Paris: The Inspirational Story Behind My Book:

Don’t you love to find out how an author chooses to write their story or memoir? I was inspired to write my pre-published book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God from a Hollywood movie. Yes, it’s true! I share below how my desire to go to Paris, France, came into being along with my first book. Enjoy!

Writing my story – January 23, 2012, San Carlos, California.

Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old, Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

th-3I had just returned from a one night retreat down near Carmel, which sits on the ocean in Central California. I came away from the retreat feeling renewed in my spirit. While there, the Lord whispered to my heart that when I came home there would be a blessing waiting for me that would make me cry. I eagerly opened the mail and found the movie Sabrina, waiting in my mailbox from a mail order movie service.

th The next day, I watched the modern story of Sabrina with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford (not the Audrey Hepburn version). As Sabrina ran off to Paris to find herself, I told the Lord i wanted my freedom to do this too, not always waiting on His perfect will do do whatever He asked of me.

Deep down I was miserable, living an oppressive life of financial disability, spiritual oppression and feelings of futility. How I wanted to run off to Paris and do the Paris artist thing. To paint and draw and hang out at the cafe. To walk the Seine th-4and all its 23 bridges, finding my favorite to journal on just like Sabrina did.

Deep inside, I felt the Lord say, “Do you really want to run away from me and my will for your life? For there in the center of my will you will find safety.” I realized this was the answer to my feelings of insecurity all the time. “No, Lord, I don’t want to run away from you,” I said with tears in my eyes. He tenderly replied, “I want to give you the desires of your heart, all of them, as your Heavenly Father who loves and adores you, I know you want to travel the world and i will bring a large provision for you to do so.”

Excited now, I realized my deepest desire was to write, but what? I implored of the Lord what to write. “Write your life story; speak the truth and many others will find hope in your story of redemption and healing from abuse, mental illness, and ministry.”

With the Lord’s permission now, I excitedly jumped on the bed like a child, praising Him for His goodness and loving me enough to give my my heart’s desire. I would trust the Holy Spirit to show me how to write my story, and what to include in the chapters. I promised to use this gift of writing He had imparted in me to bring Him glory. I felt a new freedom to do what my heart desired and take a break from ministry.

th-6The next day, I sat at Peets Care with my morning coffee and began to write my story. I found an application called “Ulysses” to organize my book. As I sat down to write, I felt an anointing from the Holy Spirit.The story just flowed from my fingers. I wrote the forward, inspiration, and the highlights of what my story would tell. It just flowed out in perfect order from my heart. Bowing my head in gratitude, I prayed, “Lord, I will wait for the money to go to Paris and will be faithful to write every day as it rains here in January.

I faithfully awoke each morning, happy to have a project to work on that brought me such joy. The sense of futility I had suffered lifted. I realized God’s financial provision through my disability that allowed me stay home and write my book. The bigger picture came into light and I felt the Lord’s hand on my life.

One morning, He reminded me of a Parisian cafe around the corner that had just opened. Taking my laptop with me, I visited the cafe to find the French owner, th-1Geoffrey, welcome me with a loud. “Bon Jour Madame”. The menu was full of french comfort food and French music played in the background, I sat and ordered a french cafe, or coffee, and felt as if I had stepped into Parisian cafe. If I couldn’t go to Paris, the Lord would bring Paris to me! I vowed to come every day to write as I sipped the french campaigned the owner blessed me with! Oh La La!

Within two months, my entire story had poured out of my soul and I had my first draft of ten chapters with an intriguing title, “Running from the Witches: How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed my Life”. (Later to be changed!)

I found it healing to write all parts of my story; the trauma I experienced on the mission field when I was a missionary to the Jewish people, both here and in Israel,th-5 and the trauma I incurred as a child. While writing through the trauma, tears would fall from my eyes and wet my hands on the keyboard as I relived the evil abuse I suffered. I knew I was writing this book to give Glory to the Lord for healing my life and redeeming me from the pit I had been in.

Hope and love flowed through my heart as I realized one day this book would be published and my life restored. It encouraged me to know I would bring hope and healing to others. I knew now my life with all its valleys and mountain top experiences, had been for a reason. My life was a tapestry the Lord was weaving together; on the back it looked like a bunch of twisted strings, but on the front side a beautiful painting of a whole and full life was appearing.

th-2Today (July, 2015), my book is finished, except for the afterword. I plan to write it in Paris at a cafe where Ernest Hemingway wrote. I’ll then be able to say, I did indeed write my book in Paris! I continue to await his financial provision to go.

