Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spiritual Heritage and Healing

Today I had a unique and profound spiritual experience; the kind of experience that touches you to the core of your being.  It was the kind of experience that you have when God touches you, and I don’t mean just lightly touches you, I mean when your whole world gets wacked  - like when you are born again or filled with the Spirit or miraculously, instantaneously healed.  It changes who you are because it affects your being, deeply in your spirit and soul – in your heart.  But this experience didn’t come in the way I’ve experienced them before.  It was not at church or even alone in a place of prayer.  It was not outside  in the Texas hill country at Rio Ranchito after an eight hour fast-although Farther has certainly touched and changed me in all of these places, and many others too numerous to mention.

What happened to me today came as the climax of the last few days as Brenda and I have been praying and considering accepting an invitation for her to speak at a women’s conference in London.  As we have sought the wisdom and direction of the Father concerning this possible trip, I have been doing some research into my own family history in England that we began some years ago, but had abandoned.

In our home, we have a framed picture of my great, great grandfather and grandmother, Percival and Isabella Laurence. I have been told by family members that he was the rector at the Church of England in Walesby, and the picture that I have is of my great great grandparents in front of the old rectory in Walesby.

Imagine my great surprise when in doing Google searches, I was able to find both the rectory and the two churches in Walesby; All Saints Church, and Saint Mary’s.  There was also a history of the churches of Walesby that mentioned my great great Grandfather as the rector who was responsible for building Saint Mary’s. Also there was a contact page for the present rector of Walesby, Reverend John Carr.

Because Brenda and I have determined that we should go to London for her to speak, we felt that we must also take extra time to try to see the places that my ancestor had lived and ministered.

Without knowing what I might find out, I sent an email to the Reverend Carr and after I introduced myself and told him that we were coming to England soon, I asked him if he could help me to locate which church my great great grandfather had ministered and the location of the rectory, as well as where he was buried. 

This is the response that I received today.

Dear Mr Laurence,
 Thank you for your most interesting e-mail and apologies  we have not replied sooner but our curate is being ordained priest this Sunday 4th July and apart from lots happening at the Cathedral, we have 100 back here for lunch afterwards.
 Percival Laurence was indeed the Rector of Walesby,  he has a commemorative plaque in St Mary's church and there are many family members in St. Mary's Churchyard, including Percival himself, if my memory is correct. It is true he died the day the new church was built but, as I understand, his body was cremated and interred in the new churchyard once it was complete.
 The baptism register dating back to 1812 has many entries by your ancestor, and rumour has it that he and the parishioners  did not like walking up the hill to the old church (All Saints), especially in the winter and as his age increased, that is why there are two churches in the village.  That register is now kept at Lincoln Archives (in Lincoln- but is available to look at if you make an appointment).
 Unfortunately, the original Rectory was pulled down and the current Rectory was not built until 1927, however we could show you the site of the original Rectory.  There is a photo taken outside Walesby Hall which was next to the old Rectory, and it may be that which you have.  That building is still there so it will be easy to tell.  The old church on the hill is also still open and is used by the Rambling Association as their church. There are occasional services up there, but that is the church your great great grandfather would have worshipped in.
 Where are you travelling from?  We moved here from St. Mary of Eton, Hackney Wick (next door to Homerton) ten years ago and there are some baptists in the area who will still remember us, I am sure. 
 There are many hotels and B and B's in this area to stay in and, please, do make yourselves known to us when you are here.
 With our very best wishes for your trip
John and Liz Carr 

When I read the words, …” this is the church your great great grandfather would have worshipped in.” it was as if Father God Himself reached into my heart and touched me. I could feel what was being done spiritually, emotionally and even physically.  I stopped and began to weep from the depths of my being.  But it was not the weeping of sorrow, it was weeping that comes from the joy of being whole.

In that moment, I felt both connected and complete.  I felt as if Father God had reached back into the past and connected me to all that had come before me while at the same time confirming all that has been spoken prophetically over my life.  I had been both connected to the Godly heritage and ancestry that is mine.  And complete in knowing that the questions and accusations that have come to me over my entire life are all laid to rest.

Because I was adopted, there have been so many times over my life when others would talk of their families and their ancestors with pride and assurance. But as I would think of mine, I would soon remember, “You don’t really know any of that; you’re adopted.” These thoughts would often follow with, “You don’t really belong, or you’re not like everybody else; you don’t fit in.”

These were the malicious attacks of the enemy of my soul, trying to attack my identity and to derail my purpose and my destiny. 

But in a moment of time, in an act of love that only a Father would undertake for a son that He loved and to bring complete healing and wholeness, all those lies and accusations were silenced.

I can’t explain how all this could be or how it works. But this I do know; as surely as my earthly father adopted me into his family and by doing so gave me all the rights and privileges of a child who is born naturally into a family, I was adopted into the family of my Heavenly Father and am a son of the Most High with all my rights and privileges as a son of the King. 

When my earthly father adopted me into his family, I inherited both the natural and the spiritual blessings and callings on this Laurence family – blessings that go back many generations.   I didn’t earn it; I inherited it.  My earthly father paid a price for me to be able to enter his family.  And my heavenly Father paid a price for me to enter His family as well.  I may not have come in to my earthly family by birth, but I came by choice – I was chosen.

And so as we go to England in August we will go on assignment for our Father to do Kingdom business on His behalf. But I will also be going back to reach one hand out to touch my ancestry and my Godly heritage as a man with a calling of God on his life – like my great great grandfather. And I will also continue to reach out with the other hand to touch this generation and the ones to follow, for I am called to be a “heritage maker” and a “father to the fatherless”.