Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Stay In Your Lane

This has been my mantra the past year and if you have had conversation with me lately I have given you the same advice, like it or not :)

It has been a hard lesson to learn and I still have to remind myself of it almost daily.
The gist of it is to keep focused on the path God has for me and don’t feel the need to help control the path of others.  Mostly it’s with my family that I have to stay in my own lane.

As a mother this can be a constant struggle. We want to “help” the Holy Spirit because we know where we screwed up and want to protect our children from the same mistakes. We can give advice but then we have to stay in our lane and let them drive.

I have been thinking a lot about Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."

But let us go back further. In Numbers 8 God is giving instructions on setting up the tabernacle which is the place where the children of Israel would worship Him, so as you can imagine it was to be a very Holy place.

What stood out to me was the first few verses where He tells them how to set up the lamp stands:

Numbers 8:1-3 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.’ ” 3 And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The lamps were set up so the light would shine forward. Now you might be saying well DUH of course they shown forward so you could see what was in front of you and you would be right, but let me ask you something. How many times are you looking back at your past when the Holy Spirit is asking you to move forward? Why are you trying to shed light on something you can't change?

I did some research on the lamps people used in Bible times.

The lamp they carried in the days of Jesus only shown a few feet in front of them. I don’t know the exact amount but it was minimal. That’s why they totally understood the verse in Psalms. They wouldn’t dare travel outside at night because it was too dangerous. They couldn’t see anything including wild beast who may have had them as a main course, so the image of light on the path and a lamp for your feet made total sense.

They could move one step at a time as the light gave direction on the path. I hate to tell you this Gems but that is still how God wants us to move. He wants us to take one step at a time and wait for the Holy Spirit to give the next direction and most times even if we have an idea of where we are going the path to get there is uncertain.
The problem with us is we want a flood light that not only shows the step in front of us it shows the whole path!

This type of light requires little to no faith.

In Numbers 9 a question is brought to Moses from the people, it’s not about travelling but I love Moses response. This advice can be applied to any questions we have, especially travel.

Numbers 9:8 Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord.”

How many devouring things can we save ourselves from if we take one step at a time?
The Holy Spirit is very clear with directions if we are patient to wait on them. As always I’m writing this jewel for myself as well as you.
Not only will He tell us where to go He will get things set up before we get there.

When the Lord moved me to TN  I had no idea where I was going or where I would live. I knew no one in TN and I had enough money to last about a week or so.
Step one, I prayed until I got the answer of where in TN to go, Franklin. When I asked the Lord for more light on my path the Holy Spirit answered with

Isaiah 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.

Gems I literally traveled that way and when I arrived in Franklin, my U haul packed with all my belongings, the Lord led the way step by step. I had no choice but to stay in my lane.

In Numbers 10 God instructs the Israelite's on how to move out when they were headed to their next destination. They were set up by clans with a leader and a banner over their head indicating who they were. Basically they were shown what lane to travel in.

God is such an orderly God that the clan that set up the tabernacle would arrive days before the Levites who were carrying the sacred objects for worship. When the Levites arrived the tabernacle was set up and they could begin worshiping the Lord.
If they would have changed lanes and left after the Gershonite and Merarite division there would have been an unneeded long wait before they could perform their duties.

How many times do we change lanes then complain that we are waiting too long for the next assignment. Don’t get me wrong at times the next assignment is to wait which is why we always have to go to the Holy Spirit and get instructions. Gems He really does allow things to move like clockwork, God’s clockwork of course.

As I have shared before, people worry that they may have to travel under the banner God has placed me with. I want to comfort you again by saying NO. You are allowed to stay in your lane and me in mine but again we cannot tell each other how to travel.

Numbers 10:29-30  One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”
30 But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”
Now I want to be honest with you Gems there are times I tell God I’m tapping out, this journey is too hard for me. I don’t want the lamp I want the flood light! I have had days that I’m so overwhelmed I tell the Holy Spirit “it’s OK if you want to take me home, I’m ready.”

I found comfort in knowing Moses felt the same way.