I have experienced the struggles of a writer; the ups and downs, the set backs and victories, the blogs and tweets. I remind myself every day how blessed I am to fulfill my lifetime dream of writing a book. Thank you Jesus.

To see my Christian art and greeting cards, go to ‘my art’ above or giftsofhisglory.com


Love Works.

Today a miracle happened.  I faced one of my biggest fears and God completely delivered me from it.  You see, 14 years ago, I came off the mission field after spending two years in England and parts of the United States, involved in a prophetic underground movement, that turned out to be a cult.  I came home bruised, beaten by the devil, and very ill with depression and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). My family, not wanting to be burdened with me, dumped me on the County mental health system, and I found myself homeless in a shelter.  Yes, a shelter.  I write about this in my prepublished book of my journey of faith entitled,”Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God.”

I share this with you today to encourage you how the redemptive love and healing power of Jesus Christ can heal even the most wounded soul and damaged life.  I was told I would never recover from these illnesses and the fear that gripped me.  I felt like God had abandoned me and the devil had put me out to pasture, never to be in ministry again.  But there is hope in my story, as God did bring healing and restoration to my life, and can for yours too.  It starts with a seed of faith, to believe in Him as your Lord and Savior, and ask Him to forgive your sins and come dwell in your heart.  Jesus was all about healing during His time on this earth, and He still heals today through the power of His Holy Spirit, that resides in believers.  You are sealed with the Holy Spirit and redeemed for all eternity when you are born again (John 3:7)

So what was the miracle Miriam?  Today I went to do a LOVE WORKS project with my new church at a homeless shelter for people with psychiatric illnesses.  I was a bit afraid that it would trigger bad memories of that time in my life, the great pain and depression I was in, and the spiritual torment I was under.  Deep down I feared that somehow I would end up homeless again.

Well, you know what? God’s love worked, as I showed up to paint the shelter rooms.  I looked around the place in amazement, how clean and well kept it looked, how sunny and bright.  I fellow-shipped with two women residents at lunch, then asked them if I could peek in the women’s dorm.  When I pushed open the door, I was met with the sight of new wooden wardrobes at the foot of each bed, unlike the old metal lockers that had been there before. I shared my testimony how I had been in this very same shelter 14 years ago. God had met me there, when one summer day a black pastor from the church down the street stopped by and invited me to his church.  I went and found my way back to Him and church, and the rode to recovery began.

As I stood in the dorm, Shivon* and Cathy* asked me to pray for them, so we formed a circle and held hands, I prayed for God to protect them, to open doors for housing and jobs, and to heal their mental illnesses. I saw God’s love work in their hearts, and mine.

I had come full circle. I stood there strong in His love, sharing it with others who needed it that day.  My fear of being homeless again just dissipated, as the Lord healed my heart.

*not their real names.

The residents saw God’s love through our serving them.  I hope one day, one of them will say, “You know, it was when that church group came and painted our shelter, and shared their testimonies of hope in Jesus, that the turning point came for me.”  Just as it had for me that summer day years ago.

May LOVE WORK in your life and through your life to others today…

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To see my Scripture Art and Collage, click on ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com

 


My Christmas Miracle…

Christmas Day.  The alarm rang at 9am and I looked outside.  Rain.  Lord, it isn’t supposed to rain till this afternoon, I complained. The thought of going into the City to Union Square to see the Macy’s tree and ice skaters, something I love to do each Christmas, in the cold and rain made me want to climb back into bed.  But no, I knew I had a divine appointment, so I dressed warmly and ran for the train.

Christmas Eve, I had visions not of sugar plums dancing, but of meeting my husband-to- be over the skaters park, perhaps a surprise rendezvous.  I had asked the Lord for a husband and a car for my Hanukkah/Christmas miracles, not necessarily in that order, and he had promised me a Christmas miracle the next day. I knew the time was getting short until He brought that special man into my life and hoped Christmas day would be it!

Cold, freezing winds met me at the San Francisco train depot. I pulled my jacket tightly around me and hopped on Muni (the bus). I got off at Powell Street, seeing a man peeing in the street, a typical sight in San Francisco’s panhandler area.  Merry Christmas, I thought to myself.

