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Real Life Encounters

(About a 5 min read… but in the end there’s life.)


This was me… (Upper Left) two weeks after my late wife died… I was slowly coming out of the dark and into the light… I was confused about truth… about life… I felt like a victim… and embraced the identity…


The two and a half years prior to this was the closest she and I ever came to intimacy… and still… it was based on a unified struggle to beat cancer… it was rooted in disease…

For 6 months I was the hospice center… the end of life care giver… I was worn out… but I wouldn’t quit…


My new-found Truth had been marinating for 6 months… I had no outlet… no car… just a huge renovated school bus that I couldn’t afford gas for… I was stuck… with nothing except for Google, a bible, my guitar… and the Holy Spirit…


One morning It was quiet… my late wife was finally able to get some sleep on the bed across the room… my kids were asleep on a pull out sofa… I grabbed my phone, sat down and started typing… it looked something like this:


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M - God… what do I do… how am I supposed to take care of someone who can’t talk or move?… she’s wasting away and I can’t do anything about it… I’m tired… frustrated… do you even care?…

G - Yes


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My journaling went on like this for about 2 weeks… I was so frustrated… “other people claim to hear God and have conversation… why not me?… am I not worthy of it?… that must be it…” I would say to myself…


On this particular day, my oldest daughter woke up during my journaling and asked me “who are you texting?” I didn’t feel like describing my angst at the moment so I responded with “I’m texting God”… with a confused look on her face, she said “you can do that?… does God have a cellphone?”… I chuckled…


As the days passed, my conversations became shorter and His response became longer… it blessed me and encouraged me…


He told me that I would go to Bible school… I hated Bible school and had very strong opinions about them and refused… until someone paid for it… and I felt obligated to go…

He told me what was to come… He said “I want you to go to night school”… “ok”… I said… “I want you to take your guitar and say yes to every question they ask you”… I cringed deeply for a min… it felt like a set up…


The next month was the worst… my wife died on November 13th… and I reluctantly started Bible school on November 29th… the picture to the left was me on registration day… I was a wreck… I was hurt… and now I had to go be around people… Christian people… A LOT of Christian people… again.. I cringed… however, I obeyed…


I showed up that evening with my guitar… I was dreading what would happen as I began to say yes… one of the leaders came up to me and asked me if I played guitar… I rolled my eyes at them and sarcastically said “No, this case is for my machine gun”… they laughed and then asked “do you sing?”… I could feel my lips forcefully unzip… and I said “…

yyyeesss…” I cringed again… I knew what God had told me… I knew what was coming… so they said “our worship leader isn’t going to be able to continue… would you lead worship for the rest of the year?”… I was actually a little terrified… I didn’t think that worship was something I could do well… I had been so rebellious and felt so inadequate on so many levels… however… again… I said “yes”…


I had 2 days to practice for an hour set… that’s about 12 songs… so I practiced for about 18 hrs… over the next two days…


The first night was powerful… as I began playing my instrument… I felt the hands of God on my shoulders… it was physical pressure… like when a good dad shows his approval of you by grabbing your shoulders from behind and gently squeezes them a couple time…

People started coming into the room from the hallways and it was full… I was nervously trying to execute this play list… stumbling over the words… missing chords… but I was only able to get through 3 songs before I began seeing spiritual manifestations happening… I’d never seen anything like it… this was not my story or my history…


People were crying… on the floor… on their faces… laying down… hands in the air… worshipping God and allowing Him to intervene in their lives… they were encountering the presence of God… I was watching from the front of the room… singing into the microphone… wondering what was happening… I didn’t feel anything… but I kept singing and playing…


I would talk about the only thing I knew… how much God really loves us… and how much He gave for us… I wasn’t a scholar… I just knew that God loved me… I believed it… I felt it… so I communicated it the best way I could…


Chains were broken that day… lives were changed… hearts and bodies were mended… it was the beginning of my journey… it was raw… real… it was a model of my calling… my purpose…


After a couple months of this, I asked God “why do you always have me talk about your love?… couldn’t you have me “wow” people with more interesting content?”… He replied “Is there anything more important than my love?”…


Thank you for listening…


Michael






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