Joy is Here!
Joy Elise Millikan was born Sept 22nd at 8 lbs. 7 oz., 20.25 inches long. After over a week of ‘pre-labor’ and 15 hours of active labor that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen a person do, Ali gave birth to Joy. Purple from head to toe for a little bit, Joy kicked into gear breathing air and telling us what she just experienced by some soft cries. This was an incredible moment for us after being told in the first trimester she may not be viable to finishing the pregnancy with the complications of gestational diabetes. She is healthy and so is Ali, although exhausted. Joy’s big brothers and sister are really, really excited to have her home. And we are all now adjusting to new normal of the six of us, with ‘Joy’.
We’ll be in Bellevue:
We’d love to see you if you are in Bellevue Sunday, Sept 30th. We will be at First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue (room S-140 – the small choir room) from 10a-11a for a time of sharing more about what we are doing, introducing our new addition and mostly just to connect, while we are in town for my sister’s wedding.
Bethel Church is creating many dynamic opportunities for Ali and I (and our kids) to learn more about sustainable revival. From the School of the Prophets Ali attended to serving on the Healing Prayer Team, taking classes from topics ranging from inner healing ministry, training and equipping leaders, and growing in our understanding of how to help people encounter the love of God in everyday life in everyday interactions. One of the more significant opportunities for our whole family has been having Sam and Anna at Bethel Christian School and the Children’s Ministry programs at the church. Bethel believes kids can have intimacy with God through interacting with God personally themselves (sometimes even easier than adults). They also believe God moves through children to speak and demonstrate his love to others in ways that are unique and specific to each child and their age. I’ll post a blog soon that’s an example of this when Sam, who’s 6, shared his story of healing a classmate through prayer.
Anna who is 4 next month just started her first year of ‘school’ this Fall doing three half days a week of Preschool. At school, along with learning their letters, finger painting, eating glue, etc. they also spend time ‘soaking’ where kids lay on the floor or some other comfortable spot and go in their imaginations to what Anna calls her secret garden. This is actually a form of contemplative prayer practiced for centuries. The kids are invited to spend time with Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit. Anna will occasionally share with us some of what God is showing her. “My garden has golden flowers by a river, but I can’t tell you anything else.” “(Today) Jesus came and played with me in the river. He gave me a hug and said he loves me and he gave me a present.” One of the things Ali and I notice is how matter of fact Anna is about these intimate visions as if they are normal and everyday and that its natural for God to communicate with her. And we can also sense she and God are developing a relationship with each other that is unique to Anna, between the two of them, nurtured by the community around her and her parents, but just between her and God.
We named Anna after the prophetess who in a brief verse in Luke is described as spending hours in the presence of God in the temple and was one of the few to recognize who Jesus was as an infant. She was so aware of God’s presence she clearly recognized God in an unexpected way while many missed who Jesus was throughout his entire life. As Ali and I watch our own kids relate with God and learn along with them I’m reminded of something a mentor in his early sixties shared about something he is observing. He served God all his life in ministry but shared that it wasn’t until his fifties that if fully sunk in an unshakeable way that he was God’s son and all that meant for him in relationship with God, his performance anxiety and the way he shared God’s love with others. What he is noticing now is more people in our generation living out of this place of sonship (and daughterhood) in their 30’s and he thinks this is so significant because there will be a generation of children who never knew anything else but the intimate love of God — a love that is deeper/different than a servant with a benevolent master, even fuller than friendship — a sonship akin to what Jesus experienced with his heavenly Father.
Your generous contributions and financial partnership has brought us to 75% of our projected budget for this year including the costs of tuition and travel expenses for the PhD portion of the work we are doing. If you take out the PhD costs we are at 95% of our budget. We are so grateful for this and it has been incredibly significant in our growing in faith and courage with God. At this point I believe I’m to continue pursuing the PhD and evaluate financial feasibility in the Spring. We are flexible in this area as it will be helpful but not essential in our work for me to do a doctorate.
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