Naked and Unashamed

26NBWith all the earth-shaking events happening in the news this month, I can’t think of a better time to dish out some really good news to our faithful readers!

When your testimony revolves around a healed marriage 15 yrs ago, it’s easy to coast and think, “We’ve got that covered.” We’ve had a couple of boosts since then, but nothing like what happened to us 2 weeks ago. The Richards highly recommended this 5-day version of an 18 week course, started by a couple from Bethel Church 3 yrs ago called Love After Marriage. This is the same church that has fueled our inner healing ministry and whose teachings have transformed our minds and spirits in the last year. So when we found out that a bi-lingual training course was happening over in Germany, we eagerly set aside the week (to celebrate our 25th anniv. + my birthday a little early) and watched the 1100 euros come in to cover all the costs!

The actual course is well-described on their website. Here is OUR testimony from 50 intense hours together:

  • I discovered hidden self-rejection that was hindering my ministry and my marriage, got rid of it, and have tools to attack it if it comes back!
  • We learned to stop trying to solve relational problems with our minds, which fed arguments and rarely worked. Now we ask the Holy Spirit for revelation instead. Wow – it came in waves that week. We could suddenly see the spiritual roots of our behavior and attacked the evil spirit attached to that sin (often in our family line) instead of each other.
  • We learned a method to reconcile with each other to heal important wounds that were 25 years old and that we had given up on ever resolving. Behold, He really can make all things new and it’s even better when it happens in the springtime when creation is doing the same thing!!
  • We were asked to write and then read a letter from Jesus to our spouse, with the help of the Holy Spirit. David had me in tears as he recounted how much Jesus loves to dance with me. The bonus was that our 10-hr days of sitting were broken up by learning to dance as a couple to a certain romantic worship song, and by Friday, we were in perfect sync, like I’d always dreamed of!
  • We were reminded that our physical intimacy is of high importance to God because it is a declaration of the restoration of being emotionally, physically, and spiritually “naked and unashamed” with each other and with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus. We “nailed to the cross” a list of issues that have kept us from having “a more perfect union” and we have invited the Holy Spirit into our bed to break us out of old patterns and help us walk out the Song of Solomon in deeper ways…

I have heard that the French tend to believe that passion can only exist in a context of adultery, so one of our “ministries” is marital public affection. We are a very visible couple in the church, so our actions give a model for the youth and create hope and desire in the broken marriages around us. Our pastor and school founder is desperate for help in this area, knowing full well that healthier couples mean happier students at our school.

We also know that when we lead worship with deeper love and unity between us, it can only enhance greater intimacy in worship for our church body, and we saw concrete evidence on the Sunday of our return: the husband/father of the little boys that I help care for unplugged his computer recently to focus on writing music. He had also gone through an inner healing session with us about a month ago. His countenance and demeanor have changed drastically and his song that we sang could have been an advertisement for what David and I had just lived! We have been waiting a long time to see the French write their own intimate worship songs from healed hearts (instead of singing translations) and it has happened! And the second time it was played (in the context of our 12 hr. tabernacle) couples started waltzing to it!! It brought tears to my eyes…

This year’s royal wedding in Britain has become a prophetic sign for me – William and Kate decided to wed at the same time that God is restoring us for the second half of our married life! What a wonderful reminder that God is preparing us all for the ultimate royal wedding with King Jesus. The marriage at the end of Revelation takes us back to Genesis: access to the Tree of Life in the garden await us in the new heavens and the new earth, but now the snake is forever trapped in his lake of fire. We will spend eternity naked and unashamed with everyone else who has ever said, “I do” to Jesus while on the earth, but why not join us and start living eternity now ?

Noah and I leave for Phoenix on Saturday. I will miss David like never before…

Love, Angela

My house is talking…

smillinghouseOver Christmas, we made a little film of our life here and it includes an abbreviated tour of our house. We are very excited about it and we hope it will give our supporters a better idea of what they are supporting. I used to complain about my house and our inability to make it the home of my dreams, but now I know better. If I bless my house, it will bless me. I also read a book recently by a woman who gets visions of heaven. She reports that we will have the house of our dreams to enjoy for eternity, (and has cool testimonies to back it up,) so I am no longer worked up about where I live for just 30-40 more short years!