Numbers 11:14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! 15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

I totally get what Moses was feeling. The good news is God didn’t take him up on his offer instead He sent Moses help.
I can’t tell you how many times the Lord sends me help. Many of you reading this have been one of those people who pulled me up when I was not only changing lanes I was turning in the keys to my transportation.

I will end this jewel with an encouraging verse for all of us.

Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

I can’t think of anything more exciting than to know I can please God!
Stay in your lane Gems and be a light for your path and a beacon for others.

Filled with His Spirit, each of us are beacons of light that show the way to a lost and
dying world.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Do You Know Who You Are

I've been on the job hunting saga lately and as everything else in my life I had a strange "interview." It was for a therapist we will call Terry that uses sensory play with her kids. She was a super nice lady and I love what she's doing so I was happy to send my resume and set up a meeting. I arrived at the agreed time and began a tour of the office including the sloth room. Yes I said sloth room.
This room is for those occasions you're having trouble getting settled and just need a chill moment. There were 3 large stuffed sloths and a small tent in the room with low lighting. I think this kind of room should be required in offices all across America.


Our conversation went from therapy to Jesus within minutes which didn't surprise me as He is the best mental and physical physician I know. As we were talking children began coming in and Terry motioned me into the room they were entering. Before I knew it I was in a yoga class with an intern and 3 boys around 10 years old.

As I was lying on the floor I was thinking how glad I was I wore stretch jeans and not the skirt I had originally planned on. At one point after stretching and bending in unnatural positions
I ended up lying on the floor facing the wrong direction causing Miss Terry to pause the class and say"Miss Gena you many want to turn around so you can see me."

I realigned myself and began laughing under my breath as I pictured myself in downward dog wondering how I went from a dignified interview to bending in half. I don't know how these things happen to me but I knew it was a jewel in the making.
Class was over and I said goodbye to my new friends not knowing what the actual job was, the hours or the pay. I did however have “yoga” to add to my already
interesting resume. 

Needless to say I did not get that job or any I had applied for because God had other plans. He politely told me if I was done “helping” Him He would appreciate it if I would just wait for my next assignment.

You see I was making all this a spiritual thing. I prayed and fasted. I repented and sought counsel as I assumed I was doing something wrong or missing something and that's why I wasn't finding employment. I found myself convinced there was some great fight of good and evil over me and I was losing the fight.

In reality just a few weeks later the Lord showed me I was leaving town for a while and that's why I didn't get a job. He didn't want me to make a commitment I couldn't keep.

The truth is, if I go deeper, the real fight was I forgot who I was.

It does take some humility, but when you agree to get out of the way, and stop assuming you already have the answers on everything of spiritual nature, and stop scheming, plotting, and planning how to make life happen for yourself, then something marvelous begins to occur. Life begins to unfold right before your eyes, without you doing anything. That unfoldment is the Lord God Himself, living the life which He is, but He is living it in you and through you”
Michael Stepakoff One God

I think sometimes we, I, forget that God himself is living inside of us. We forget who we are and whose power we are tapped into.If we allow God to unfold things in His timing and learn the lessons He has for us right where we are we will stay in perfect peace.

Years ago when my now 15 year old grandson Anthony was about 3 and just tall enough to open the front door of his home I was worried he would open it up for a stranger. I decided to train him on door opening safety. For about 2 weeks I would knock on the door and as I heard his hand trying to open it I would yell remember ask, who is it.
One day I thought I would test our efforts and showed up unannounced. I knocked on the door and could could hear his little feet running toward me. I saw the handle start to turn so I grabbed it and said in a low voice he would not recognize “say who is it” to which he replied “hold on Nana.” I repeated in my man like tone “it's not Nana say who is it” to which he again replied “hold on Nana.” A third time I said “it's not Nana say who is it.”
As his tiny hands were trying desperately to open the door I was firmly holding shut, I heard his dad ask him “whose at the door?” To which he wisely replied, It's Nana but she don't know who she is.” Hmmmmmm

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the WHOLE armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

(Wiles: a trick or stratagem meant to fool, trap, or entice; device.
Deceitful cunning; trickery.)

