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Strength in weakness

strength in weakness

 

 

 

 

strength in weakness

 

The birds are my quiet time this morning.

There is no tranquil lake setting, no leisure morning with coffee. No quiet morning meditation. Just the high-rise lifestyle of living and working in a city of 14 million people.

And I get up 15 minutes before kids and chaos and the breakfast rush; before the dressing and brushing and backpacks and before the inevitable shoe search.

It’s not the way I prefer to do it, but some days, just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

And after I get the kids to school, I walk half an hour to the bus stop. It’s my turn to go to school and today, I’ve got a presentation to make.

My laptop weighs heavy on my back. Anxiety pounds the pavement with each step, the prospect of me presenting a controversial topic in a foreign language among classmates half my age weakens my knees and slows my steps. A soul can grow right weary and where is backbone when you need it?

Around me cars speed and horns honk and buildings rise and when you don’t have time for God is when you need Him the most. I pray. I need vision. Faith. Solid footing. I need boldness to speak the Name. I need fresh Glory to fill me.

Overhead a flock of black birds takes flight. He speaks.

“Consider the birds of the air. They worry not. Neither should you.”

The dawn comes with that. Light shines pure grace.

Those winged creatures woke early and had no idea where or how they were going to find food. They weren’t worried.

They sang.

And in utter trust and reliance upon their Maker, they took to the skies.

I could too.

“Consider the flowers of the field. I clothe them with beauty and grace. I’ll clothe you too.”

And my quiet time happens walking down a sidewalk in a city of 14 million people.

We can accessorize with Prada and perfume, we can don titles and accept flattering labels, and we can forget the simple beauty of grace. And when faced with our lack and weak, we can forget the birds, forget the blossom was once a mere seed but God clothed it.

He does that. He clothes and gives a bare body glory.

I board the bus and arrive at school and when it’s my turn, I speak the Name. I’m counting on those clothes. No Prada and silk here.

The teacher texts me after class. “I’m so happy you are in my class,” she says. “I’m a Christian too.” And I can’t believe what I’m reading! I ask Jackson to read the message to verify I really am reading it right.

Yep, teacher Gui is a Christian.

I have no idea how this will all unfold. I don’t know what God is up too. But I’m pretty sure it’s abundantly above and beyond what I could ask or think.

The next day, teacher asks me to stay behind after class. We talk in hushed tones about the Savior, about Sunday worship and the Bible and she tells me again how happy she is I’m in her class. Her happiness has nothing on me.

Something impossible grows, sprouts from the small, the raw.

“It’s wonderful to think of the fact that God can turn around a whole nation, a whole world, by using us. God uses simple things, you know that. He uses simple, mundane, everyday, routine, common things for the most amazing purposes. When He made man in the Garden, He didn’t use gold, silver, or even iron; He used dirt. That ought to give you an idea of how He works right from the start. When He called David to deliver Israel from the Philistines, He didn’t want Saul, the great king, and He didn’t want Saul’s massive armor. He used a shepherd and a couple of stones, that’s all. When He came into the world, He didn’t enter the family of the wealthy and noble, He didn’t find Himself born in a castle; He simply chose a peasant girl and a stable. When He chose the Twelve, He didn’t choose the elite, educated, and affluent. He just chose a group of ignorant Galileans. The Bible says, “Not many mighty, and not many noble.” That’s the way it always has been, because God gets the greater glory in the humbleness of the one that He uses.
So He uses us, grains of sand, to influence a corrupting world.”

Pastor John MacArthur

 

When did I start expecting to outgrow child-like reliance? At what age did I think I’d lose the desperation? When did I expect to be mighty and noble? Prestigious? Competent?

God uses the weak, the base, the foolish.

And praise God, I still qualify.

How about you?

The Coin

 

 

It was eighteen years ago that she gave us the coin.

That was before she accused Dad of running around with a young woman at church. Nearly split the church wide open. Dad came home with a shot gun and the counselor had to intervene and they’ve been seperated ever since.

