Journey to Israel – How did I get there?

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I don’t even know where to start to talk about Israel. Finding the right words to describe my experience is difficult. I will do my best to tell you how I got to Israel.

I am forever changed by my experience there and for what happened in my life leading up to the trip.

I have been dealing with going on mission trips for some time now. Our church has missionaries who have been called to Haiti and go on mission trips there often. I wanted to go to Haiti but I knew my husband would never be okay with that. He told me that he never wanted me to go there because it can be unsafe. I had a burning for going on a trip but I tried ignoring it. I remember being in church in October of 2016 and God spoke to me and I could ignore it no longer. I said God give me confirmation that you want me to be a missionary. I don’t need a sign I want confirmation. (Judges  6:37 “Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.”)

Doing your calling and going on mission trips were mentioned many times in the serivce. I said okay God. I’ll go to the next place someone talks about going to. My Pastor had Brother Mark Bradley talk about Israel and if you wanted to be a part of the team to see him. I said okay God I’ll go to Israel. I went to the alter and told God I’ll go wherever you call me and on the way back told Mark I needed to talk to him about Israel.

The next day I emailed the gentlemen in charge of the trip and said I wanted to go. I was told that the trip would cost around $3500. I told my boss at a job I’d been at for 1 month. I knew there may be some unpaid days but I said I have to go. My boss is a Christian man and he understood and supported it.

I never worried about the money. I knew if God wanted me to go, he would provide the funds. People found out and started giving me checks and sending money to my mission fund. I sent a letter out about a month out from going…it just never seemed to work put for me to send the letters any earlier. I needed about $1500 more when I sent the letters out. Within a week of sending the letters out, I was fully funded and then some.

I knew that this was real and I was going.

Satan knew I was going too. He used close family members to try and get me to not go. My husband was very against me going because he was worried about me. He felt that it was dangerous to go to Israel. He was afraid. I felt like I had no support at home. Several times I almost emailed the team leader and said I wasn’t going to go. I knew that God wanted me to go and that I needed to go because that is what I was called to do. (I listened to Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You a lot! I also relied on Proverbs 3:5)

I looked up songs about being called as a missionary. I found Kari Jobe’s The Cause of Christ and it was a song I listened to every day. I was worried that I might die on my trip. You hear so many lies about Israel in the media and was listening to what my husband was saying. I was willing to die for the cause of Christ if need be. I was going no matter what. I also listened to Oceans by Hillsong. Those 2 songs were MY songs for my trip.

Monday May 29, 2017

The Monday before I left on Wednesday, my Daddy got a call that my Papaw was asleep and wasn’t waking up. We were all eating and celebrating Memorial Day and celebrating before I left on my trip when he got the call. I talked to him privately and he said that Papaw wasn’t doing well and that he was dying. I cried and said I didn’t want him to die when I was gone. Daddy told me that Papaw would want me to go. I had to go no matter what. I said okay.

Tuesday May 30, 2017

I went to the nursing home on Tuesday at lunch and held my Papaw’s beautiful hands and told him I loved him. I thanked him for the Christian raising he gave my Father. I thanked him for praying for me. I told him that I was going on a mission trip and I was leaving the next day. I told him goodbye for now, but one day I’ll see you in Heaven! I kissed him and left.

Tuesday evening I began to get nervous as I packed my suitcase for my trip. Satan started in on me. I began to be afraid that the group wouldn’t like me and that I would be feel left out because they were a family and I was an “outsider”. I was worried I’d be miserable for 2 weeks. I was worried about being alone. I realized what was going on and I said not today Satan! I quickly told him to leave with those lies in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday May 31, 2017

I got up Wednesday morning and got ready to go. I went to breakfast with my husband at our favorite place, Waffle House! My nerves were on full alert! I was shaking from being nervous and being excited. My Uncle Norm sent me a text and told me to be a world changer! It gave me such strength.