Now Gems I know you may be thinking yea yea we have heard this a thousand
times before but I don't think we pay enough attention to this verse. Deception is the enemies greatest tool. If he can make us believe something that isn't true, he wins.
Remember satan is an angel that was created by God. Nothing is greater than the creator.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

I think we somehow believe or were taught that God is fighting with satan. That somehow satan even has power to fight with God. He does not! There is only One God who has all power and per God that power, who is the Holy Spirit, lives in us.

Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

When Jesus said we have to die to self I used to think it meant being selfless you know putting others first but I think it also means dying to human self, our human mind. What I mean is dying to the thought that we are just humans. It's when we see ourselves as just human we allow the lies the enemy tells us to take us out. We start believing the lies he's telling us about ourselves and our situation. Fear begins to rule in us.
Now some fear is valuable, it can make us slow down and be more aware of our surroundings. This is where renewing our mind comes in. Jesus told us exactly how to combat and win these attacks of the enemy.

I was telling myself I couldn't get a job and then went on to tell myself all the reasons why. I'm getting too old. I don't have a degree, I can't speak Spanish, computers hate me.

Then I renewed my mind. I prayed in the Spirit and acknowledged the power of the God I serve. He has NEVER had a problem placing me right where He wants me. He has never stopped providing all my needs and up until the latest destination had not asked me to go anywhere else.
If He wanted me working somewhere I would be. God was not fighting with satan to have a job open up for me and neither was I.

It all sounds so easy yet we battle this same scenario almost daily. 
So Gems I'm writing this jewel today to remind you that the battle is in our mind which is human we must fight with our spirit man.

I am Gena Duran/Nana  I am one with my creator and I have the power of the Holy Spirit to stand against the wiles of the devil and so do you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Still Praying

I don't usually write a jewel when I'm in the middle of what appears to be an uncertain season however, the message I got from two of my prayer warriors recently was WRITE. They may have been talking about their own journey (Charlotte, Laurie) but they were speaking to me too. Thanks a lot!
So here we go......

The last 5 months have been pretty rough, yet amazing at the same time. How is that possible? Only by God.

 It feels like the Lord has been taking out of my hand way more than He has been putting in. 

Our recent conversation: Me to God: 
Why me God? Are you mad at me? Did I miss something? Am I a bad friend? Am I needy? Am I crazy? Will I make it? Are you done with me here on earth? Will I ever get on the other side of this? Will I regain my passion? Will my dry bones come alive? Will I trust/like people again? Can you have peace with no vision at the same time? Am I invisible? Are you still listening?

God's answer:  YES and NO


So I do what I do best, pray and pray again and pray again and
I  pray from the minute I open my eyes to the time I go to sleep. Is it because I'm so holy? Heck NO I pray because I'm holding onto Jesus so tight to make it through another day. I'm not just holding onto the hem of His garment I'm pretty much dragging behind it.

II'll spare you all the circumstances l but want to share two that are the most dear to my heart. 
First my dear friend Alice passed away and I miss her terribly.

Alice and I attended weekly bible study together for years and for many months I had the honor of driving her. I treasured our alone time and personal moments we shared. I'll miss her wisdom and most of all her powerful prayers. Heaven is a lovelier place with Alice home.

Second, Tony and Dawn Harp. My accountability couple for the past 7 or so years. Talk about a hard job :) They definitely had their work cut out for them trying to keep me in line. Their friendship quickly became family to me and mine. Dawn has been a trustworthy, prayer warrior sister to me and I cannot tell you how much I love and respect them both. They will be moving to Hawaii and reunited with their children and grand children. As excited as I am for them I cannot imagine doing life without them just a short drive away.  I am beyond thankful the Lord put these 3 people in my life and I just wanted to take a moment to honor them.

A combination of events have left me feeling a pain that has cried out from the depths of my heart.. A feeling of betrayal and abandonment from other experiences caused me to retreat from the battle line. I had to decide many mornings to fight the depression that was almost suffocating me.

I feel like I have been screaming and no one seems to hear me, no one is listening.
I had someone say to me "I feel like you had an experience with God in your past that you're trying to recreate. It's too hard to watch and I have to separate myself from you." 
It's apparent there are some who are tired of waiting on God to change my circumstances, I get it, I have been walking this radical life for about 12 years and in the "waiting" I have experienced more miracles than I can count, but long suffering was part of the equation.
Perhaps if someone else's life is too hard for you to "watch"  maybe your living your life too easy.  Just a thought.