But eighteen years ago was before all of that happened. Before tongues wagged and hearts broke and tears fell and things were never the same.

We were sitting at the supper table after church, Jackson and I. And Mom, she handed us a Canadian Maple.

“You’ll face hard times together,” she said. “Here’s something for you to put away for a rainy day, for when you just don’t have anything else.”

She slipped us the coin and we tucked it away and for eighteen years of marriage, while we traveled the world over and back again, that coin stayed in the attic, tucked away in its plastic sheath.

Until recently.

Jackson took it out.

He opened the safe where important documents are kept and he slipped the coin out and he looked at it.

“We need groceries,” he said.

I knew what the words cost him. I knew the pain of a hardworking man not able to fund a trip to the grocery store. But I also know something else about him… that walking the path of the Lord’s will is more important to him than anything else.

“The Lord’s going to take care of us,” Jackson continued. “He always has.”

He looked at me as he fingered the coin. The clock ticked and the fridge hummed and four little bodies lay tucked in their beds, oblivious to the choices of their parents.

It’d be a shame to just spend this.” He said it thoughtful. Slow. The processing of a man intent on what’s best for his family.

I thought of the growing grocery list: bananas, bread, jelly, toilet paper, trash bags. I thought of the empty cupboards and the empty bank account and I knew they would stay empty.

I want to invest it,” he says it slow, sure, sacred- like; an act of worship.

 

“What do you think about us selling this and giving the money to feed the Nuba people in Sudan?”

I choke back the tears and say YES! What better way to invest than in another person?

We get down on our knees and pray. “Thank You, Jesus,” I pray. “Thank You we get to be part of this, part of ministering to Your body. Thank You for the chance to give our best.”

The next day, Jackson goes to sell the coin. He returns home with $1500 cash, 15 crisp hundred dollar bills.

My man, he knows how to invest.

 

That Sunday we slip the bills into an envelope and write “Sudan” on it and we listen to the guest speaker, a Sudanese pastor.

“We take trip to Sudan,” he tells us. “We buy grain and take it into the Nuba mountains. My people are starving. They are hiding in caves and are being bombed every day. Life is hard. I cannot forsake them.”

And on this side of the world, brothers and sisters, an entire association of churches, pledge to help. We send two men with our Sudanese brother into the mountains of Sudan.

The mission is dangerous. Sudan is in turmoil and these men are entering the war zone.

The team gets stuck in Cairo. It takes days, then weeks, for the money transfer to go through. The rains are forecasted to begin any day in Sudan and when that happens, they will not be able to travel.

The team encounters one difficulty after another…they get sick, they can’t locate drivers who are bold enough to trek into the war zone, the money still won’t go through…

The team contacts us and asks everyone to fast.

We all feel the spiritual warfare of this mission. We know we battle not flesh and blood.

The call to fast goes out and we stop eating. At dinner time, the kids ask why I’m not having meal with them and I explain about the Nuba people and the need for God to provide a way. Jackson is working late…but fasting. Friends text to let each other know we are in this together.

All over our little town, we call on the Lord, asking Him to move His mighty hand. We pray for our brothers and sisters hiding in the Nuba mountains.

The Lord hears.

I get the message on a Monday morning:

“Team Nuba were able to get up the mountain, get the grain/oil/supplies to the people, and even pick up 500 refugees on the way back and safely transport them to a camp near the border.

Said they haven’t had sleep in 70 hours but they were in very good spirits. Their plan is to get rested up today and start the journey home tomorrow.
PLEASE DO NOT STOP PRAYING NOW!”

 

I fall to my knees and thank God. I ican see those faces, the mommas. The babies. All the blank stares.

But this time, I see the smiles.

It is such a sacred thing to be a part of, there is such a deep intimacy with the Lord. It is an hour before I can even call Jackson with the news.

All day, I break out in random song. When I pick oldest up from school, I excitedly tell him the news and we hoot and holler in the car.

