“You’re not going to go to Israel, you need to buy a tractor.”
OK that seemed random. It was one of those moments when God had initiated the conversation; there was no question who was speaking; I hadn’t been seeking, so I sat up and took notice! “You’ll go later,” He finished. That was the end of the conversation, because I didn’t question. I simply sat there letting the statements sink in and then reached for the phone to call my dad.
At that time, I lived on 96 acres, having rented a big old farm house that was over 100 years old. It was wonderful, complete with picturesque rolling hills. The house sat far back off the road at the end of a 300ft driveway. We lived in a snow belt, the driveway running north and south between two fields; snow and drifting a continuous battle. For instance, one particular day there was a blizzard at my house, but when I drove to the highway 1/4 mile to the east, it was clear and sunny. I guess it has to stop somewhere, but that was strange! Another day I piled the kids in the car to go to the store, and backed into a snow drift up to the bottom of my windows. That would seem normal except for the fact that I had just cleared the driveway two hours prior– it hadn’t occurred to me to check!
So I maintained my own driveway, borrowing my dad’s old antique, Allis Chalmers tractor, each winter. I was so grateful for that tractor, but it had a habit of breaking down every year, about midway through the winter. It was so consistent, that I don’t remember it missing a single year. That tractor taught me a lot about faith and my faithful dad!
My Church had scheduled a trip to Israel and I had been making plans to go.
“Dad,” I said when he answered the phone. “God is telling me I’m not to go to Israel, that I need to buy a tractor.” “Oh my gosh!” He burst forth. “I am so glad!” “I’ve been stewing about it for two weeks.” He was talking fast, so excited. “The tractor broke down,” he continued. “I had it in for repair but they said it is irreparable.” “I didn’t know how to tell you; I didn’t know what you were going to do.” It was the most words I had ever heard my dad speak on the phone. No questions came forth as to if I could afford it or how was I going to pay for it–this was definitely God!
The tractor message spoke volumes to my dad. From then on my dad listened carefully to everything I have to say to him about what the Lord tells me, simply because no one knew of that problem but my dad and the tractor mechanic. God knows the secrets of our heart. He cares about what troubles us–even when we don’t share our troubles with Him–He is there, He wants to help.
That was November 1, 2000, nineteen years ago and that faithful tractor cleared my drive and continues to mow my dad’s lawn; year after year, dependable–like my wonderful dad!
So after all these years, I had pretty much forgotten about Israel.
I thought about it from time to time, but not much; life was busy. One day though, last year, I announced to the Lord that I no longer wanted to go. “You know Lord,” I began, “You said I would go later, but I just don’t think that I want to go to Israel anymore.” After 19 years, what would make me decide that, so out of the blue?
Maybe the Lord wanted it to be His idea, so He removed it from my heart.
My announcement didn’t call for a response; it was just a factual statement. I blurted it out and moved on, never to think of it again or so I thought.
Imagine my surprise, less than two months later, when I opened my computer to find a tour of Israel in big letters all the way across my screen. Kenneth Copeland Ministries is my computer home page; George and Terri Pearsons, pastors of Eagle Mountain International Church, were announcing their, first ever, tour to Israel. My heart felt as if it would burst out of my chest; my spirit leaped–THIS IS MY TRIP!
I had said it out loud, to no one in particular, because no one was there. No one but God, who knows our hearts better than we do. I highly suspect it was all His idea, His perfect timing–time to begin.
So this person that didn’t want to go anymore, was probably one of the first to sign up.
Within minutes of the commitment, fear settled on my heart. In a panic I prayed and the Lord gave assurance and instruction. “Plant a seed, I will provide.” I trusted Him, and it was so.
I needed a roommate or it would be much more expensive. I prayed and asked the Lord to either pick me out someone to room with or He would need to provide more, His choice; I told no one of the need. The next week at church I sat across from a woman I had never met. My church shares a meal every Sunday after church and in our conversation I asked her where she works. It turned out she managed a nursing home in which a friend of mine lived. I said nothing of Israel but apparently I had told my friend that I was going, because the following week she said, “You’re going to Israel?” she looked at me with child-like wonder and said, “I want to go to Israel.” It turns out she has been wanting to go to Israel since she was nine. When I told her that I needed a roommate she said that she didn’t think that would be possible. But, God had other plans. Her family and boss urged her forward and within two weeks after my prayer for a roommate, though not telling anyone my need, God provided.
