Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Season of Growth and Expectation

 Who else keeps a journal and periodically goes back and reads through it just to see where you were  one year ago to date? Yesterday looking back over my journal from one year ago, January 18th, was crazy. So many emotions flooded over me, everything that I was feeling as my pen graced the pages. In an email response that I received from Jordan on January 14th, 2019 he suggested that we stop talking as much in order to protect both of our hearts, especially since we had never met one another. I remember that my heart sank as I read that email but I was also proud of him and thankful that his heart was to guard both of ours. Today my only feeling is pure gratitude. One year ago I had so many uncertainties yet so much peace in the season God had me in. I had become content with the idea that I wouldn't be in any relationship much less be getting married anytime soon... I also had no idea if I would ever actually meet this Jordan Miles fellow, but what I did know and what a short 3 and a half months had taught me at that point was that there was something about him that I could not shake....the connection was real, yet without any emotional attachments; I was just fully drawn to this person, his love for God and Israel, his mind and all of his ideas (all 3,000 a day;)  and his opinions of life and future and his visions and dreams. I connected yet I was at that place where I would have been totally okay if that email was the end of it, if we never talked again, and if we never actually met in person. Besides, I had become accustom to short seasons...nothing but the closeness of family truly lasts forever and extends across the universe. But God. God had other plans. We would in fact meet and today I would be typing this with deep love and emotion for the man that I will marry one day soon. God knew that I would look back and read my journal entry from one year ago yesterday and would be filled with joy that this time, instead of the unknowing, I would be filled with a sense of joy in the knowing and in the anticipation of Jordan's imminent move to Jasper, AL. to be near to me. You know this whole season has been so different than I ever imagined it would be; so hard and yet so beautiful. Real, true, raw... the essence of life and truly living it and living it for God. How many people know that when you signed up, I mean, truly entered into a relationship with your bridegroom Yeshua (Jesus) you were saying, "I am choosing to love you because you are everything to me and you loved me first, despite my human frailty, despite my past mistakes and my flaws, despite the criticism you have warned me I will face for choosing you over the world and all that it has to offer....I am choosing you and choosing to lay down the old me and put aside all that I once was and the identity that I once held to take on your identity and name....through everything and no matter what seasons I will walk through with you. You told me this would not be easy but you promised to never leave me and I am clinging to you and connecting myself to you because through coming to me you showed me that you loved, forgave, and truly cherish me and look on my frailty...and I trust You and that You are who You say You are." Yeshua actually left His dwelling place in heaven to come to earth and take on our fleshly identity and became a man, which God is not, and became vulnerable to reveal Himself and His perfect love for His bride and to die to himself (Literally) for her so that she might be shown compassion and forgiveness and what it means to truly be loved. Yeshua died to Himself knowing that His bride did not deserve it in her current state and that there were many that would not choose Him, but love is not's not just a feeling,  but rather love is an action and showing of consistency. It is not contingent, it gives free will and because of this free will coupled with love put into action it causes us to desire intimacy and to give respect, honor, and reverence. And now we are a lovesick bride who fully gave her heart to her pursuer; one that  proved His love for an imperfect bride, washed the dirt from her face and left her with something of value, in the form of His Spirit, as he went away to prepare a place for her promising that He would return to bring His spotless and cleansed bride into His home.
 It's been so interesting for me to receive this revelation these last few days as I anticipate Jordan's official move closer to me. The people of Israel anticipated a redeemer and were told for generations that one day he would come to redeem and restore Jerusalem, the people of Israel, and the Kingdom back to Israel. The literal definition of redemption is:
"The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt."
  This is the betrothal message. Yeshua pursued His bride and gave up something of immense value (His life) as payment to redeem his bride and clear her debt and the penalty which was death. He walked among His bride and observed her for years on the earth before revealing Himself to her. He said at the beginning of his ministry and season to pursue that, "My time has not yet come." Yeshua's mother was the one that recognized what was going on (at a wedding) and realized that this was her sons moment to show himself and for her to push him and release him to begin showing himself to His bride and to pursue her.
 After dying on the cross and redeeming (Becoming Betrothed/Married to) Israel, the Bride of Messiah, Yeshua walked with her for 40 days.
 In Acts before Yeshua returns to prepare a place for his bride, his disciples asked Him,