 My Nuba sister is hiding in a cave somehwere with her children. But tonight, she will have food to give them. Tonight, she knows that the world hasn’t forsaken them, her brothers and sisters living in houses with heaping plates…well, she knows we care.

Tonight, she knows that her God delivers.

Jackson eats with us tonight, and he breaks the bread:

“Share with God’s people who are in need.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.

And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.

So do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

 

Jackson and I just look at each other.

We both feel it, the pleasure of God.

And as we eat our simple meal, we enter into our inheritance.

And I’m so full, I’m just about to pop.

Come back tomorrow, Thursday, June 21, for an update on the Sudan mission!

 

Invest means “to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve a profitable return.”

Sometimes when you need something the most is when you *need* to give it away.

We can spend a life or we can invest one.

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

 

Linking up with Ann today

How Not to be a Negative Person

I’m driving down the road when it comes on the radio.

“Experts say that you can change from being a pessimist to being an optimist.”

Really, I wonder? I thought it had to do with personality, the way someone is made. I’ve always been a glass half empty kind of person. Not proud of it, but it’s true.

The radio announcer continued: “Yes, studies have been done and it is possible for you to become an optimist. It is simply a matter of perspective. You can train yourself to see life differently.”

And I would have laughed out loud and talked back to that little chipper-of- a- girl announcer and told her that she obviously wasn’t a pessimist or else she would have given a little more instruction than that…But I didn’t laugh and I didn’t talk back because I know it’s true.

You see, I’m a recovering pessimist. And that, I am proud of. Very, very proud.

And while the optimistic radio announcer moves on to other things, my Savior, the Light of the World, the One who leads us in the way we should go, He speaks to me. He’s telling me how a person becomes negative.

He tells me the eye is the lamp of the body and if the eye is dark, the whole body is filled with darkness. Even “their minds were filled with darkness.” Romans 1:21

But if the eye is good, the whole body is filled with light.

Whether a person is a pessimist or an optimist depends on how they see. It depends on what they look at.

And with the history I’ve had, I’ve seen dark. How else could I interpret life than through the dark lens I was given? How can any of us expect to see differently than the lens, the lamp, the perspective we’ve been handed? Our fallen, dark, distorted lens tells us how to see life. Ourselves. Others. God.

But we can change our perspective. We can trade in our lens.

For Light has shone in the darkness and the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.

Praise His Name!

Experts are just now saying something God has said in His word for thousands of years: Our lamp stays bright when we look to the Light.

 

Being a positive person isn’t just a matter of thinking positively. It is a matter of thinkly positively of God.

 

 ”Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.”  Romans 1:21

Our lamp becomes dark when we doubt our God. Our vision is distorted when we distrust our Creator.

Our perspective is skewed when we prioritize what our circumstances tell us instead of who God says He is.

The word for “worship” in Romans 1:21 is “doxazo” and means “to exalt, to magnify.”

The eye is our lens, our glass, our magnifier. And whatever we magnify is what we worship.

We can either magnify our circumstances….or we can magnify our God.

I return home a hungry soul, hungry to know my God, hungry to worship, hungry to practice being an optimist. Like a moth to a light, I’m drawn to His brightness.

I know how He’s spoken to me, with His strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.”

Isn’t this the way to keep your lamp bright?  Stop looking at things the way everyone else does!  Stop interpretting life according to the ways and rules of this world!

“The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy. He is the One you are to fear, He is the One you are to dread, And He will be a sancturary.” Isaiah 8:11-14a

When I give regard to my circumstances, I give them honor. I esteem them as more powerful than my Almighty God!

He only is worthy of regard!!

My circumstances tell me all sorts of lies.

But my God, He tells me He’s in control. He tells me He is good. He tells me He is Adonai. Bread of Life. Conquering King. Defender of the defenseless.

And for every letter of our alphabet, He is.

He tells me He will never leave me or forsake me and He will carry me even to my dying day. He tells me His plans for me are good, to give me a future and a hope. He tells me all His deeds are done in faithfulness and that it is impossible for Him to lie.

