Sunday, 11 October 2009
Encounter of the Godly kind....!
Hello my dear blog readers!
Well, as most of you who know me will know, Rob and I have just returned from our break away in London, where we attended the Hillsong Conference for Europe. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
This was our third year as delegates, and each year we have really loved the conferences, but both agreed that this year was by far the most awe striking experience we have both ever had.
The speakers were Inspiring, the Worship Beautiful (5000+ followers of Christ singing His praises was like a taste of Heaven for me), the dance/drama/technical work all just, so out of this world creative and 10000000 times better than any x-factor show!!!! It was... wonderful.
And added to this the fact I got to spend 5 child free days with my hubby was just such a Blessing to us. My fab parents moved in, and cared for the children fantastically! Thank you mummy & daddy so very, very much!
I went to the Conference with a feeling of comfort and familiarity - it was afterall our 3rd year, but also expecting to gain a Fresh understanding of His Word and maybe...just maybe...receiving a confirmation of well....something!
What I didn't expect was to experience a raw encounter with God that would firstly break me, and then lead to me gaining a fresh revelation and direction for my life.
The conference days are split up into different sessions, with a different speaker leading each session. On day 2 the second session was titled "Unshakeable Faith." We were to hear some real testimonies from people who had experienced miracles in their lives through having Faith, and Joseph Prince (an amazing Pastor and Speaker) was to finish off the session with a small preach.
"Should be cool" I thought as we sat down ready for it to start.
I can imagine at that point God was having a real giggle at me "Should be cool! My dear sweet Stacey...you'll see!" And thankfully I did!
So...now I've started to explain the beginning of the next chapter in my life, let me just take you back a few months and share a few things that will help you to understand my journey and where it's now heading....
This year started good for us...well better than good actually - it started off fantastic, with us being Blessed with the safe arrival of our very healthy (7lb15oz) & very gorgeous Samuel. Son number 4 in the Omokaro house! I remember the day he was born, arriving home a few hours later feeling so happy. My parents and older 3 boys were at home to meet us and welcome the new addition and life felt complete at that moment.
Fast forward to just 5 days later, and things started to wobble. Rob had to start a very long stint of night shifts at work. As I was naturally up throughout the night breastfeeding and meeting the general demands of having a newborn, Rob would get home from a 14 hour shift, take the older boys to school and nursery for me, go to bed, wake up in time to collect Josh from school at 3.20pm (Adam would finish nursery at midday so I would do this run), get ready for work and then leave at 5pm for another long shift. We were literally passing oneanother, barely having time or the energy to have a conversation. The small amount of time Robert was at home, the children obviously needed time with their daddy. The rest of the time I was like a headless chicken running around meeting the needs of the 5 other humans in my family. Added to this was the fact that Adam, our second son was very very poorly and under close observation with the doctors. He had suffered with extreme tonsillitis for the past 18 months...and I mean EXTREME! He was very underweight, couldn't eat, brush his teeth, hardly breathe at night, was constantly on a very strong one dose a day type of antibiotic, and was just so very poorly. Added to this was the fact that Isaac, our third son was only 19 months old and it appeared was hitting the "terrible twos" a tad early. He would hit out at other children for no reason which saw me not wanting to go to Sparklers (our church toddler grp that I'm on the core team for) through fear of him lashing out. I had never experienced this behaviour with my eldest two boys, so I felt embarresed and like I had to watch him constantly - difficult when your breastfeeding your week old baby.
Now I am a very capable person. Lots of people would vouch for that. I am used to doing home life during the working week virtually single handedly - when he's on dayshifts, Rob is out the house at 5.15am before the rest of us have awoken and is back home at 7pm just as the boys are in bed for the night - and I think I do it really very well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining as such. Rob and I are a great team, but even I found this whole time kind of overwhelming really. Things did start to get abit easier over the next few weeks - Isaacs behaviour settled alot (we still did....and do have moments but he's young toddler and I'm so over the whole being judged thing - check ur own kiddies peeps...none are perfect sadly!), we recieved a date for Adams operation to remove those evil tonsils and Robs hours slowly began to settle.
