Those who have followed Wellspring of Life know that I write an annual Wellspring anniversary and granddaughter birthday post because both were born on May 2, 2010. Thirteen is around the corner!
This writing is a birthday reflection of my own as I call to mind the way the Lord called me by name. It began with a dream (one of the ways He speaks deeply to me) that I’ve come to call the Bridge of Grace.
The only other time I published a personal birthday post was when I wrote Grace2* eleven years ago. Today in 2023, I am celebrating 66 years despite many lifetime ‘opportunities’ to be singing with the angels. This wellspring’s Source remains the ocean depths of the love, grace, mercy, and riches of our Redeemer.
The dream came about 32 years ago when I was a young 34-year-old wife, mother, and church secretary. I remember that time well for I had absolutely no clue about what was the Lord’s ‘calling’ on my life. No doubt that reflected many years later in my coaching approach and process with others who found themselves in a similar “I dunno” state of being. I felt like I was behind the door when purpose and passion were handed out. Skinny Pig-itis had me looking enviously at others who I thought ‘had a clue.’
By the time I became employed at the church, I had years of work under my belt. But it was there, as a church secretary and assistant to the pastor, that I was granted my first-ever occasion to travel ‘on the job’. A newsletter for church admin staff advertised a two-day seminar for church secretaries. I wanted to go. Arrangements were made and my husband drove me to the Olympic Peninsula retreat setting.
The state of being I was in was less than optimal for receiving a message from the Lord that would help change my course to His calling – if I listened to the religious lingo. I’ve now spent 33+ years un-listening. There were undeniable facts and reasons for why I was in a deep pit of pain and did not like myself. I even missed an afternoon session nursing a migraine in a quiet room and checked on by a nice woman.
Listening to what I had heard presented, there was an internal stirring; conviction about something with few answers and lots more questions; and possibility pinging off the walls of my thinking. Who was this dis-graceful me that did not wear my name (‘one of grace’) well? No wonder my head hurt. It was in this state of emotional, internal conflict that the dream came one of the nights I was there.
I was standing next to Jesus on the top of ocean waves, several yards out from a seashore. As I looked at the sandy beach, people were standing two to three deep at the edge. They stretched down the coastline in either direction as far as I could see. I intuitively knew there were yet more beyond my line of sight.
My dream bore awareness of three key things: there was a multitude; they were people I was to share the Life of Jesus with; and though the distance between was not far, I cannot swim. Besides, this dream was weighty with spiritual application. I exclaimed to Jesus, “How am I supposed to reach them?!”
Next thing I knew, He laid Himself down and took on the form of the Cross, covering the short span between where we stood and the edge of the seashore. He and the Cross, as one, became the bridge of grace. It was the message of the Cross, the witness of His love, and the extension of His grace and mercy that would allow me to breach the distance between Him and me and the many on the shore.
It was a dream of prophetic preparation, which I knew had to first take place in me.
I’d never forgotten the dream. At times I thought I would write about it but haven’t until now. To attest to how the Lord always has something higher and deeper to reveal to one who shares His waiting heart:
About a week before this birthday, I had a fresh insight one early morning. It tracks with the healing, learning, growing way He brought me to where He and I are found today.
Thirty-two or so years ago, my initial reactive thought was about how I was to reach all those people! There has been so much grace-room provided for me by Him to give expression to His work and ways. Grace upon grace for a once migraine’d, crawling out of the pit, catching the scent of water woman deeply loved by her heavenly Father.
It is now decades later with years of birthdays under my belt. And the Cross has never lost its grace-call. My fresh insight was of a re-focused perspective born of Holy Spirit. In a flash I was recalling the dream – standing next to Jesus, seeing the stretch of people on the seashore, and He the Bridge of Grace laying down in the shape of the Cross.
Focused before on myself alongside Him (“what’s my calling?”), Holy Spirit showed me the change He had accomplished over the years of developing doves’ eyes. “How can all these people reach You?”
The Answer didn’t change. Nor did the heart of the Father for me, or the sacrificial love of Jesus for all. It was a both/and dream of spiritual application for my own growth in healing grace and extending it to others. But it was always, always, always about pointing them to Him who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Thank you for another birthday, my Redeemer King ~ You have called me by name,
Gracefully Free ~ Nancy Charlene
*oneLifemaps in Grace2 has recently undergone its own transition since the post was written 11 years ago
©2023 Nancy C. Bentz – Author’s permission granted to forward this devotional piece in its entirety, including this copyright line. Comments and subscriptions to this blog are welcome.