My Vow Is My Own

“But my own vineyard is mine to give; the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.” – Song of Solomon 8:12 (NIV)

“If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand…But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them.” (Numbers 27:10-14, NIV)

I hesitated on writing this note because God has been dealing with me about some things that are connected with the revelation herein, but I am not sure how to verbalize those things yet. It’s like, I have an idea of what God is revealing to me, but it doesn’t all make sense yet. In some of it, I have absolutely no idea how I am going to do what God is asking of me, and I have no idea how a lot of it is going to manifest. What God has been using to bring about the revelation is so deeply personal to me, I just assumed nobody else was going through, nor understanding of, the process. I also know that, a lot of the time when God is going to make a shift in my life, He gives me bits and pieces of the difficult parts, so I have awhile to get used to the idea. With these bits and pieces, God softens my heart, to open me up to the new possibilities and challenges that are ahead. In keeping with this, the revelation wasn’t something I considered was for anyone else…until tonight. A talk with my Apostle and another apostle confirmed for me that God is doing something in more than just me. We are entering into something new, something different, and I write this for those who are experiencing it, as well. It’s amazing to learn that in our walk, we really are never alone, even if we don’t know what is going on with others in their spiritual journey. I thank God for the cloud of witnesses that surround, especially as I write this.

For the first time in nearly 7 years, the Lord spoke the words “NEW SEASON” to me two days ago. For the amount of times we hear this term in church (i.e., over and over and over again), I don’t hear God say it to me very often. Seven years ago, thus making the last time I heard these words 2006, God told me I was entering into a “New Season.” The truth of the matter was I had no idea what God was about to ask me to do, or about the radical change I was about to undergo. “NEW SEASON” didn’t mean I’d get a brand new car, or a winning lottery ticket, or a bigger house – no, what it meant was I was at the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. For the past seven years, I have followed the course God brought me through…sometimes kicking and screaming, sometimes through tantrums, sometimes through tears, and through lots and lots of prayer…I have learned to walk in and experience His grace in a way that has transformed my life. Sure, I haven’t done everything perfectly. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Some of those mistakes changed the entire course of my life. Yet somehow I know I have never been out of God’s sight, nor have I ever completely veered off the path He has for me.

The result of my current season, in that revelation of grace, has given me the relationship with God that I now have. It has also birthed my ministry very differently than it was heading in prior. Seven years ago, those of you who know me today and didn’t then probably wouldn’t recognize me. This season changed me. It transformed me. Just as in every season, we start out as seedlings and then mature to full harvest, so what we see now is the harvest of this season. I didn’t realize it was harvest time, however. This “NEW SEASON” was a total shock to me.

Let me make myself perfectly clear: I was FINE with the season I was in. I was NOT asking God for anything major, just things to help me continue to maintain where I was, and do whatever I needed to as I continued on. I was not nagging God 200 times a day like I was at the end of my last season, telling Him this was all just too hard and if He didn’t do something tomorrow, I would just up and drop dead. I love writing. I love teaching. I love preaching. I love going to the different churches. I love working with and training leaders. I love North Carolina, I like ministering here. It did not bother me that I was not on television. It did not bother me that I wasn’t on the radio at the moment, being in-between stations. I was FINE. I was not looking for any more than I had. I was comfortable.

So, one day, I literally woke up about three weeks ago and…everything felt different. Nothing had changed, except me. I didn’t feel like I belonged where I was anymore. It was a strange feeling, almost like being totally disconnected from my life. I didn’t feel restless, just extremely confused. I suddenly had one of the worst inabilities to write I’ve ever had in my entire life. I started wondering what it would be like to be on the road more, in different cities, reaching bigger audiences and more people. I wanted to do stuff that wasn’t in North Carolina. I wanted to establish ministry centers in different cities. I wanted to go and minister further westward, all the way to California. I wanted to preach in different places around the world, and train different leaders. I had a vision of an ordination in a foreign country. I wondered more about legal ends for media ministry. I wanted to host more events in a year than just the one or two we are known for. There are personal situations that I wanted resolutions to, and new personal opportunities to come forward and have their chance. I suddenly wanted more than the comfort zone I’d grown accustom to. I was no longer FINE…I was no longer COMFORTABLE…

…And I was MAD.