Five years ago the Lord had asked me to write a book.
I agreed to, not knowing my world was about to crash. When we discovered my husband had brain cancer and since his death, the battle has been fierce. I expect my readers have noticed the long silence. I couldn’t write, couldn’t go to church, tried not to think. I did try to go back to church, but all I could do was cry, so I stayed home for three years and attended online. It worked, but worship is just not engaging when online. However it was a safe cocoon that I had built around myself and I was satisfied to hide. One day God seemed to say ENOUGH. I could no longer stream online. I could stream other things, but not church and I clearly heard Him say, “Find a Church.” So I began to attend the church that provided my roommate, and a wonderful new family home. Now I can stream without a hitch; It seems that God kicked me out of the nest.
So that was a year ago and it just wouldn’t leave me to write that book.
Pressing on me continually, was a big question mark on my heart. I was willing, but I just didn’t know how to go about it. I knew I should use the messages that He has faithfully spoken to me, but didn’t have a clue how. The four-year trial since my husband’s death was a shake down I will never forget. It was the final straw, so to speak, of a lifetime of soul wounds that had not been dealt with. The Lord provided a wonderful, wise woman and together we dealt with it all. She is a pastor and a friend who had just moved back to my town, soon after my husband died. I did the work and let me tell you it was so hard that sometimes I wondered if I would even make it, but the progress was steady, the victories, sweet.
I went to Israel with a strong ‘knowing’ that I was going connect with a publisher on the trip.
I hadn’t written the book yet and had no idea how or what, but just knew, and was expecting it to be revealed.
So this has been a long story readers, I’ve missed you! A long story to explain the cobwebs on my blog and to tell you how faithful the Lord is. He brought me out of the fire and caused three miracles to happen to me in Israel.
I was still working on becoming whole, while in Israel, and the things I was coping with caused some struggle there; but the Lord showed me, through the miracles, that He was ready for me to begin again–to launch the life He has spoken of to me for most of my life. He caused a miracle at the Mount of Beatitudes that did indeed connect me to a publisher. A connection made from a bus on the road in Jerusalem.
My first-ever book has just gone to print–to be out in time for Christmas!
In it, you will read about the miracle that caused it all to be. After five long, hard years, out of the fire comes gold! I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be finally doing what He has called me to do.
‘Comfort in the Challenge’ is the first of several books already in queue.
I am now working on the next two. He welled up in my heart so strong to write for prisoners and those dealing with strong-holds–so many of us imprisoned without bars. I know these messages well, but as I read through them, His Love and Mercy came through so strong that the tears began to flow. His Love is so great, His tenderness, unsurpassed. It is evident that He had these books and each prisoner in mind all along, when He spoke His messages to me.
The book will be out soon and I urge you to read God’s Heart for you. He loves you so much that He sent me all the way to Israel, caused a miracle, just to be sure I didn’t wait any longer. I am so sorry that it took me so long, but am forever glad I obeyed!
All royalties of ‘Comfort in the Challenge’ will go directly to Canaanland Ministries of Autaugaville, Alabama. A wonderful ministry that takes in men who have lost control of their lives to addiction and crime. They house and love them for a year, completely free of charge and, for 40 years, have witnessed continual and outstanding transformation in these men. God has placed a vision in Caleb Gober’s heart, following in his dad’s footsteps, to have a Canaanland in every state; this book is devoted to help them follow that call.
Please consider joining me in support of this much needed ministry and purchase ‘Comfort in the Challenge’ for you, your family and friends, for Christmas–for Canaanland! Thank you and God Bless you! May you be faithful to His call on your heart–He has something very special for you to do.
The book is now ready for purchase, please visit: http://www.nationofwomenpublishing.com. It sells $14.00, and if the Lord leads you may donate to provide more books or directly to Canaanland Ministries of Autaugaville, Alabama. Their website is http://www.canaanland.com
God Bless you blog family, Lori O’Neil