Amazing how God weaves together two events to relay a greater message; amazing how God values and uses our memories!
MEMORY Story #1 - A Season of Contemplating Memories
One evening I got a chance to pray, with a group of people, for a woman who appeared to be very sad. I did not want to pray out of this sense because sadness is just too general a topic. Her sadness could have come from so many different sources and contexts, including from what other people had done to her or even from the results of her own poor choices or judgment. I decided instead to focus on what God thought and felt for her.
As I pressed in to get in touch with God's heart for her, I saw a picture of a bouquet of flowers hanging upside down from a nail, on a white wall. I knew God was revealing something but did not understand it immediately. In my mind, I ended up connecting the bouquet of flowers with memories, both good and bad, and mostly good for her. The way I came to this understanding was because I found myself also humming to the tune of "Memories" from the CATS musical (see partial lyrics below). I remembered no lyrics from it but just the title. This, along with my own sense, assured me this image (the flowers) related to memories.
A few seconds later I saw a vision of her on a canoe and the bouquet of flowers sitting on the front floorboard of the canoe. I saw the canoe being moved by the gentle currents of the river and I saw this lady sitting quietly and calmly on the canoe.
I then shared with her the two pictures I got, how I felt they had to do with memories, and then told her, “I feel you are in a calm season right now where God has you in a place of contemplation and reflection…”
At the end of our time of prayer I walked out with her as she was leaving and decided to ask her about what I shared. I asked, "Did any of what I said connect with you?" She then proceeded to tell me that she had recently come back from doing missions in a third world country and that she did have lots of good memories and some sad, and she had been processing these for a while now. She was also in a time of trying to figure out what she was to do next with her life. The word and the pictures helped her feel like this season she was in was ordained by God — something that needed to happen with her before proceeding on to new things. It was God's way of showing her that He knew her and was with her in this season of reflection and contemplation. Likely it was a way of God letting her know that she did not need to rush this season to get on with the next thing — an encouragement to take time to reflect and not be feeling guilty for not moving on more quickly.
lyrics from the musical CATS
...All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time
I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again...
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
MEMORY Story #2: The Healing from 21 Years Earlier
Well, on my way home (right after story #1 happened) I ended up pondering this revelation. I soon realized the memories-focused word I previously shared, was actually something that God was also doing in me. Below is another related story that took place that same day, in the morning...
It happened earlier on the very same day, May 7, 2018. I was doing a Bible study training for a group of people. In the midst of a Bible study with a given Bible passage, I was all of a sudden smitten by a memory from the past. I say smitten cause it literally hit me like a slap (minus the pain). It came so quickly and so direct it literally brought tears to my face within a second.
Here's how it happened:
One person in this Bible study happened to point out that in the wedding of Cana Bible passage, it was the servants who got to see Jesus' miracle of turning the water into wine. Others tasted the best wine but did not get to see the miracle first hand. This innocent share instantaneously brought to mind a miracle that happen at a church I helped with worship, some 21 years before. I found myself saying, as a knee-jerk reaction to the memory, “You did it all just for me. That miracle was just for me.” As soon as this memory flashed in my mind, I felt a deep desire to weep, and had to fight to not cry out loud right then and there. I did still wipe away a number of tears but was able to contain the deep sounds that almost burst out in a torrent.
This 21-year old memory was of the healing of an older man who visited church for the first time, and God healed his herniated disk without anyone laying hands on him. In that particular service, the presence of God was powerfully and tangibly felt. Although we didn’t realize it immediately, it was a heavy presence of God that stayed for 10-15 minutes during our worship time (you would have thought there were three times the people based on the intensity of the worship). But despite me telling the pastor and other church folk what had happened, and the actual man who received healing relaying his story to them in his own words, the reality and magnitude of the miracle didn't appear to really sink into people. It turned out I was likely the only person there who grasped, acknowledged, and embraced the miracle, and God knew this would be so. That is why this memory yielded that surprising phrase out of my lips, “You did it all just for me. That miracle was just for me.”
So in this powerful memory, this blast from the past, I realized God loved me so much that He allowed a miracle to happen just for me, where I would be wrecked forever to want only the best He alone could offer. I realized this desire and commitment in me to not rush into things related to ministry, despite me bearing a strong call to ministry since 1995, is because I have been waiting for His timing and for His leading. I don't want to just do church and repeat what always has been done. I am seeking God's ways and His Kingdom and always seeking what He is doing. Deep inside I know He has so much more for us than we could ever imagine but the question is, "How willing are we to submit to His ways?" We want His blessings, we want revival but only within our our preset ways of doing church.
Well this was a memory that carried with it lots of meaning and emotions tied to it and it came to me as fast and ferocious as a heavenly slap. Through it I too experienced my own episode of contemplation and reflection (like story #1). That was the most powerful flashback I have ever felt in my entire life!