Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 7: Sunrise in Vietnam

Welcome to Day 7 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing our final free will offering of incense that she penned in 2016. It is a powerful story of Christ’s intercession at work in her, taking us all on a journey into the heart of God for the beautiful people living in Vietnam.

We pray that your hearts are being so encouraged to continue pressing into Jesus, to see His incense rise in intercession in and through you. Our own hearts are being so encouraged also in sharing old and new testimonies. May praise and worship rise in each one of our hearts and be on our lips as we bow in awe of our mighty God who always lives to make intercession for each one of His children, who never leave His safe hand. May we recognize His face and Presence waiting to be uncovered in those He sets before us and moves us to intercede for.

How did I get to be in that incredible place?  And why am I telling this story now, in the middle of this RA/Fibromyalgia Season of re-learning my place?

Another word-sharing-session with my counselor brought me to the place of remembering.  I told her that I still wanted to be up and doing and walking away my anxieties. I am not finding the PEACE here that I thought I should have attained by now.  So my Counselor asked if I could take a walk through the memory hall of my mind.  The same emotions that were triggered during the actual pleasant times can be triggered again, proven by studies, simply when we remember those times.

Shortly after she proposed a time of remembering, a new Blog-Friend of mine found out that I had taken a God-Planned-Adventure to Vietnam, and she stirred up these very memories when she shared her own Adventures.  Thank you Valerie, at gracewithsilk  for asking to hear about my story!  So today I am walking over the land that a healthier and stronger me was allowed to witness.

I was probably 17 or 18 years old when I had a vision while I was praying. I saw myself in an Asian Village, being so thankful to share in a love that was God-given.  I assumed I would be a Missionary. But my life took a different turn, and decades later, as a stay-at-home Mom, I found myself wrapped up in the story of my Pastor and his Wife, trying to adopt a baby from Cambodia. 

I prayed and agonized with them through a very long and difficult adoption process.  When they returned with their beautiful baby boy, I sat amazed by the pictures in their slideshow.  It looked like the Asian Village in my vision from so long ago.  Tears rolled down my face, as I felt the Lord say that I had been in that village with them through my praying.  Ahh beautiful, I thought.  Now I know why I had that vision. End of Story.

But God’s endings are not the same as ours.  Another decade later, and this time our oldest son took a trip to Vietnam with his new friend.  We didn’t know that a possible marriage with his friend’s sister was in the itinerary.  But again, Jesus finds ways to let a Mama know how to pray.  On the very night of the marriage, half-way around the world, my heart was burdened to pray for my children’s spouses, with an urgency like never before.  So when our son came home and asked us to pray with him so that his new wife could get a VISA to come to America, my heart had already been prepared.

Sunrise over a small village in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

Years of praying, and crying, and waiting were finally answered in the spring of 2011, when her VISA was approved.  When we finally met our new daughter-in-law, loving her was easy because my heart had been captivated before she ever set foot in America.

So when she asked me to go with her back to Vietnam for a Family Reunion Party later that fall, I thought my heart would burst.

Breakfast time in Vietnam means noodle soup (not cereal) and tea (not coffee.)
A trip to the market across the street from the family’s house happened daily. Even when I thought I would lose my way, my daughter-in-law held my hand and treated me with honor, so that I knew I was in the safest place I could be.
This Grandma, (51 at the time,) managed to stumble into the flat-bottomed boat for a ride down the river. When God calls out the Adventure, we never know where He will lead us.  As a 17 year old, looking for a future of purpose, I thought I knew what LOVE looked like.  I thought I would be the one teaching those around me what God’s Love looks like.  But HE is the teacher, and HE knows how to plan the future that will bring about HIS Beauty in every place HE leads us.
Sometimes Beauty looks like a small table, child-sized by American standards, set with simple fruit, prepared by the hands of a family that speak a language you cannot understand, opening their hearts for LOVE to be shared.

My journeys now feel large when I can take a day-trip involving a 3 or 4 hour car ride.  But my times for Adventure are not finished.  When I let Jesus plan my journey, whether through chronic illness or healthy travels, HE will set my feet in the good place of HIS choosing: Finding BEAUTY and LOVE each step of the way.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus”

Ephesians 3:20-21

First published at: https://bettiegsraseasons.com/2016/05/18/sunrise-in-vietnam/

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 6: Holy Fear

Welcome to Part 2 Chapter 3‘s Day 6 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a poem and testimony as a free will offering of gold, declaring the goodness and mercy of God flowing richly in the place of His burning.

Into days of multiplied fear, and multiplied trials, I heard God whispering to my fearful heart to pause and learn more about a proper fear: 

The Fear of God ~~~ The Holiness of God

“He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:9-10 NIV

When my healthcare team prescribed a set of new and intense treatments, I asked many of my friends for special prayer. My body seemed prone to severe side effects whenever I started a new medication regime. But what no one could have foreseen was that not only would I have severe side effects once again, but I would also display severe allergic reactions, and be forced to make an emergency room visit because of those reactions. Even in that place, God was so gracious to preserve and protect me.

But with over 30 medication “failures” under my belt, the questions continued to haunt me, “What is the purpose? Why has God kept asking me to keep going forward? When does too much become TOO MUCH?” 

Instead of giving me an answer, my Lord directed me to remember an old entry and poetry that He had gifted to me several years before. While I may not know the answers, I can see the Lord here in this ground with me. A ground named HOLY, and a ground named FEARSOME, because the Lord of All has given me His presence:

Grounded

grounded
here in this sand
quick sand
it feels

days run
together
when duties
long stilled
echo the halls

changing plans
i follow the
sun
mete out my
moments

seeking a
firmness
wanting a
strength i
lose my clenching

find what was
missing
seek what is
losing
life laid down

LORD of the moment he holds me beneath where ground shifts
i watch him plant seeds in my feet standing ground sand shifting
and life is here blooming watered from well springing up


HOLY GROUND

“’Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’”
Exodus 3:5

and my heart started pounding
when i heard a whisper
calling my ground
holy

What if the very place where the trial looks hardest,
where the ground seems most burnt
is actually the place most holy
in the eyes of the ONE who is changing
my heart?

This poetry came after my husband and I had driven to our favorite prairie park, only to see it desecrated by a recent spring-time “controlled burn.” It certainly was not a pretty sight there. But those controlled, or prescribed burns are so necessary to steward and manage the lands for conservation.  

According to the Wisconsin DNR’s site, “State wildlife officials conduct prescribed burns on public lands throughout Wisconsin in the spring to improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities and reduce wildfire potential.”

Did you know that many native grasses and wildflowers develop deep roots that can withstand the high heat of the fires, while the invasive plants are shallow rooted, and give way to the heat?

So, where does that leave my heart when the fires rage inside? Is there a similar growth that might happen after the raging of the fires subside? 

When we revisited our favorite park just a few months later, it was hard to imagine the way that fire birthed life into the worn-out prairie lands. A lush growth of fresh green covered every area that had been burnt over just weeks before.

These burnt-out shifting sand places of our lives become HIS fertile land when we let Him have the final say. 


For those of us who fear the flames, can I offer a prayer?

Dear Lord of the Harvest,

What an Amazing LORD you are! Will you open our eyes to see YOU in the shifting sands and burnt-over ground of our days?

Will you help us to loosen our hold and lift up our fears, to find YOU at work in the fertile soil, the sandy loam of hearts set free? And will you pour the gold of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we would be transformed into YOUR HOLY GROUND.

We bow here, on this very ground, and worship You, our holy and awesome King.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.