Ephraim brings Judah home

Today a miracle happened!

We have two cats named Ephraim & Judah. Their mother, a feral cat, brought them to us as kittens in August of 2015. We named them Ephraim and Judah before we knew they were female!

On December 7, 2017, we let both Ephraim and Judah outside. Late that evening a storm came through the area and the cats must have found shelter somewhere. The next day Judah came home, but Ephraim did not. My husband Tommy and I spent the next 4 days walking the neighborhood looking for Ephraim and putting up lost cat posters.

On day 5, Ephraim came home! We were so excited and shared the story with our Pastor friend Joey. He commented that it was very interesting that we “went looking for Ephraim” because that is the ministry we are involved with! Tommy and I work with Pete & Kelly Rambo to organize the South Carolina National Shabbat, which is a gathering to help Ephraim “find each other”! We are also involved with B’ney Yosef North America , whose vision statement is “The regathering and reconciliation of the North American portion of the House of Yosef/Ephraim (Northern Israel)!

This story has an interesting twist.

On December 31, 2017, our cat Judah was getting restless so we let her out. That evening there were fireworks in the neighborhood that probably scared her and she didn’t return home. For the next week we had record cold temperatures and snow. We live in South Carolina…our cats have NEVER seen snow or been in the severe cold. Ephraim stayed in the house. We looked and called for Judah every day, to no avail.

Yesterday, 1/9/18, after walking the neighborhood and putting up lost cat posters, we let Ephraim out because the snow had melted and the ice was gone. We jokingly told her to go find Judah and bring her home. Our cats go out and return at night because we have a dog guest who is out in the yard during the day.

Tonight, at the 9pm hour when we usually call for the cats, I went outside and called to both Ephraim and Judah to come home. I could not believe my eyes!!!!! Ephraim came first and right behind her was Judah! She was missing for 11 days! Praise Yah! Ephraim brought Judah home!

So what does this all mean?

Our Father, YHVH, is gathering the Children of Israel:

Deuteronomy 30:1-6 HNV 1 It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the LORD your God has driven you, 2 and shall return to the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; 3 that then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back: 5 and the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers. 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Isaiah 11:11-13 NASB 11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. 12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. 13 Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.

Jeremiah 31:7-10 NASB 7 For thus says the LORD, “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise and say, ‘O LORD, save Your people, The remnant of Israel.’ 8 “Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will return here. 9 “With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.” 10 Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

Maybe the saga of the “lost” cats, Ephraim & Judah, is a reminder that the “lost” tribes are being “found” and returning home.

May it be soon and in our day!

 

 

 

 

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The Wedding Dress

Tommy & I have been in Michigan since April 3rd. We reconnected with the small Torah group that meets weekly. This past Shabbat, we had something I would call supernatural happen. I’m still trying to understand the significance of it.

When we arrived at our host’s home there were two guests. A gentleman who drove 5 hours to visit for the weekend and a woman I knew from somewhere but could not quite remember where. As I asked her several questions about previous work and place of worship, I still could not connect where I knew her from.

After a short pause she asked this question, “If I say the words wedding dress, will that help”?

Instantly I knew who she was. We hugged and began to recount the story that brought us together 18 years ago!

It was the year 1999 and I was living in Marquette, Michigan. I had a really good job, was part of a small Torah group, and had family near me. Life was good and I was content, or so I thought. I had been contemplating a move to Spokane so my 13 year old daughter could be closer to her father. She traveled to Spokane every summer since she was 6 and told me it was getting harder and harder to leave me and then leave her dad to come back home. I flippantly suggested we move and then regretted ever saying it.

I had recently received a magazine from Christian Friends of Israel. In the magazine was an article discussing “The Bridal Salon”, a ministry that accepted new or used wedding dresses that were donated to Israeli brides who could not afford a dress. I happened to have a wedding dress hanging in my closet that I had purchased in 1993 but never wore. I shared the article with the ladies in the Torah group and that I had a dress to donate.

At our next Shabbat gathering, one of the women told us she had spoken to a friend who owned the local bridal shop. The owner got really excited and said she would donate 10 floor models to us! We helped my friend unload those 10 wedding dress from her car and  hung those 10 dresses plus mine all around the living room!