"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”"
 Yeshua spent 40 days after His betrothal to Israel sharing His heart about restoring the kingdom back to Israel, His desire for His bride to share in this excitement by sharing with the world about what was coming and what her beloved would do, and basically going over the ketubah (marriage contract) with his bride stating, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." ~John 14:15 
 And now as a people we are in this period of becoming, of representing our bridegroom well, of keeping His commandments or put simply; honoring Him, doing what pleases Him, and abstaining from doing anything that doesn't please Him or represent His name well simply because of love. Representing the name that you have been given well. Both in a physical sense as a wife and a bride, and in a spiritual sense as a bride and a daughter of the King.
 This season is teaching me so much about learning to truly savor a season and to take in every single lesson that your current season has for you and to rejoice in the growing period.

  I am blessed and beyond thankful that just 11 days from today is the difference between 667 Miles between us and being close to Jordan again. I am in some ways savoring the last of this season of separation and pondering the growth from it while also looking excitedly forward with expectation and anticipation of all that the Father will do in each of our lives in this coming season. He is good, faithful, and perfect in all of His ways.

 What is God showing you in this season? What ways is He growing and stretching you? What is one word that you feel God has given to you for 2020?

Shevua Tov! Have a blessed week!

Blessings in Yeshua,
~Victoria Grace

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019 Update

 The moment when you realize that you still have a blog. It's been well over a year; where do I even begin? God has taken me on so many wonderful adventures and pulled me out of several valleys in these past 16 months. I am thankful for each of them and the ways that I grew and was challenged in each season.
 As many of you know, I was engaged to a young man and family friend last year during Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles (In September 2018) for less than 7 days. I tell everyone that He was and is a great man from a wonderful family but we realized in those few days of being together in person that we were not meant for one another. Our callings in life are completely different. God fully protected our purity through that time, God gave him an audible word beforehand saying, "do not touch her." While I am sorry that my situation ever happened I am also  thankful in some regard for the lessons learned through that season and that it prepared me for the one I entered into recently. After Sukkot last year I came home praying and asking the Father to give me direction. I was frustrated and I had a major level of anxiety in my life that I had always dealt with from the time I entered my teen years.... I LIKE TO PLAN and have a general idea of what will be happening future tense; not knowing who I was going to spend the rest of my life with made this part of my life so hard because I was of the mindset that I would get married, start a family, and we would do ministry together. It was like I had all of these puzzle pieces but they felt scattered and not having everything together made me anxious. I would say to my parents, "If I just knew who I was going to spend the rest of my life with, I could wait forever!" All the while God was laughing at me saying, "darling, I know you....and while you say that I know that you'll wait either way. I have some things to teach you and some lessons to shape you before I can bring both parts of your soul back together. This can either be a beautiful time of fullness of joy and discovery or you can have anxiety about the future when I've already told you not to worry about tomorrow." There is such a balance to preparing for the future without living in it.
 In October of 2018 my parents saw my anxiety of trying to reroute my brain from getting married and starting a family to figuring out what to do with my life, they encouraged me to either apply for a job or go back to Israel. Having a job outside of the house was such a foreign and scary concept to me...all of my previous work experiences from the time I was 15 years old was ministry related and if I'm being honest it was so weird for me the first time I received a paycheck....I literally thought, "I'm getting paid to do this? This feels so weird. I do this stuff for free." I also had only really been around Christian and Israel circles....I had no secular friends or even acquaintances until last year. Because I couldn't decide which direction to go I went ahead and created my resume and applied for a few jobs and looked into Israel volunteer options as well and started filling out applications. I am a firm believer that God speaks when we move....sometimes He'll just throw things into our laps but other times He wants us to actually put in effort and let Him open and close the doors; He didn't just give the Israelite's the Promised Land He actually wanted them to put in the effort and be a part of the process. During my search for another opportunity to serve in Israel I realized that my