The title of this post is a headline that moves me, for it is something of which I’ve had visions. Amid unforeseen yet increasing disasters, part of the future of the church might be to go increasingly mobile. As in, able to move freely or easily between places (insertion because I’m such a definitions geek). Equipped to respond to calamities—and here’s a cool thought: spiritually instructed to move out beforehand via servants’ prophetic gifts. To arrive at a pre-designated position with an outpouring of the Lord’s spirit, and be of service to others, to help and to rescue. Spontaneous pockets of human-related holy transports, bringing safety, peace, revival and deliverance. Less a church to go to and be fed (or as often is the case in complacent places, sitting and being a spectator), more a church to go out and feed.
What if persecution, deception, and darkness worsen? If things get rockier, more chaotic, be it with wars, antichrist, politics, economies, viruses, and plagues; or if natural disasters increase in size and frequency? Might the handwriting be on the wall (expression from Daniel 5:5-31)? The Bible speaks of the earth, having once been destroyed by water because of sin, will be again destroyed by fire (Malachi 4:1, 2 Peter 3:5-7, 2 Peter 3:10, Isaiah 24:6). Seems fires and heat have cranked up in the world.
My sister, as well as another gal who is a longtime friend and fellow missionary (we served together in Brazil), and I have all had a very similar—almost the same—dream, wherein we’re once again serving together. But the scenarios are different than the mission field we’d once known. Our dreams have us in disaster-like conditions. It’s night. A volcano has erupted; glowing lava is pouring into the sea. The three of us are navigating over wet rocks raised from the seabed and pulling terror-struck people out of the burning and churning water to safety—and as in my dream, into a lifeboat; then onto a bigger boat, a ship, really, with the words True North on its bow.
These calamitous themes have been heavy on my heart lately, especially as global wildfires have spread out of control. But when I watched the news coverage of the disaster in Lahaina, and learned that people had jumped into the ocean to escape the engulfing flames, it triggered words that kept coming out of my mouth, “I wish I had a boat, I wish I had a boat, I wish I had a boat!” Drove me, feeling helpless, to pray. Prayed for the precious people of Lahaina, then I focused in on who had boats and could get there, to go and help transport the displaced, or to deliver necessities. Not to impede Coast Guard or FEMA (or any proper red tape), but to be the Jesus present, to be a spiritual voice of peace and love to those who have lost everything and are suffering. When I’d heard that some people drowned, bodies swept up on the seawall in Lahaina, I wept. That’s all I could do is intercede for those left there. Then my prayer language shifted to the implementation of more ministries, non-profits, foundations—people through whom the Lord is bringing visions that are mobile-in-nature to life. This is a vein in which the Lord often instructs me to pray.
So my abovementioned missionary friend, who is also giftedly bilingual (English/Spanish), and who served with Floating Doctors as well, heads overseas in two weeks to work on obtaining her master’s degree with a focus on disaster relief management. For decades, she’s yearned to go through this specialized one-year program and decided she’d give up all, risk all, and just do it. It’s time. This is her seasonal shift; what her changing-of-the-guard looks like, a new chapter. This incredible gal with a servant’s heart has always said, “I just want to hand a cup of water to someone who is thirsty.” And away she goes.
Mobile can also mean a fluidity in different ways than actual mobilization. Some believers are called to steward land to grow organic and sustainable crops to feed others with untainted harvests; Bible-centric therapeutic farms and/or rehab ranches where Christian healers utilize service animals of every kind and breed are under development. So are new blueprints for Messianic temples and other Jewish-flavored ministries with fresh vision and sacred worship. There are spirit-filled medical students and scientists furthering education and doing vital research on viruses, water purification, etc. And then divinely appointed unions seem to be at the heart of what God is doing right now, as well. New engagements are popping up that have “kingdom spouse” written all over them. This is all love on the move. Executed in different ways than just actual mobilization, but they all seem to have the same swift spiritual current: end times anointed ministries, and end times anointed marriages… for the glory of God. By the way, since I kept hearing “love on the move,” I Googled the phrase out of curiosity and highlighted was a Native American ministry. Which doesn’t surprise me, as this is another part in which the Lord has directed my intercession. Love on the move. I dig those words. Wow, wow, and wow, Lord! Amazing; you are amazing, God. Wow!
Within dreams and visions—and current affairs—revealing growing darkness, I also see an end times church that carries the greatest joy and brightest light—like fluid lighthouses. His light and Spirit unleashed in unprecedented ways at unprecedented times. Where glory and worship break out on the spot, or might then pick up and move to the next destination, and repeat—however the Lord wants to show up! Totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. We’d have to know the Lord’s voice and word so well! Intimately. Thus, the required time in his presence, our waiting in the wilderness, our shedding process, our journey to purity that Yeshua has been leading a lot of us through. Many are called at this hour.
