GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM GOING. I DON’T.

Prov 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

6 Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996

 

July 1976

I love the 3rd chapter of Proverbs.  I discover this chapter 41 years ago while sitting at a small table in a friend’s apartment beside the Atlantic Ocean, some miles north of Rio de Janeiro.    The windows are open: I feel the ocean breeze rushing in and listen to the sound of the waves crashing onto the rocks 3 floors below.  It is beautiful to watch.  I read a few verses, then stop to revel in the wind, the roar of the waves and am caught up in the sight of the caps of white froth flying through the air.

My body is quiet but my mind is alive, totally engrossed in what I am hearing, seeing, and thinking.

The words sink deep into my mind, mingling with all that my senses are absorbing

Without my conscious knowledge, I am building an altar to the Lord I will remember the rest of my life.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

 

Feb 8, 2017

Our bedroom in Portland, Oregon is quiet except for a low murmur of voices and the sound of my husband’s labored breathing.  Suddenly the breathing stops – we all pause in the sudden quiet. I am holding his hand and watching his chest.  His chest rises with a deep breath, then falls. We are all with him, holding our own breaths.  Another slow and deep breath. . . one more with a longer pause . ..and he is gone. I put my hand against his face and pray. The words are broken, as we sorrow – and yet rejoice.  He has left this body which was giving him so much pain and many problems and, as we are left behind, he is soaring through the dark night sky to burst into the light of the Living Son Who is there to greet him.

I am building another altar to the Lord. .

Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take.

 

March 2017

When we move to Portland,OR almost four years ago, I don’t like it.  Cherrywood Village has beauty around it, many loving people working here.  But I felt “closed in.”  I couldn’t step outside without walking down the hall and getting in an elevator to go down four floors, then through two more doors to get outside.  The weather in the NW is known for its instability, from rain to sun and back again.  My bones ache more in the colder weather.  I could open the windows only part of the year.  

One day, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what Paul wrote in Philippians  “I have learned how to be content in all circumstances.”  I got the definite impression that until I learned to like it here, God would keep me here.  My attitude changed. I learned to like it.

Now I am packing to leave, but it is more difficult than I anticipated. Joe went HOME from here. Memories keep overwhelming me.
Another altar, this time built with tears.

 

June 2017

Now, once again, I am traveling on.  I have learned much here in Portland, and I am thankful. 

These three months at my daughter’s home have flown by, in one sense. In another sense, the days have dragged as I’ve been unable to get things ready to take the next step.  It feels like. . .  how do I explain it?  I know!  

Did you ever sit in a car, turn on the motor, press the gas pedal to the floor, the car shakes from the force of the motor but does not move because the gear is in neutral?

That is me: my mind going full force, my body not moving to keep up.

Occasionally my body will go into first gear and I get something done physically. then it slips back into neutral.

I have a ticket to fly to Georgia on July 22 – which means I must finish going through the rest of my things here at Sheryl’s house. Logically, there isn’t that much to go through. But I’m not dealing with logic these days.

I’m beginning to realize why there is that adage to not make any serious decisions the first year after losing your spouse. What is humorous is that circumstances I don’t control have all helped direct my steps – and I know Who has the final word about circumstances. No doubt that following God requires flexibility!

This altar requires determination to build.

My final destination on this journey is Natal, Brazil, hopefully in August. My apartment, citizenship papers, and my life there is waiting However, from events that already are occurring, I’m aware that God has more changes in mind for me. I know some of what He wants me to organize and do… I am depending upon His wisdom for the how and where.

I’ll be sharing these steps with you… it’s going to be interesting! To put it mildly.

Before me are new paths to walk, new altars to build – but His hand is familiar as He holds mine.

  • Voni

Is God also leading you down new paths?

These words truly are living words.

Prov 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

6 Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996

 

Circles of Life

Portland, Oregon
January, 1991

FULL CIRCLE

 

I’m sitting on the half circle podium with the other pastors.
(Did you get that phrase?  “other pastors?”  I’m a pastor, can you believe it?  At this large church, I am now the pastor of education.  ALL of the myriads of children and adult Bible classes, the school with grades 1-6.. I am responsible for all of them .  I have some wonderful teachers and leaders… but that old adage of “the buck stops here” refers to me and all the educational plusses and minuses the church may have.  What a difference in attitudes and ambience returning from my 20 years as a missionary in Brazil!
I am simply a farm girl raised in the Pacific Northwest…  how did all of this happen to me?

I look out at the thousand plus people sitting in the auditorium and looking up at the six of us sitting in the chairs on the podium – and I feel amazement.

Unexpectedly, I am brought back to reality by an elbow on my right as my good friend, Pastor George, jostles me back to THIS MOMENT.

As we begin to stand to step off the podium, Pastor George speaks to me in an undertone.  “Are you going to do it now?”
My smile matches his as I pick up my purse. “Yep!”

I stand and start off the podium. Startled eyes follow me as I go to the right hand aisle instead of where I ALWAYS go to the left to sit with some women.

I bravely walk down the steps and up the aisle to the 4th row on the left, where a tall grey-haired man stands to help me sit.  (He didn’t need to do that… but he is enjoying the moment as those thousand plus heads turn to watch me with those two thousand plus eyes open in amazement.)  I sit down as he puts his arm behind my back.  A quiet sigh emits from the audience and all eyes turn back to the podium where the worship service is continuing.  Joe and I look at each other, me smiling with jow as he grins his lop-sided grin at me and his eyes twinkle.  His arm settles across my shoulders and our eyes, also, go to the podium.

Joseph F. Pottle Sr, a widower and Vondelae (Voni) Eldred Hall, a missionary, have unofficially announced their engagement to the congregation.

Today, June 5, 2017 in Portland, Oregon

This afternoon my dear friend, Pastor George Merriweather, was here at my daughter’s home. We talked – some of it might have bored you, even though it was challenging to us.

We talked about that time 26 years ago, when George looked at me- grinning as he asked me what I was going to do;
the 25 plus years he and Mary have been pastoring a congregation here in Portland,
and the 25 plus years Joe and I had together facing challenges in Brazil.
George and I converse for almost three hours as we try to cover the years.
Towards the end of the conversation George stopped talking and sat with a faraway look in his eyes.
He then looked at me and said: “You know, Voni, it is interesting how God has brought us full circle to be here talking today.
It all started here in Portland, when Mary and I went on a mission trip to Brazil with you and Pastor Allan Hamilton. Our getting to know each other and experience missions, pastoring these 25 plus years.
You and Joe married here in Portland, and after all these years, came back to Portland and Joe is buried here.
A full circle.”

I agree, and my heart tells me even more.

Pastor George and Mary Merriweather have become my unofficial pastors, and  I will be able to know their congregation.  I won’t have Joe as my husband to protect me and be my “spiritual covering”, but I will have the love and prayers of my “pastors”, of their church, my family and friends, as I follow the road the Lord puts before me.

A FULL CIRCLE, yes.  A BLESSED FULL CIRCLE.  I wonder what will happen now?

  • Voni