desire would be to do something more long-term and because of this I remembered that one of my beautiful friends had done something in Israel for a whole year not too long ago and I had asked her how she was staying over there for so long. I went through old messages and found it- Zealous Israel Project with Bridges for Peace. I began filling out my application almost immediately but was curious to learn more because I wasn't fully satisfied with the small amount of content I was seeing about the program on the I began friending Bridges for Peace staff on Facebook with hopes of being able to read their content on a more personal level and find out more about the ministry in general. On the day that I friended many Bridges staff I also saw Jordan Miles' page and did look over it and realized that he was over the media department. Then I saw his relationship status- Single. I thought, " Ehhhh, I wont go there. He's younger and single and I'm really just wanting more information about the ministry and I don't want to lead him on in any way." So for the next two weeks Jordan kept popping up in my friend suggestions and each time I would delete the suggestion it would reappear the next day.
 During the third week of October 2018 I started my first job at Bath & Body Works. After much prayer I had decided that I was too old to continue only volunteer work without money to put away and think about the future....I realized that I needed to become independent financially so that I didn't have to rely on anyone but God. Also during this time my brother Gregory was getting ready to graduate from high school and mom and dad were really praying with him about what God would have him do afterwards. Since I had been talking about Bridges for Peace they decided to look into it with him and all prayed over this option as Gregory started the application process praying that God would either open or shut the door.
  My Dad cast a vision back in 2017 saying that he wanted to start a family business; something that all of his children could do, considering that what he does currently none of us could do or help him with. In late 2017 my father purchased Real Estate Licensing courses for both of us. I completed all of the required 60 hours of course work but wasn't really into it and God had opened another door for me to return to Israel....and  I did in fact return to Israel in the Summer of 2018 and my licensing class expired. So fast forwarding again, During the final week in October I had my first job and after prayer I took action, sat down, and paid the $170 to purchase the AL Real Estate pre licensing class again with the intention of activating the course at the beginning of the year and when retail holiday craziness slowed down.
 Also during that week a very well respected couple (also elders in our community) came to visit, have Shabbat with us and spend the night. After Shabbat dinner mom, dad, and I were all sitting in the living room with them enjoying fellowship. After a few hours they said that they felt the need to pray release over me and my past season as well as release over my parents. As they prayed over me they also prayed over my husband and called out very specific things about him and who he would be in order to complete me and run towards our calling together. They also prayed that he would come quickly.  At that moment in time I did not want to hear the "may he come quickly part." I had just settled into the mode of, "this year is me focusing on myself and becoming, and growing, and learning to love myself ALONE" lol. A few days after they left, on October 29th 2018, I was sitting at my computer reading about real estate and decided to check Facebook. The first thing that I saw was Jordan Miles as a friend suggestion and I thought, "Okay fine....I'll friend him. Maybe I'm still supposed to follow and find out more about the ministry for my brother and maybe I'll actually get connected one day." So I sent the friend request. Not two minutes later ( it may have been longer than that lol) I received a Facebook Message from Jordan saying, "We haven't met have we?" I'm not going to lie...I had a mini panic attack in that moment and I messaged Him back immediately to explain that I wasn't some creepy stalker person....I was purely just friending him to follow and find out more about Bridges for Peace. And for the record I had no interest in him through viewing his Facebook page lol....I thought he was a cutie but threw out the idea originally primarily because he was7 months younger than me. Through my response to Jordan's message I thought that I had done my job and that would be the end of the conversation...but he asked a question....and another question....and another question.... (He still never runs out of questions and I love it lol) and then I asked a question. And days turned into months of Facebook messenger texting and emails. All of our conversations were extremely kosher and all centered around faith, family, and Israel. We just realized that we had so much in common and our brains function similarly. we spoke for nine months in this manor with only one FaceTime call before meeting in person. Jordan FaceTimed me on Shavuot to "let me see the sunrise at the Kotel (western wall) in Jerusalem." We talked for nine months before meeting in person on July 28th, 2019.

