“But He’s Going to Cut on My EYE!”

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A few years ago, I was going to have a ‘suspicious’ mole removed. No big deal–but it was located on my lower eyelid!!! Although I was going to have the surgery done by a wonderful (and good looking) plastic surgeon, needless to say I was more than a bit apprehensive about anyone, good looking or not, CUTTING ON MY EYE!

Early in the morning, the day before the surgery, I was holding my morning God conversation during my walk. I was plenty scared, and I am normally the cool and collected one so I’m telling you I WAS FREAKING OUT and I told God all about it.

No sooner had the thought–not words–but thoughts passed over my brain, before I could form the words to whine to God, than I became aware of three unseen beings walking along with me. Slightly startling. But why THREE? I could have been startled enough with just one! Well, three is a perfect number, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Or maybe it took a crowd to console me at that moment. Don’t know. All I know is that I instantly recognized that there were THREE angel-beings walking by my side. As is often my sign of confirmation that it’s truly a ‘God-moment’, I became overwhelmed and the tears came freely.

I have come to understand that if you want to know who your guardian angels are, simply ask for their names. You will get an answer eventually in some fashion, but you must ask.

What are your names?” I whispered. The reply came instantly. “Peace“. “Fear Not“.

But there are three“, I said. “Who is the third?

Immediately I heard “I AM.” It didn’t take me long to realize it.

T-H-E  I AM. It was Jesus.

 

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BEGIN AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN.

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Sometimes I take a step back and look at everything I have written in my blog to date and just laugh. I think of all of my friends from high school and through the years that ‘knew me when’ and what they must think as they read the weird stuff I write.

I was always a little weird in school. The relatively quiet girl that was in the theater department, a collective group of weird people, a girl who walked down the halls at school humming a tune from the musical that was at any given time in rehearsal. Or the girl that was rushing to her locker to see if her boyfriend had left her another note—often a Shakespearean love sonnet—“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…” I was the girl backstage in the shadows who was silently reciting every line of the play. The one who did makeup and costumes and props. Behind the scenes girl. I have kind of been that way all of my life. I never felt the need to become ‘center stage’.

Which brings me to why this feels so strange to write down and put into a public blog all of the weird spiritual, unexplained phenomena that have been occurring to me since—well since early high school. But there was a restlessness within and a relentless voice telling me to tell the stories. Tell them NOW. Wow. (“she’s hearing voices in her head….oh-oh…”).

I’ve been a good Lutheran girl since my infant baptism. No, from my mother’s womb. My faith was instilled and nurtured within me by my family, even when I became that growling teenager who fought tooth and nail to stay in bed on a Sunday morning, I’d be the last one in the car, carrying my shoes, grumbling about how church was boring. Mom and Dad ignored my grumbling, although Dad threw me knowing glances. He was a semi-reluctant church goer too. Crowds bothered him.

I married a great guy that became a Lutheran pastor (what was I thinking??) and although life as a clergy family is rather fishbowl-ish, we managed to keep our boundaries and have a good family life. I was a working wife and mother (which didn’t earn me any brownie points in the rural parishes that we served), but I wouldn’t say I was much in the spotlight. I loved our people (even the cranky ones) in each church that we served from Illinois to Texas to Louisiana and Florida, but was always content being backstage, in the shadows.

I can’t pinpoint when the relentless urging to write and publish these stories rose up within me. Perhaps it was shortly before my mother died, when I was in such deep grief over watching her go through the surgeries and eventually losing her to infection. I was doing a LOT of crying and wailing and screaming at God during that time as I did when I lost my dad when he was just 54 years old. A turning point happened when I had had a vision right at the same time mom was in surgery, miles away from me and I was praying and screaming and begging God to keep her safe. I wrote down that experience and was able to share it with mom before her second surgery, as we cried together, the story of what I saw gave her great peace.

