International Ministries

The Miracle of Presence

December 18, 2016 Journal
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A Presence in the Dark

"In the process, when we are struggling most, we can ask for support. We can ask for what we need to make it through the dark nights even if it is just the presence of another person struggling with the same voices.”  (Christine Valters Paintner)

To God’s Holy People, in cities around the world, I send you my love and greetings!

We are journeying into the fourth week of Advent together when the days are shorter and darker than any other time of year.  It is a time when struggles can seem more overwhelming, and finding the courage to overcome them even more daunting.  It is a time when parts of ourselves may want to run away and hide as we try to figure out how to merely survive.

But I have learned that this is when we need each other the most.  It is your prayers and love that have truly sustained me during this Season of Advent.  Three weeks ago I invited you to pray for a miracle.  A miracle of healing.  A miracle of wisdom.  A miracle of peace.  Not just for me, but for other people in your lives as well.  Are you paying attention?  Miracles are happening!  

The Peace of God

Last week I met with my surgeon and brought with me a list of questions.  He answered every one of them before I even asked!  He was patient, kind, wise, and funny.  He has over 20 years of experience with the surgery I need.  I came out of his office thinking, “Yes, if I have to have surgery, then this is the man I want to do it!”  I felt a peace that was not of this world.  A peace that only comes from God.  A peace that was given to me through your prayers. A miracle.

My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28.  I will be in the hospital a couple days and hopefully recuperating at home as the new year rolls in.  

Prayers of the People

How can you pray for me?

Light in the Valley of Shadow

As you continue to pray for me, I also ask that you pray for my husband David and his family.  His mother Jan passed away unexpectedly this past Friday, December 16.  There was a small family memorial service for her last Sunday.  A larger service is planned for later in January.  David is in AZ grieving with his brothers and sister.  He will stay in AZ through Christmas and fly home the 26th.  He and Ian will be together in AZ, and Aaron and I will be together in PA, and yes, it’s a bizarre Christmas!  But in the darkest hours, the light of Christ does not go dim.

The Legend of the Poinsettia

I had a dream a couple nights ago.  There were hundreds of Poinsettias arranged all around the inside of an old cathedral.  I asked God, “What do these flowers represent?”  God said, “These are the Christmas miracles.”  In Mexico, there is a legend that on Christmas Eve a young girl wanted to bring a gift to baby Jesus in the manger but was too poor to buy something.  So she picked some weeds on her way to the church, crept down the aisle, and gently laid her offering by the manger.  Her older brother had told her, “A small gift given in love will make Jesus happy.”  Suddenly, her bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them that night said they had seen a miracle.  They became known as the “Flores de Noche Buena,” Flowers of the Holy Night.

Don’t be afraid to pray for a miracle.  It might not happen exactly like you planned, but miracles still happen!  Your prayers are healing me in ways that are beyond my comprehension.  And I pray for you, too!  As we practice holy presence, we become sacred presents to each other.

Holy Light Dawns

Silent Night, Holy Night, Christ the Savior is born!

Wrap this truth around your heart.

Breathe in the simply clarity.

Allow your soul to wake up.

Your companion on the journey,

Joyce (and David)