My husband and I went to my parents. He and my parents were taking me to the airport. We were all in the kitchen with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Keith from Kentucky and my cousin Jeni and her little girl Rylee. My Dad got a text. My Papaw passed away about 10-15 mins before I had to leave to go to the airport.

I didn’t cry. I was shocked that he went so quickly and knew I had to be strong and go.

My parents and my husband went into the airport with me. They went with me as far as they could and watched me go through security and then waved goodbye. As soon as they couldn’t see me I cried. I was so emotional. I was sad, scared and overjoyed all at once. I composed myself and took my bookbag and carry on and walked to the terminal.

I found my terminal and took a seat. I watched a family say goodbye to a youngman going into the service. His parents, sister and grandparents were all there saying goodbye to him. I watched as they said goodbye and hugged and cried. After he go on the plane the entire family went to the window and watched the plane leave. They went to the other window and watched it take off. It reminded me how important family is and I knew that no matter how alone and scared I felt at that moment that I couldn’t let fear dictate my life. My favorite childhood verse, the first verse I ever memorized, came flooding back to me. Pslams 56:3 “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.”

I prayed and thanked God for the calling, the opportunity and for giving me strength. I thanked him for my Papaw and my family who was praying for me.

I was flying to Chicago by myself. They called for my flight to board and I boarded the plane. I found my seat and found myself smiling from ear to ear. I was actually doing this. I was finally not allowing fear to keep me from doing what God wanted me to do. I plugged in my earbuds as the plane took off and the song Brave by Bethel came on and I suddenly felt very brave. I knew that all the heartache and trials it took to get me to that point was worth it. Satan knew that this trip would change me and take me closer to God. He did everything in his power to try to stop me. I refused to let him.

I got to Chicago and panicked because I had no idea where the connecting flight’s terminal was. I had to compose myself in the bathroom and then I called the team leader Bill. I was actually pretty much right next to the terminal… Go figure!

I met everyone and they were so nice and welcoming! I knew it was going to be an amazing trip and that God had brought us all together for a reason. I still think of the team often and pray for them. I have such an admiration and love for the team.

We boarded the plane and took off to Toronto, Canada. We landed and didn’t have long before we boarded the flight for Tel Aviv, Israel. I grabbed a bite to eat and then it was time to go! I watched so many movies on the way to Israel and was able to get a few hours of sleep in before we landed. The plane food was really good to btw. AirCanada’s food is yummy!

Thursday June 1, 2017

We landed in Israel at around 10am. They are 7 hours ahead of Ohio. I was so excited! We went through security and had to get our passports checked since we were foreigners. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it through. We met Moshe and found our rental vehicle and took off to his home.

If I could tell you anything about this trip, it would be this – Obedience is better than sacrifice. Do what God has called you to do no matter who goes against you. Do what God calls you to do no matter how scared you are. Do what God calls you to do because when you actually do it… you will never find a greater joy, happiness or feel closer to God.

I will post more about the actual mission trip in Israel tomorrow. I wanted to give you the back story so you can understand where I was spiritually and mentally.

I had the most amazing experience. I want to go back. I fell in love with Israel and the people there. I loved the missionary family we stayed with and their congregation. I met some people who have left an imprint on my heart. I know this is just the beginning for me.

Love in Christ,

Iva Mae

 

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Papaw’s Prayers

I came across this photo tonight. It’s of me and my Grandpa Nickels in 1991. It made me think about a passage I read recently in The Circle Maker. My Aunt Mary told me to read it and so far it has not disappointed! Thanks Aunt Mary! ❤️ 

I’ve been thinking recently about a question that was asked of me when I was in Israel. What are you doing here? Why did you come here? 

I couldn’t help but think about all the things in life that I had been through to get me there at that moment. 

I hopped on a plane to Israel the day my Papaw Nickels went to be with Jesus. 
It was hard to do, but Papaw’s race was over. He crossed the finish line and entered Heaven! 

I thought about all the times he prayed for me. The deep heart felt prayers he prayed for his kids and grandkids. Both he and Mamaw would go boldly before God on my behalf and on many other’s as well.