Now try to picture this……….11 wedding dresses of various styles ranging from ornate to simple, hanging individually on hangars all around the living room! We stared at those dresses for quite a while, contemplating the spiritual significance, if any! One of the ladies donated another so we had 12 wedding dresses hanging in my living room.

There’s more to this story.

My ex-husband (who lived in Spokane) and I had been divorced for 8 years. I really didn’t want to move back to Spokane, but I had made that comment to my daughter and it never left me. I was also fighting a battle with YHVH because it appeared that He might  be sending me to Spokane to restore my marriage. My ex was not a Believer. We had not seen each other since 1991 and only spoke on the phone to make travel arrangements for our daughter. I remember telling YHVH in my heart that if He wanted me to move I would need confirmation AND that He would have to change my heart toward my ex- husband.

A few weeks after the wedding dresses were displayed in my home, we had a visitor for our Shabbat gathering. It was my first time meeting “B”. She began to tell me a story about how YHVH had restored her marriage after being divorced for 9 years and that she and her ex-husband were to be married that year.

W H A T    D I D    S H E    J U S T    S A Y?

This woman, who I had never met before, was telling me the story about reconciling with her ex-husband.

My head was reeling because I had asked YHVH for confirmation about moving to Spokane and that He would begin to change my heart toward my ex-husband. Thoughts were racing through my head and I was overwhelmed with emotions.

“B”s story is one of the final defining pieces of the puzzle that propelled me to move to Spokane in 2000. I will share in another blog what happened after I moved.

“B” is the special guest who showed up 18 years later at Torah study this past Shabbat. She wore one of the donated wedding dresses to her remarriage ceremony. She returned the wedding dress after the wedding and we sent all 12 dress to Israel. She is still married!

This is a picture from “The Bridal Salon” in Israel

Salon_pic_CROPED_-web

But there is more to the story!

I had not seen “B” since that encounter 18 years ago! She is not a Torah keeper but loves YHVH will all her heart. She had been bed ridden and in ill health for the last year or so with Lyme disease, mold contamination (from her home) and other auto immune related diseases. She has been receiving care from a natural health practitioner and ran into an “old friend” (who also sees the practitioner) about two weeks ago. That “old friend” is “L”, who attends the Torah fellowship here. “L” invited “B” to come to study on Shabbat!

This was “B”s first time in Torah study. What are the odds that the Torah portion this past week dealt with tzara’at of the home? Leviticus 14:33-53

We had a powerful time of praise before we began to read the portion. When we got to the part about the mold, “B” shared with us all about her health issues and told us that her home is “infected” with it and that is why she is sick. She finally had to move out so she could get healthy. Her husband “is blind” to the issue that the mold in the home is causing her health problems.

We stopped reading at this point and began to minister to “B”. The presence of the Ruach was tangible and we all prayed for her as she repented for doubt & unbelief, fear, anger, etc. We ministered the love of YHVH and asked Him to open her husband’s eyes to the Truth of YHVH’s word. The gifts of the Ruach were in operation as each on had a word, Scripture or prayer.  It was an incredible time of healing.

So what does all of this mean? I don’t know…but YHVH knows and He wants to show me something.

Ministering to a woman I have not seen in 18 years, who just happened to come to the Shabbat we read about Tzara’at in the home, and her home is infected. This woman wore one of 12 wedding dresses that went to Israel.

This Scripture comes to mind:

Luke 13:10-17 HNV – 10 He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the day of Shabbat. 11 Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up. 12 When Yeshua saw her, he called her, and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God. 14 The ruler of the synagogue, being indignant because Yeshua had healed on the Shabbat, said to the multitude, “There are six days in which men ought to work. Therefore come on those days and be healed, and not on the day of Shabbat!” 15 Therefore the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you free his ox or his donkey from the stall on the Shabbat, and lead him away to water? 16 Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Avraham, whom Hasatan had bound eighteen long years, be freed from this bondage on the day of Shabbat?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were disappointed, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Since returning to Upper Michigan one month ago, I have experienced a lot of memories from my past; some good and some not so good. Is He trying to show me some things that need healing in MY heart? Quite possibly.

After Pesach (deliverance) comes the wilderness. That’s where I am right now, both physically and spiritually!

Thank you Abba for this time of reflection. May you continue to reveal the things in my heart that need healing.