After her death as I went through her photos and jewelry and aprons and glassware and papers and things, I found a folder with scraps of paper in her handwriting with bits of poetry that she had written long ago. Words of wonder at the beauty of creation and God’s grace. That’s when I knew that I had to give voice to the gift I had been given.

“Capture the moment. Share the visions. The time is NOW. The world is hungry for hope and beauty.”

And so I begin–again.

William Shakespeare – Sonnet #18

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest: 

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Dry Spell.

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Dry spell. I’ve often heard of writers having dry spells.

It’s been quite a while since any of my angels have appeared to me so clearly in the visual sense and every day I wonder if I will ever be blessed enough to see them again.

How odd. “Blessed enough”. How crazy and presumptuous to think I am ever NOT “blessed enough”. Wow. And then comes the dry spell once again.

What happens in a dry spell? One gets thirsty—and hungry– and starts looking around in the refrigerator for that bottle of cold water or in the cabinet—for chocolate.

So I started thinking about the great WHY. Why haven’t I been having angel visions so clearly and often as I had before? Did God turn off my “Go-Pro Vision Camera”? Or have I just gotten too caught up in the world of today and right now and what’s coming up that I have forgotten how to just slow down, breathe, and listen and wait—for God to speak and appear? Or, if I stop and think about it, have I been seeing and hearing the divine all along and simply have stopped writing it down every time? Oh NO! Have I been taking for granted that God will show up in my everyday life? Taking for granted those high-pitched tones in my ear that once startled me and alerted me to the presence of angels are now so frequent that I no longer am startled by them but bemused and peaceful?

As I sit here writing this blog they’re here again, variously pitched tones in my ear. First one ear then the other. The proverbial ‘ringing in my ears’? No. Different. Very different from the clogged ears of a cold or allergy or physical affliction. I have heard them when I am in prayer for someone. I have heard them when I am in a conversation about faith, or fear of what tomorrow will bring, or in a situation when I am looking for God’s comfort. The tone comes again, alerting me to their presence. It’s different than those movie-like visions I have previously experienced. This seems to be a constant in my life whereas the visions came at specific times and often during a worship service.

So for now I won’t try to overthink this blessing, but simply say thank you—for whatever way God wants to speak to me—and I will continue to listen.

Watching the Night Sky

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I watch the night sky on a rainy spring night-

Clouds moving like ghosts across the sky.

The sound of the rain heavy on the branches of the pines

with a breeze stirring and whooshing, whooshing through the pine trees.

Distant sounds of traffic heard but here in this tiny corner of my world,

the night is magical.

The sound of frogs, becomes a singular tone.

The breeze stirs and grows stronger as if someone silently flies past then stops.

The branches silhouetted against the sky,

The moistness of the air surrounds me

Cool, cool on my skin.

A Time for Mourning, A Time for Dancing (or Why I Stopped Writing)

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Ecclesiastes 3
“1To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven:
2A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap,
3A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
4A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

The years 2012 and 2013 were years of great sorrow for me and for my family. Beginning with the death of my mother Waneta in September of 2012 and then our beloved dog Bruno at nearly 16 years old two days after her funeral, followed by my co-worker from a short battle with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2013. May 20th, our son’s birthday, my amazing father-in-law, Jack, suffered a massive heart attack and was gone in 3 hours’ time. In June I learned of the sudden death of one of my dearest friends, Gail, whom I had spoken to two days prior and she was fine and laughing. Five days after her death, another of Gail’s and my dear friends, Ed, succumbed to his injuries from a dreadful auto accident. Later, in the fall of 2013, our second dog, Snickers, left us after 15 years.
My heart was so tired and wounded that all I could do was drag myself around, putting one foot in front of the other day after day. My vision was blurred with tears and I no longer saw the angels. My ‘sight’ was clouded. The veil, the thin veil that separates us from those that reside in their heavenly home, had come down again and I was firmly on the outside trying to look in. My everyday world took over and I stopped writing. I didn’t take the time to sit and ponder God’s amazing grace. I was deep in grief and I couldn’t see past it, although I kept reaching out for God’s sustaining love and mercy, which has brought me through it all.
New Year’s Eve, 2013. I looked into the night sky at midnight and CLAIMED that 2014 would be a year of JOY.