I try to be thankful for every event that comes my way, this comment made me evaluate my life and ask God if there was any truth in the words because Gems I don't want yesterdays bread. 

It began the journey of me evaluating  my own heart and separation from those who were unable to celebrate the journey God had for me. A fellow sojourner once told me, go where you're celebrated not where your tolerated. 
Gems I'll be honest I'm 57 years old and it appears the Lord has removed most of what the world would consider reasonable accomplishments at this stage in life. I should be getting ready to retire, have a house, paying off my house, have a 401K, have a 5 year plan!

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps.

But the reality is I am staying with my son and daughter-in-love, their office has become my current bedroom. I have given away all of my belongings AGAIN. It has been an extremely humbling time. I have no clear plan and to be honest EVERYTHING I have pursued has not happened. I have been doing everything I can think of for the past 5 months and every open door closes as soon as I'm ready to step through. 
I have applied for jobs I'm qualified for and some I'm not qualified for. I even applied for a job working at a storage unit, talk about a confidence booster. The Lord has consistently kept the employment door closed.
I do want to share one interview I went on, it was at an insurance office. They gave me a test that I had 12 minutes to complete. I just about finished when the girl walked in to pick it up. She handed it to the Broker who walked into the lobby to meet me. 
Gems, she gave me the once over not once but twice! Literally she gave me the look from the top of my head to my shoes, back up and down again to make sure she didn't miss anything. I'm like Oh MY Gosh I just got a double once over. We then went into her office where she looked at my test, she turned it over and said "didn't the receptionist tell you there was another side?" I said no trying not to laugh out loud. She responded in a demeaning tone "clearly you didn't know because there's not a mark on here."  I didn't have the heart to tell her it wouldn't have mattered I ran out of time on side one! I figured I would just keep that between me and Jesus who I'm sure was laughing too. Needless to say I did not get hired nor did I want the job.

Then this happened.  I found a great place in Palm Harbor, I fell in love with it. The owner knew I didn't have a job yet but she liked me so much and said she just knew I was supposed to move in that I could have it. She said if I needed any furniture I could have what was there, YES! She even offered to help me find a job!  It was so me and as much as I have loved and appreciated all my son and his wife have done for me I was beyond excited to move back into my own place. 
I spent the weekend before I signed my lease with my best friend celebrating. I felt the flame of purpose begin to be fanned! I felt like the waiting was over, I had passed the test and learned the lessons and my promotion ceremony was upon me. 
All I needed was a $500 deposit in the next 24 hours. We began to pray for that and I was confident the Lord would provide as this was clearly His plan. Thank you Jesus!

I got home Sunday night from my amazing weekend and my $500 was waiting for me with 12 hours to spare, only God! 
Monday morning the lease was emailed to me, yippee the wait is over. There was a small problem with the date so I shot the owner a quick text before I headed out the door to meet her. And then my phone rang.  
It was her, the owner of the unit, I excitedly began to tell her I was on my way and then she said "I need to talk to you." She began to speak and I could tell she was crying. The bottom line was she would not be able to rent me the place.......

My world stood still for a minute as I listened in disbelief. HOW in the world could this be happening????? It's not even possible!  God even gave me the money for the deposit. I was trying to listen to her but my head was whirling. I then did what we are supposed to do, gave comfort to a sister in need. I told her it was OK and I understood. I prayed for her and told her I would keep praying as she walked out this unplanned series of events. I tapped into the Holy Spirit to put my new sisters needs before my own but it was a hard hit to the center of my gut. I hung up and looked into the faces of my sweet family all filled with anticipation of my new home and told them it was not happening. As I climbed the stairs back up to what felt like my cell at the moment I begged the Holy Spirit for strength to not only accept the decision but find a way to praise Him for it. 

