I’m His Secret Garden

I went through a time a couple months ago when I knew that the Lord was trying to take me to a new level in my relationship with Him.

It felt similar to the time He was trying to tell me that He delights in me. Trying to discern His voice and what He’s saying can be difficult at times.

For instance, one evening a long time ago, I was alone in my van driving home from a teaching workshop, and I knew that God was trying to speak something specific to me. I could hear Him in my spirit saying, “I d_______ you.” I knew the middle part of the sentence started with a “D”, but I didn’t know what the word was! So I kept trying to hear or guess or understand or whatever. It took me a long time. My spiritual ears were very young, and my hearing was not acute at all. I had only recently begun to try to hear God’s voice clearly and to listen for His voice. This was when we still lived in Ohio. It must have been the year 2001 or so. I kept thinking “desire”, no that’s not it, hmmm, what other word starts with a “D” that God might be saying about me. I was trying to think of Bible verses. Finally, I knew that He was saying that He DELIGHTS in me. Then I was faced with trying to wrap my mind around what He meant by that, and why the God of the universe would delight in me?!!! It was more than I could take in. That is obviously true, because He is still trying to show me what it means.

He has been working on me for the last 13 years or so trying to convince me and show me the fullness of that revelation that He delights in me.

Well, fast forward to 5 months ago. Anna and I have been going to noon prayer almost every day Tuesday through Friday at our church. During the prayer time, I saw a waterfall. I knew that God was telling me to go to a place that had a waterfall. We have only lived here for two years, so I don’t know the area very well. I asked the Youth leaders if there was a park nearby that had a waterfall, or if they knew where a waterfall was. They told me about the parks they knew that had a river flowing through them. Anna and I went to the park and walked, and we had a nice, peaceful time, but I knew there was somewhere else that I was supposed to go.

A few days later, Anna had a Youth meeting at church, and I took her and just decided to wait there in the car. I noticed the church’s prayer garden and decided I should go check it out. I had never been inside it. It is surrounded by trees and a wrought-iron fence, so I couldn’t see exactly what was in there.

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I walked over to it and checked the gate. It was unlocked. So I went in.

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Guess what was in there?

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A waterfall! The waterfall I needed to go to was right there on the church property.

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I sat on a bench inside and gazed at the waterfall and the trees and talked to the Lord. I asked Him what He wanted to say to me.

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I had been hearing two songs lately that mentioned gardens, based on Song of Solomon. One was “Where I Belong” by Cory Asbury, and the other was “Garden” by Misty Edwards.

Specific words from these songs came to me as I sat meditating and praying. From Misty’s song, I kept hearing the words, “I am a garden enclosed, a locked garden. You hedge me in with skin all around me, a garden enclosed, a locked garden. Life takes place behind the face. Here it’s You and me alone, God.” And from Cory’s song I kept hearing, “Come into Your garden, take delight in me, take delight in me.”

It suddenly struck me that I am God’s garden and He comes to me and rests in me and takes delight in me. I have always thought about going into the garden to meet with God, but I never realized that I, myself, am that garden! I pictured myself resting in Him, but I didn’t realize that God actually rests in me, too, as I spend time with Him and meditate and pray. It was a humbling revelation. It was almost as dramatic as the night He spoke to me that He delights in me. It has made a difference in the way I see myself and my relationship with God. I knew that He delighted in watching me serve Him, but I really did not understand that He delights in just spending time with me. He finds rest and refreshing to His soul from our times together. Blows. My. Mind.

When I’m spending time worshiping Him now, I invite Him into His garden and tell Him to take delight in me. It’s still new, and I still feel funny and rather presumptuous when I utter these words, but I know that He is pleased, and it’s a new level of worship and experiencing His presence.

You may want to seek the Lord for yourself about this and see if He wants to bring you up and closer to Him through this kind of experience.

He loves you so much, and is seeking intimate union with each one of us.

I hope this may help someone to draw closer to God and get to know Him better.

These are the songs that helped me reach this new understanding. I hope you enjoy them and receive the revelation that you need from them.

After Nine Months of Unemployment – We Have a Job!

We finally got our breakthrough today! Gary starts his job tomorrow! I’m very excited!

