A Holy Spirit Story: Cathy

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Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

CONSIDER THIS

Today’s Holy Spirit Story comes from Cathy Boyd Byrd. She recently came across the journal entry below from 1997 and shared it with me along with her present day reflection. It is a fitting word for sure. I asked her if we could share it with the Sower Nation and she gladly obliged. Cathy is also a regular contributor on the Wake-Up Call Facebook group page.  If you are a FaceBooker I’d encourage you to join the community there. And for those interested, we now have a Wake-Up Call Instagram feed to which I regularly contribute. @thewakeupcall

— 
3/20/1997: About 4:30 in the afternoon as I drove home from a busy workday about three hours from home. As I got south of the Alabama–Florida line near Cottondale, Florida, out of the corner of my eye I saw what seemed to be a flash of light almost like an arrow and when I turned my head to look, I saw a beautiful freshly plowed field of rich dark earth. I delighted in looking at what warmed a country girl’s heart and I heard God speak in my spirit saying, “This is you.” I pondered how I might be like a plowed field. It sent me scurrying to my Strong’s concordance when I got home, looking for plowed fields, fields, land, planting, and similar topics. This verse was the that I believed God directed me to:

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9)

I was forty-three years old, an empty-nest mother, miserable in a job that had me away from home three to four days a week, with a marriage that was hanging by a thread, feeling that my best years were beind me. What could God possibly have in mind?  Writer Ann VosKamp has written in her book, The Broken Way that, “The best yields always start as broken fields.” Of the things I could imagine wanting for my life at that point, to be a plowed field that belonged to God seemed the most hopeful. I embraced it . . . and waited to see what God would do.

After two days of study and reflection, I saw a pattern and connections. The first twenty years of my life had brought me to adulthood with some skills and ability, including a basic understanding of God in Christ (though my willingness to surrender all and serve Him was still years away.) The next twenty years had yielded two young adults, also with skills and equipping and knowledge of God but also with a lot of turbulence accompanied by personal failures as well as growth in myself. Was this vision of a plowed field me, in my next season, awaiting planting? What would the next harvest yield? Was it to nurture people who would know and love the Lord?  This was the point at which I began to wonder if God was calling me to vocational ministry in Christian education, a seed that would take another five years to germinate and take shape.

It has been a wild ride since that day, with lots of adventures, crops of varying types and degrees of yield, some years scant, some years abundant. But God has always been steadfastly faithful and knows what is needed to bring a harvest. I am the substrate upon which God does his planting. Nothing is required of me but to be soft and pliable under His hand . . . to watch and wait and rest in the seasonal cycles of His masterful planting and cultivation.

The church is His field. I am the church among His people who are also the church. We are all part of the Master’s fields for cultivating and growing His kingdom’s harvest.

Though I had been renewed in my love for the Lord in a seriously wonderful way five years before this vision that late March afternoon, it followed on the heels of a prayer in a church pew a few weeks before in which I surrendered my quibbling questions, doubts, and reservations about His Word and I asked for His Holy Spirit’s illumination to guide me into understanding what I needed to know according to His timing and purpose for my life. I had no idea at the time what such a prayer would bring my way and I acknowledged that lack of understanding before the Lord in that moment, along with a sense of surrender to whatever would come.

I love being God’s field, even when windstorms and hail do their best to damage the crop, I know I am safe and secure, ownership titled to God, loved and tended with care.

THE PRAYER

Father Farmer God, thank you for your faithfulness to cultivate the fields of our lives over the spans of decades. Thank you for this good word from Cathy today and the image of that freshly plowed field of rich, dark earth. Holy Spirit would you show each of us our own lives within the frame of this picture. We are your field. I am your field. Lord Jesus, cultivate the soil of me and give me the grace of patience and the perspective of decades—in the past and in the future—to conceive of your work. Praying in name of Jesus, amen. 

THE QUESTION

What does the plowed field of your life look like right now? What does it feel like to walk across that field? What might Jesus be seeing there? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. Wordcount of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me. 

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The timing on posting Cathy’s story is amazing. She said: “I heard God speak in my spirit saying, ‘This is you.’ I pondered how I might be like a plowed field.”

    Yesterday afternoon my wife and I went to the Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Nashville. I was browsing in their church book story and found a book called: “The Field — cultivating salvation.” As I flipped through it, it was like reading your recent posts, JD. I can’t wait to dive in more. Cathy’s story also confirms that I must have been led to this book by the Spirit.

  2. Donald Davis- a popular storyteller- says that the mark of a good storyteller is the stories of your own life that resonate with their story. J.D. and now Cathy have that ability. I had been through a rough season in my life when I felt like everything had been taken away- I was seeking God like never before, and I felt like I had been plowed well! Toward the end of that season, my pastor’s wife spoke a prophetic word over me. She saw a plowed field and then bouquets popping up all over that field. Ohhh how God has given me the bouquets! I haven’t had to make things happen, they just show up- and I am finding that the more I focus on being in the presence of God, the more bouquets show up- and I am able to share the beauty with others. Thanks for the good word today.

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