The passage I came across was on pg 19 -20. 

“I’ve always believed in the power of prsyer. In fact, prayer is the spiritual inheritance I received from my grandparents. I had a grandfather who would kneel by his bedside at night, take off his hearing aid, and pray for his family. He couldn’t hesr himself without his hearing aid on, but everyone else in the house could. Few things leave as lasting an impression as hearing someone genuinely intercede for you. And even though he died when I was six, his prayers did not. Our prayers never die. There have been moments in my life when the Spirit of God has whispered to my spirit, Mark, the prayers of your grandfather are being answered in your life right now. …I realized that my grandfather had been praying circles around me before I was even born.” Mark Batterson 
My Papaw didn’t get to see me go on a mission trip or see how it changed my life. I have no doubt that he played a big part in getting me there through his prayers! My Mamaw and Papaw Nickels prayers are the reason I’m here right now. 

Israel brought out a deeper, bolder more passionate praying Iva than who I was before. I feel like that I have awoken from a deep slumber. I’m excited to see where God takes me. 

Sometimes I feel like my prayers don’t get through. God hears our prayers and answers them in His perfect time and in His perfect way! Sometimes he says no because there’s something better. 

Don’t get discouraged in your prayers! God is working on something now. He may not give you your answer today or tomorrow- but God will answer your prayers!

Love from above,

Iva Mae

Speak Life

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I’ve been trying to search and study in the bible about speaking, lips and the tongue. God has been dealing with me on what I speak. Am I speaking value, hope love and life or am I speaking fear, death, slander and rubbish?

I’ve heard people say you need to speak things over you life and over your husband and children’s lives. I used to think that it was weird and dumb. What is speaking something over my life going to do? I honestly laughed when I heard people say that. I thought okay this must be something “those new churches” are teaching. I didn’t see the importance of it.

I literally had an epiphany the other night. It was like the curtain had been drawn back and I could finally see clearly. I was reading the verses again and I heard the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. I thought, yah but words can hurt me… Then BOOM. It hit me. I. finally. got. it.

I had been reading these verses about idle words and how the tongue is a weapon. I never thought about how the tongue could speak life. How it could speak hope? How it could speak love? I am going to share the verses that were most compelling to me on the power of our words.

Proverbs 10 talks about the wisdom of the righteous and what they speak.

Verse 11 is what started this spark. “The mouth of the righteous man is a well of life…”

Verse 13, “In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.”

Verse 20-21 “The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.”

Verse 32 “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness (rebellion, contrariness, defiance or willfulness).

Proverbs 16:23-24 “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.”

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat thereof.”

Isiah 50:4 “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”

Instead of speaking ill towards each other, let’s speak good will and hope towards one another. Let’s lift each other up. Let’s speak hope and goodness over our lives.

What verses do you think of when you think of this subject?

Listen to Toby Mac’s song! It’s great and catchy! Speak Life

Still I Will Sing

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Sometimes we go through trials and the pain of those trials remain. I feel like the trial I am going through is never ending. It’s hard to explain the roller coaster emotions that I’ve gone through. Some days I am okay with not having a baby. Other days… I am not okay with it at all. I feel this emptiness and longing for something that seems like it will never come. Will I ever make my husband a father? Will I ever become a mother?

I don’t understand how most of my friends and family member have babies and I do not. Keeping the hurt of that inside is exhausting. Some days I wear my pain on my face and everyone can tell something is wrong with me. I’ve realized that talking about my pain helps.

What doesn’t work is giving up, keeping it in and doubting God. Last week at church was our youth service. Our Youth Pastor preached about Thomas – the doubter. He gave a whole new outlook on Thomas. Thomas wanted to know for himself what was the truth. He didn’t want to go off the word of others. I realized that I was actually doubting God’s ability to do something, not seeking out His will.

I have a love/hate relationship with God’s correction. I hate that feeling of conviction, but love that God speaks to me and convicts me of things.