-This photo is our first one together and was taken just before tour orientation to send to our parents and let them know we had actually met!!

 After a few months of study I took and passed my Real Estate licensing class on March 7th and signed on to be an agent with Joseph Cater Realty! I am so blessed to be apart of such an incredible and dynamic team of agents and doubly blessed to be under Alabama's best broker! It's  seriously unreal. If you or someone you know is in the market to buy or sell, I am happy and excited to work with you! We now have offices in Jasper, Cullman, Crane Hill, and Huntsville AL.

 I am privileged to work on a team under Keith Davis; Agent/Broker of over 16 years and our counties commissioner. I am also very blessed and proud of my Father who recently passed his Real Estate Licensing exam and has joined our team!

  After the first quarter of this year both Jordan and his mom, Theresa, had messaged me suggesting I go on the Call to Zion tour with Bridges for peace. Jordan would be on the tour doing all of their videography work and his mom mentioned to me that it may be the perfect opportunity for us to meet after so many months of talking. I prayed about it and looked at the cost of the trip and wrote down all of my expenses. Something that was also very appealing to me is that the Call to Zion Tour is like the kick off for the Zealous Israel Project so I would be able to go over with my brother, should he be accepted, and see him in Israel and be with him for his transition. I honestly didn't think that me and Jordan would like one another at all in person so I was really prayed up about our situation but also not putting too much stalk in outlook was more along the lines of, whatever happens I'm 100% okay with it. I'm so close to my brother and my biggest desire is to be in Israel so either way I'm happy! I went to my parents and mentioned what I was thinking and after receiving their approval I went ahead and sent in my deposit for the tour.
Several months went by of primarily working two jobs, real estate, enjoying family time and the beginning of summer, enjoying beach trips, church trips, trips to Texas, processing how quickly things were about to change with my best friend moving across the world and preparing myself as well for an upcoming adventure.

 After prayer and talking things over with Mom and Dad, Gregory and I prepared to go to Israel nearly a week early before the tour to spend some time together and get over jet-lag. My parents rented us a little Airbnb very close to Ben Yehudah street and we spent a few days, to include Shabbat, resting and enjoying being back in the Land. On Sunday, July 28th Me and Gregory packed up and made our way to the Tel Aviv airport by train. I knew that Jordan was the one meeting everyone at the airport and making sure that each person made it to the bus that would transport them to out hotel...but for some reason, very unlike me, I decided not to text him and tell him when we would arrive at the airport. I had crazy butterflies that whole train ride but told myself that I would be totally normal and treat him in the exact same way I treat everyone in general. Me and Gregory walked into the airport and I recall Gregory saying, "is that Jordan?" I confirmed his question and we started walking over to greet them. Jordan was stretching touching his toes and next to him was Suguru (Who I now know as an incredible young man and dear friend from Japan). I remember locking eyes with Suguru first and seeing him tap Jordan. Jordan stood up straight and spun around and immediately just hugged me and took a step back. He was standing in front of me and was 100% a real human being. Time stood still for a few seconds and looking into his eyes I knew that our souls had met long before this moment. That moment was like a very mutual yet none verbalized, "Hey it's you, I've been looking for you. It's always been you."
 Meeting all of those working for Bridges for Peace in Israel was unreal. The entire community of servant hearted volunteers is so amazing and genuine. The Call to Zion tour was absolutely phenomenal. It was beautiful to see such a dynamic group of young people age 18-30 come together  so willing, eager, expectant and passionate about and for all that God was going to do and teach them. I have been on several tours before but this one really impacted me because of the unity and because what the leadership was sharing was not just about Israel back then and Israel today, but also about Israel prophetically in the future and what a big role it plays.
 I definitely feel like I made a lot of beautiful connections and friendships that will last a lifetime! While I fully enjoyed every aspect of this tour to the max and seeing my brother become close with his zealous guys, my highlight was getting to know Jordan. The fact that we first met in Israel is a dream in and of itself....but also having adventures across the country? Absolute dream first experiences.