But back to our theme, it seems that in the last couple of months, God has been using my house to communicate deeper things with me, and there’s nothing like a secret message to liven up a housewife’s day! Let’s start with the trash…

I have 15 wastebaskets in my house, thanks in part to all the recycling we have to do. Ten years ago, during our time in Germany, this new idea took a huge amount of mental and physical energy. Now it is second nature. In my kitchen alone, I have a trash can for non-recyclables, a pedal bin for biodegradables, and a bag for collecting paper, plastics, and aluminum. Under my stairs, I store the bags until pick-up day and have a bigger bin in which to collect my little cornstarch bags of biodegradables. In another small closet nearby, I collect my glass in a cardboard box and toss regular trash bags into a normal trash bin. But to encourage better recycling and make collection fees more fair, we will be given a new bin next month with an electronic chip. On collection day, it will be weighed and we will be charged accordingly. And what message is coming from all of this?

Well, January has been a quieter month, so I’m taking advantage of it and feeding a lot of good books that are making me hungry for more of God. If I’m serious about pursuing that, I have to look at how I spend my time. Having my trash weighed every week is a good reminder for me to weigh in where my time was wasted. A line from a favorite worship album is my new mantra: “I’m makin’ plans to waste my life on You…” And God seems to be using all the bottles in my house as a visual aid right now. It seems they are all getting empty at the same time: the oils and vinegars in my kitchen, the laundry detergent and softener, my shampoo, my astringent and face cream, the hand soap. Having this many nearly empty bottles make me a little nuts because I need to buy the replacements, but have no convenient storage for them while waiting to finish those last drops. So my house feels cluttered for a few weeks until the switch is made. God has done a lot of work in me in the last year, but compared to what I’m reading in these books, I feel like one of those bottles, and I am restless to get filled up with more of Him.

In stark contrast to the trash cans, I have only 6 windows in my house, and 3 of them need to be replaced. 2 of them are the front windows right on the street, so they let in lots of noise and cold air. The French literally shutter themselves in at night for privacy, but I like to keep the shutters open so that passers by can see the life going on inside. (But in the winter, there is so much condensation that they see nothing! ) So in order to keep out the bad and still be a lighthouse in the neighborhood, I’m allowing window salesmen to come to the house for estimates. This has been very entertaining because they are some of the few non-Christians to darken my door, and I love sharing who we are and how God provides for our needs, just to see their reaction!

Moving on to my cramped cave-like laundry room, I have a top of the line washer and dryer, which I justify, since laundry is one of my ministries here (see the dvd.) Anyway, you might recall that we had a generous Christmas this year. I just wanted to mention that the house, via the washing machine, contributed to that when it stopped working and started blinking at us to check the filter. We dug out $9 in change! None of us keeps loose change in our pockets, so that was a real mystery. That was only 1 of many financial miracles in the last 2 months and God just keeps reinforcing the fact that He will continue to provide for us in a myriad of ways.

grandmakidkitchendance And then in my kitchen, I had hung this image taken from a French picture book. The theme was “Don’t worry, be happy!” (and this positive outlook is extremely rare in French children’s literature.) It was a very powerful and prophetic story for Noah and I ten years ago when we were really struggling with his schooling upon arrival in France. So I decided to frame the image and keep it before me until joy was a permanent reality in lives. Well, over Christmas I spontaneously grabbed Noah’s hand and asked him to dance with me while worship music was blaring in the kitchen, and he did! It was then that I knew that God had done a that work in both of us and that it was time to take the picture down. Another thing worth noting is that Noah has outgrown our house this year: There are 3 places where anyone over 5’10” has to duck. David has an automatic sensor, but my son was hitting his skull on a regular basis during his 3 weeks at home. Combined with the positive changes I saw in him over the break, this physical manifestation reassures me that he is ready to move on to “bigger things!”

In the verse, “As for me and my house(hold), we will serve the Lord,” the Hebrew word for “house(hold)” really does include the physical building. The French tend to decorate their homes with impersonal and generic art and decor, but chez nous everything on the walls has a story and testifies of God’s personal touch on our lives. What is your house saying to you and the world?

