Living Water: Our Story, Chapter 8

Outside My Window, Illinois 2021

The Soil of His Planting

The soil is my heart Lord
but my heart belongs to You ...

The seeds of faith were planted
by You
When You came to dwell
within

As I watch the garden at
my window
spring up new with luscious
dewy, green

So too, You watch Your
planting
And cause Your seeds so
luscious

Ringing, singing, springing up
with praise
to grow

--bg

The summer of changing and growing has been a whirlwind here in our little room in Illinois. When I thought I was leaving the “Garden of my Heart” back in Wisconsin, God surprised me with a new “Garden Outside My Window” here at our daughter’s home. Who would have guessed that when we gifted her the small raised bed border several years ago, that we would get to daily enjoy watching it ourselves?

But the growing has come through ways of breaking once again.

Isn’t that so often the way of our Lord?

He plants those seeds of faith in our heart, but we forget the seed must break open and die before those new shoots can spring up. And so too, my heart has been surrendering to that breaking open.

As we settled in with our de-cluttered possessions, I heard a call to declutter my heart as well.

Hadn’t this pathway of Chronic Illness already uncluttered enough of my soul? But the call was unmistakable, and I could not deny His leading any longer. In this place of decreased strength for both myself and my husband, God is calling for a singular, uncluttered focus to love.

Move-in day, Back to Illinois

I heard the Lord asking me to lay down my own plans and to come alongside my husband in this uncharted territory before us. As he prepares for early retirement soon because of his heart failure diagnosis, so I too am winding down my writing commitments. By the end of this year we both will be in a season of waiting before God, watching for the place after the breaking-open where new life springs up in praise to Him.

In the midst of the desert, HIS springs of Living Water burst forth.

We found it so true in our days long ago …

Our Story, Chapter 8. ~~1996 – 1999~~

If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.

Chapter 8 read by Barry and Bettie

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14 NIV

Our life had suddenly become a flurry of traveling over the Midwest, as God opened doors for us to share the drama of the Apostle Thomas. After months of calling, with only a sporadic sharing here and there, we found ourselves away from home more weekends than we were present, as places now wanted to hear the message of the drama. We found a team of teachers to help us with the small children’s church group at our home church, and our hearts were becoming knitted with His people in ways of amazement.

But our children were suffering, as the nights often finished late before their school the next day. We had homeschooled our older son for his first years until we moved to the small town in Ohio, and I had gone back to work. So when he entered public school then, we had assumed that once again, God had closed those doors also. When we heard Him asking us to look beyond those closed doors for HIS way of opening, we knew that He was calling us to homeschool our younger son and daughter.

Our older son was in high school and heavily invested in our church youth group, so he often did not travel with us for the long weekends. It was such a time of surrender for each member of our family. God was sifting through all of our relationships.

Into the middle of those busy days, I had another dream. In this dream, the roles were reversed from what was usually happening in our home during those years. In between the homeschooling subjects, I spent many hours on the phone praying and talking with people: neighbors, friends, Pastors, and churches. And my husband was the one working on the drama, preparing by practicing and praying over it, in between his hours of continued temping at graphic design jobs. But in my dream, I was preparing and praying over a new drama, and he was on the phone praying with a friend. When I awoke, the dream remained crystal clear, and I even knew the theme of the drama: The Woman at the Well. 

The only problem was that I was not seen as the actor in the family. No one expected me to be portraying anything on the stage. I was known as the “straight-man” to my husband’s dramatic side, and it had worked so well for us in the past. In fact, people said that we functioned as “one person” when we were teaching the children together that way.

I shared the dream with my husband, and he felt that I should begin preparing for what God had asked. Many tears followed, and many months of agonizing note taking. My intercessions and prayers became even more personal, as the Lord burdened my heart for women who were living a shamed and shut-away kind of existence that paralleled the life of the Woman at the Well.

During our homeschool quiet time, I would shut myself in my room, and sob before the Lord. How could this be the Lord’s doing? My heart ached beneath this burden, and I saw no way that I would ever be able to adequately portray The Woman at the Well. Her name became WATW to me, and she brought with her a literal pain in my chest whenever I felt the weight of her story. I knew that pain was God’s prompting to ask me to pray over “her,” and over each woman who would someday see this drama.

And then the vision expanded to include my husband and our two younger children as part of the new drama. The pages of my research grew and became more extensive. And I almost collapsed beneath the load.

On the evening that I told my husband I could not bring my notes together, and I didn’t know how to go forward, he sat down at the desk and the words flowed forth. God gave him the script for the drama in one evening, after my many months of agonizing.

Only the Lord could have pulled together those words in such a way. He was teaching me more about the work of HIS purposes, HIS ways, HIS living water.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14 NIV

From the first time of sharing that drama, until the last time we presented it, I knew that only God could have brought His grace into my heart to be able to portray her story. My own perspectives were laid down as I listened for the heart of Jesus. Even the interactions between each of our family members within the skit were all gifts from Him.

Over and over again, we saw how the Lord touched people in ways that we could not have accomplished in ourselves. We were seeing more deeply the truth that only Jesus could bring the saving.

How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.

Psalm 35:17 NIV

I had no way of knowing how the testing of that perspective would manifest. He would soon plunge me into a trial of trusting HIS ability to rescue in ways that I had only begun to grasp.

Has God begun to uncover His Word to you in ways that seem too heavy to carry?

Perhaps He is calling you into a deeper surrender right there.

Sometimes the very crushing is where His healing begins.

I am linking with: #RememberMeMonday

24 thoughts on “Living Water: Our Story, Chapter 8

    1. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, dear Lisa. I am staying open to the Lord’s prompting to share here now and then if He opens a time. And I sure hope to pop in to read my dear blogger friends too. I have to stay current with your stories! 😍🤗

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Dear Jennifer, yes, I pray that even in the resting God will keep these precious connections woven together. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement so much! Blessings to you this month!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Lynn for your encouragement and support. Your “Breathing Spaces” Journal came to me at such an important time of soul-searching last year. I know it was part of God’s preparation for where He has been leading us this year. 🙏 I pray that He will continue to keep us all in His pathway. Love & blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh Bettie, this brings tears to my eyes. God is so good to bring you another garden to enjoy. I pray He gives you both a special strengthening grace in spirit as your bodies weaken. I love the photo and your moving reflections. Thank you for encouraging my heart. May God give us the grace to lay down our own perspectives and listen ever more closely for the heart of Jesus! Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Trudy, you bring tears to my eyes too, to think about the ways that God has given you and I such grace this year. He saw what was ahead for each of us and prepared a way to get through. I join you in your sweet prayer that we would listen more closely for the heart of Jesus in these moments of our days! Love & hugs to you too! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “By the end of this year we both will be in a season of waiting before God, watching for the place after the breaking-open where new life springs up in praise to Him.” This is both very difficult and very exciting. I look forward to seeing what new things the Lord will bring to you and through you, Bettie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did I know you were moving to Illinois? That’s my home state, though I haven’t lived there since 1970. I pray you and your husband find great joy in this new chapter of your lives. No doubt God will use you to minister to the Illinoisans (and other transplants) you meet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Oh that’s great that you are a former Illinoisan! We had lived in Illinois from 1990 to 2004, before we relocated to Wisconsin, never guessing that we would be returning. But God does like to surprise us sometimes, doesn’t He? Thank you for your blessings and encouragement. Blessings to you also!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you for your precious prayers and love! God truly is so very near to us, holding and keeping and guiding along the way. I am so amazed at the faithfulness of our dear Savior. May He keep leading and blessing you and your dear family too!

      Like

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