2 Corinthians 4:17
“Weeping may endure for the night but JOY comes in the morning.”

I had endured long nights of mourning and now leaned on His promises of JOY, claiming them!!
And so, today, December 28, 2014, I look back on a year of promises fulfilled, answered prayer, and a year of JOY heaped upon JOY! Both of our children have married wonderful people from equally wonderful families, our grandson grows more beautiful every day, forgiveness given and broken relationships have been restored, my work continues to challenge and delight me and my husband is still on a journey seeking God’s will for the next chapter of our lives and we are all amazingly blessed.
So, today, I begin to write again, typing furiously to make sure that I don’t miss a thing that I wanted to share with you. Thank you for sharing the journey, and hang on for the ride of our lives as 2015 brings a year of change and adventure!

© Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to © Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Hovering Grace”

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Following the installation of our new Bishop, he came to my home congregation for his first ‘official’ visit. He is a wonderful man, filled with humility, humor and God’s amazing grace. He was preaching that day and ironically, following my experience at his installation, his sermon was on ‘Hovering Grace’.

This particular congregation is no stranger to the Spirit and various spiritual battles go on there frequently. However, the place and the people are wrapped in the presence of the Lamb.

Prior to the sermon, the lessons for the day are read, this time the readings were done by the pastor, a wonderful friend of mine. As she read, there appeared behind her an archangel, seven to eight feet tall, dressed in garments of copper and gold, his robes were made of an African print. He looked to be Ethiopian with beautiful features. He wore a wide gold collar and gold around his wrists. His wings were brilliant gold and fully extended behind him. I couldn’t breathe as I gazed on the sight. She finished the lessons, he disappeared from view. My friend later said that she could feel his presence there as she read. A confirmation again.

The sermon began, and the Bishop spoke of Hovering Grace. Just then, in through a closed window behind him, angels of all kinds and sizes came streaming in. They appeared and then in a mist were no longer visible.
That day also, I was wrestling with a decision and wanted confirmation from God as to whether I should do this thing that I felt called to do. I was deep in prayer, asking for direction when suddenly a strong breeze blew through the room, down the row of chairs where I was sitting and across me! My hands immediately became very hot and began to pound with each beat of my heart. I knew at that moment that I had received confirmation that the work of my hands would be blessed by the Father. As I looked up from my prayer, tears filling my eyes, I saw that the angels, visible once again, had encircled the entire room.

© Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to © Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God’s Anointed: A Confirmation

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In the Lutheran tradition, whenever a pastor is installed after being called to a church congregation, there is a beautiful service and all area Lutheran clergy are invited to be part of the procession into the sanctuary. The same holds true with the installation of a new Lutheran Bishop, on a larger scale.

When our new Bishop was installed, the service was filled with tradition, ceremony and a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. This man, called to this position, has God’s anointing. Following the reading of the lessons and reciting of the Creeds, following the questions and responses of the elect about duty and responsibility as Bishop, there was a period of prayers of intercession. Clergy came forward, laid hands upon him and prayed for various aspects of his new ministry journey. Prayers for vision, compassion and the presence of the Holy Spirit to surround him. During that time, the mass choir and congregation sang. The verses were sung by a fine tenor and the chorus sung by the congregation was “Veni Sancte Spiritus”, Holy Spirit come to us.

It was at that invitation that the angels appeared, covering the vault of the domed sanctuary, as if to join in the blessing, the sound of ‘hovering wing’ sweeping through the space. I looked around, wondering and wishing all present could see this breathtaking sight. Noticing no other reaction, once again, I held this vision within my heart. I knew God would ultimately show me how to share these marvelous things.

 

© Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to © Melissa A. Dow and Signs and Wonders- This Cup of Blessing, Shared, 2012 to present with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.