Love, Angela

10 Reasons why this is the BEST December ever!

– 10 –

I have discovered “faisselle.” I’d seen this product in the dairy aisle, but because I didn’t know what it was and had become intolerant of milk and yogurt, (as well as coffee, tea, and o.j.) I never bought it. Then a friend ordered it at a restaurant and I had a spoonful. It’s a sour cream look-alike in complex packaging, but is actually a cheese. They like to eat it with honey for dessert. So why am I happy? Because honey in “sour cream” is a new taste sensation and I can digest cheeses! The recipe in the packaging recommended dumping it on french toast and sweetening it with maple syrup instead – YUM – Breakfast is fun again!

– 9 –

A YWAM intercession team of 8 came to our living room to pray for us and our house specifically. The timing was perfect because I had just had a rare attack of fear come on me after seeing x-rays of my neck with proof of encroaching arthritis. We kicked fear in the head that day.

– 8 –

Olivia is working at giant fish store for this year’s “sta-ahge,” as she continues to explore career paths the French way. She made an excellent choice since this is the coldest week of the year and the building is naturally heated and humidified by hundreds of fish tanks.

– 7 –

My son’s e-mails have become downright affectionate. As a freshman, he signed off as “Noah.” As a sophomore, he warmed up with “Love, Noah.” But his last e-mail finished with “I love you!” My cup runneth over.

– 6 –

I got to see the Christmas lights along the Champs Elysées with my own eyes in the middle of a rare Parisian snowstorm. We won’t talk about what happens when drivers abandon their cars and descend to join the throngs in the subway. Obviously, I lived to tell about it.

– 5 –

While I was shlepping around Paris, helping to plant the sozo inner healing ministry there, my husband was pulling off a handyman tour de force in my tiny laundry room. He has made Jesus’ words a living reality for me: My (laundry) yoke is now easy and the burden is light!

– 4 –

In preparation for Rachel’s much anticipated Christmas homecoming, I’ve done lots of decluttering and redecorating. Aaaaah!

– 3 –

I volunteered to set-up/decorate tables for the teacher’s Christmas banquet, but I’ll have my creative/tall kids around to help me!

– 2-

We received a generous gift and a big inheritance check both this month!, so I am not shopping at the Salvation Army this year!

– 1 –

We get to give our family testimony during the church Christmas service with all 5 of us present and wearing new clothes!

Joyeux Noël,


All Saints Photo Souvenirs

I know France has gotten a lot of negative press lately, but we feel far removed from it in our little corner. October has been filled with wonderful inner healing sessions twice a week and making sure my cleaning moms are in place and appreciated. David has been actively trying to work less and create more margins in daily life for God to move. Now we are in the middle of our 2-week fall school break and it has been full of Kodak moments! So this month I’m replacing a wordy newsletter with a mini-photo album.

My last surviving grandparent died this month at the age of 100. Rachel represented us well at the funeral. He was a traveling evangelist and pastor and I enjoyed his unconditional love as a child. Here he is at 58 when I was 6 and they kept my brother and I on occasional weekends that usually included a paddle boat ride at the local lake in Valparaiso, IN.
We also said “Adieu” to a Scottish missionary couple that were in limbo here 8 months until their org. got them a place in Paris. Shona felt like a soulmate and her talented husband found time to help me with some frustrating areas of the house. We blessed them with an open house and considering that our home has zero traffic flow, it worked out that only 1/2 of the 20 invited families came! My typical American fall treats were all new to the French – even the hot apple cider!

Speaking of Scotland, an old friend that we worked with in YWAM Paisley came through one weekend while he was in France for work. He’s also a great handyman and managed to re-do the flooring in our toilet in one day. It has made a huge difference in this space until we can get rid of it, and removed all of my shame!!

Our eagerly anticipated friends, the Richards, landed this month and are still waiting on phone/Internet 3 weeks later. Here’s a shot of them sucking from our wireless connection. Janet is supporting our inner healing team and Rusty is a creative catalyst and not-too-busy to hang out friend for David. Unfortunately they have to go back in Jan. to apply for a more permanent visa.
Since Halloween/All Saints’ day is a 3-day weekend in Germany and France, it’s the one weekend Noah likes to come home before Christmas. Since we never like his school portrait and he avoids the dorm camera, we did a photo session before we took him back to capture his changing face before he turns 17 in a few weeks!