Then just when you think you can take feeling "wayhey" for granted, something happens that knocks it back down again. For us it was my nan who was always so healthy and young for her age, suddenly becoming very poorly and being rushed into hospital where two weeks later she passed away. It was a huge blow to us as a family, and saw me revert back to closing into an invisible shell around myself.
We weren't able to get stuck into a Lifegroup due to Robs working hours (small groups of people frm church who meet once a week to share, discuss and basically do life together) and I felt really lonely. I don't mean to upset anyone, but at that time I felt like I didn't have any true friends around me, that they were all too busy for me and at times I began to feel distant from God. I got on with my daily routine and doing life, but inside felt really quite crap to be honest.
Adams operation was just 4 days after my nans death which was so hard staying in the hospital where she had just died, knowing she was in the morgue whilst we were just down the coridoor in the Childrens ward. Having to leave my little man in theatre, when I'd just experienced a loved one dying was horrendous. We didnt dare change the op date though. Adam needed this, we as a family needed this for him. His illness was demanding alot of my time, energy, and emotions which exhausted us all. But still, it was a hard time. He healed well thank God, but the emotions I felt following my nans death and funeral were very intense and new. I was on edge, naturally feeling angry and very upset at times, and I constantly questioned God on "Why?" I ad peace in knowing she was in heaven having a fab party no doubt, but the suddeness of her death was so hard to get our heads round.
I was very blessed that not long after this, a new term of FIC started which is a ministry Rob and I help to lead in church. It helped me so much to focus on others instead of myself, and God really spoke to me, and used me on that course actually. The guests knew the situation with my nans recent death and I think my honesty compelled them to really being true with what they needed to deal with. Hmmm, God is amazing isn't He?!!!! My husband was amazing. He prayed with me constantly and encouraged me. My nans death hurt him obviously but he was able to put his emotions to the side at times and boost his wife. For that I am so grateful.
And over the next few weeks I just started to step up again - serving, praying more regularly again and reading His word.
Robs hours are still long, but we had a great summer hols. Adam started school in September(much to Josh's delight - they have a year in Infants together!), the younger two are great fun to be around during the day and are in a synced routine which helps me alot, we have joined a great Lifegroup where a couple of the other families are experiencing the husbands working long hours, meaning we can all support oneanother and I have generally been feeling more positive. (Like the old me. Not just living the humdrum of the day, but really enjoying it, looking forward to it).
And so...back to last thursday...sitting down....ready for this session at the conference to begin! Lights go down....first video testimony begins.....then the 2nd.....then a Hillsong staff member gets on stage and tells a part of his story....and another person does the same. With each testimony my heart beats faster, I feel a chill throughout my body. I know God is speaking to me. The first testimony was about a couples daughter being healed from Down Syndrome - (amazing!)...you will know if u read an earlier blog of mine that my elder sister is handicapped - something I've had to struggle with. The second testimony was a lady being healed from Ovarian/cervical cancer - I am currently awaiting the results from a second cervical screening test I needed, and may need an x-ray on my ovaries due to some unexplained bleeding I have had on and off since Samuels birth. I haven't shared this with many people, but feel now is probably a good as time as any to let everyone know I need their prayer! I'm concerned, but know His plans for me are above any health issues! The third testimony from the Hillsong team member was about his wifes difficult pregnancy, resulting in their unborn child dying - I have an amazing testimony that some of you may have heard about my first pregnancy. It just seemed like with every testimony shared that morning, I had a connection in my own life with them. Yet these people all had something so strong that I hadn't felt quite so connected with for a while...FAITH! I was a mess. Sobbing, nose dripping, tissues piling up. Worship began and I just fell to my knees and begged Gods forgiveness that I had dared question Him, doubt Him all those times. I could feel my whole body being, cleansed I guess. I've never experienced such a feeling before. It felt like little pin pricks all over and I felt as though I was floating like a feather. It was the most bizarre, yet peaceful feeling of my life. I knew at that moment that I had Encountered our Wonderful Saviour at a new level. Joseph Prince finished the session (I was still a mess...but know he was fab!) and I felt stirred. And so my encounter had happened. I knew then that this year isn't a write off, that Jesus is still very much in it, and that great things are still to come. My faith has been totally restored.
