Two years ago just before the American "Thanksgiving" holiday, in light of all the things that "America" had done to the indigenous people of the land, I felt personally challenged to live out the repentance and reconciliation that I knew America needs. I sought out Richard Twiss, whose book I had read some years earlier, and was able to get in touch with some of his friends.
Little by little, I got to know and befriend them, and also read some of the books they had written. Reading their perspectives opened my heart to parts of God's heart that I had been nearly blinded from seeing (blinded by the pride and myths of America). As soon as I began to reach out, God began sharing with me in painting and words how He felt about what was done to them, the need for justice, repentance, and reconciliation.
Richard Twiss had a heart attack and walked on in February 2013. I never got to talk with him, but I knew he meant a lot to the Native believers. I wanted to mourn with them and honor their friend, so I watched online the memorial service they held for him a month later. To my surprise, at the end of the service, the Spirit overcame me with weeping, telling me that these were also my own people— not only spiritually, but physically!
He was referring to Native heritage that I had in my family, but which I thought didn't count for anything for various reasons. But it mattered to Him! This was a huge, wonderful and blessed upheaval in my life. My heart and spirit opened and I wept at many things— songs, regalia, the Smoky Mountains, storytelling, and more. I began to want to know the people of my ancestors and to reunite with them through genuine loving relationships. And as I continued learning, I also began to understand the love of creation and the land which God set in them.
At the end of 2013, the Spirit told me that my journey of discovering my native heritage was a picture of the journey He is calling many of His people in America to undertake.
To understand, first He had me recall some of the steps He led me through:
1) He awoke my awareness of natives and what they have suffered in America, and He awoke a desire for justice and healing.
2) I was moved to seek them out and share in their lives and their story.
3) As I shared and grew in relationship with them (especially in joining the mourning for Richard Twiss), He awoke my own heritage, and I discovered who I was created to be.
4) He then began to open my eyes to see a greater vision than what I had known before— the restoration and value of every tribe, tongue and nation, and the sacredness of the land He sets us in and how He has attached us to it.
Then He spoke these words:
"I am awakening My servants in America.Art: "I Am Peace In You"
Many of you have not known the purpose
for which you were set in the land—
for healing the wounds that were
wrought by your forefathers.
I am opening your eyes to the injustices
and scars of America, and I am placing
the keys of My kingdom in your hands:
repentance and forgiveness.
I am calling you to return to the heritage
of the ministry of reconciliation,
to repent in sackcloth for the ways of violence
and to walk instead in the ways of My love."