Talk About a Faith Walk
by Kimberly M. Thompson
Faith seems to be the mainstay of this year so far and I'm feeling it more and more. The more I feel it, the more it seems to manifest. But this last episode I'm writing about was miraculous. I'm truly saying that this couldn't have been anything other than an act of God.
But before I get to the story, I must tell you a little of the history involving my transformation. I remember very clearly when I began my spiritual relationship with God rather than just the religiosity of church. If you are a church congregant of any kind you know there are procedures to follow just like any other organization. And as most children of church families you are carted off to church sometimes kicking and screaming because everyone went to church on Sundays. As you grew older, that just became a part of your life. But was it habit or did you go because that was expected of you. Then a time comes when your worship changes. It begins to become more personal. Whether you were scared into submission or a deeper calling was at hand. You're being lead into another direction. You're elevating to another level.
At first you may not even understand the slow transformation. I just began to feel the need to have intimate quiet time. Thinking that I only needed it for myself. Just to calm down in a sense. But it was more than that. I can't actually remember if I felt the craving for the Word first or God first. It may have happened all together. Similar to being in the eye of a mild hurricane.
For whatever reason, either the dramas in my life or the elevation into another stage of my life or maybe my authentic self was finally screaming to be heard, I really can't tell you. All I know is that I needed a better and firmer belief system. Trust me, I've always believed in God but He was that entity all his own with me on the side lines in a sense. I may not make much sense in my description but for those of you who have taken this walk or have even begun to question their lives or beliefs you will understand.
With all this uncertainty swirling around me I was very resistant to this unexplainable change happening in my life. But still I felt something pulling me to seek something different. I was asking more questions and having more private conversations with God. My daughter would soon begin to suggest to me very casually, "Maybe you're being called to seek guidance." I was listening tentatively but something was also stirring in the words she was saying to me. It took a while but I slowly realized that the more receptive I became the easier things began to come to me. Right at this point I started feeling the need to understand the Word more. When you begin to seek clarity in your life the Word begins to permeate your spirit.
So the process began. I would go to church more regularly, take notes from the sermon and feel the experience of being fully involved in the service. Then I would come home, settle in and research the particular scriptures that applied to my day of worship. There was a yearning now to know. There is a scripture that has stuck with me that is in the Book of Matthew, 6:33. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." As I began to honestly investigate the Word I found that I would have to incorporate help.
And this help came from two very close friends of mine. I fondly call them "my church ladies". You know a lot of people think if they know scriptures by heart that's all they need to be an advisor. But most times if you're fully involved in seeking understanding you need to know the background story that leads to the scripture you are interested in to get the full meaning. Even today I may not be able to quote scripture by rote but I can paraphrase some and give you a little background. That is if I'm speaking about something in the Bible. Personally I still feel as though I'm a baby in my spiritual journey so I'm really not inclined to debate religious issues. I just enjoy my journey and speak about my testimonies.
Getting back to the kindness of friends, if there were scriptures or parables that I didn't understand or couldn't recall in any way I could call either one of my friends at any time. They would almost drop whatever they were doing at the time to accommodate me in my effort to learn. My friends were just so happy I was now involved in studying the Word. These ladies are pretty much devoted to their ministries at their churches. One is a deaconess and the other is a prayer group and bible study leader with many jobs in between. A suggestion by both women that was monumentally helpful in my biblical comprehension was to look up scripture in the Kings James Version which is standard and use another bible such as the NIV or NLV for comparison. The New International Version and the New Living Version is translated into plain and easier reading.
So I would read King James first because that is considered a standard Word most have used or heard then I would read the same verse in the NIV to get an everyday language break down. There is some leeway in translation so you must study well to make sure your understanding is solid with both books. Then I may call with questions. We might literally end up having bible study via phone. And they've each gone so far as to get their bibles to be on the same page as me with referrals to similar scriptures to weave a map of biblical history. It's taken me a long time to get to this point and to want this kind of understanding. I knew I was headed in the right direction when I began paraphrasing certain parables of the bible I would hear on Sundays and wanted to find their locations and read those same stories myself.
I no longer just go to church, I have my own personal relationship with God. We speak throughout the day. He's given me glimpses of his promises to show me that he is always listening. Even when I think that he isn't. But this particular incident I'd like to share is nothing short of God granting me his promise that if I seek him and worship him giving him all the glory and the honor he will give me what I need.
This all began the Monday after Thanksgiving. I noticed a trickle of water running along the floor in the front of my basement. Actually it appeared to only be heavy dampness at first. I'm thinking rain water after a couple of days of rain. Then after a few more days a heavier dampness was still there. Now I'm seeing wetness. In my attempt to be Ms. Fixit I will try to patch anything first if I can. That's when I realized this was a trickle of moving water from an outside force coming into my home. Thank God the trickle was running along the seam of the basement where the floor and wall meets. Therefore the water was running directly into my drain. If not I would have been in immediate trouble. I was on my hands and knees with the big orange light trying to track where this water was coming from. I immediately go into prayer mode. I couldn't find where it was coming from. And I couldn't stop it.
After a few days with no increase in the flow or any destruction but the water still had not stopped, I had to call the Water Department. Naturally the first thing they say is it's my problem. I'm responsible for problems from my property to the street. This is where the dispute begins. So this became an ongoing debate as to whose problem this actually was. Me, as a property owner or the city. I stood my ground and demanded an investigation. I knew to open up the street for repair on my part would be thousands of dollars I didn't have.
