Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Planted Flowers Today. Jeremiah 29 - Turning Your Captivity

I finally obeyed the Lord... I planted flowers today.

Why Sister Flynn….that’s just awful! PRAISE BE TO GAWWWWWDDD – don’t you obey the Lord every day? No, and neither do you? Even our New Testament example, the Apostle Paul, was not one hundred percent obedient, although, he loved the Lord with all of his heart and ultimately gave his life for the Gospel. Apparently it was a daily struggle that gives us all breathing room.

The story behind the flowers…..Anyone who has known the Flynn’s for any length of time knows that when our son, his wife, and our then 2 year-old grandson left our hometown thirteen years ago to further his education, our hearts went with them. In addition, we now have an eleven-year old granddaughter. The deepest desire of our heart was to be there every step of the way.

People would say...they are only four hours away so what‘s the big deal? The point is...if they were 30 minutes away it has been our goal for us to be there within touching distance. I wanted to prepare the Sunday dinners like my grandmother did. For us it has been the biggest deal, and have been praying for twelve years to make the move.

My husband and I took an extreme leap of faith, at our ages, in hopes of fulfilling our dream. We took all the necessary steps in order for this to transpire. When we closed our business we also closed my studio. We didn’t just turn the keys in on our building, but every rough draft of my children’s books, stories, sketches, and teachings were packed into storage....AGAIN.

In the process, I even had one of the most detailed, specific dreams I have ever experienced! I just knew "My" plan was to begin AGAIN…..when we moved.

There is one thing I have learned in my walk with the Lord. If a scripture from the Word of God or someone speaks a logos word that pierces your heart, you may as well go and get your ice pack and lie down to brace yourself for the big "UH-OH."

This "UH-OH" has been coming for months now, and taken many different forms. We have experienced a major hiccup on the road to Dreamville, and have experienced an unforeseen change of events that no one was prepared for. My husband’s recent health crisis and surgery has drastically rearranged our lives.

As “Plan B” has been unfurled….the Lord revealed the building of my dreams was HERE!!!!!  OH NO!!!! NOT IN THE MOVE, BUT RIGHT WHERE I AM!  RIGHT WHERE I HAVE BEEN!  OH NOOOOOO!  PASS THE ICE!

I did the most adult thing you could do. I cried, and cried, and cried, and cried.... The Lord spoke very gently to my heart and told me it took this long for him to show me. He said my heart could not have taken it any sooner. I cried some more.

As if that "UH-OH" were not enough, the Lord spoke specifically to me several weeks ago to plant some flowers. I had pretty much quit planting live flowers, because everyone knew we were moving..."Hasta La Vista, Adios, just plain ole' bye ya'll!" So I half-way obeyed. I did buy some beautiful flowersORANGE of course. Just one problem….I never planted them. I just couldn’t! That seemed so permanent. Even my poor husband determined to keep them alive watered them, but to no avail. They ultimately bit the dust. No big deal – right?

WRONG! I thought I had gotten away with it. Then lo and behold…We were introduced to a powerful new ministry, “Expected End Ministries”, and a fresh voice in our life by the name of Katie Souza. Her teachings were everything we knew to be true, had taught to some degree, and experienced on a limited scale.

Then, "UH-OH", on one of her teaching CD’s, Katie speaks of a very personal surrender experience. As Pooh Bear says, “I began to have a rumbly in my tumbly.” YUCK! I hate that- when that happens! I feel my emotions trying to go into the fetal position.

My previous post about our little journey out of town was to visit a conference where Katie Souza was ministering. We could never have anticipated what a life changing experience this would be. She does not know us from a load of coal, but God does. In the midst of her teaching she quotes from Jeremiah 29. I know that passage. Verse 11 is the one we have always hung our hats on, and one of my favorite all time scriptures…but GULP…has anyone read or quoted the verses prior to the fun part?????


1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin [a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD.

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Babel was not only a place of exile, but a place of "confusion." The word 'CAPTIVITY'  means, "A FORMER STATE OF PROSPERITY!"  CAPTIVE means, "ESPECIALLY IN A DISGRACEFUL SENSE!" Hello, this means your disgrace is going to be on display, made public for all of your friends, family and otherwise to see! Often times God is a God of if's (requirements) before you can inherit the blessings of the then's.

"UH-OH!" PLEASE PASS THE ICE - AND THE POTTING SOIL! I looked these passages up in many translations hoping this would say something different. Don’t misunderstand – my roots run deep where I live, very deep, and I love my heritage, but I thought my future was somewhere else.

Could it be? Could this passage be a profound clue to turn our captivity? Could a pot of $2.99 end of the season flowers and fresh revelation of God's Word be the key to release all the unearthed junk and release my heart? Just as when God commands us to pray for our enemies, this prayer, very well, is for the sake of our enemies, but ultimately it is the method by which we secure our own release. The bigger issue is…can we trust God when it appears we have lost all manner of control? Could it be that God is trusting you with captivity for the release of a city, a nation, your future generations?

As I have chewed, and chewed, and chewed....I have determined that captivity may be far more involved than the prison sentence, that our conference speaker Katie Souza, was once sentenced to - but just as hopeless.  Captivity could be our marriages, our health, our finances, our relationships, even our ministries. Captivity could be traditions of men, evil imaginations, strife and offenses, addictions or unfruitful cycles, fears....only you can identify the cell block of your soul.

God is ALWAYS faithful to confirm His Word to your heart. In the midst of the conference schedule, my husband adjourned to the church's prayer room to pray prior to one of the services. He was joined by one of the church's youth. We learned that precious child was known as Morgan. Once more...she did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. She gave my husband a scripture not knowing any of his circumstances.

The last night of the services we had the privilege of visiting with both the Pastor and his wife of this wonderful church. This man of God gave us a gift.  He did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. He gave us
one of Morgan's prized paintings.  He had no way of knowing that I was an artist or the significance of the colors. This painting of ORANGE FLOWERS growing out of a dead black tree trunk depicted how God had turned the captivity in this child's life

How many of you know….the Style Magazines will tell you that for a woman; streaming sweat, stinging tears, and black smudgy mascara would be a major faux pas? It’s ok - I will just avoid all the mirrors in the house, for I rejoice knowing it is a beautiful sight to my Lord. It is the perfect picture of a surrendered heart.

t-t-f-n (ta- ta -for - now)


  1. Cathy...thats was such an incredible blessing to read! It was EXACTLY what I needed to read right now. I am struggling with a couple of issues...but I am also understanding more and more what I need to do!!! Thank you sistah girl!! love you bunches! Mary

  2. "Could it be that God is trusting you with captivity for the release of a city, a nation, future generations." This spoke to me. I just repented today for wanting to pack my bags and run away because my job is toooooooooo hard, but God. I took authority over the enemy and asked God to heal my broken heart (because at this season I am not getting to do what is in my heart to do - I am having to teach Algebra). I want to retire and other things that God has put in my heart. The time is just not right. He is still working on me and teaching me and proving how awesome He is to me. I felt like I was in captivity yesterday and after praying with Heidi Woodham this morning - some very simple, simple prayers - I am so free. God - thank you soooo much and Cathy thank you so much for even adding to what God was showing me this morning. You are an awesome writer - keep it up! I am seeing God do so much at Milan Middle School but yet I have felt in such captivity to this job - But God! Love you, JRoss