Kate’s Story ~ Kate Thomas, one of our speakers for the NLFA conference, reflects on her time in Nigeria

My waking hours were in song today, half awake half asleep, I was a part of a duet singing two songs which wed themselves so well together, but when I was fully conscious I could only remember one (Give Me Jesus).  The other had “happy” in it and the two together epitomize the singing of my heart, the response of my heart to obeying the Lord, to joining His mission here or there.
The Lord urged me with joy to go.  Then I received a call to pursue joining your team.  I say, “I got a call from God, before I got a call from man. So I was already going when I was asked.”
It doesn’t get better than that.  And as I recall, the Lord has done that once before in my life.
Sweet.
The reason I bring up the singing in my dreams and awakening is that the context was praise.
And, I hope this reflection is that in sum – praise.
Of course, we always have praise for our Mighty Warrior, but the battlefield is the NOW of time.  A conference set, as you know, upon a backdrop of political and economic turmoil, of lives crying out just to survive.  A conference of singing, dancing, praying souls behind  gates and guns.
Despite the backdrop, our eyes were set on ONE.  And He was beautiful in that place and in our hearts.  The team, in my eyes, seemed fully humble and gentle and focused on His face.  There was grace and kindness in every molecule of air around us.  Your daddy, an unparalleled and humble and Godward lead.  David, incomparable joy and service bearing along with your dad more than we’ll know in the detail and in FFICM hurdles.
The journey was about souls.  And, in that, there was momentum toward grace and the freedom of truth.  Those who traveled the country to come sat for 12 hours a day nearly to hear His name ring in their hearts.
And nearly 100 of them, like my missionary grandmother, came to faith.  Zealous yet without personal knowledge of believing and receiving and sonship.  My grandmother and grandfather, David and Emma Thomas, missionaries and ministries throughout their lives, but Guam initially, were “believers.”  Well, he was.  But, when her children grew up and left home, she began to read the Bible for herself.  At 65, her eyes were opened to His grace and she believed.
The Lord had put on my heart to share with the women about the older/younger brother.  When each had a chance to represent who they felt they were more predominantly, they ALL chose older brother.  Through the 3 days with the women, there was a growing astonishment with many that the older brother, though in proximity to the Father, had “run” the distance away from His face, His heart, His grace.  That it is possible to be in the house of the Father, but to have never met Him, for to look in His eyes and face, to look at all, is to love Him and begin the wondrous journey of knowing Him.
The last day teaching with the woman was about the NOW of time that extends until Rev. 21:4 and the “former things” “the order of things” passes away.  God tenderly knows the order of things for war/abuse broke out in His throne room before time.  He knows where we are right here, right now.  And He will wipe away every tear, each one for each one and each tearful story behind each one.  Right here and now — as He did with Hagar (abused and objectified and mistreated in a house of faith), He sees.  And seeing Him see her changed her.  Right here and now — as He did with Job — He comes and His coming is enough for it is MORE THAN answers.  He is the answer.  Right here and now – He cries (Mary and Martha saw this).  When Jesus cried, the Father cried.  Right here and now – He comforts to the degree that the Comforter comes within us.  He is closer than our right hand.
That was the last day of teaching there.  As I was teaching, sans notes, I was praying.  Where now, what now?  Florence would translate, so I had time to follow each urging of the Lord.  Talking about Hagar, I felt the Lord nudge me to grab an object, for she was so very objectified, used, abused.  And I turned not having in mind any particular object at all and the lady sitting behind on the steps of the stage had removed her shoes so I asked if I might borrow a shoe.  At that point, shoe in hand, I explained that Hagar was little more than an object, like a shoe (and then the Lord showed me…. “who was walked all over, pounded down…”).  It’s all the little moments with Him.  The mosaic of the life lived in wonder and joy because He is there!
On Wednesday, after the sessions, I thought – didn’t pray — “Oh, it would be so nice to have fresh sheets.”  I don’t even think that at home.  All gets changed once a week.  It had only been a few days.  I don’t know why I thought or felt that, it just felt good to think it.  Aww.  But, then – “I don’t need that!”  When we arrived, I walked into my room and the design and color on the sheets had changed.  And I laughed!  “Oh, Lord.
Before the trip, I had substantive prayers and non-substantive (you know, like, “What do I do with this hair in monsoon weather and humidity?”)  So I prayed it all.  I have had a very useless bad wrist for nearly a year.  I prayed about that.  So, this and that.
Hair- a total non-issue.  I had wondered if such bad hair would be a horrendous distraction.  Nope.  All covered.  Perfect.
Wrist – zero pain. Zero.  It is 24/7 pain.  Zero pain and strength all through.  I was more aware of that arrive home.  “Oh Lord, what YOU DO!”
Details.
Joy.
Now, there are details of great angst – Godfrey, about 4 months old, in the arms of his mother Deborah, came from the IDP camp to visit the team.  4 months old with two siblings dead/home with Jesus.  Lots of tears.  A time for tears.
Rev. 21:4  He will wipe away every tear.  And He knows better than we how many.  We don’t even love ourselves near enough to care.  But, our big picture God who calls us into His Big Heart for the world, well, He sees each one and records it.  He will not miss one tear of our lives for each will be wiped away (just like He made humankind by hand from the dust and bone, He will take our time of pain, mourning, death, tears, crying (and all mean something different in the Greek – wow) and deal with it personally, by hand.  He will not command away our troubles.  He gets Himself dirty, drippy, and touches it all because it touches Him right now today.
His patience that none be lost is a cost upon Him every second because He shares that cost more fully with us than we do with ourselves.
How can it be?

Revelation 21 starts out better than good with an announcement from the throne itself – one of the most redundant verses in the whole Bible. There is excitement. There is culmination of all things. It’s like the last construction-paper-loop-to-mark-time-before-the-holiday has been snipped off the chandelier and the best IT IS FINISHED is happening!!

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DaraKate’s Story ~ Kate Thomas, one of our speakers for the NLFA conference, reflects on her time in Nigeria