This same weekend, our church also had their second annual “Holy Spirit activation” weekend for the kids and they culminated it by doing the entire service on Sunday. It was beautiful.

So while the French flock to the cemeteries with chrysanthemums to honor the dead on Nov.1, this is my way of honoring all the everyday saints that are supporting us here in so many ways.

Till next month,

Janitors for Jesus

I want to dedicate this month’s newsletter to Larry McKim and Laurie Spicer who passed away on the same day earlier this month. Larry and his wife Penny have been our faithful financial supporters from the day of our departure for Europe and hosted the church missions support group for a season. Laurie was a faithful reader who never failed to reply to every newsletter with an encouraging comment, even while battling cancer. We will miss them both.

September is the month when we ask God to help us lay out a new schedule for the school year. Keeping our focus sharp and narrow for the long haul is always a challenge. This year our roles could best be described as the title above, in that we’re cleaning up dirty spaces of all kinds. There isn’t a good translation for "janitor" in French. The dictionary offers "gardien" and "concierge," but those sound like positions with some semblance of authority over the building. (The French words are probably closer to what I’m writing about this month, but "Concierges for Christ" sounds a bit stuffy.)

This summer I saw a real jump in my joy, energy, and intimacy with God, so I was ready to give more at school this year, but I didn’t know where. Then two hours before Back-To-School night, I learned that the woman who had organized all the school cleaning for the last couple of years had quit. Keeping in mind that we have no school janitor, I quickly came up with a simpler way to organize the parent volunteers, because it looked like this task would fall on me. (The director had called me the day before asking for help without knowing the ball had been dropped completely.) Knowing that this meeting is the only time we have most of the parents all in one room, I knew that an enthusiastic American pep talk was key to getting parents on board and jump-starting a cleaning schedule. So David blessed my Martha anointing from his sick bed, and I dashed off to the meeting, unable to get ahold of the director to warn him of my rash decision. Based on the applause following my 3-minute speech, I think I made an impact and at least everyone knows who I am now! With the blessing of the directors and Jesus making the yoke light, I’m having fun creating attractive correspondence and posters (+ making sure that each area is well-stocked with supplies) to make it feel more like teamwork than indentured servanthood. The humbling part is that everything I write has to be proofread by a French person! Out of 75 families, 22 serve the school in alternate ways and 17 are unavailable (so they opt to pay a $200 fee instead.) This leaves me with 36 moms to organize, 16 of whom have still made no commitment 2 weeks later. I don’t know if that’s an improvement or not, but Jesus has it under control!

janitorsmall.pngBy continuing in our role as worship leaders, we are still cleaning up the spiritual atmosphere of the country. Most of time we’re breaking out in a sweat while we do it on Sunday mornings, which means our job must not be done, and I sweat just as much while I continue to do the monthly cleaning of our physical sanctuary! Our church body also seems to be in a season of bringing the dirt into the light. It is considered taboo to interfere in private family life here and attending courses for help is an admission of failure, so they suffer in silence until it is too late. Because several quiet families have suddenly imploded in dramatic ways in the last few months, the elders are eager to start the inner healing ministry next month. We’re seeing the spirit of death trying to invade our school families too, and hope to use our tools to clean out that domain as well!

David is continuing in his IT role at school. His current conundrum is that when he turns on an internet content filter for the student computers, it disrupts the wireless connection in the chateau that is vital for the profs and residents, who all use laptops. The enemy is obviously involved in that mess and David is still trying to find the most efficient product to deal with it. On that note, I volunteered to keep the computer room floor swept so that I could intercede at the same time, joining David in taking spiritual authority over this corner of the chateau. We also continue to enjoy well-timed extra pocket money earned by cleaning out dirty PCs for reasonable rates.

Olivia has also jumped in on the cleaning frenzy at many levels: from new levels of personal hygiene habits to replacing facebook time with God time. We’ve also removed the stress of music school this year and bathe in listening to her play and sing worship songs in the evenings instead. We are hosting her classmate Pauline 2 nights/week again this year and hope to have a greater impact on her life. After a year, she’s suddenly gotten a breakthrough in understanding us during casual conversation and we hope this is a prophetic sign for more in other areas of her life!

With new teammates arriving this year, our cleaning power will be even more effective – so stay tuned for the results!

Love, Angela Joy