As I walked past the line of tourists waiting for the cable car ride over the hill, I began to see the beggars on the street.  Compassion started to fill my heart and I rustled through my change purse for some money.  I usually give a $1 and a Billy Graham tract entitled “Peace with God” as food for their soul.  What use is giving money when I can give the gift of Jesus and salvation instead?  I blessed the first young man with the lost look in his eyes, praying God would bless him that day.

I have been studying the concept of blessing in my Beth Moore Believing God Bible study. Today’s lesson was on using our tongue to bless God and others, not to curse, but to bless.  I wondered as I sat on the train watching the familiar scenery go by, why do we have to bless God?  Doesn’t He have everything He needs?  I know we are to praise Him, as He is our King and Lord, our Holy One.  So I pondered over this.  Beth states God SPEAKS His blessings over us, using our names.  I envisioned Him saying this morning:  Miriam, I bless you with meeting that special man today.  WOW, I could just picture it.  There is such power in our tongues and while we don’t have the supernatural power God possesses when He speaks, we can use our tongues positively by quoting Scripture and using Jesus’ name to move mountains and bless others. (Mark 11:23, James 3:10)

As I hurried up Powell Street to Union Square, looking for a place to get my hot cocoa to sip while I watched the ice skaters and waited on my husband, I glanced to my left.  There sat a dejected young man who looked on the verge of tears.  “Iraqi Vet, need some help” his cardboard sign said.  My heart was instantly pierced with compassion for him, but I was out of change.  I saw a Starbucks open up ahead and went in.  Miriam buy that man a sandwich and tell Him I told you to do so, I heard the Lord’s voice whisper to my heart.  I picked out a ‘grandma’s turkey and dressing’ sandwich, got my hot cocoa and returned to the young man.

Hi, what’s your name? I asked.

John, he replied,  He was shivering without a warm coat.

My name is Miriam and I am a Christian,  I said.

I am a Christian too, he replied.

God promises us we will not have to beg for bread, so what’s going on? I asked.

I lost my job and am living in my truck.  I need a master cylinder for my truck and I am trying to get the money together, he responded.

Here’s a turkey sandwich, the Lord told me to buy it for you. He looked gratefully down at the sandwich in his hands, placing it on top of his garbage bag belongings.

Do you know about City Impact, a Christian rescue mission nearby in the Tenderloin?  I asked.

No, he softly replied.

They have a breakfast of pastries and coffee with a service in the morning, and a homemade dinner in the evening, all free.  They have bible study in the afternoon and you can hang out there out of the cold. I used to volunteer there to pray for the homeless.  They are just over on Jones and Turk streets,” I told him. They are even having a big Christmas dinner today.

His eyes got big and he excitedly told me Thank you Miriam, I will go there.

He shared some more with me that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had shrapnel from the war, with no family to help him.  Well, you have the family of God to help you John, and you were my divine appointment for today.  God heard your prayers and saw you sitting here, and brought me up from San Carlos to help you find your way.  Tears came to my eyes and his.  I offered to pray for him and then hugged him.  I went into the nearby McDonald’s and returned with a hot coffee for him.

Thank you again, Miriam.

Tell them at City Impact Miriam sent you! I cheerfully replied.

As I walked away it happened.  A small flame of fire ignited in my heart and the love and compassion of Christ flooded me. Contentment and peace filled my heart. The joy of Christmas exploded in my soul. I silently blessed the Lord for allowing me to be His hands and feet to bring a Christmas miracle of hope to this lost little lamb of His.

Ice Skaters at Union Square, San Francisco

As I stood in the drizzle watching the ice skaters go round and round, reflecting on the beauty of the tall Christmas tree with its gold and red bulbs, I realized God had given me the best Christmas present ever.

I am a missionary by calling, and there is nothing that makes me happier than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching out to those lost in homelessness and mental illness.  I was once in that place myself, having returned from the mission field after being traumatized by people in the occult.  I fought a different type of war than my friend John, a spiritual battle and war with the enemy of our souls, the Devil.  I came home with a clinical depression and PTSD, lost in the blackness of my mind.