And I know the secret of Romans 1:21: A pessimist listens to circumstances and the opinions of people.

But an optimist? Well she looks to her God.

Look to Him with me? Click to watch the video~

http://youtu.be/9zl6Sf3Rt0s?t=2m59s

 

And one more bit of positive? One of the most joyful, full-of-Jesus persons I know is hosting a giveaway today. Go visit her~ I promise you will be glad you did.

 

Subscribe to Arabah here

When it feels impossible

I remember when it happened.

It was Christmas Day 2006 and since China doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas Day, it was also the log in date for our dossier. And it was the day I found out I was pregnant.

I stood in the shower crying. “How am I going to do this, Lord? How am I going to have an adopted child and a bio child at the same time?”

I was scared to death.

That’s when He reminded me He only gives gifts. And He had chosen Christmas Day for it all to come down just so that there would be no question about it in my mind. These babies were good gifts from the Father above.

And then the two girls came, 4 months apart in age, and I was officially *overwhelmed*. I learned that God’s gifts are not synonymous with ease and comfort and happy go lucky.

By the time our fourth child arrived, the third within 23 months, I was having some serious conversations with the Lord. “I know these children are gifts, Lord. But I can’t keep up. What You have given me, under these circumstances…well it is just too much for me.”

{That was another shower conversation.}

And right there while I was washing my hair, He said, “You’ve asked Me for more love. For more joy. To know Me more. You’ve asked Me for a deeper surrender to My Spirit and more power in your life.”

Do you not recognize the answer when I give it?”

I was quieted… although it did not make anything easier.

Slowly, ever so slowly~ because I am pigheaded~ I began to understand the ways of a Savior.

He sends you into the storm to show you that He controls even the elements.

He allows your faith to be tested so that its object is Him alone.

He gives strength in weakness to remind everyone just where strength comes from.

Silly me. To ever think I could do anything to begin with.

Motherhood became and remains a daily exercise in faith. Some days I exercise well. Other days I skimp on the workout, wishing for an easier way.

I’m His disciple, among the crowds in Mark 6:35-37:

“By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

 

And oh, how motherhood puts us in the dusk of the day, the remote location, the late hour, our greatest time of need.  

And Jesus, He turns to us and says, “You give them something to eat.”

Seriously? He’s kidding, right?

But then we remember the ways of the Savior, how He doesn’t ask that we come up with our best shot…He invites us to bring all that pathetic absence of sufficiency to Him and watch Him do the miraculous.

He invites us to play a front role in the miraculous provision.

Yes. This is motherhood.

And at the end of the day, we gather up the excess.

Friend, I don’t have all the answers. Most days I wake up and feel the impossible pressing in. But I do know this: The impossible is an inviation to the miraculous.

So it’s good.

It’s all good.

 

What to do when the storm won’t pass

THE CAULDRON OF HOME LIFE BOILED OVER and I spilled too, making a mess and scalding little hearts and I wondered when I will ever get it right.

Evening came and so did the storms again, one right after another. We huddled together on the couch, listening to the sirens screech their warning and sang “Your Name is a strong and mighty tower….”

When the kids could stay up no longer, we put them to bed and risked turning on the computer to check the news.

“There’s been nothing like this,” they said, “one system after the other, with no breaks, no rest, no relief.”

From Mississippi to Ohio, the question’s on everyone’s mind:  “Will the levee’s hold?”

We can sandbag and pitch water with a pail, but we need those levees. We can minimize the loss, we can replace broken windows and clean up debris, but we need those levees to hold.

I finally fall into bed, storm tossed from the inside out, teary eyed and worn. I wonder how much more I can take of these storms that have been stretching one after another. These storms our family has been weathering going on four years now.

“Can You hear me, God?” I ask, and laugh at the absurdity of it. “Really hear me? Because I don’t know up from down anymore. I don’t know right from wrong, I have no idea what to do.”

Lightning flashes bright through the wood blinds and thunder shakes the light bulbs in the vanity. I beg a few hours sleep before my shift starts again.

