Exceeding Abundant Overflowing! We were driving to the mall to grab a designer coffee before heading to a conference meeting. A blast of hot, muggy Sunshine State air embraced us as we exited the midnight blue Sports Utility Vehicle and crossed the steaming, hot pavement into the refreshing cool air-conditioned mall. The sign painted across the storefront window read Dillard's Outlet. This store was a first-time experience for me as we walked through a 75% off clothing sale. There was not even a moment's time to stop and look. Mercy Jesus! Not even a single second to shop!
The next morning, the friend hosting me said in a slightly agitated tone, "THE LORD has asked me to take you shopping." She emphasized, “THE LORD” as she does not take anyone shopping. Usually when GOD asks us to do something out of our normal range of comfort, we might sound slightly agitated to others as HE is developing our immediate obedience to HIM! She designated the shopping time as "one hour and no more" because the day was already full to overflowing and time was a precious commodity. We went to Dillard's where the sale had changed overnight to: 80% off of the 75%. God’s one day delay was very fortuitous! Countless racks were filled with beautiful, luxurious winter comfort clothes. Elated beyond words, I found five tops and a pair of pants for a total of $13.99. This shopping experience was more than extravagant to me after seven years of wearing mostly leftovers and discards.
When the LORD first brought me into ministry one of HIS assignments for me was to wear clothes either given to me or from thrift stores...no more upscale shopping stores, no more new clothes. Obviously, this assignment was not about what I was wearing, it was about humility and obedience. Often as a child, I was ridiculed and mocked for inadequate worn-out clothing and shoes with holes. Therefore, I had vowed when I grew up I would have more than enough shoes and clothes. Sometimes as adults it is necessary to give up childhood vows.
When the Holy Spirit first asked me to wear clothes from thrift stores, my response was one of complete surprise. “You want me to wear dead people's clothing?” Obviously, HIS request easily highlighted the sin of pride like a yellow highlighter marking in a book. I believe HE was much more interested in me denying my own desires, wants and pleasures and walking in obedience to HIM! Gratefully, I learned to embrace HIS refining fire.
The delights of my ABBA ADONAI! continued as the next evening Lauree and I were treated to an extravagant five-course meal with a friend. With great enthusiasm, we shared with her our supernatural shopping experience. As we departed, she gave each of us a crisp $100.00, a personal gift with her blessing to do with as we liked. So, with much persuasion, I convinced Lauree to go shopping again!
At the close of the week in the summer of 2002, my new winter wardrobe was shipped home, as there was not enough room in the suitcases. This was the most new clothes I had ever had in my life at one time, twenty-one items. Only GOD could arrange this, as the retail prices of the garments ranged from $59.00 to $138.00 each. Too overwhelmed to get anything more for myself, the Holy Spirit directed me to the men's department where I found ten shirts to bring home to Shane, my son-in-law. Total cost of 31 items: $67.00! Average cost $2.16 per item, thirty-one items total. Which is still less than a thrift store.
This particular Outlet received all the overstock from the previous season. This sale is held once annually. Only GOD could have ordered that I would be in this city in Florida for a week of ministry at this time! To top off the week, the day before I flew home to Oregon someone brought to me two new dresses to add to my wardrobe, which left me completely undone and speechless.
The greatest joy was not in the clothes it was that I had passed The Test. Finally, I had come to the place of trusting my FATHER GOD for my clothing, however, whenever and whatever HE wanted to provide. As HE has required that I do not take any salary in ministry, I completely trust HIS provision. The difference is that now there is a place of peace in my heart, soul and mind, not anxiety or concern.
YESHUA said, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; "And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if GOD so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will HE not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of GOD and HIS righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25-33).