From a very early age, most of us are taught by our parents/authority figures that relationships matter. And for those of us who who were not taught that truth, we learned it at a young age just from experience, both positive and negative.
As we grow up, we go through a wealth of hard lessons that teach us to choose our relationships well. Friendships and romantic relationships are the main themes of this stage in life.
As we move into adulthood and further into life with Christ, we start to pay more attention to divine alignments and relationships and what they mean for our role in the Kingdom.
Scripture says that if you walk with the wise, you become wise...but if you associate with fools, you get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20)
One of God's grace gifts to me are those profound types of people. You know....those types of people who always say something that strikes in deep chord within you every time you encounter them. People whose words God allows to resonate right into your very soul. Sound familiar? I'm sure you have some examples of your own.
One of mine (I'm fortunate to have several) is named Maribeth Eickhoff. I think it safe to say the title she'd most want to be known as is a Daughter of God who is indescribably loved by Him....but she's also an beautiful author, an impactful speaker, and she carries the prophetic gifting of a Seer. I've actually only encountered her twice in my life thus far. I got to meet her at the state gathering for the AWA (Apostolic Women Arising) at Asbury last year and had a good, deep conversation with her. That's the beauty of profound people....you do not have to always spend an abundance of time together for them to be able to make a big impact on your life.
(photo credit: Clydia Akins)
Maribeth has been on my mind ever since as I read each day's entry out of her devotional book, 365 Life Sentences, which someone whose identity I still do not know gave to me (thank you to whomever it was!). In her introduction to her book, she shares a brief synopsis of her testimony and the battles that she has faced throughout her life....and those that she continues to have to walk through. The thing about gifts, even God given gifts, is that you so often pay a big price for them. It's always worth it, but getting to your promise and coming into the fullness of your calling always involves trials, losses, and hard life circumstances of various kinds. So what you get a small glimpse of in Maribeth's introduction to her book is that she has paid a very high price to do this work for God, writing this book. That knowledge compels me to pray for her every day as I read each day's entry in her book. What a special honor it is to get to pray for someone whose obedience to the call on her life blesses my heart on a daily basis. Her book reminds me to keep my eyes fixed my on the Lord. It encourages me to continually improve my character and integrity. Through it, I receive correction from the Lord and get my thoughts and ideas challenged. But most of all, her book causes me to examine the motives of my heart and exponentially increases my awareness of my Father's love and presence....as well as deepens my response to Him. What a beautiful gift.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Seeing Beyond seminar here in Scottsville. We got to listen to all sorts of profound types of people teach on prophetic giftings/anointings and hear their experiences on how God uses them in their lives. One of them was Maribeth. It was a fascinating experience getting to hear her speak on Saturday. She is such a precious soul and her delivery when speaking is just....sweet. I can't think of a better word to describe it, and I have a strange love for big words. The fascinating thing is that the prophetic words that God often has her deliver are so strong! You know, the kind of prophetic words that cut you because they're truth hits so close to home. But since her delivery is what it is, the sting is lessened.
How awesome that God uses someone like her to deliver such strong words. She takes some of the sting out of the correction her words often bring, but somehow she never lessens the importance or magnitude of them. Of all the words I heard her speak that Saturday, the ones that stuck with me most were from a brief conversation I got to have with her after lunch.
We talked about her book and I got to thank her for the blessing my heart receives daily through it. She talked about how it encourages her to get to here how her book is received by people. She also shared that she is in the process of writing her second book. She told me what an honor it must be for me to get to sit under the leadership of Sue Cline at the Hope Center for Women, to which I wholeheartedly agreed, but her words following that statement were what really struck me.
She said that you can always know the depth of the call on someone's life by the leaders and authority figures that God has set them under.
I had to ponder that statement for a good long while. It was new insight to me that became deep revelation about the goodness of God. You know, when you get yourself into a mess in life, for whatever reason, you think that you're just done. You get into the mindset that God is never going to use you and that you've really just shipwrecked your whole life. But as I've been reminded so often this week by Sue, one of the leaders God has set around me, God uses the most unlikely people to do His work here on the Earth. He uses people who have pasts that they're not proud of. He uses the undereducated. He uses the broken. He uses people with disabilities. He uses the weak. He uses people with deficiencies. He uses people who do not look, to the physical eyes, like they could be any good to anyone or anything. Isn't that the beauty of Him? Sue says that God uses the underdogs. I love her terminology.
Maribeth reminded me that apart from Christ, I am nothing. In myself, I have nothing positive to offer anyone. But if I continue to yield myself to Him, He will use me to help people and do His kingdom work. I do not have one clue what that will look like, but there's beauty and adventure in the mystery of God and in the waiting periods. (Thank you, Candy Fothergill, for the reminder of this that same weekend.) In addition, Maribeth made me take a long look at the people God has both set me under and set around me....and the gratitude and humility I felt in my heart moved me to tears. How grateful I am that God chooses to use someone like me. How grateful I am that He gives me wonderful leaders to learn from and be corrected and mentored by. How grateful I am for His divine alignments, appointments, connections, and relationships. How grateful I am for all the people I get to do life with in one way or another....that He, in His infinite grace and mercy, allows me to walk with the wise so I can become wise and become a more yielded vessel for Him to live in and through.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
The sound of Heaven touching Earth is when people live life moving in tandem to the rhythms of His grace.
Jesus is in us....we are pieces of Heaven on Earth. Nothing is coincidence with God. Nothing is an accident. Everything is divine and everything is intentional. It's all a living fractal to Him. A very distinct and beautiful pattern of His story that He is weaving in and through our lives....if only we will have eyes to see Him.
Y'all go read Sue Cline's recent blog post to hear the revelation God has given her this week about the subject of underdogs: https://www.hopecenterforwomen.org/single-post/2018/02/05/God-of-the-Underdog