I realized that I cannot give up on God. Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t. Whether we have a baby naturally or by adoption I believe that one day we will have a baby!

In the meantime I will sing! I heard Kari Jobe’s song I will Sing from her new album The Garden this morning.It brought me to tears. My favorite line is “Your word won’t return empty”. How powerful!

I will Song by Kari Jobe

I need to see You here
I need to know You’re in control
Though my heart is torn wide open

I will trust, I will remember

I need to hear Your voice
Speaking to silence all my doubts
Your word won’t return empty
You will break through every darkness

Even when my breath is weak
I will sing, I will sing
Even in my suffering
I will sing, I will sing

I need to feel Your hope
Rising above my greatest fears
Even death has been defeated
I will trust, I will remember

Even when the shadows fall
I will sing, I will sing
Even when the night is long
I will sing, I will sing

Hallelujah
I surrender all to You
Hallelujah
You are God, You won’t be shaken
Hallelujah
I surrender all to You
Hallelujah
You are God, You won’t be shaken

I need to see You here
I need to know You’re in control
Though my heart is torn wide open
I will trust, I will remember

 

God is greater than my fear and pain. He CANNOT be shaken. I will continue praying and trusting in God. He alone can calm my fears and give me peace.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Instead of doubting God, run to him and keep praying and believing.

Love in Christ,

Iva Mae

The Roaring Lion

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Image via Z3news

Recently I answered the calling to go on a mission trip. I’ve been praying that God will use me and bless this trip. I am also praying that God will make the way for me to go if it is His will.

I am big on prayer. I believe there is so much power in prayer. I also believe that when you decide to answer God and do what He wants of you, you will see Satan fight to make you quit. Satan will attack you, your family, your finances, your health and whatever else he thinks he can reek havoc on. Satan has been attacking me and my family.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

The bible says it plainly. “…your adversary (enemy) the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.

Satan wants to destroy you. He doesn’t want you to do God’s will or answer God’s calling. If you do, you will impact others’ lives. You will spread the gospel and cause others to have a seed planted. If that seed grows and leads to salvation, another soul will be going to Heaven instead of hell with him.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly

The thief is Satan. The bible tells us he is here to steal, to kill and to destroy.

He will try to steal your joy, kill your ministry and ultimately destroy you and your relationships.

Recently I have witnessed first hand what Satan will try to do to try to take your focus off of Christ so you will be distracted and start to sink.

He can use others to try to ruin you and your family. We recently had a situation where a family member tried to cause problems for my husband. This person wanted my husband to lose control of his anger. They wanted to see him fail.

I’ve heard the saying whenever you try to do good, evil is always present. It says it in the bible as well.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me

This is for me as much if not more than it is for anyone else. I love when God speaks to us and puts verses on our minds to help us through.

We serve a mighty and a wonderful God.

Next time you feel like world is caving in or you are in a situation that tries and tempts you, remember that Satan wants to destroy you. Think of the above verses and let them remind you that Jesus will get you through! Remember that when you do good that evil will be present.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Love from above,

Iva Mae

 

Apology

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I want to apologize that it has been so long since I have written a blog. My computer got accidentally destroyed by my husband and I was no longer able to use my work computer during lunch to write!

I recently accepted a job at a local university. God has moved in my life like crazy! I am also going on a mission trip to Israel in May. I am praying that God moves and gives me a new post soon. I wanted to say hello! I wanted to let you know I am still here!

Love from above!

Iva Mae

Seasons

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There are four seasons in a year. Depending on where you live it may seem like there are only 1 or 2. I live in Ohio and there are 4 distinct seasons, usually.

I find good in all of them but Winter is my least favorite. It is cold, you can’t do anything outside and it can be rough to drive in. To me it seems like Winter lasts forever. I’m so busy focusing on when Spring is coming that I don’t stop and take in the season I am in.