Instead of, “Look out, it’s a disaster!” It’s, “Look, there’s the mobile church!” How about, “See, we’re the mobile church come to help in Jesus’ mighty name.”?
Fluid in a lot of ways, no bounds. It’s love on the move.
Several years ago, a woman told me about an equine therapy clinic she’d attended. Sounded more like human therapy to me. That’s often the way it is with horses, though. They teach us more about ourselves than the other way around. Anyway, she shared how she’d learned that women tend to pick horses with similar characteristics as the men they choose for romantic partners. I couldn’t quite relate to that, as I’ve had a bunch of horses and not one was like the other. This notion did not represent my life’s human relational experience, nor had I considered any shared behaviors between my horses and men. Still, I found our conversation interesting. She went on to say during our barn talk, “If you’ve had an abusive experience, you might select a horse that was all wrong for you, hard-mouthed and running all over you. Stubborn? You’d get a mule.” She slipped a glance at the gelding I had at the time. I think she told me this stuff because I really struggled with that horse. In turn, I squinted at her gigantic black Friesian she referred to as “tall, dark, and handsome.” I hovered over those words. Recalling how I’d used the same expression to describe a character or two in my penned stories, as if that’s the epitome of a good catch; a sort of stereotypical “tall drink of water”. Okay, so she had the perfect horse, I thought. Until she admitted her Freisen was dangerous and she feared to handle her horse, let alone ride him; the reason for her attending the clinic. “Big-hearted man?” she continued. “You’d probably settle for one of those big gentle draft horses or something.” Or something.
I glanced up again at her pushy Friesen. Height doesn’t make the man. Never has. Nor looks. Take a glimpse at 1 Samuel 16:7, when Samuel goes to anoint a new king of Israel. He’s struck by the tall, dark, and handsome appearance of the older of Jesse’s sons. Surely this is the one the Lord would choose. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
Much like how the Lord rejects and departs from King Saul, he then chooses this unlikely one to take his place. He’s younger, good-looking in his own right, but not of the stature of his older brother. Called up from the fields, he’s all ruddy-faced from tending sheep. He’s chosen and anointed because of his heart.
When it comes to horses, the two best horses I’d ever had as an adult were the only two that I hadn’t chosen for myself. They were chosen for me. The first was by a friend who was a cutting horse trainer, who called me out of the blue one day and said, “I met your perfect horse. You need to get down here and ride him. I’m serious. I just have this feeling you’re meant to meet this horse.” So I did, and he was right. It was a made-in-heaven partnership that spanned several states, miles of trails, and over twenty years. He was my irreplaceable dream horse. God worked through that situation and people, busy behind the scenes, until we paired up. He let me know when the conditions were right where I could suddenly receive that blessing.
The horse I have right now, well, he wasn’t even for sale when I was looking. In the market again, I searched long for the right horse, but after a string of unpleasant experiences, hazardous test rides, and misleading people, I decided I’d see one more horse, the last straw. I’d driven three hours and at first glance, I knew the horse wasn’t right. I was discouraged. Then, out of nowhere, a stranger’s prompting hunch diverted me to meet a peculiar gelding with unusual, sad circumstances. Long story short, we’ve been together for two years now. He’s become dream horse number two. Yet, the only thing he has in common with my first dream horse is they’re both buckskins. They’re nothing alike, not even the same breed. Getting to know this one has been a learning curve for me. Chico is sensitive and feels deeply. This makes him affectionate, attached, protective, curious—moody sometimes, but he’s also the brother of my heart. That’s how I see him. We’re partners in grime, both like the woods, enjoy time together, and squabble on the rare occasion. He is as honest as they come and he’s my genuine friend. Come to think of it… that ought to be part of the equation in human romantic relationships, honest and genuine friends.
Once again, God had worked out the details and I have this amazing horse I believe he chose for me. I witnessed an unseen arrangement materialize through the circumstances. I love my horse. We’re bonded. Took some time to get there because of history and all, but we’re solid. He’s also the shortest horse I’ve ever had, but I’m short, too. We’re an ideal fit. Again, height means nothing when the heart is bent for good. And he’s thick, substantial… strong. I’m partial to his conformation. He carries me well.