More radical changes are on the way. Here are a few in the last month:

1. Shawn has been working at his job for a month and a half.

2. Patrick is working at Family Dollar. He just started Saturday.

3. Anna helps a friend of ours with cleaning jobs. And Anna is learning Karate, self-defense, assault prevention, etc., and she is now a white belt. She wants to be an instructor.

4. Gary starts a new job tomorrow. A full-time job. With benefits. We haven’t had benefits in about 12 years.

But we never go to a doctor, so it hasn’t been much of a problem.

But the Lord is so good to us. I just had to share. Rejoice with us! We were on the verge of losing hope. It has been very hard lately. But God has answered our prayers. He is faithful. If you have waited a long time, don’t give up. I still have a prayer request that I write every time I give. We want our own home and farm. We are believing God for it. In the natural it is impossible. But With God All Things Are Possible!!!

We are still believing for this miracle. This job for Gary is a sign that our God is with us and answers our prayers. Believe God for great things. Don’t stop believing.

Never, never give up!

One Homeschool Graduate’s Path

Our oldest son is now 22. We homeschooled him through his whole life. He never stepped foot in a school building.

Shawn feeding Patrick

I taught him phonics, reading, basic math and read lots of library books to him when he was young. We did some little workbooks when he was little.

Shawn and Patrick in Box2

As he grew I started reading long chapter books to him. One of the first chapter books I read to him was Tarzan. As he listened to the story, he began to realize that he could picture the characters and action in his mind, and he really enjoyed it. At that point, he realized that reading is fun, and he decided he wanted to do more of it for himself.

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But I still kept reading aloud to him, too. We both enjoyed sharing the experience of a good story together.

Shawn reading on swing

As he got older, we continued reading together and the discussions that came with it. We hardly ever interrupted a story because we both wanted to know what would happen next. We almost always read more than one chapter. Then Shawn would usually have lots of ideas and opinions to expound upon. We had some great discussions. He was making connections and building vocabulary and expressing his thoughts clearly and organizing and clarifying his thoughts, exploring concepts, making the knowledge his own, and developing his own philosophy and understanding of life and relationships and lots of other important concepts.

Shawn with Kelsey and Ryan

Shawn and Morgan

The other children joined in on our read-aloud time as they got older, and they would hear Shawn’s discourses and our discussions, so he became my “assistant teacher”.

Shawn as Wilbur

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Shawn and Flat Traveler

He became a really good speaker. And later on, he became a good writer. He was a good thinker all along.

Kids and Flat Travelers and Kittens

He took on the responsibility of making his younger siblings do their chores each day. He held them accountable to do the chores that they were assigned each day. He learned how to encourage them to do things they didn’t want to do first and then they would have free time to do what they wanted.

Kids at Golden Gate pond

Through all of this we continued our read-aloud time. We kept a close bond through this.

Shawn and Kelsey cookies

As a family we went through some confounding, bewildering, disturbing changes as my husband lost his job after 9/11 and we went through a time of living totally by faith, since God told him not to try to find another job. We started praying together as a family every day. Shawn put together a list of scriptures and prayed them every day. He did this so much he memorized them and didn’t need the paper anymore. He became a strong spiritual support for the whole family.

Shawn with newborn twins et al

Shawn and Katie w Newborn twins

Shawn, Brothers and baby Fiona

Shawn camo holding little Fiona

God sustained us supernaturally for 4 years, but then He allowed us to lose our home even though we tried to sell it and did all we knew to do in the natural and prayed for wisdom through the whole experience. We had prayed dangerous prayers for a baptism of fire and that the Lord would change us to be fit for the ministry with signs and wonders following. The baptism of fire consisted of being homeless, having very little money, leaving the place we had always lived, driving to Arizona only to discover that wasn’t really the land of our dreams after all, finally settling in a place that none of us really liked for 3 years in a state of poverty, finally being released from poverty but still not being settled in one place, moving 5 times in 5 years, and more.

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Moving from York 021

Shawn learned that God is our source, He will take care of us even when we are rejected by everyone else, God wants us to get to know Him and His ways, His word is our guide, we need to consult Him about everything, we are in a battle with an enemy that hates us and is relentless, and much more.

He taught his siblings. He taught me. He read from Hebrew writings and learned about deeper things in the scriptures than any of us had ever been taught. He shared with us the things that he learned.