God has not stopped taking care of all my needs, I shared with you all His miraculous provisions in my last jewel and that hasn't stopped. The Lord told me the next move was in the Spring which I translated April. 
I felt confirmation because I called the bank for my car loan back in January to see how much I owed with any late fees and they said my loan was paid through April!  I knew it was God because I was calling to pay January. All of my financial commitments have been paid each month for the past year without me having a worldly income but Gems it has been a lonely pilgrimage.

"God always provided for Elijah. Even in days of famine his needs were attended to. Thus Elijah was never dependent on the culture that surrounded him. That was a crucial dynamic. Only by standing independent of the surrounding culture was he able to be a light into it's darkness."
Jonathan Cahn

I totally understand this statement because I live it. Knowing someone else understands gives me comfort so I write this jewel hoping it gives you comfort.

My circumstances have not changed but my spiritual vision has. Over the past five months I have been so blessed to be a daily part of my three youngest grandsons lives. I have formed a bond and friendship with my daughter-in-love that I would do this all again to attain. My son Nathanael is my 3rd born and of the four children I never felt like we spent enough time together. These circumstances may be a bit extreme :) but his wisdom and advice have been so insightful, I will cherish every moment he has sown into my walk. He was also the one to begin the healing process for me and his siblings. I have had some real hard conversations with my children. It took rawness and total vulnerability and a decision not to get offended on my part. Nathanael offered me a safe place to do this life evaluation. Had I been working these moments would never have happened. God is so faithful He took care of me, His child, so I could take care of things with my children. These things needed to be addressed before I got a new address.

Some moments are challenging as you can imagine but for the most part it has been invaluable. Praising God with my grandsons is priceless.
The other day my son Nathanael led us in Bible study and Ezra ran and grabbed his bible and sitting next to his daddy he read out loud what he believed it was saying. Are you kidding me!

My family and I are getting ready to go to North Carolina in a couple of weeks to celebrate Passover and that is the only thing on my agenda for now. I know God and I are right where we are supposed to be, Him in control and me praising. I'm keeping my focus on Him and looking forward to the Spring. I will leave this season better equipped to do whatever He has already planned for me. My relationships will be stronger and healthier with God and man.

Gena's Jewels has been my way of giving you a front row seat into my world so you can see how amazing God is. For you to personally know someone that God has proven His faithfulness to. It was never intended to be a burden for you or to stress you out. It has never been a plea for you to save me, I got saved the day I asked Jesus to be my Savior! I don't need your approval nor do I need to defend God. The only hand out I want is the one that comes from Heaven!
I will move forward without your hand but so desire a peice of your heart.

I wrote this jewel so you understand that walking with God means accepting all the outcomes not just the ones we like. It means trusting Him when NOTHING makes sense. It means choosing Him over relationships and housing. It means surrendering all to HIM. It means He truly does work all things out for the good of those who love Him. It means waiting on His timing.
It means it's OK if your STILL praying, He's still listening and answering. Spring is just around the corner stay your course.

About Elijah from Messianic Bible
His hair wild, his eyes filled with fear, his soul crushed by the loss of hope. Depression shrouded him like a thick dark cloak.  This was the one, people referred to as The Prophet.
It can happen to each of us.  As men and women of God, we can lose sight of the vision and callings that God has given to us.  We get depressed, stumble, and even quit. 
While others might leave us in despair, God doesn't
He cares for us, comforts us, strengthens us, raises us up without shame, and invites us to continue in His mission, without skipping a beat!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ending 2017 blessed

Well Gems 2017 is coming to an end and with every ending comes a new beginning!

I thought I would catch you up on some of the amazing miracles the Lord has performed over this year. It's my way of praising God and hopefully encouraging us both.

Just to recap my last job ended in March and once again I have been living on complete financial faith, meaning no source of income other than what the Lord sends through His people. There are so many miracles involved and I'm trying to keep this short so I will fast forward to October.

I have learned on this journey that when the "brook begins to dry up" it is time for a change. What I mean by that is when the supernatural provision God is using to supply ALL your needs begins to diminish He is getting ready for a natural change. For me that usually means I'm getting ready to move.