In the morning I drive oldest to school. He is strangely quiet, except to ask, “Why is it so dark, Mom?”

“The storm clouds are so thick son, it blocks the sun. The beams can hardly get through.”

We pass by ponds swollen to overflowing, trees knocked down, see broken car windows.

Storms do their damage. Boiling cauldrons burn straight over.

We drive by the lake with the overflow tanks, the tanks that have been pumping water under the road to the back up pond for weeks. Even the overflow is backed up, unable to handle anymore. The water laps the edge of the road, hungry to devour pavement.

“Much more rain and this road is going to flood. They’re gonna have to close the road down.” I mutter it to myself. I feel my own backup tanks overflowing. I feel the flood waters lapping at the edges, the panic rising of being swept completely away.

I feel the maxed overflows and the stressed levees and the storms that won’t stop coming and the sirens that won’t stop screeching.

I wonder how much more I can take. I wonder if the levees will hold.

I drive home, back over the road that gets closed an hour later. I think of the white picket fence Christianity I had for so long. Oh, it looked good, girl. It looked good.

Then the storms started and pushed that thing clean over. There is nothing cute about me anymore, and maybe I’d mourn the loss except losing that version of Christianity wasn’t a bad thing…just shocking for others who looked at me and expected to see the white picket fence, perhaps.

As I ponder these things, open and bare before God, hidden no longer behind cute facades, I hear His voice, a rumble deep within, quite unexpectedly.

“Your levee’s gonna hold, my girl. Your levee’s gonna hold.”

And He opens my eyes and I see so clearly the storms of testing, the tearing away of all worthless, the strengthening of the Foundation.

The Levee’s gonna hold.

The storm may leave some tossed trees. The overflow may max out, the boiling cauldron may spill over every now and then. The living room may flood and the roof get torn sheer off.

But the Levee’s gonna hold.

They call at 10am, saying roads are impassable and schools are closing. It was inevitable.

But the Levee’s gonna hold.

Right there in the middle of the storm, mingled with torrent of rain on a few inches of soaked soil on a planet spinning in perfect orbit, a few salty, grateful tears.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the Rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

 

It’s raining today and I’m thinking about the Levee that holds. Repost from April of this year.

The Director of our steps

I head into town with the 3 little ones in car seats. It isn’t often I take them all with me on errands; I’ve learned not many errands are that important, but this one is. We’re getting vaccines.

Husband calls because he is at school and he’s close to where we’ll be and he suggests we meet him at the park after we’re done.

After shots we park at Chick-Fil-A and walk down the path to the nature reserve. Not ten steps down the path we see an Asian woman with two young children. The children with her are meandering, lagging behind. Mine are running ahead, looking for nuts and colored leaves.

Husband greets the woman in the language we’ve learned and she returns the greeting…she’s from our people group!

We start talking with her and she tells us where she is from and why she is here. “I can’t speak English,” she tells us. “I’m here to help with the grandchildren while my daughter finishes university.”

She says she wants to return to her homeland. “America is very beautiful, but it is not home.” We nod and relate our first experiences in a new country. “I’m 65 years old!” she exclaims, indicating she is too old to change much anymore.

I smile at her and tell her she looks so young…she really does…and Husband asks her if she has ever heard of Jesus before.

She looks baffled. “No,” she hesitates, not having a reference point. Is Jesus a place? A food? She doesn’t even know He’s a Person.

I tell her, “Since you are in America, we must share with you! Jesus! He is the most precious thing we have.”

She nods her agreement and Husband begins with creation, and the fall, and the broken relationship between man and God. As I look at the treasures the children have found, he tells how Jesus, God’s own son, came to restore our relationship with God.

Later he tells me he felt like he bumbled the whole thing. We are so out of practice using our second language! “You did great!” I encourage him. He is so much better at sharing the gospel than I am, and so bold.

