

It caught me so off guard that I let out a scream.   “Who are they?  WHAT are…?”  I tried to ask Kodesh what the disgusting things were but now they were everywhere I turned.  Many were calling out at me interrupting my attempts at getting an explanation.  Some held signs, some had words on their bodies, some spoke.  Some made horrible gestures. 

An older man walked by.   A critter was sitting on the man’s shoulders with its legs crossed over his chest.  The creature glared to the right and then to the left.  He grasped both hands tightly around the man’s throat as if he was trying to choke the life out of him.  “Unforgiveness” was his title.  My mind was going wild.  I had seen that exact guy the day before…minus the evil being, that is.  He had seemed nice enough.  Did he know that the horrid creature was trying to kill him?  How could he not?  Everyone was acting so normal.  Why couldn’t they see what was going on here?  Thoughts poured into my head and I began to panic. 

Everywhere I looked I saw the beings.  “Pride,” “Hatred,” “Anger,” “Fear.”  A young married couple walked side by side ahead of us.  His creature was “Lust.”  Hers was “Jealousy.”  A small boy ran from his mother.  She chased him through the aisles threatening to spank him when she caught him.  Even he was not alone.  He weaved merrily through shopping carts and shoppers with a whole group of the critters chasing after him.  “Selfishness,” “Deceit,” and “Hate” were just a few that I had time to see before they darted out of sight. 

Even though I had no idea what they were, I knew that they were bad…REALLY bad!  They were all so nasty and unsettled.  Some would reach out at other shoppers and try to grab onto them.  Some sneered, some called out, some cackled, some moaned.  It was too much for me.

  “ENOUGH!”  I screamed.  “I can’t handle it anymore!” 

And with that Kodesh removed me from Grace’s body and took me safely back to my room at home. 

I sat quietly on my bed, still shivering at the thought of the dark beings.  I didn’t dare ask what they were this time.  I didn’t want to know.  Kodesh spoke and confirmed my worst fear.  “They are dark spirits, Josiah…demons.”  His voice was calm and collected as if it were no big deal.

“Well, it isn’t a big deal.”  Kodesh quickly responded to my unspoken thought.  “At least not for those who have turned their lives over to Yeshua.  Through Him, you have complete power over them all.”

“Even so, I can’t stand to see them!  I don’t feel so good.  I think I’m gonna puke.”  I complained.

“Not such a fun spiritual gift, huh?”  Kodesh went on.  “Pretty hard to stay upbeat after seeing that, wouldn’t you say?”

I knew where Kodesh was headed.  He had already proven his point to me.  Grace wasn’t tough because she wanted to be.  She was tough because she had to be.  Yahweh specifically created her that way so she could handle the job He chose her for.  “I guess I should be more considerate of others.”  I muttered, embarrassed of my intolerance.  “After all, you never know what they are dealing with on the inside.  Well…you do Kodesh, but I don’t.  And I don’t think I want to either!  Are they actually there all the time?  Uh…I mean for Grace to see.”

“The spirits are there all the time.  They will inhabit anyone who will allow it.  If you give even an inch, they’ll take a mile.  Most humans have no idea that they are carrying these dark spirits around with them.  But no, Grace does not have to see them all of the time.  That part of her gifting is only activated as necessary.  It’s one of the most difficult gifts for humans to operate in.  The person holding the gift must be strong and unwavering…or in your words ‘tough.’  There is no room for weakness.  They must trust Yahweh fully and they can’t give up because of the pressure.  The ability to see spirits is not desirable, but it comes in really handy when someone is in need of deliverance.”

“I’m sure glad I don’t have to worry about those things.”  I sighed with relief.

“Well sure you do!  They aren’t your friends are they?”

“No.”

“Then they are your enemies!  You need to do battle and get rid of them for good!”

“Me?  Why me?  I don’t know how to do that.  And even if I did know…I still probably couldn’t actually do it!”  I protested.

“Why?”  Kodesh countered.  “And don’t use the ‘I’m just a kid’ excuse.”

“Well…I’m…I’m just…just regular.  I don’t have any kind of special powers.  I don’t see things or heal others and I certainly can’t overcome any evil.  I really don’t have anything to offer…” 

“I know.”  Kodesh cut me off matter-of-factly.  “You don’t.”

His words hit me like a ton of bricks.   He continued, “And that’s what makes you so perfect for the job.”

“Huh?”  Now he really wasn’t making sense. 

Kodesh began his explanation.  “Those who actually think they have something to offer Yahweh God are usually a complete waste of time.  They are arrogant and proud – un-teachable.  But those who know they stand empty-handed before a holy and all-powerful God can be used to do mighty things!  The fact that you can’t do anything spectacular is exactly what qualifies you to do Yahweh’s work.”

“But what is my work for Yahweh anyway?”  My words came out almost as a whine. 

Kodesh’s presence surrounded me like thick warm honey.  “Josiah, Yahweh has chosen you to help bring about His justice here on earth.”

My mouth dropped open.  (That was happening a lot lately!)  In the past, every time I had tried to get justice for something, I got into trouble!   “Like be a judge for God or something?” 

“Not exactly.  Bringing about the justice of Yahweh is simply returning what the enemy has stolen from His people.  You see, every aspect of Yahweh is good.  But His enemy is entirely evil and is always on the prowl stealing from Yahweh’s children.  The Master has chosen you to return those good things that belong to His children.  As you learn to lead your team, you must remember that no mission can be completed without the power of Yahweh God flowing through you.  Different giftings will be required for each assignment and you must coordinate them to work together in unison.  Now go get some rest!  Tomorrow is lesson one for Josiah Justice and the Spirit-led Gang!”

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