-This is actually a short video Jordan took of us at the airport right before he sent us off on the bus to the hotel.
                                            (Jordan taking a group photo of those baptized in the Jordan River)

                                              Here's the link to an incredible video that Jordan made of the tour 

  Before the tours end my parent had sent a few materials on betrothal for me and Jordan to go through together to help us stay accountable and to make sure we were on the same page about everything. Jordan and I had briefly gone over my family's beliefs on marriage and betrothal when we were still only messaging one another but we never crossed the line of talking about us as a couple...everything for all nine months of texting and email interaction was totally kosher; but once we met in person we both immediately knew that God had called us together for a purpose and we were both very happy that this purpose meant we would be together forever and it became very difficult not to verbalize this. It was interesting because we had "known" one another for a very short time but it felt like an eternity because of the previous 9 months we had had to get to know one another without being emotionally involved. After the tour I stayed on for one week (Which had already been planned) to tour around Jerusalem with Jordan. We had lunch, dinner, and even a few breakfast plans every day as we met with and introduced one another to our Israel friends/connections. It was such a beautiful time and season hearing from Rabbis and couples in each season and stage of life. God really led and planned each interaction and meeting/encounter out so beautifully for us; it was an absolute dream. In between meals and fellowship with friends we really just did a lot of walking and talking....or what we look back on now as our park hopping days! I saw so much more of the ins and out of all of Jerusalem that weeks because I swear we walked most of it!

 Jordan left Israel nearly a week before I did but we both parted with a mutual understanding that God was/is calling us together and that this next season would be about pursuing marriage!

 I was really thankful that I was able to go back to Jerusalem and spend a little bit of one on one time with my brother before leaving. Definitely memories I will cherish forever.

 About a week after I arrived home from Israel Jordan was on a plane and headed to my house to stay and meet my family! He's been two times since that first trip and with each trip we've had very willing chaperones! My siblings have all come to really love him and it's been so fun for me to see Jordan's relationship with each one of my siblings! I absolutely love it!

 On Jordan's last trip to visit we took Rebekah and Irelyne and went on a road trip to Arkansas for the Lukas and Kezia Wallace wedding! We really wanted the girls to meet our friends from Israel, Jordan's "little sisters" Eden and Leah and we are so glad that all four girls really hit it off!
 Lukas and Kezia's wedding was absolutely beautiful and we are so happy for this incredible powerhouse couple!

  After the wedding and before Jordan left the state of Alabama, Dad gave Jordan his full blessing!
 Not long afterwards Mom, Dad and I boarded a plane to FL to spend a weekend a meet Jordan's immediate family. It was a wonderful trip and I absolutely love my future siblings, in law's and grandfather.

 Today we are excitedly looking into and planning for the future. This has been the biggest and best adventure of my life and I am absolutely amazed every single day that God brought me and Jordan together. In Jordan I've found everything I ever wanted and prayed for and everything I never knew I needed. He's the other half of my soul and my forever best friend! We like to say that we owe our beginning to God, Israel, Facebook, and Bridges for Peace! Without these elements and life decisions who knows where we'd be today.
 I'd like to say a huge that you to everyone that has prayed over and for us. We feel so encouraged and blessed by each of you! If you need prayer, please reach out! There is such power in prayer and such strength that comes when many are seeking the Father in one accord.
 May you be blessed in the days and weeks to come and may the Father give you knew revelation as we enter into the season of lights and re-dedication!

Blessings in Yeshua,

A Season of Growth and Expectation

 Who else keeps a journal and periodically goes back and reads through it just to see where you were  one year ago to date? Yesterday lookin...