I want you to know that I THOUGHT for sure I would be staying in the apartment I was currently living in for the past 15 months for a while. I even painted the bathroom and had a new bathtub put in because I was sure I would be settled there for a few years. It was the first time in a while I felt "at home." I shared that assumption with family and close friends and we all exhaled a sigh of relief as we humans yearn for stability and not going to lie the thought of another move was overwhelming to me.

But God had other plans, as I said the brook was drying up. I had no way of paying my rent for November without God's provision. I prayed and prayed and spent hours going over the past 2 years asking the Lord if I missed something? Had I messed up? I knew if there was a mix up it was on my end not His. I prayed, fasted, cried, whined and I'm sorry to say flat out complained for weeks.

It seemed the Lord was SILENT! The Holy Spirit had no problem telling me not to forget my keys but where I would live did not seem a priority to talk about. REALLY! I had others praying for me as well and the only word I got back was “peculiar.” Well it wasn't helpful but it did sum up most of my life.

There was no other option so with the Lord's leading I went to the manager to give my 30 day notice. Whether we like the assignment or not God does things in an orderly manner and handles every situation in a way that honors Him. One of the many parts I was struggling with was, how does this honor Him for me to break a lease?

This meant I would need to pay a cancellation fee for breaking the lease and 3 days of rent as I would not be out until November 3rd which I felt was a waste of God's money and did I mention I still did not know where I was going...

I decided I would give all the office staff a copy of Gena's Jewels the day I went in to speak to the manager as they are such a great group of men and women and I have always enjoyed my time at this complex. I handed them to one sweet lady and asked her to pass them out, I had no idea this was part of honoring God's plan.

A few days later I stopped by the office to get paint to repaint the bathroom. When I walked in the lady I gave the books to announced “this is Gena the woman who wrote the book I gave you guys.” I was then so humbled by the sweet comments they each were making. Honestly I was at such a low point in my walk I didn't think anyone would even read the books.

Before I left the manager asked to see me. I felt like I was being called into the principles office. I assumed it was about breaking my lease and of course asking where the money was but to my surprise it was not. This is when I met Robert who I introduced you to in my last jewel Shallow Roots, if you haven’t read it do so it's a great testimony of the power of God.

Robert didn't want to talk about money he wanted to thank me for my book! I didn't even know he got a copy. He wanted me to sign it! God has such a way of validating us when we feel so unworthy, to be honest Gems when I entered that office I felt like a total looser, signing a book was the last thing on my mind.

Robert was also a believer and we went on to speak about the things of God. I did bring up money and explained I had none at the moment. He was so kind and said we could set up a payment plan and I could pay $5 a month if I needed to until it was paid off.

This did not sit well with me so I asked Robert to write on a sticky note how much I owed, which he did, it was like $716. I told him I would bring it home and show it to my God and let Him know it would need to be handled before I left on the 3rd.

I then got the paint to make sure the apartment was as I found it on my departure and thank the maintenance team for all their hard work. I was driving back to the apartment when I heard the Lord say “This is how I'm honored. The way my children who represent me to the world act when circumstances do not go how they planned can honor or dishonor me.”

I had never thought about it that way.

I put that sticky note on the frig and began to pray for finances and of course my next destination with a grateful heart and did my best to lose all grumbling.... but the Lord continued to be silent.

My daughter Jessica and I were talking one day and she asked what I needed and I anxiously responded I need at least $2000.00 to pay off the apartment complex and get caught up on my bills, phone, electric, cable, car payment, car insurance. I needed to rent a truck to move my things and a place to put them. At that time I thought I would store my belongings in my eldest daughter's garage as I had no money for a storage unit.

Gems I was all in on this and had to stand on faith, I kept reciting one of the verses God gave me years ago.

2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason, even though I suffer as I do, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.

Sometimes you may feel your the only one left believing and that by a thread, having faith in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. It was October 30 and I had 4 days left. The saying goes God is never late but does it always have to be down to the wire in my world??

On October 31st I got a word from Claver, my son-in-love that God gave him in a miraculous vision. I will share that with you one day but for now just know it blew my mind. It was not about my next natural destination but it was about my next assignment. I was still trying to process it when my phone rang, it was Jessica asking me to come by her house she had something for me. I thought what could she possibly have that would top what I had just experienced. My mind was whirling thinking about what I still needed and how was I possibly going to take on the next task with no provision.

