I have always known that God has had a Plan for my life. The Bible says in Jer 29:11, “That He knows the plans that he has for Me.” It even says that while we were in our “Mothers’ wombs that he knew us,” but I never knew what that plan looked like. In January of 2010, I had the opportunity to paint during worship at a conference. Little did I know that at that conference God would show up in amazing ways, blessing and healing many, but it was also the beginning of the unfolding of what my husband and I have been called to do.

A few weeks later as I was sleeping in bed, I heard ‘Get up and go read your Bible’. I opened my eyes and looked around my room to see who was talking to me. No one was in the room besides my snoring husband, boxer and standard poodle. I closed my eyes and opened them again to check and see if anyone was there and with my eyes wide opened I heard again, ‘Get up and go read your Bible’. I thought to myself, ‘I am warm here with my dog on one side and my hubby on the other, it’s a cold night and it is 4:00 a.m. – really?’ Then again in a clear voice, with authority, I heard, “Get up and go read your Bible or you can forget what it is that I have to show you.” I jumped up out of bed and walked to my closet to get my favorite Bible. The whole time I was walking back to the closet I grumbled at God partly because I struggled with believing that he was really going to show me anything. I mean does something like this really happen to “normal” people? I said,”God if this is you, you are going to have to show me what it is you want me to see.” As I sat on the floor in the middle of the entrance way, I held my favorite Bible on its spine, I said, “God, show me what it is you want me to know.” My Bible fell open to Ezra. Lord really, Ezra? I know nothing about this book. I heard in my spirit be quite and just read. So I tried, yes ‘tried’, everything was blurry. After rubbing my eyes and cleaning my glasses I tried again to no avail. Once again in my frustration, I heard that still small voice that said keep looking. As I continued looking down the page suddenly verse 8 in chapter 5 was crystal clear. This is what it said:

“Your Majesty should know that we went to the providence of Judah and found that the Temple of the great God is being rebuilt with large stone blocks and with wooden beams set in the wall. The work is being done with great care and is moving ahead steadily.”

From past teachings and reiteration just days before at the conference, I knew that historically that God often speaks to his people in the fourth watch for the night. I also knew that you should always write down what God speaks to you because as humans we often forget and this human forgets easily!

A few days later I had received a prophetic word confirming something that had been stirring in me and my husband’s heart. You see, we had been dealing with depression, stress and burn out as church leaders. Little did I know that what I had been dealing with was just a taste of what many pastors and their families deal with every day. In my battle of trying to figure out why I felt the way I was feeling -hopeless, invisible, unwelcomed, and bewildered- the Lord showed me that many in ministry begin to feel this way after years of servant hood. I grew up with parents who were pillars in the church. We were at every event; we cleaned the church, my parents even kept the church doors open with paying bills when there wasn’t enough income to keep the doors open. We have had many friends in the ministry and know that many of them have done the very same things. My heart wept with understanding of their pain. I knew then exactly what God was calling us to do. I also knew that our calling was far greater than we could do alone. It would take a team to join together to develop a place of understanding, love, and no expectations. A place of refuge, a place of refreshing and one of delight in The Lord.

This is what Skia Ranch is all about, Serving those who serve The Lord. Not just the individual but the family. That night God also gave me two other scriptures one of those was Palms 63:7 which says, “…in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.” I believe that God wants to restore in his leaders the joy and passion that they felt when they were originally called into the ministry. Just like the men of the Bible they have to get away from everything and be still, seek his face and rest. I once heard that the only thing God did during creation that man can duplicate is what he did on the seventh day, rest. Unfortunately, the demands of ministry make that a difficult thing to do. This is where Skia Ranch can help out. I hope that you have been able to catch a glimpse of the need and the passion we have in making this happen. Our pastors are there for us 24/7, now it is our turn to be there for them.

Sincerely,
Deanna