While sitting in the multi-purpose room of the school during a particularly rainy week last spring, a sodden ceiling tile fell directly on my head. Checking it off as “accidents happen,” I went on with my life. And then I flew to America last month, where I attended a showing of WALL-E with Rachel to celebrate her birthday, and it happened again: We seemed to have brought the rain with us to New Mexico, and in a large, sparsely populated theater, a ceiling tile fell directly on me. Then I started crying, not because it hurt, but because my spirit sensed that God was definitely trying to get in touch with me in a very personal and dramatic way. I went to an AGLOW meeting that night with great anticipation, but nothing revelatory happened until I got on the plane to come home, where, during take-off, a plastic part the size of a light switch plate fell off the ceiling and landed right at my feet. Looking around the plane, I didn’t see another one like it anywhere, and after reassuring God that I was definitely listening, I was filled with a peace knowing that He was accompanying me during the dreaded lonely flight back.
Holes in the ceiling are bad news in the natural realm, but in the spiritual realm, I’m looking for an “open heaven.” Isaiah cried,”Oh that you would rend the heavens!” because when the heavens are open we have free access to everything in heavenly realms – God’s abundant blessings and ministry power. Ministering under an open heaven is like working hard without getting tired. What missionary doesn’t want more of that in their life (esp. ones heading toward 50!)??
Looking back, I believe I saw the first fruits of that while in Indianapolis getting Rachel settled with family. You should know that on both sides, every immediate family member is a Christian. At the same time, we are very reserved about sharing with each other spiritually – I guess we’re all in different places on the journey. But during this trip, not just one, but TWO close family members testified to Rachel and I with complete transparency about how God had recently freed them from life-long addictions!! The heavens were definitely open over my family and my trip in general – more proof and photos to follow!
Prophetic voices also happen to be predicting an open heaven over Europe starting this fall. With Rachel out of the nest and Noah on his way (to start his freshman yr. at BFA, pending the opening of a bed in the dorms,) my full-time motherhood season is quickly coming to an end. After 4 yrs. in Soultz, I am ready to change my ministry roles because, guess what? I can lead worship for large groups, teach English to young children, and host English-speaking teams all without ever improving my French or getting closer to Jesus! So in order to boot myself out of my comfort zone and more deeply into the arms of God, I have shared with the church leadership team that we would like to open our home for a cell group as a seed for a house of prayer and worship – that means learning to teach, pray, and love a small group of people in French on a regular basis, risking all the stuff that can go wrong, which we have avoided until now! The foundational teachings would be from the International House of Prayer, and a French friend who is a nightwatch intercessor there has recently started translating their teachings and songs, leaving us no excuses! I would also like to befriend Olivia’s friends and peers more deeply. They are drawn to our family and share their burdens freely with Olivia. Now that Olivia has shared them with me, I am eager to gain their trust and help the hungry ones to gain a greater intimacy with their Lord, healing wounds before they get too deep. We’ll keep you posted on how it all plays out and whether I’ve correctly interpreted “the signs from the skies!”
And now more highlights from the trip…
- When we didn’t receive enough gifts for another plane ticket, it was a blessing in disguise. I didn’t realize how much I needed a vacation just for me without the weight of the family (not counting Rachel.) This was a first, and I am so grateful to David for letting me go for 27 whole days – I relished every single minute!
- We did receive a lot of extra gifts during my stay, which enabled me to fill every lack we had felt in the last year, and it all fit into 3 suitcases!
- It was so comforting to spend lots of uninterrupted time with my parents in a place where they are really at home. (They were on the move during the same time that we were for a few years.) Here is the only earthly place where I can be a daughter that is loved unconditionally. The only way I could capture that renewed feeling of belonging was to take lots of photos of 3 generations of matching feet (Rachel’s, mine, and my dad’s.)
- A jaunt to Lake Tahoe to visit my sister as a new mom was also a precious gift from my parents. Her beautiful almost 2 yr. old welcomed us with none of the shyness that all the kids in our family were plagued with. Because “Aunt Angela” was too hard to spit out, we came up with the French substitute “Tatie.” Playing with her brought back all kinds of wonderful memories of my own kids in what seems like another lifetime.
- 7 of David’s family members were at the airport to warmly welcome us when we finally landed in Indianapolis. David’s parents moved out of his old childhood home last Christmas and like my parents, they seem very happy in their new digs at this stage in their lives. Rachel was very ready to say good-bye to the 4 suitcases that she had packed and unpacked, weighed, and re-packed for the last 3 weeks. She has a bathroom and 2 other rooms to call her own, and lost no time in transforming them. My hope is that they will pass on their wisdom from lives well-lived in Indy for the last 40 years, and that she will earn her keep as their personal IT consultant, among other things!
- We spent one weekend with my wonderful brother and his wife where a mini-family reunion was held. My 98 yr. old grandfather that I saw last year is still going strong, despite Alzheimer’s, and it was a delight to spend the afternoon with him and my uncle’s family, whose kids are just a little older than Rachel(!)
- I discovered that my intestines had become French without warning me and by the last week I was eating nothing but small portions of plain home-cooked food. Praise God – eating out has lost all its attraction and I didn’t gain any weight!
- Due to gas prices, getting a 3rd bag overseas now costs a whopping $150. But because Rachel was flying to PA the same day and traveling light, I left my 3rd bag with her, and she handed it off to the French team from our church with whom she was prayer-walking. (One of them who only brought 1 bag can take mine for free.) Click here to read about her special week…
- During my return flight, the other blessing, besides the flying plastic, was a half empty plane so that I could stretch out across 3 seats whenever I felt like it during those 9 hours. Back home, the rest of my family greeted me almost as though I’d been raised from the dead – there was visible relief that I was back in charge of the home, though I was doing it in the middle of the night since it took me a week to get over jet-lag! After staying in beautiful American homes and attending beautiful churches, I am finding the motivation and enough money to finish some painting projects. But as “the incredible shrinking family,” we’re asking God if it’s time to think about a move to a renovated place in a quieter neighborhood…
Looking up! Angela