When I got to Jessica's apartment I told her about the vision and how blown away I was and she said “well get ready to be more blown away” she then handed me an envelope and inside was 20 One Hundred dollar bills!

Exactly what I told her I needed to respectfully depart from my current mission. God was on the move.

On November first we drove to the U-Haul place with cash in hand to rent a truck.
Gems I can't make this stuff up, this was the name of the place

I put all my stuff in storage and stayed in the apartment my last 2 nights with a packed suitcase, sleeping on a cot and waiting for a destination.

I went to sleep Thursday night November 2nd and at 6:00 AM Friday morning, the day I had to officially be out, I got the following text from a sweet sister in the Lord who was in North Carolina at the time saying “so where are you staying these days?” She had no idea what a loaded question that was.

I replied "I have to be out of my apartment in a few hours and have no idea where I'm going."  She sent back the following message “we have a condo on the beach in Clearwater, it's completely furnished and available for 2 weeks if your interested.”

Finally a destination! Now Gems I was not looking for a 2 week destination, this had instability written all over it but this was the route the Lord was asking me to take. I ended up staying there for 17 days, 17 my favorite number. I had no idea how exhausted I was until I arrived. It was 17 days of rest, blessings and beauty.

I had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends in the area and I met so many awesome new friends during my visit. Before I left I was to experience yet another miracle of God's provision.
December was quickly approaching and I needed 2 car payments. My September payment was extended to December because of the recent hurricane which greatly helped in September, that's a story for another time, and now my December payment would be due as well.

The day before I was to leave my beach oasis my daughter Amanda came to see me with 2 of my grandsons and decided to spend the night (part of God's plan.) The next morning, 8:00 AM, I was busy cleaning the bathroom and Amanda went outside to enjoy the last minutes of the view. She saw a woman in the courtyard and they made eye contact. The woman gave Amanda a warm smile so Amanda said good morning, she then asked if she knew a woman named Gena Duran. Amanda replied, that's my mom. Only God!

Gems God's timing is so amazing, that in itself should prove He exist. How He orchestrates where people are at exactly the right time is nuts. This sweet woman's name is Linda and I met her at the church I was visiting and we became instant friends. She came into the condo and told my family how inspired she was by my journey and how that morning the Lord spoke to her and told her to find me and ask what I needed for my car.

Linda knew what resort I was at but had no idea what unit. God led her right to my daughter.

She then asked what I needed for my car and I said 2 car payments. She wrote me a check right there on the spot. God always provides when He sends you on a mission it just may not happen as you plan.

It's December 26th and I would like to tell you I have been given my destination but I haven't. My children have been great about letting me take turns staying with them but the Lord has made it clear they are temporary visits. I'm currently writing this jewel from my dear friend Beverly's in Odessa where I will be for the next few days. I will be going to Lake County Florida for a few weeks in January, I will speak at a right to life event but that is all I know for now.

I have made the following verse personal to me, Luke 22:31 Gena, Gena, satan has asked to sift you all as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Gena, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

I'm thankful that my sweet Jesus prays for me especially when I feel sifted. I know I haven't handled everything I have experienced in a way that honors God but I'm moving forward. I realized the other day how many beautiful homes I have stayed in which would not have happened if I had a home.
I hope this jewel strengthens each of you on your journey. I know God will provide all that you need for your adventure.

Can't wait to see what 2018 brings, hopefully an address, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Shallow Roots

Well it has certainly been an interesting few months.....
I don't know about you but I have been in a place where I need to be frequently reminded about the power of God. 
My family and I have dealt with so many spiritual attacks the past couple of months that I barely have time to shine my Armour before the next attack comes.
I have had to CHOOSE not to be offended by people who have hurt me dearly, my faith is being stretched to new limits and I have questioned why I  even asked to go deeper with the Lord. 
Ever been there?

The thing is in order to go deeper you have to be vulnerable   ( susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm) I'm surprised my picture isn't showing up after the definition.

I have decided not to write this jewel about the people or circumstances that have caused attack or harm.  Instead, I'm going to share a story with you a man named Robert told me. A story/reminder I desperately needed to hear so I figured you may need to hear it too. 