So, God and I had a “yell” session. You know what those are: the sessions where you yell at God, and He doesn’t answer you (it’s just God not speaking about the vow, like the verse above says). Where it feels like God is giving you the silent treatment…so you get even more mad. What do we do when God gives us the silent treatment? We try to explain how we are feeling to someone else. Then they can agree with us and we can feel like God is just being difficult! So, I tried to first explain it to my mom, and then I went and tried to tell the friend that I run and tell everything to. It was really hard because I didn’t know how I was feeling. That’s what I said: “I don’t know why I feel the way I do, I don’t know what is going on, I just have this feeling and I don’t like it.” Thus, their advice: “Wait on God, He’ll let you know what to do.” GRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I didn’t like that advice. I wanted something deep and profound that would explain WHY I felt the way that I did, and WHY I was having this issue, and WHAT I should do about it. WAIT? Who wants to wait when GOD is being difficult?!!!! I mean, come on!!!

OK yeah, so I waited…and in the two weeks I waited, God started…dealing with me about things. I still have no idea what is going on, at this point, or why God is dealing with me about things, I just know I was not enjoying it very much. By this point, I was noticing a lot of things around me: things in people…things in my ministry…things in myself. Some of what I was seeing, I just didn’t like. All I wanted to do was scream and tell God to take this call and shove it. I actually told my mother I wanted the anointing of a cashier in a grocery store so I could just have a job that I went to everyday, and then go home and not care about it anymore. This is not fun, this is not the plan, this is not what I WANT.

And then I wonder, when is ministry ever about what I want?!!!!!! Something to ponder. Breakthrough! Revelation: God wants me to be better than FINE.

Then, two days ago, God says “NEW SEASON.” Hmmm. So THAT’S what this is all about: it’s time for a new season. All the things God placed on me to think about SUDDENLY are things for this new season. To get to this new season, to the new work, to the new call, yes, even to the new of my life…I am going to have to leave a lot of former behind. It is time for me to step up in a greater way and recognize that my work, my walk, my relationship, and my vow to God is my own. I have to do what He is asking of me. I cannot wait for someone else to get the vision and do it with me or for me. God has asked this of me. That means, despite the nervousness I admit I do have, I have to trust God to provide for me so I can do it. I must also trust that sense of grace He has given me over these years, to realize and recognize if He thinks it’s time to move past FINE, it’s time to move past it!

For a good part of my walk, I admit that I have been guilty of trying to get other people to either take on my ministry as theirs or expect them to understand it as theirs. I have used people’s lack of compilation with my concept of transference as an excuse not to step out in obedience to God in the way I should, all too many times. As I prepare to enter my “new season,” I am realizing my call, my work, the things God has called me to do, are my own. My agreement with God to do these things is also my own. My God in heaven, Who is my first love, my true spiritual husband, the first one I am bound to in keeping with the Word, has heard my vow to Him, and I must keep it. It isn’t something that I can explain to someone else, or make someone else understand, especially if they themselves are not going through it. When I found two people who were also going through it, we realized the “spiritual butterflies” (Thank you Apostle Julie Harvey for that term!) were at hand…and they just knew. As God pushes us out of our caves, we are aware of an overwhelming sense of responsibility for what God is asking of us. That, I believe, is where a lot of our struggle lies as we move away from comfortable and “fine” things onto the unknown territory where God rests our promise for this season. As we step out into the unknown, we realize our own responsibility to follow God. For the first time in a long time, we may not have our entire support system or comfort zone cheering us on, because we’ve gone to a point where all of them cannot come. The vineyard is ours, the decisions are ours…but we need to step forward and offer all that we have to God, especially as we enter into a new season. No longer can we rely on everything we did in the old – we must come to a place where anything that holds us back, may hinder us, or yes, may not be forcing us to be quite as accountable to God as we thought we were – is left in the season where we flourished and prospered for that time.

I still don’t have all the answers about where God is taking me, what He is asking of me, or what is next. I do know I have stopped fighting it, because I can recognize it is time for what God has declared. I am waiting on Him for all the answers, and for now, He has told me to PREPARE. So, that I am doing. In the meantime, I wait for more visions, for more dreams that give direction, and for more instructional words as God reveals all this New Season is to contain.

And, I am so thankful for the conversations this evening…because it lets me know I am not alone as I prepare to walk into all that is next. God always lets me know I am not crazy once I stop being so stubborn. Thanks, God. Oh yes, and thanks to everyone who is helping me through this time…both those who know and those who didn’t even realize it. I’ll see y’all more in the new season, when I am sane again.

(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.

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