After two weeks of my hoping and praying no further damage would occur in my basement or the water flow would not increase the investigation showed that it was a neighbor's water line that was compromised. But I was suffering the effects. He was cited and given a period of time to have this issue addressed. We are good neighbors to each other so I was willing to be lenient within reason to the repair work. I mean let's face it the average person doesn't have a few thousand dollars just laying around to put into the street.
This went on for another month. I tried to get professionals to come in to see what my options were and as soon as I began to explain the type of problem I was having the first thing they would say was, "You need to call the city." Now I'm caught between a rock and a hard place with the city and my neighbor. Every night I was asking God how was I going to rectify this situation and keep my home in tact and not suffer too much damage in being stuck in the middle of this problem. Some nights of worry and fear were worst than others. On those really dark and scary nights when I was so afraid the decision of responsibility would turn to me or what if the water flow began to increase? What if they can't stop it?
Then the next drama came just as I had finally had come to a place of uncertain easiness in my day to day. Still waiting the situation to be corrected but what else could I do? So I moved on cautiously. I come home from work about three o'clock and opening the screen door there is a piece of paper shoved in the handle which I believe is an advertisement. As I'm talking on the phone I unfold the paper while talking and as I read I discover that my water has been shut off! I proceed to hurl a string of expletives to the person on the phone while I ran to the kitchen, turn on the faucet and finding only a trickle of water is coming out. My friend on the phone hears the panic in my voice and I'm told to run upstairs and check the bathroom faucet. Nothing. I tell him I have to go.
Now this is three thirty or quarter to four in the afternoon, who am I going to talk to and get something done at this time of day in a city office? I had to get myself together before I talked to anyone else. I knew my neighbor had been cited and given a date for shut off. Did the investigation turn tables on me? This was a final notice. I'd never gotten the first if it was me. If this action was meant for him and they made a horrendous mistake how long would it be for them to find out the error. And restore my service. You know how it is when you have to deal with the city. I pulled together a prayer before picking up the phone and begin to rant and rave calmly but sternly I was so shocked that the first man I spoke to listened to me intently and began to put the process of investigating what happened in motion. While he was taking my information he gave me two other numbers including the inspector manager and the steps to take if the department wanted to fight me. Once I got up to this inspector manager's office there was an investigation into the mistaken shut off of my water supply at that moment. I couldn't believe how smoothly this all was going. It was supposed to be my neighbor who was cut off. And after about three and a half hours the inspector manager himself came to my house to turn my water back on. When this man left my house I dropped to my knees and said a prayer of thank you. The Lord definitely covered me and made sure I had what I needed.
Church was very uplifting that following Sunday. It was based on Romans 10:1-17 entitled, "I Must Have Faith in the Word of God." Basically this sermon spoke on how faith lifts us up to the realm where God operates. Faith is firm persuasion. And faith is acceptance yet paradoxical. Faith goes beyond reason. Faith is the confidence and conviction of what God says he's going to do. This sermon was so powerful for me.
I came home, relaxed a few minutes and decided to wash clothes. I go into my basement and as I walk toward the bottom of the stairs where there was just a trickle was now a small steady stream. And now there was a spout of water seeping out of my wall. I almost screamed. This is early Sunday evening. Super Bowl Sunday. Where was help going to come from on Super Bowl Sunday? "Oh My God! Please Help Me!" The tears were welling inside. How much more of this can I take before something happens to my home. This was his water affecting me. I called my neighbor to let him know once again I would have to call the water department.
After the discussion with him I decided to wait until morning because the excavation people he had to hire was suppose to be at his home between nine and ten the next morning. So all that evening I was crying in my prayer vigil. I felt like my world was crashing down around me because I could not fix this. I began asking for guidance, to lead me in the right direction and whatever he had prepared for me I know that I know that I know he would take care of me. When you ask you must believe and not doubt because if you doubt you're like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That's James 1:6
By about nine or ten o'clock I was so emotionally drained with the nervousness of my watch and my concentrated prayer vigil I just feel into a hot tub to decompress. As I was able to begin to relax I was still in communication with God but this was total surrender. I told God I can't carry this anymore. You have to take this and your will be done. I know that I know that I know you will provide the answer. That's basically all I had the strength left to say. I went to bed feeling lighter. I truly placed this monumental situation in God's hands. We usually say we surrender something then we pick it back up. But this time I felt wrapped in faith. I literally felt like a blanket had been placed around me.
The next morning I stayed home from work allowing the excavation team for my neighbor to come. I wanted to talk to these people myself since I was suffering all of the effects of this craziness. Nine, nine thirty, ten, ten thirty no machinery, no calls, nothing. As I was about to call the water department I said to my self, "Kim you need to go down to the basement and see what is going on." I start to go down the steps the first thing I notice is that I don't hear anything. I get to the last step and grab the big orange light to cast full light on my front wall and the floor. The floor was just damp. Not wet but damp and no water was coming from anywhere. The spouting of water from the wall, stopped. All of the water had miraculously stopped running. It was so little wetness that it looked as though the water had stopped before I went to bed. This was truly nothing more than an act of God. Remember, I have had this water situation going on since after Thanksgiving. When I witnessed this miracle I dropped to my knees on my cold, cement basement floor and began to praise Him and thank Him to the point of tears. This was truly faith at work. And I have to testify to as many people that I come in contact with about the journey I had been taken through in order to come out on the other side of this. Faith is more than a notion to be reckoned with.