Robert told me that he has a neighbor that for days had a rolled up McDonald's bag and large soda cup sitting on the railing of their fence. You know how little things can drive us crazy sometimes, well for Robert it was these two objects. He said he would pull into his drive way and all he could see were that bag and cup. As if the manicured lawns and cozy porches suddenly disappeared and all that was left was a neon sign pointing to this heap of garbage that overpowered the otherwise lovely home.
"Why don't they throw their trash away?" he would ask in the privacy of his car as he jeered at his neighbors obvious disregard for keeping their other wise nice neighborhood status quo.
He confessed he never went over and threw it away, he would just grumble from inside his car and shake his head in disgust.

Of course I'm exaggerating a bit but you get what I'm saying we have all been lured into this trap of insignificance. 

Well his attention was quickly taken off this irritating scene because he now had a bigger problem, much bigger, hurricane Irma was heading straight for Florida.

Robert shared his own feelings of vulnerability with me regarding the storm.  A feeling we all experience when things are totally out of our control.  I think we all felt a lot like this diagram! 

Robert, almost involuntarily, out loud said a familiar prayer from the safety of his vehicle "GOD help me!"

He then pulled his car up closer to the house for safe keeping and something caught his eye in the mud. He got out to find a small purple cross, which he pulled out of his pocket to show me as he narrated his miraculous God moment with me.
He said he knew God was telling him everything was going to be OK. That He was with Robert and as His word promises, He will never leave us or forsake us. Robert did what he could do to prepare for the storm and left the rest up to God.

After a night of major winds and rain the worst part of the weather was over. The next morning Robert went outside to assess the damage.
The first thing he noticed was a large tree that blew over and landed strategically in the yard just missing his home. No coincidence there. He looked down his street to see a mass of debris  covering what was once a very tidy road.

A quick scan left then right, heart still pumping a little quicker as the realization of what could have happened registers to the brain. A concerned turn of the head to ascertain his neighbors well being, and then he saw it.....
Right there in plain sight the McDonald's bag and soda cup still standing on his neighbors very thin, exposed railing!!!

This is the actual picture Robert took himself!

Gems I get chills even as a write this to you. GOD is still in control. I love that first He gives us something sweet maybe even sentimental to meet us where we are emotionally and remind us that He's got us right in the palm of His hand. Then He doesn't just show up, He shows off! HE gave Robert and I a reminder that HE IS GOD. The ONLY explanation for that "garbage" to still be there was God sending His own message. HE is bigger than nature, bigger than hurricanes, bigger than physics! He still controls the wind and rain, He can knock over a huge tree while keeping a small bag in place. He still does the impossible!

The thing is Gems on the outside we can look like big solid Christians. We may know all the right things to say or do but when the big, unavoidable, out of control storm hits who are we?
We may appear to have lots of testimonies and adventures with the Holy Spirit but do we have shallow roots?
I took this picture because it summed up exactly what I'm talking about.

Before the hurricane came this tree appeared pretty solid, but one good storm a tree without roots can be history. Yea it can be picked back up and re-planted but it has to grow roots to withstand the next whirlwind. 
Just like us, we can go through a storm and maybe get knocked over for a while but God will pick us back up and replant us in His word if we choose, but we have to grow roots to stand against the uncertainties of life.
I was definitely in a personal hurricane, still am. I have control over nothing I can't fix the situation and I'm completely vulnerable. I have to choose wisely who I let speak into my life. I have been laying low for weeks because the only voice I want to hear is God's.. I went to New York to visit my sweet sister and honestly thought about not coming back. 
I have counted on a small group of people to have faith for me on the days I don't have enough of my own and I'm beyond thankful for them.
I have needed people to tend to my tree so my roots can grow deeper.  God uses the most unusual circumstances, like that bag and cup, to remind us of His power and I'm so thankful for those moments even if they shake every branch on my tree.
Yes the winds are still blowing and like the diagram I don't know my next direction but I do know God does and it's a good plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you Robert for allowing me to share your God story. It inspired me and I pray it inspires my faithful Gems.