Walking in Memphis

She did not know which way to go.

She took a wrong turn and ended up in Arkansas.

She turned around, only to find the dead end.

She finally parked her car by the river and began to walk.

She came to the end of dry land and faced the water.

And she prayed, “God, do what only You can do.”


Psalm 77

Then the psalmist replied:

I cry out to God; yes, I shout.

Oh, that God would listen to me!

When I was in deep trouble,

I searched for the Lord.

All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted.

I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.

You don’t let me sleep.

I am too distressed even to pray!

I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs.

I search my soul and ponder the difference now.

Has the Lord rejected me forever?

Will he never again be kind to me?

Is his unfailing love gone forever?

Have his promises permanently failed?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he slammed the door on his compassion?

And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”

.

.

.

.

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

O God, your ways are holy.

Is there any god as mighty as you?

You are the God of great wonders!

You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled!

The sea quaked to its very depths.

The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed.

Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook.

Your road led through the sea,

your pathway through the mighty waters—

a pathway no one knew was there!

Psalm 77:1-19, NLT


Hallelujah!

What a powerful word of God!

The scripture passage above was in my one-year Bible today. It reminded me so much of several situations, and of people, who are struggling to find their way.

Including me.

This living Word of God was like an answer, a shining compass, a rallying cry from the Ancient of Days!

It is just one edge of the map our Heavenly Father provides showing how we can keep walking – keep going – even when we can’t see the way.

This passage fired me up and prompted me to finally start publishing some of the drafts I made throughout the week.

My prayer is that I can tie in, or sew together, several stories that create one tapestry of testimony.

It’s about when I was walking in Memphis, asking the Lord, “Should I stay or should I go?


3/30/19

I heard the word:

STAY.

I had already been in Memphis, TN., for three days and had attended two conferences.

To stay until Sunday was a bonus, just so I could attend services at Bellevue Baptist Church.

The Lord and His Word…my most recent life theme.

We didn’t need to spend the money on another hotel night and I wanted to have a day at home before going back to work on Monday.

STAY.

So, I stayed and ended up having a divine appointment on Sunday morning in the Hampton hotel lobby.

It was with a woman who now holds the new journal I purchased from the conference.

The journal was titled, Great is Your Faithfulness.

The day before, I had been all the way in the parking lot when I ignored the Holy Spirit’s urge to speak to her…

As I walked past dozens of women hurrying for a pre-conference breakfast, this woman had sat alone and relaxed with her coffee and yoga pants, observing the lobby activities.

I noticed her on my way out the door. I had wondered if she knew we were Christians and why we were there. Then, I wondered if anyone had spoken to her or smiled at her, or if we looked too self-absorbed to speak to a stranger who clearly wasn’t headed to the LifeWay conference

Because I stayed, God gave me a redemptive, second chance when she was once again sitting there with her coffee.

It was just the two of us as I said, “Good morning.”

That story is for another post. ❤️

This one is already too long!


Why did I want to attend this particular church in Tennessee? Well, the current pastor once lived in Alabama. He had been my pastor.

He performed my wedding ceremony in 2005 and had been a best friend and mentor to my husband for many years. His wife was my very first Bible study teacher.

Two, strong and wise voices that influenced me in the early years of my Christian walk were from Steve and Donna Gaines.

There’s just something about the people who were there in the beginning.

I needed to hear from the Lord and I felt the pull to Memphis so strongly, I left a day early just to drive around and wait for the Lord to show up.

I arrived at my former pastor’s church an hour before the first service would even begin (after discovering that nothing is open in Cordova, Tennessee on Sunday morning that sells a sewing kit).

That’s also another post, A Time To Sew, inspired by a young woman I only know as Dori.


Although I had a notebook full of highlights, revelations and action points from several different sessions I attended with Lifeway speakers, Donna Gaines, Kelly King and Beth Moore – things still weren’t settled in my spirit.

STAY.

I chose the early service in hopes of starting my nearly four-hour drive home as soon as possible. I walked around this huge church and talked with the Lord, just to soak it all in.

God even gave me a precious reminder of His faithfulness.

Bro. Steve, 7-31-2005 (his last service in Alabama) and Bro. Steve, 3-31-2019 (my first time to hear him in Memphis). Among all the verses he used, this was one of them.

After the first service, I was fortunate to quickly say hello to Bro. Steve and Mrs. Donna and also to Bill and Dayna Street.

STAY.

Wouldn’t that look weird? He was going to preach the same sermon I just heard. I could even listen to the livestream as I drove home if there was something I missed the first time.

STAY.

I stayed.

Immediately, I knew it was the right decision. There was something different as the music began because it was a new set list.

Maybe after the worship service I would ease out and get to the interstate before church traffic began.

STAY.

Then, during the last song (it was one I’d not heard before), the lyrics caused me to suddenly catch my breath.

When you do what only You can do.”

This may not be an especially memorable song to some, unless you had prayed those specific words early that morning in your hotel room…because you were absolutely desperate for the Lord to tell you what to do.

In several situations, I thought I had done everything that I could do, using right and wrong tactics over many, many months.

I had prayed for the Lord to break down walls, but to please not let it hurt too much for those involved. I asked Him to do it gently.

Then, on my face Sunday morning, before seeing the woman in the hotel lobby, before attending the two church services, before the song or the pastor’s words – I finally tell God to do what only He can do – to do whatever He has to do.

The song ends and I am sobbing.

Bro. Steve doesn’t begin his sermon right away, but instead asks the worship team to back up the song, so we can sing it again.

Then he began to speak and it went something like this…

Today, if you’re hungry and you just need for God to speak to your heart; if you need a word from God; if you’ve been praying that God would show you what to do, then I want you to come and stand with me and we’re going to pray and sing this song again.

If you’re saying, “God, I need to hear from You,” then say, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.” Then, you just wait on the Lord.

Spirit of the Living God.

It changes us.

It changes what we see and what we seek.

When You move, You move all our fears.

When You move, You move us to tears.

Come now and breathe upon our hearts.
Come now and have Your way.

We want to hear Your voice.

We’re hanging on every word.

When You do what only You can do…

It changes everything.

Spirit of the Living God.


After he spoke and I had joined those who gathered with him, the “STAY” feeling lifted and I knew it was time to go home.

If I could even see to drive through my tears.

Did the God of the universe just pause a mega church worship service for a girl from Alabama who had waited four days to hear from the Lord?

Yes, He did.

No one in Tennessee knew me or why I was even there, but God did.

He knew what would happen at 11:00am on March 31, 2019 and that is why He kept saying, “STAY.”



And that was just the worship service. 🙌🏽🙌🏼🙌🏾

The message from Bro. Steve was equally on point with my life recently.

Dr. Steve Gaines, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN.

🌱🌿🌳 UPDATE BELOW!


🎶🎶 Playlist 🎶🎶



Update:

There was no doubt I would begin fasting when I drove away from Memphis.

I did not know for how long and the Lord was so gracious to confirm every few days to keep going.

For 28 days.

It was indescribable. AMAZING.

I’ve never had so many cool things happen spiritually in my life. I was living minute to minute with great anticipation at what would unfold next.

Looking back, I believe it probably should have been 40 days. I began to overthink everything toward the end and convinced myself the verses I read about eating one morning were the sign to stop.

It was still an incredible growth opportunity and there are so many experiences I want to write about.

Maybe 28 days was just the stepping stone I needed, so I will not doubt the next pathway God prompts me to take.

GO.

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