We do this often in our lives as well. We are so focused on getting out of our current life season that we can miss God in our current season. He is there with us even in the ugly. He is with us even if it seems like our season will never end. Right now I am in an ugly season. A season of pain, heartache and no understanding. I’ve been in this season for nearly a year. I don’t speak of it to anyone not even my husband. I just keep it to myself, because that is what I do. I so desperately want to move on to the next season of my life but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve spent so much time being upset about not being able to have a child, that I’ve missed so much. This is a time for just my husband and I. Once we have kids, there will never be a time like this again. We won’t be able to just pick up, hop in the car or on the motorcycle and go. There will be no more snuggles on the couch with just us and the dog. No more sleeping in together on Saturdays. It will be harder for us to focus on just us. It will be harder on our marriage.

I’ve been realizing this more and more here lately. The pain is still there, there’s an ache for something I very well may never have. This is a season in my life that may never pass or it may pass in a few years. I have missed God in this season too. I’ve been so focused on getting out of this, that I haven’t had my focus on God. I’ve missed God in so many things that He has done for me.

This season in my life is for a purpose! It will draw me closer to God and change me. I can use this season to help someone else. God has a plan for my life. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like God doesn’t understand or care about the pain we are going through.

Does Jesus even know what it feels like to have this pain or sorrow?

The answer is yes. John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Jesus felt pain and sorrow over the death of his friend.

Does He know what is like? Does He care?

Yes! Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

We can come boldly before the throne so we can obtain MERCY and GRACE in the time of need. It says in verse 15 Jesus knows what it is like he was tempted, yet he sinned not!

Satan will do everything he can to destroy us to keep us from having a purposeful life in Christ. He doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants us to be distracted by what may seem like failures, faults, pains, sorrows, hurts, problems, trying to get out of our current season and feelings of hopelessness. He will whisper how that God doesn’t care about your stupid problems. He will whisper lies of how no one can help you and that God doesn’t know what you’re going through. He wants to isolate you, distract you. Tranquilize you if you will so he can reek havoc.

We can miss God in every season because we are so worried about getting to that next season and next point in our lives.

My church’s Vacation Bible School was on Joseph this year. Genesis 38-48

Joseph went through many negative seasons in his life. He was loved by his father and was given a special gift, a coat of many colors. His brothers wanted to destroy him. They took his coat, threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. They made their father believe that he was dead. They covered his coat with animal blood.

I couldn’t help but think about how that Satan tries to destroy your gift and you. He will do anything to destroy you. He will make you feel isolated from THE Father. He will attack your passion, your hope, your family, your prayer life, your health and many other things to prevent you from doing what God has called you to do. What God has created you to do.

After Joseph was sold into slavery, his master’s wife accused him of rape. She tried to get him to sleep with her and he said no, so as punishment for not getting what she wanted, she accused him of rape. When he said no, he turned to run away and she grabbed his coat off of him. She used that as evidence that he was there. Poor Joseph couldn’t keep his coats on. Someone was always trying to take them off of him!

Joseph ended up in prison. He spent several years there. God used him even in this season of his life. Even in the ugly, God showed up! Joseph ended up being in prison who two of Pharaoh’s men. He interpreted a dream for them. The one promised Joseph he would remember him but he forgot about Joseph until the Pharaoh had a dream. The man remembered that Joseph could interpret dreams. They pulled Joseph out of prison and he interpreted the dream for Pharaoh. Pharaoh made Joseph second in command and put him in charge of the food storehouse.

Joseph went from being sold into slavery, put into prison for several years and finally made second in command to Pharaoh. This all allowed him to take care of his family during a horrible drought. Joseph didn’t focus on trying to get out of the season he was in to get to the next even though he was imprisoned. Satan tried to destroy Joseph. He used his family and his “owner’s” wife to try to put an end to what Joseph’s calling was.

No matter how long  the season you are in may seem. It may seem like it is never ending, know that it will be over and look for God while you wait for the next season. Know your season will serve a purpose. Use it to grow closer to God! Become a stronger Christian. Fight on your knees! Prayer is the best weapon we have.

Love from above,

Iva Mae