These two words had been rolling around in my mind for a month or so before we understood what was going on. My spirit was beginning to catch on to something the Lord was speaking, but it took a little while before we got the whole picture.
Since April this year we have been having a much harder time being in missions here in French Polynesia. It started with David hitting a real low point (see June blog post) and then Erin a while later. We wanted to give up and we wanted to go home.
God has spoken several specific words in the past few months as He ministers to us during this harder time. One of the first words He spoke was through a friend who asked Erin: “how is your relationship(s) with your spiritual covering?” If it is not good then it is not a surprise you are struggling; you are all alone out there!!
This word sent us to prayer and began unfolding more of the impression floating around David’s mind: “parents & orphans”. God revealed how we had drifted a bit in some of our relationships that were providing some sort of spiritual covering for us. God convicted us regarding ways we had distanced ourselves or not made enough effort to stay connected to those who pray for us, sent us out or provide some sort of spiritual “parenting” – we had orphaned ourselves!
As Erin and I prayed and repented, we made a list of people or ministries that provide covering for us somehow: a list of our “parents” if you will. We contacted them and repented for the distance that had arisen over time. For some it was simply re-establishing contact, for others it was a commitment to sow some of our tithe money to them faithfully, to others it was committing to regular contact & communication.
God spoke to me “3 Cs” that are a responsibilities for spiritual parents and “3 Cs” that are responsibilities for spiritual children. They are specific to our context of missions within YWAM but I believe there are principles here that apply to many other similar contexts/relationships.
May this bless you and regardless of who you are or what you do… pray and seek the Lord regarding your spiritual covering. Are there actions steps you need to take as a “child” of a “parent”? Are there things you need to do for those under your covering?
God has placed us in these relationships for our good and for our protection, growth and well-being.
Fathers and Mothers
Sons and Daughters
Here is a little look at how we are doing and what is going on with us personally rather than with YWAM ministry.
A little background…
Over the Christmas holidays our teammate Megan heard clearly from the Lord what to do once her initial 3 year commitment with us ends in August 2017. She will be moving back to the USA and pursue going back to school. We are happy and excited for her yet at the same time quite sad to think that come August our family will be on its own again here in Tahiti.
In February we learnt that the owner of our apartment complex is no longer taking renters and that all the units are up for sale. Our apartment will most likely not be sold for over a year but it does mean that we no longer have anywhere to put new staff, volunteers or outreach teams. We have had access to empty units due to favour with our landlord but that season is over.
It was quite discouraging to hear that YWAM Tahiti no longer has any place to put anyone who may want to come join us. We all prayed together and heard God speak that we are entering a “winter season”. This is to be a time where we intentionally seek Him and devote ourselves to prayer. This will prepare us for a future springtime of new growth. We heard from the Lord specific ways to respond and press into Him.
Our current situation…
Then a little over a month ago Erin and I got into an argument in our kitchen. I do not remember what the argument was about but it was nothing serious: typical marriage argument. However, I found myself getting unusually angry. Erin was being her normal, humble self, trying to make peace and figure out an agreement but I was just getting angrier and angrier. We stopped arguing because I was yelling and could not settle myself.
Erin is very gracious and wise – she waited a while and then sent me an email. She was apologizing for her part in the argument and trying find resolution. It was in reading the email that I had a revelation of what had been going on inside of me.
To summarize – there were a lot of emotions below the surface that I did not realize. The argument simply caused them to finally boil over. What I was feeling inside was a lot of shame, guilt and condemnation over the fact that YWAM Tahiti has not progressed or grown as we hoped it would. I was feeling like a failure and for the first time wanted to just quit.
After a good talk and prayer together Erin (once again) was wise in saying that we should not think this will simply go away or that it is “just a phase”. We need to seek some help personally and help to see how to move YWAM Tahiti forward.
Since that argument life is much better! God has been so faithful to speak fresh new words and teach us many new things. Besides much personal revelation, the first thing God has spoken so far in regards to how to move YWAM forward was a word from Malachi 4:6 – turning the hearts of the fathers and children to each other. God said “no sonship = no inheritance.” God placed on our hearts people and YWAM bases who are a sort of spiritual covering to us yet with whom we were no longer properly aligned in a spirit of sonship.
We have begun to reach out and make things right with these relationships. We sense that this is bringing a spiritual release over us. We are still struggling in some ways: homesickness, discouragement, and simply not knowing how to “fix it”: how to help YWAM grow. However, we believe that God will continue to speak and lead us towards growth.
We will continue to pursue the word God spoke of pressing in during a winter season. We will also continue to align ourselves with our spiritual coverings. However, one thing that must fall into place is different housing. We need a house that is big enough for our family AND has extra space for other staff or visiting teams. We need a place where we can operate more as a YWAM base. With housing in place we believe that next step of growth can take place.
Erin and I have had several good prayer times during our 40 days of prayer (see below). As God often does when we pray for a breakthrough or for God to act in some way, He speaks first to “the spiritual” before delivering an answer in “the physical”. In other words, God deals with our hearts and the “real issue” behind the physical answer to prayer we are seeking Him for.
God ministered DEEPLY to us the morning of January 12th. We were asking God what His will might be concerning a trip to visit our families for Christmas in 2016. We have not traveled since we moved here in Nov. 2013 and Erin has not spent Christmas with her family in over 10 years.
As we were praying the Lord revealed to us what was in my heart. There was a belief under the surface in me that thought God was either punishing me or disciplining us by taking away a Christmas vacation (we had our hearts set on one for the holidays 2015). I do not know how this thought had come to grow but it was clearly there, however subtle it was. I believed God was using bad CIRCUMSTANCES as a way to PUNISH/DISCIPLINE me.
The Lord cut to my heart by gently but firmly stating a truth: “David, if I wanted to punish you for your sins I would have to kill you.” The wages of sin is not a missed vacation; it is death! That is what our sin really deserves, and Jesus took ALL the punishment for my sin and God does not punish me for any of them. It is ALL on the Cross.
God then clarified for me three things that had blurred together and were causing fear and condemnation: punishment, discipline and trials. I had begun to see many bad circumstances (trials) as God’s way of punishing me or disciplining me somehow.
God led me to various verses and showed me that:
This in effect is simply the Good News of the Gospel. However, when God spoke it that morning it was fresh truth all over again that cut through the layers of error that had built up through disappointment, or hardship.
May you enjoy the joy of knowing God loves you and no bad circumstances come your way because God is mad or disappointed with you. Live in His love!