we're planning on attending the dallas national youth worker's convention this year and it will be my first without him. he didn't play an active part in my every day life, but he spoke truth deep into my soul each time we met and the world is just a little less messy without him.
here's part of the tribute i wrote after his death.
This past year we looked at our calendars and although it made no financial sense we decided to attend the Phoenix convention. And I again “Practiced the Presence of God” with Mike and Fil Anderson, this time in a Hyatt Hotel convention room.
I knew when I arrived that I had been avoiding spending silent time with God again because I was working through some past issues that were just too painful. Mike’s introduction told me I was in for trouble. We were going to do Lectio Divina on the woman caught in adultery. I knew there wasn’t any escape - God had placed me there to deal with my pain. To feel through the emotions and to allow Him to begin the healing process in a safe place surrounded by Him and others who loved Him.
Between the sexual abuse in my past and the distorted view of women I grew up with in the denomination I was raised in I was pretty messed up in my view of being female and being called. Mike and Fil gave me the space to deal with both of those issues by working through that passage.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday when Mike said that in closing we were going to focus on the words “but Jesus” - and it was like I was there, that woman in the dirt, looking up to Jesus’ eyes and seeing that I wasn’t a piece of meat, or a second class citizen of His kingdom. Jesus held me there in that chair for what felt like hours, but was probably only minutes.
It was the first time I was redeemed as a woman. Mike gave that back to me. And I sat in my chair and wept. He closed our session by talking about the woman taking one of those rocks off the ground that were once meant to stone her and using it to build an ebenezer, an altar to God - to use the pain, the sin and the grace received as a place to meet God.
I looked up on the wall of the room we were in and there was a bird - a Phoenix and then started to laugh as I realized why Phoenix was so important - rising from the ashes - from the dirt, resurrection and rebirth, and I realized also and why I was back once more to “Practice the Presence of God” with Mike.
I made it a point to talk to a local and asked her to bring me a rock from her yard (have you ever tried to find a rock in downtown Phoenix?). She brought me three, and they sit as my ebenezer on my windowsill above my sink and I see them every day as I wash my dishes.
Mike showed, lived, exuded and introduced me to grace, and he was instrumental in giving me the space and permission to hear God’s voice, and reclaim my call as a woman in the kingdom of God.
Thank you Mike! I’m so glad that you don’t have to “practice” any more - enjoy His presence!
god i miss him.