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The Lord has led my husband and I into a time of sabbatical…

As we prepared to leave the USA for Scotland, where we will spend 5 months, I lay in bed quiet one morning and clearly heard God say…“This sabbatical is not a time to reinvent yourself, but a time to remember who you are”. The months leading up to this sabbatical have been filled with confusion and pursuit of worldly approval and acceptance…God has instructed me to forget this and return to my First Love…Himself.

“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” 

Revelation 2:4-5a

Throughout this time, I will be keeping a private journal, but I also want to share some of the significant moments of God’s hand of blessing over our lives, and I pray that it will be an encouragement to you. Our lives are a story to be told and my prayer is to let God write that story…

Laura Story: God of Every Story
He's the God of every story
He sees each tear that falls
We may not understand
But one thing is certain
He is faithful
He's a faithful God
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ1BGouG5kY

and as we pray for Him to reveal His plans for our future, we give our lives completely to Him…

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Laura Story: Keeper of the Stars 
I'm giving it all to the Keeper of the Stars 
I won't be afraid 'cause You're holding every part of this world 
My heart trusting that You won't let me fall 
I'm giving it all to the Keeper of the Stars
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG1cI39hCCI

A Friend in Need…

What is your reaction when you hear of a ‘Friend in Need’? Do you seek to do all you can to help? Do you pray and seek God’s guidance on what you can do to help? We were blessed to encounter this type of friendship.

With flights booked out of Washington Dulles Airport, and having relocated to Knoxville, TN, we were left with the problem of how to get ourselves and luggage to DC…and back to Knoxville from DC 5 months later. Fly. Train. Bus. Car Rental. We prayed through the options and decided renting a car would be the best option. The day before our departure we called to move our pick-up time 2 hours earlier…”Certainly” they said, “That’ll double your rate though”?!?! WHAT! We immediately started praying through it and submitted our requests to The Lord.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

Philippians 4:6

Later that day, with a snow storm on it’s way through Virginia, I asked my Proverbs 31 online bible study group (many of who live in VA) what the weather was like. There ensued a conversation and a dear friend stating that she lives 15 minutes from Dulles. She insisted meeting as we would be so close. Immediately, I felt The Lord prompt me with an answer to our prayer. I spoke with Jason and we came to the decision to ask Mary if she would be in the position to look after our car for 5 months…a BIG favor to ask a friend in an online bible study group whom we had never met! Following God’s leading, we asked…

Mary quickly responded, saying that she wanted to help, and to give her time to see if she could work it out…

With the “wait” answer received…we again prayed and gave it over to God, asking for Him to make a way if it was His will…

“Yes”, was the next answer! So, we gladly canceled our car rental and prepared to drive our own car through the winter storm (everyone prefers to drive their own car in those conditions) to DC, meet Mary, who insisted on coming to our hotel to save us more driving, and then spend the night prior to our flight the next day.

We met Mary that evening and were moved by her willingness to be obedient and trust God and us to help us in such a way. It was an enormous blessing to be able to do the 10 hour trip in our own car, and leave it in safe hands until our return. It amazes me that someone who had never met us would be willing to look after our car for 5 months…longer than the time I have even know her at this point!

This is the God whom we love and serve…HE can make the unlikely and seemingly impossible possible. He prepared the way for us, and we pray that Mary will be blessed by helping us in such a way.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 

God’s Workers…

Any length of journey should be submitted to The Lord, as with requests of any size…so with a long journey ahead of us we were definitely in prayer! A US citizen is permitted to stay in the UK for up to 6 months at any one time, so a 5 month stay is perfectly acceptable…however, immigration and border control officers are in place to control just who gets in to the country. We knew Jason would be questioned, but also trusted in The Lord to go ahead of us, and had peace about this part of the process.

Our prayer throughout our travels was to be aware of God’s Workers at every step. We met the kindest lady at check-in, who seemed to be unaware of our luggage exceeding the weight limit by a few pounds…we did try to stay under!! We were able to get seats in the back row of the plane, in a row of just 2, so on our own, and our air steward was very understanding of my nut allergy, something that we have encountered problems with in the past. This granted peace that I would not wake up to find the person next to me munching on a bag of peanuts! We had a very conversational pilot, who kept us informed regularly of our speedy progress…we arrived at Heathrow ahead of schedule due to a strong tail wind…the flight time was reduced by an hour, another blessing of a shortened time on board the plane!

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:7-8

The incredible, undoubted blessing from The Lord came at border control, at the moment where Jason and I would part…I would go to the EU passports side, and Jason to the non-EU side. As we approached the divide, they CLOSED the non-EU side and ushered Jason to stay with me and just go to the EU side! We were able to go forward to the border control officer together! He was an kind as could be! He asked the typical 20 questions seeking to understand our plans, and to be sure that Jason did indeed have intention, and purpose, to return to the U.S.A. Instead of interrogating him, he had a friendly approach and maintained eye-contact with both of us, allowing us to answer together.

The week prior to this journey, as I was studying A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, our verse of the week was Psalm 139:5. We were blessed to see this verse in action…

“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”

Psalm 139:5

There is NO DOUBT that this was God at work! He went before us, and had His hand of blessing on our heads. Thank you Lord!

Chris Tomlin: Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)

I know who goes before me I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies Is always by my side

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOkImV2cJDg

Psalm 139-5

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