I’m glad I didn’t settle again out of frustration. Settling is never good, frustration either. Wish I learned this long ago in terms of people. Always best to wait on the Lord—who has yet another horse in mind for me. I believe I will one day again enlarge my herd (and I know Chico will appreciate that). Because the Lord has given me a progression of many beautiful, tender dreams about a grey horse, nearly white. I see and hear the word “Hotah” distinctly around this horse. Had to look the word up to learn its meaning. Made me smile. Apparently, it’s of Sioux origin, meaning “grey” or “white.” Appears that this horse will also be very special to me. I anticipate meeting him/her when the time comes. Now that I will trust in the Lord, I don’t mind waiting. He’s always right on time; his timing is perfect.
I guess there were only women at that equine therapy clinic. This notion could equally apply to men. Say you’re a man who has a mare. And in the human relationship characteristics analogy, did you settle and are dealing with the complicated fallout, or did you wait for the right one, the one the Lord intended for you? Your answer might reveal her temperament, whether it’s favorable. If you view this contrary to the world’s standards, then maybe she’s—oh, I don’t know--older. Not at all modelesque, as in tall, svelte, and glamorous… but she’s not unpleasant to look at. Maybe it’s her shining heart that grabbed you. Because she’s devoted—so devoted to you and to the Lord; a runner… after Him, and for your arms. The two of you can accomplish more for the Kingdom and for God’s glory together in this race of life than you could without each other. Hm… I might write this in a story somewhere…
In these observations, whether inimitable or stereotypical, inspired or strange, may you be blessed and nurtured in your pursuit of the King of Kings. Do not settle. Let him choose the things in life for you, especially such important things as relationships (or horses, if you’re also someone who dedicates time to them). And when he chooses you for something or someone… when you’re chosen, you’re more than enough. Because he’s seen your heart. When you’re anointed, you’re more than enough. When you know him, you’re more than enough. He’s made you more than enough. Arise, like David for Israel.
The farm where I keep my horse raises sheep. This has given me a firsthand opportunity to contemplate comparisons between sheep and people I read about in the Bible. Sometimes observations have brought me laughter. Sometimes reflections are sobering; other times, downright pensive and dreadful. Is this really how God sees us, as sheep?
*Sheep flock together, yet are prone to wander.
*When scared, they have no defense except to run. Also have no sense of direction, and so run wherever—and not always toward the best place, putting them in deeper trouble.
*If they get tangled up, then freed, they tend to get tangled up in the same place in the same way as before.
*They are easily persuaded; if one jumps off a ridge, the rest will follow without a glance at the precarious scenario.
*They are skittish, yet the one or two that are most distrustful seem bullish and pick on the weakest. These are also those that stand out and might spring to break your nose or kick when you try to wrangle them.
*You might provide a vat of fresh feed ten feet away, plenty for all, yet they’ll only perceive the crumbs left in your hand and will clamber for that as if the last bits of food on a dying earth—raid!
*When lifting their heads taking notice of you, they look guilty and act paranoid as if caught doing something wrong (because Big Sister has been watching).
*They can ignore danger, and sometimes… sometimes when they fear something, in their denial they will all simply turn around. Because if they can’t see you, then you (big mean bear) aren’t actually there. And all you view is several dirty back-ends a swipe away.
*They are inherently filthy and cannot care for themselves; they need their shepherd to clean and care for them.
*When a sheep is cast down, it needs the shepherd to pick it up and set it on its feet, right-side up again. And so they learn their shepherd’s voice, and this is the voice they will trust.
*With offspring, nothing seems as pure and innocent as a lamb. You celebrate and recognize the value in such creatures, in the evidence of the first breath of life on its own, and also in the hope and provision of more endless wool and milk.
*They are not pack animals, not meant to carry burdens.
*No two bleats are alike; their voices are distinct. Some baas are even comical. While some sheep are louder than others, some make little to no sound and seem to just stare or observe rather than vocalize.
And this next one especially fascinates me…
*The one that strays from the 99 tends to be the same one, and it is often the one rejected by its mother and picked on by the rest of the flock. You don’t know why, but that one is just different. It’s an outcast, a loner. Yet, has the biggest emotion toward its shepherd or person it trusts. It loves to be around that human more than the flock and almost smiles when found, and enjoys the caretaker’s arms, its legs dangling in complete trust; will even remain like that, content, going for a piggyback walk or car ride back to the barn. The shepherd recognizes the specialness and doesn’t mind at all going out again and again to rescue it, just to spend time together. The peculiar one with the big heart after its caretaker seems to make the most difference, beautifying the day with warmer memories and richer stories.