Like Joseph Prince said, in the bible it doesn't say "O you of little prayer" or "O you of little fasting" it says "O you of little FAITH!" That's all God wants us to do - have Faith in Him...when we have Faith in Him, it allows Him to shine, allows His Glory to be revealed to all! I'm so grateful I've had that reconfirmed to me!!
As the conference continued with the main message to us being that of "Trusting Gods Word over your life, Stepping into what He wants you to do and Taking the Steps to make It happen", I continued to feel stirred to a calling I feel has been put on my life since I first met Jesus 11 years ago. I have had it prophesised over me by 4 different people that I would work with young women. Supporting, Encouraging, Counselling, Teaching, Bringing God into their lives. I'm very blessed to be able to do that in my every day life with women at Sparklers or who attend our FIC course, even with friends and family members, but I have always wondered if God would let it happen in another way. At Hillsong conference each year there is a stand representing a ministry called "Mercy Ministries"in the huge foyer area. This is a fantastic ministry that works with girls aged between 18-28years of age who have been victims of rape, abuse, self harming, human trafficking, eating disorders, depression, addictions....and so on.
I have said it at the past conferences and this time around also kept saying to Robert I would like to find out more about it and so following Gods prompting, this year I took the bull by the horns and planted myself at the feet of Zoe -the lady representing Mercy and bombarded her with questions. To cut a long conversation short, I have signed up to be an advocate of Mercy Ministires and am SOOOOO excited. I trust God enough that if It's not meant to be that I do work with this ministry that's cool. I know He will open the right doors for me - and my family. I have enough Wisdom to know I can't ignore the facts that were overwhelming me a few months ago - I do have a hubby who works long hours, four very young boys, and a great church we are privledged to be members of, where I am very commited to the ministries I work with there....but...what if...what if I can still have all that and also get some insight into this particular ministry too...! My mum has always said when I do return to "work" she couldnt imagine it being into your average 9-5 office job, but working for God! You never know.....BUT...God does! What a great revelation hey!
And so that's kind of the end of the last chapter explained and the start of this new chapter opened to you! A friend without meaning too made me feel I was doing the wrong thing by writing a blog. I dis-agree. I'm not ashamed of my life, my family, my experiences, my thoughts, my revelations. If I can, through being honest stir something up in others, encourage people, humble people, allow people to pray for me, get a small taste of Jesus into peoples lives...then I'm going to do it! I'm not perfect and actually I dont want to be right now, as I enjoy the end result of each little episode of this life with Jesus in it. There are a couple of things in this blog post I will touch on at a later date - namely my testimony of healing and the health concern I'm going through at the moment. But the great thing is, with renewed Faith in God, I know this health concern doesn't have to be a concern....just another little page in my book! I have experienced His amazing healing powers before and know He can do it again if need be.
So, Hillsong was fab. We bought loads of resources if anyone wants to borrow some. And if you feel intrigued...sign up for next year! We have! Before we left to come home we filled in the form and paid up (u get a good discount if u sign up there and then...but mainly it's a great investment into our futures we think!) And next year, Hillsong have hired the O2! Wow! The conference had 1900 more delegates this year, and so is growing. News of the amazing things God is doing in churches all around Europe through this conference is obviously spreading! I know we feel fired up to put what we learnt into practice in our church and Ministries we're involved in there! Be an even bigger support to the great team in our church and the community around it!
God is Amazing, I love Him so much and have lots of FAITH in the future! I want to see others declaring that too!