A Guest’s Encounter with God
I came here believing God had provided a place for me to stay temporarily; He had much more than a place to stay in mind. I was here only a short time before I realized that this place is Holy Ground--prayed over, consecrated, dedicated to Him.
Before the third day ended I was delivered from an almost lifelong (over 50 years) addiction to pornography. I was also released from an ever increasing addiction to whiskey which was destroying my mind and body while providing less and less comfort.
This all happened as I sat in silence alone. It happened because of the prayers, faith and love that are found here. During my stay the Holy Spirit has broken many strongholds in my life and ministered to me daily. The Lord has made this a place of refuge. This is a place of restoration, a place to be taught by the Holy Spirit.
A clear word from the Lord at The Clearing:
The end of another stressful week was approaching. It was the end of a busy day, and I was feeling the typical weariness and fatigue that had plagued me for some time. I had been sacrificing my daily quiet times with the Lord for another hour or so of seemingly needed sleep – what I had concluded to be the one thing needful to restore my strength. However, it wasn’t working, so I called the McMurrys and asked if there was a “room at the Inn” in The Clearing where I could spend a night to “come away with the Lord.”
The end of another stressful week was approaching. It was the end of a busy day, and I was feeling the typical weariness and fatigue that had plagued me for some time. I had been sacrificing my daily quiet times with the Lord for another hour or so of seemingly needed sleep – what I had concluded to be the one thing needful to restore my strength. However, it wasn’t working, so I called the McMurrys and asked if there was a “room at the Inn” in The Clearing where I could spend a night to “come away with the Lord.” This was to be my 4th or 5th experience at The Clearing and I was greatly anticipating a time of rest and renewal of my quiet times with the Lord.
At dinner, Doug asked what I hoped to get out of my night there and what I would like to do. I replied that I wanted to spend time with them in praise and worship and prayer and to spend some quiet time with the Lord. After dinner, we entered into some of the most powerful laser focused praise and worship. Carla played the keyboard, Doug the American Indian drum, and we sang worship songs in a unique way in which we were drawn closer and closer to the very heart of God. The words of the songs took on very personal meaning creating visions and impressions leading to prayers from our hearts to God’s bringing to mind related words from scripture that became further prayers leading to more worship and …. (You’d have to be there!)
Around 9ish I retired to the apartment above Doug’s pottery studio to prepare for much needed rest with the plan to listen to some worship music on the CD player, read scripture and consider what I had just experienced. I must admit, that didn’t last too long before somnolence crept in. I set the alarm for 5AM with the plan to awaken and prepare for the day in time to take a walk down The Clearing to the morning orchestra of frogs, and crickets and birds awaking at dawn in one of the 3 gazebos along the peaceful stream in the woods.
What happened after the 5AM wake up alarm was most alarming! It was a perfectly quiet peaceful morning with no signs of an emerging or existing storm outside. I had noticed the night before that the CD player also had a radio. Being in the habit of always listening to the news in the morning as I prepare for my day, I just naturally turned on the radio (there being no TV at The Clearing, of course) and it was all tuned in to NPR news. How convenient I thought! Next, I go to prepare some hot water in the microwave for instant coffee, and within 10 seconds, the power went out. I have never seen such darkness or heard such silence – no more NPR, fan, A/C blowing – no sound at all! I couldn’t see the end of my nose (in spite of its length!) Fortunately, Carla had insisted I take a flashlight to make my way from their home to the studio the night before, so I stumbled around and found it. I began my search for the circuit breaker figuring surely I overpowered it by turning on the microwave at the same time as the A/C – no breaker box to be found. So, I’m getting dressed by flashlight when suddenly the lights come back on. Wow, that’s odd, I thought. But I dutifully went about turning NPR back on, fixed my coffee (leaving off the A/C of course,) and prepared to shave, when darn if the lights don’t go out again! Now I’m really stumped – second outing for the hidden breaker box was successful and I’m feeling in charge – what no circuits broken??? Back up the stairs by flashlight – try shaving by flashlight! In a few moments, the lights came back on… Well, at this point I stopped and said, “Okay Lord what are you up to?” He said, “I thought you told Doug you wanted to spend some quiet time with me. Why did you invite the world in – NPR???” He had turned it off twice. I wasn’t about to turn it on again. So, I said as I began to shave (in the real light!), “Okay, Lord, here I am, and I’m listening.” Next I heard him say, “I mainly speak in a still small voice which requires silence to hear me.” Wow, am I paying attention. I was so excited. I finished getting ready and rushed to the gazebo to finish talking to God, read scripture and journaled the whole experience. Then I went to join Doug and Carla for the 7AM praise and worship, and the first thing Doug said was, “We never lose electricity around here, rarely even in a storm. We don’t understand why it went off twice this morning.” I said, “Let me explain…”
So, my “coming away with the Lord” was quite a bit more than I had anticipated, but it was a wonderful growing experience, and I can’t wait to “come away” again soon. Thank you Doug and Carla for your precious, loving, and generous ministry of prayer. I pray that many more tired and weary wanderers will find their way to The Clearing – a place where the mind can be cleared and the heart can be reconnected to the One who loves us enough to turn out the lights and stop the noise to get our attention.
Your loving friend in Christ,