My family, not wanting to be financially responsible for me, dumped me on the County mental health system, abandoning me to a shelter.  Not just any shelter but a psychiatric shelter  Think drama. I share this part of my story in my pre-published book Running from the Witches:  How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed My Life.  Stay tuned for chapter 7 –  One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest)

I could relate to John’s mental illness, his being down on his luck, needing the hand of Christ to pull him up. God allowed me to go through that darkness and homelessness so one day I could help another in the same situation. What Satan meant for evil, God meant for good (You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20))

Just last evening, I told the Lord how much I missed hands on ministry and praying for people one on one.  And then today, He gave me this opportunity with John.  Do I believe God had me get out of my warm bed just to go to the City to meet up with John and be the answer to his prayer?  Yes I do.  And in my faithfulness, I was blessed in return.  As I walked away after giving John his coffee, another homeless man begging for change said to me God bless you for doing that. I knew God had given me my Christmas miracle, I had indeed met a special man. I had set out to get a miracle, instead I became a miracle for someone else.  I got back on the train, thanking, and BLESSING my Lord, for now I understood the concept of blessing; a blessing will always comes back to bless you.

Will you pray for John and others suffering homelessness and mental illness? The next time you see one on the streets, take a moment and speak to them and find out their story.  Most are hungry and you can buy them a meal and be their blessing for the day.  After all, that is what Jesus would have done.

How has God blessed you this holiday season?  Leave me a reply…

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A Miracle in my Heart

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A Miracle in my Heart

Today is Labor Day and like most, I celebrated by going to a local Greek Festival in my hometown of Belmont.  I wanted to spend the day with the Lord doing something fun and I love Greek food and music.  There were dancers in native costumes, homemade moussaka (eggplant casserole) to die for, art showing the beautiful blue of the Greek Isles and a wild shuttle ride where we all snapped our fingers and sang to Greek music on the way back to the parking lot.  But mostly, there was peace in my heart.

Peace in your heart Miriam?  What is so different about that?  You see on Sunday the Lord did a miracle in my heart.  He finally took all the anger, resentment and unforgiveness that was in my heart, over the pain and trauma of my life.  In particular these past 12 years since I came home from the mission field, wounded and ill.  I had been crying out to Him to help me take the anger I felt all the time when someone hurt me, when I had to protect my wounded heart by pushing them out of my life…with the anger at myself for making the wrong choices on the mission field that led to my being deceived into the occult and terrorized.  Of the betrayal of male family members when they sexually abused me as a child.  Of my mother’s abandonment and cruelty over the years due to her own pain and illness.

I had become a judgmental, self righteous woman, always pointing out others inappropriate or ‘non Christian’ behavior, in the effort ‘to speak the truth” and hold others accountable.  I cried out to the Lord for a new beginning, to start over, but to please take this anger out of my heart.

That Sunday morning at church, we had a communion service.  The worship singer sang of God giving us a new start, of coming and holding our hand, asking us to trust Him with our hearts and lives.  Tears ran down my cheeks as I told the Lord I so missed how I used to be able to trust Him and hear His voice clearly, how all the years of pain and illness had robbed me of that.

As I closed my eyes, I had a vision of Jesus in a white robe, kneel down besides me and take my hand.  He whispered to my heart “Child, I want to give you a new start, a new beginning.  Will you take my hand and trust me anew with your life? Can we start over again?  As I nodded my head, I felt the Holy Spirit start to do a new work in my heart, I felt the old shackles of anger and pain break off, as if the Lord was doing surgery on my heart.  I felt a wave of refreshment and then peace just flooded my heart and body.

The spiritual surgery continued all day as I basked in the peace of his healing.  I chose to forgive my family and all those who had hurt me over the years, particularly in ministry, and release them from their debts of sin against me.  He taught me through Colossians 3:12-16 to forgive those who hurt and offend you, to put on love, and to be a peacemaker.  I had been a conflict maker and now I felt His love fill my heart where all that anger had been.

How will I keep this peace?  I asked the Lord.  “My grace is sufficient for you” He replied. I understood I was to ask for His grace, his tender compassion, when I needed to forgive someone and He would give me the grace to do this, and subsequently, ‘the peace of Him will guard my heart and mind.”

So today, when I woke, I took Jesus hand in mine and told Him “Lord today I will trust you to take care of me, to lead and guide me with each step I take, and to spend time loving you and people through you today.  And I did.  And just for today, I was blessed with peace.  I got to start all over again.

Do you need to ask the Lord for a new beginning…to find the forgiveness in your heart to set yourself and others free?  It’s easy.  Ask Him into your heart to take your sin and give you a new eternal life in Him.  He is faithful and will do it.  After all He is the great Physician and Healer, and Savior of our souls.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-16.

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