so--women in the Bible-who do i like? i like mary. (all the marys actually-they all followed Jesus with abandonment-when all others had run and hid they didn't -they were at the cross!). Elizabeth is pretty cool too-she happily receives a baby in her old age, she's filled with the Holy Spirit and has a prophesy. this is what is said of her, "...his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Luke 1:6) and i just love what she says to mary, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." (Luke 1:45) Abigail, she's another one-i like her too. Now Esther-wow-she really tops them all, (i guess). she was a nobody, brought into royalty, becomes queen, but remains humble. still remembers who she is and where she comes from. she listens to her cousin mordecai. she prays on it. she fasts. she gets others to pray and fast. she is calm. she isn't running, crying, complaining, worrying. you never hear her say, "why does this have to happen to me?" "why can't someone else do the job?"
esther gets a plan. she carries it out-slowly. finds favor with her king and saves the Israelites. man, she was amazing.
i've never actually met any of these women, of course-but through my life i have come across three other amazing women of faith. i have mentioned anne in an earlier post,-she taught me to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. today i'd like to talk about another woman- who taught me to be ready-mother howard. just the mention of her name brings tears to my eyes. a woman completely sold out for Jesus. so at peace. so in love with Him. so, 'i'll, 'do whatever He says.' she taught me to be ready. be ready in season and out of season." Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." (2 Timothy 4:2)
she saw me hours before i ever met her.
one morning, twenty years ago, she woke up and while lying in bed she had a vision of me. she had no idea why she had a picture of me in her head. she had never met me before. never heard of me. but there i was in her mind. she went about her morning getting ready. she was recovering from a recent heart attack and was moving considerably slower. all morning - me. she would close her eyes-me. her heart was excited. she knew or believed i was coming and she was getting ready.
mother howard. she - well, i really don't know many facts about her, but i sure do know some of her stories. she had a heart for God. raised in the south- daddy was a preacher-she loved church, the Bible and the things of God. she eventually got married and had children. her love for the things of God never stopped. she would say to me that she would talk to God like He was standing in the room. she never heard His voice audibly, but his voice was so clear to her heart and mind that He might as well have been standin' there.
one story i remember-she was poor-married-with children. one day she heard the Lord say, "get on the 1pm bus to a specific town." (i can't remember the name of the town) she spoke up-, "but Lord you know i don't have money for a bus ticket- where am i going to get the money?" He told her, "look in the linen closet for a large, outdoor light bulb." she looked and found it. He told her to return it to the store -that will be enough money for the ticket.
she got her family to watch the children, grabbed her suitcase that was always packed, ready and waiting in the closet and went to the store. she had no trouble returning the bulb and it was the exact price of the bus ticket. she got on the bus and sat down. she got off the bus at the town she was told to go to and sat down on the bench at the bus stop. she had not gotten instructions on what to do next so she just waited. it had been a couple of hours, but then the Lord said to her, "there he is, go and speak to him."
she got up and started following a complete stranger. she had no idea what she was going to say when and if he ever did stop. but the Lord said, "follow him" so she did. after a block or so the man realizes that there was a woman following him. he stopped and asked, "can i help you?" at that moment the Lord revealed to her what she was to say. "you are a married man, and yet the home you are going to is not your own". he tried to explain it away- she told him that the Lord sent her to him and how the Lord sees his adultery and wants him to turn from his sinful ways. the man cried and walked on.
((((CAN you believe this story??? Can you believe her boldness????
back to the story--
the place where they happened to stop was in front of the mistress' house. it was revealed to mother howard. she then knocked on the woman's door and told the woman how she was sent to stop her affair with the married man. mother howard then left the woman, went back to the bench at the bus stop and thought that was all she was to do. minutes later she heard singing at a church. it was an evening service in the middle of the week. she went in and sat down. a lady dressed in black, and shawl (that covered over her head and most of her face), came in sat down and was crying. mother howard put her arm around her. the woman looked up and it was the very woman she had met that afternoon-the mistress. mother howard prayed for her to accept Jesus in her heart and be her Lord and Savior, to forgive her of her sins and be saved.
the next time mother howard returned to the bus stop it was to go home.
i would literally sit at mother howard's feet every day and ask for more stories of her walk with Jesus. she told me that the hardest thing about her heart attack was that she could no longer get up and go where ever God wanted her to go. one day she took me into her bedroom, opened the closet door and pointed to a suitcase. I took it for her and put it on the bed. she told me to open it. i couldn't wait to see what was inside. inside was a set of clothes, pajamas, toothpaste, toothbrush and a Bible. there was no literature, tracks, or written out sermons- this woman was just plain ready in season and out. she was not only ready, not only willing, but out right excited to follow Jesus where ever He would go. but that morning when she saw me in her mind, knowing that she could no longer travel for Him, Jesus said to her, "I am bringing my lost ones to you now."
i lived with mother howard for forty days. our goodbye was painful for me, but her stories still live with me. she is now in heaven i am sure being crowned with many jewels and rejoicing with her King.
Lord, may my heart be willing and help me get my feet ready for the work you have for me. i want to be ready to go in season and out.