I could go on and on. And a lot of these comparative observations are humbling to me. What stands out the most is our need, as people, for the Good and Great Shepherd and how the Shepherd knows us and our behaviors so well. He sees our filth, weaknesses, and tendencies, our vulnerabilities and fear, yet loves us so much! When we learn our Shepherd’s voice, we follow, and the Shepherd takes care of our every necessity and more. We are valuable to him. He cleans us, guides us, feeds us, clothes us, rescues us, carries us, and gives our distinct voices purpose. I guess I don’t mind being compared to a sheep. I will trust my Shepherd.
A return of my Hearts in Africa series is here with installment #3 in a four-book sequence. Can also be read as a standalone. I’d written and completed this book years ago. Advice from an earlier publisher I had contracted with, to drop the romances and focus on their forte of suspense and thriller, had me file the manuscript away. I thought for good. But I’ve determined recently to resurrect this novel, along with others I’d completed and/or started yet never launched. In hindsight, I should have published this work back then and in order. Not that the advice given to me was off beam. I understand the marketing incentive, and also avoiding possibly polarizing my readers. The focus on one style or genre works well and for many people. However, I’ve felt hemmed in when I’m inspired to create in a variety of genres and voices (even POVs) yet have believed I can’t or shouldn't. I started wondering why I have to stick to a specific style. If God plants ideas and inspirations in your heart and soul, they need to be able to grow; not kept buried underground. Sometimes it’s a timing issue; sometimes it’s a choice. Maybe sometimes it’s both. Be faithful in the things over which you can choose. I’ve not allowed some of my works to grow much. If I’m compelled to write, finish, and edit a book, I ought to bring it to completion and release it, too--even if it's ten years later (knock on wood). Maybe that book is not for everybody, but it’s for somebody. So I’m following through by reassessing my stash of romance titles and more. Still working on my latest speculative fiction books, as well. They’ll all make their way down the pike, by God’s grace.
If you’ve held back on some once-upon-a-time creative pursuit, maybe it’s your time to take another look at the possibilities, too.
Without further ado, please welcome, Return My Heart, made available at online bookstores worldwide. If you don’t see your favorite bookstore listed after you click the button below, my distributor is working on it. The launch is that fresh. More outlets are being added each day, so be sure to check back.
About the story:
Lorelei moved to Kenya when she married Hugh Berrand, an animal behavioral scientist at Tsavo West National Park. After a year of marriage, she feels abandoned when she takes a backseat to her husband’s first passion, the maneless lions. Rejected by the field’s family of researchers, she suffers from loneliness and discord, especially when her husband is never there to support or defend her.
After Lorelei is assaulted and left for dead at Shetani, the devil’s lava, she struggles to put the pieces of her existence back together; namely, the fragments of her fragile marriage. But her effort proves futile with a man who seems to prefer an independent lifestyle. When an unwanted child enters the equation, the Berrand’s separate. Each tries to rebuild life from broken strands apart from each other. However, God has something else in mind and works on the hearts of Lorelei and Hugh for restoration and love anew.
Love, adventure, tragedy, redemption—all is at stake in the inspirational romance series, Hearts in Africa.
Have you watched as others have been set off, promoted, while you’re still waiting in the starting gate? Maybe you’re moving along in the race of life, but the pace isn’t what you’d thought and everybody is passing you up. Racehorses, brave, long-limbed, shiny, and brisk speed by in a furlong, two, three… eight… yet for all of your preparation, you haven’t even finished one. And your mount is not a racehorse at all, but a donkey. A beast of burden that has more whoa than go, no matter how you dig your heels in to spur it on. Sometimes the animal lowers its hind and sits on the track, refusing to budge. The amount of effort it takes for you to get the donkey off its rump and going again, moving ahead, is exhausting. And the breeze fanning your hair, caused by the magnificent horses whizzing past carrying their lightweight riders, doesn’t help. It doesn’t even inspire; in fact, it bums you out if you watch them for too long. Because everyone’s gotten a golden horse while you’re still riding that donkey.
Well, at least you’re on the racetrack. Just remember, Yeshua chose for himself a donkey to ride. The King of Peace will promote you when it’s his time. It will be unique and most outstanding, a surprise from heaven. Well worth the wait. You might even overtake all the other racehorses. I mean, God made a donkey talk to Balaam (Numbers 22:28-31). Donkeys are special. Who says yours won’t sprout wings like a Pegasus and fly you to the finish line? Ahead of all the pretty horses, even. Boom-boom and you’re there, just like that. Nothing is impossible to the all-things-possible God. Bada-bing, bada-boom; His timing is perfect. And if mythological flying animals aren’t your thing, then maybe your advancement looks more like this:
Keep on keepin’ on… You’re still in the race. The win is yours.