He read books that I wouldn’t even attempt and really enjoyed them. He read the works of Shakespeare, Dante and Chesterton because he wanted to.

He helped with each new baby that came along. He held them, played with them, talked to them, and even changed a few diapers (just the wet ones).

We bumped heads when he was really young, and I tried to make him sit at the table and do workbook pages. But when we changed to mostly me reading good books to him and then having books available that he knew he was expected to finish by the end of the year or so, our days became more pleasant. When he was about 10 years old, he made the decision to just get his school work done and then he could have the rest of the day to do what he wanted. From then on, that’s what he did, and we got along just fine.

We had a difficult time finding a math curriculum that worked for him for Geometry. He did pretty well with the other books I had chosen for him up until we reached Geometry. He never loved math, but he did okay in it.

He couldn’t get past the obstacle of Geometry and stopped studying math for quite a while.

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Then one day, he discovered that he enjoyed learning about financial matters and investment.

He started studying these things on his own. He learned a lot and came to the point where he was ready to invest. I got a little inheritance and gave it to him to invest. We set up an investment account for him, he chose the companies he wanted to invest in, and his investments have been doing very well.

He met a man who had developed a system for trading, and now they are working together on stock market trading. Shawn does the research and finds the trade opportunities.

All along we have prayed that God would show Shawn what He wants him to do as a job or career and guide him. I prayed that God would show us hidden gifts and talents.

When Shawn discovered this love of studying finances, I was shocked. Math was never my strong suit and never his favorite subject, but God answered our prayer and revealed a hidden gift in Shawn.

And recently, a friend at church told us about a job that Shawn might be interested in. Shawn pursued it and they asked him to come to see the place, which he did. Then about a month later, they called and asked him to come and work for them. I didn’t even make a diploma or a transcript for him. Gary did help him put together a resume and a T letter, matching his skills with their requirements. Shawn had never had an official job before, he had no work experience, but he got a job that paid $15/hr!

The fact that he was homeschooled worked in his favor because the man that he works with homeschools his children with his wife.

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Now he’s a working man. He works full-time. He is learning lots of machine shop skills, and getting paid while he learns them. He is learning how to wire things for electricity. He’s learning the things he never had a chance to learn because of the nomadic lifestyle we have lived during most of his life. These are skills that will transfer to real life and prepare him to have his own home and take care of his own family.

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So even though he didn’t go to college (he never considered it), he is getting paid a pretty good wage and learning on the job and still doing the trading and investing while making money so that he can invest more. And he owes no debt. And he didn’t have to go through the corrupt system or endure the false teaching and immorality that fills the colleges and universities.

This is the way that God led Shawn. We give God all the glory.

I tell this story to encourage homeschoolers that we don’t have to do things the world’s way.

Especially now, as Common Core is spreading its tentacles through the whole educational system of America, I want to offer hope that God can take your children by a different way and lead them into a career or business without having to pass tests or jump through hoops or go through the world’s system at all.

In Which God Gives Little Ole Me a Word of Knowledge

The coolest thing just happened. We had been praying with a friend about getting the money for a plane ticket to Australia. She is going there for a job as a nanny, and the job she has here doesn’t make enough to accumulate the money she would need in the time she has left before she is to leave. We were asking the Lord to help her know if she should call her grandfather and tell him about her plans and see if he would offer her some help. As we were waiting to hear from the Lord, I heard the words “God is a strong tower”, which is similar to the verse in Proverbs 18:10. I told her that I heard that word and asked if it meant anything to her. She said it didn’t. I told her to keep it in mind and be watching for something that had to do with a “strong tower”.

She called last night and said that she was visiting her other grandparents and telling them about her plans to go to Australia. Her grandfather told her that he wanted to pay for her plane ticket! He is also doing lots of things to help her get ready to go – taking her shopping for some things she needs, offering to take her to the airport on the day she is to leave. She is so happy and excited.

The cool thing that makes this a very interesting story is that she found out that her grandfather’s nickname is “Strong Tower”! His co-workers always called him that because he worked on electrical towers and he is a strongly-built man! So God’s word to her was a prophetic word that the money for her plane ticket would come from her grandfather!

Isn’t that the coolest thing?!!! It reinforces to her that God is with her every step of the way, and He is holding her future in His hands.