This past weekend, I had the honor of accompanying my wife over to Ft. Worth to attend a
grand opening of a restaurant that she designed for a client.
As I sat in the environment that my wife had created with her design team, I was extremely impressed by what she had accomplished. The restaurant was beautiful, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and, perhaps the most important, the client was extremely pleased!
As Misty circulated through speaking to the usual suspects at such an event, I had a moment to sit at the table and just absorb the experience. My mind began to race and I thought back over the years and considered the journey it took for us to get to this type of event.
As I sat there enjoying some free chips with queso blanco and brisket (oh, yeah!) and Crispy Enchiladas Verde (free food), it dawned on me the key to it all was……………our learning what repentance was and how to function in it as a lifestyle.
You see, there was a time back in the day when I knew precisely what my calling was and what I had to do in order to fulfill it. I was a preacher, man! The religious order told me that I had to be a Pastor, thereby, making Misty a “pastor’s wife.”
I now shudder when I think about what would have happened had I stuck with the old mentality in which we were steeped. What a devastatingly limited construct such a mentality afforded us. We would have been, among men and women, most miserable!
Misty is prophetic. Honestly, it is a gift of Christ that she operates in. Actually, her mother has prophesied to Presidents, Heads of State across the planet and has been used in dynamic way prophetically during the course of her life. (The Roar of the Lion: The Prophetic Voice of God)
Knowing this, most people would expect Misty to function in a similar way that her mother has done. I began to realize that this expectation existed as we “pastored” or were in the “ministry.” I am not faulting people for it. It is a natural inclination to put certain expectations on people and their “gifting” especially if you have been taught for years to do so.
And, here’s the thing………..she could do it.
However, I noticed that she was not comfortable in doing it nor did she like doing it. Now, there are/were times when the Spirit moves her and she obeys. But, all in all, the nuance of her prophetic gifting was, well, different. Furthermore, her grace in Christ was not conducive to a traditional “pastor” role as outlined by the religious order. I was not comfortable either in such a role but I could adapt and function accordingly. However, there was always a burr under my spiritual saddle because I realized that there was more and different for me and us.
So, after our exit from the last “organized” churchy thing we were involved in, we sat down and I asked her a simple question. “What do you want to do?”
We prayed. We talked. She talked……..alot. I listened most of the time. We prayed some more. She discovered that in her heart she wanted to open a home furnishings store.
She started by renting a 10 foot by 10 foot space in a consignment antique space on the historic square. It wasn’t long until she moved into her own 500 square foot storefront on the square. A year later, she moved into a much larger space and then, again, about another year or so, she moved into a much larger space. I did a lot of moving her stuff around.
With each advance, the increase and growth was Spirit-led as she ran her business according to her prophetic gifting. Whether it was an old chair that she reclaimed at a flea market and reworked in order to sell or a lease negotiation for the space she was moving into, Misty functioned prophetically in the responsibilities of her business.
Then, due to the look and feel of her storefront, she began to gain interior design clients. Once she started down that road, that is when the momentum began to build until she finally released the store and started serving interior design clients full time.
We eventually closed down the storefront (hallelujah!) and moved into a huge, incredible space in a historic Cotton Mill in McKinney. Misty had “seen” the space prophetically. We utilized the space for business, community events and made it available to the different faith communities in the area for combined gatherings and special events.
About 7 years into a 9 year stint at that location, Misty began to have an urgency to move. Again! But, this time, it was not just the business. This time moving to a new home was included. Yeehaaaaw! It took me about 2 years to catch up with her and be convinced.
Long story short, she saw the place prophetically, described it to perfection and then found it. The property was complete with a building that could be renovated for her office.
There are too many stories to tell about how things were orchestrated by the Spirit and how she was sensitive to the Holy Spirit in her business dealings and we have been sensitive to Father’s direction concerning our lives. But, I can tell you that we have learned more about Father’s Nature, Faithfulness and the destiny He has for us as individuals and for our marriage by continually exercising the ability to repent.
What a fool I would have been if I had simply, by an act of my religious will, dug in my heels and stuck to my preconceived ideas and notions about what “ministry” was and how I (we) had to function in it! There was and continues to be an incredible amount of dying to self, preconceived identity and religious/social norms.
The significance of repentance simply cannot be overstated. Repentance is not just a one time event. For the Kingdom Seeker, repentance is a lifestyle. Repentance presents its’ opportunity in every facet of our lives and in every circumstance and situation that comes our way. If we do not change the way we think, we will never learn His thoughts and enter into the things He has prepared for those that love Him.
I see it in the lives of a large number of believers that I know. They aren’t willing to release what they have known, whether form, doctrine, style, method, identity, mentality or attitude, about God in order to step into the next thing Father has for them. Their prayers are tilted towards convincing God to maintain the status quo, keep their life boat steady and/or fixing problems that threaten their current existence.
Perhaps they are just too comfortable. Maybe they are timid that they will make a mistake. They could even be frustrated and doubting that this “faith” thing just doesn’t work. It might just be they like what they are doing and know….and they are fine with their existence. After all, it is what they have known, it is good, so why think that there might be something more…….something better? Who knows what they are thinking?
The point remains. They think repentance is for only asking for forgiveness of sins and not a lifestyle that is led by Father’s Goodness into the fulfillment of His Purposes for them.
If there were just ONE THING I could really get people to understand, it would be the incontrovertible necessity of REPENTANCE! Father’s Family are a People of reformation and change. According to His Nature, they are not earthbound or dominated by a wordly spirit. They realize that they sit with Christ in heavenly places and fix their eyes on His Reign. Such a perspective requires the practice of consistent REPENTANCE!
As for me, I am thankful everyday for a happy and fulfilled wife who freely functions as a prophetic business woman rather than forced to be something she was never intended to be. Every day she amazes me in the resilience of her faith and willingness to co-labor with Father to bring Him Glory, allow Him to reveal Himself in greater ways and minister to people who would never darken a church-house door. She constantly challenges me, cheers me on and blesses me to hit the repentance button and change.
The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. But this one thing I am confident in knowing: Repentance has taken us this far and I am certain it will lead us on.
Keep your peace!
NOTE: years ago, I taught a message on The Lifestyle of Repentance. I listened to it again this week as I considered this post. It contains some of the raw truth that has served as the foundation for our practice of repentance as a lifestyle. If you choose to listen, my prayer is that it blesses and encourages you in your journey!