While the kids are playing at Chick-Fil-A, Husband and I talk about the encounter. “You know that’s why we were at the park today,” he said to me, and I fill with awe. “He wanted that lady to hear the gospel in a language she can understand…”

“…and He sent us here to tell her,” I finish.

It is so amazing, so God, that I have no more words to say. We just look at each other in awe.

It doesn’t seem like we are doing anything “important.” We aren’t preaching to hundreds or leading Bible studies or writing books or even going overseas right now.

We are spending our days tired and I’m chasing a lot of children around and we’re doing a lot of studying and reading. And making a lot of trips into town for things like vaccines and diapers.

Yet today God directed our steps to a park where a woman from the other side of the world was, a woman who had never heard the name of Jesus...and couldn’t understand it anyway, if it was spoken in English.

“God looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne, He observes all who live on the earth. Nothing in all of creation can hide from Him. He sees every step I take. I know the Lord sees all that I do; therefore, I will not be shaken… for He is right beside me.”

Surely it is God who ordains the steps of a man.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

 

Wherever your paths take you this day, friend, may you know His counsel is upon you, His instruction in your steps. May you walk confident.

 

 

Nourished

 

 

 

It’s been 5 weeks since she stopped cold turkey.

The doctor says the nicotine is flushed out of her body by now, and not a minute too soon~ it was killing her. But still.

Still, she gets the cravings and they are harsh. Still, when she reaches that point in the road on her drive to work, she starts shaking. She’s jittery and she’s a wreck and she doesn’t want to die but it’s not just a chemical dependency she’s been fighting~ it’s a mental and emotional one too.

Shame, like a cigarette, is addictive. Rejection and anger and hatred and self-loathing are like Egypt’s strong onions, garlic, leek, and fish. The Israelites craved strong when they made their exodus.

Their bodies shook and their minds twisted and their mouths watered for that which was best left behind. We can be addicted to death.

Yet there’s a way through the wilderness. There’s a substitute for leeks and garlic. There’s manna from heaven.

And like the Israelites, I gather daily, just enough for each day; and I gather early, before the sun comes up and the opportunity is gone.

I eat words and words are my bread.

They gathered a day’s portion and stored it perhaps in a jar. I place my portion on index cards and carry them with me. When the pangs come and the cravings come and I feel I’ll die if I don’t have Egypt’s strong drink, I pull out those cards.

“The Lord is my Shepherd,” I read aloud and inhale the words, taste them. “I shall not want.”

Bread from heaven becomes my daily bread.

It seems neither palatable nor powerful in the moment…after the intense and dramatic meat pots I’ve eaten from. Yet with every mouthful, I am nourished in ways I can’t see and I’m one more meal removed from Egypt’s death pots.

We learn to let go of Egypt by replacing toxic enticements with the simple and pure Bread of Life…

…not discounting it because it carries no odor.

…not despising it because it seems boring.

…not pushing it away because it is foreign and we don’t understand it.

The instruction of the Lord is to gather it daily, let it become your new food.

We eat Words and Words become flesh, our new self. Word is how God takes form and dwells among us.

It’s been that way since the beginning, the Word speaking into existence new life, form from void. And doesn’t He promise that His Word will always go forth and accomplish what He intends? It will never return empty, never be without shape. God-Word always takes on form, becomes flesh, creates new life, manifests Divine dimensions.

So we eat Word manna and it works power inside us, shaping and forming Christ Himself within. Dare I overlook this simple faith act of eating words? Do I relegate it to only a duty or obligation? Or can I eat in faith, trusting for a nourishment and sustainment beyond my imagination?

Yes!

I tuck my portion into my pocket and feast all day long. What words are you eating today?        

{This post inspired by Exodus 16}

The Way He Loves Me

 

Dark skies split open and thunder cracks loud, waking me up. By the time I get to the airport several hours later, the storm moving up the eastern coast has caused major disruptions to flights, including mine~ cancelled.

The airline re-routes me but another delayed flight means that I’ll likely be spending the night at the airport.

“There’s no other flight out to Memphis tonight,” the attendant tells me. “There’s a chance your connecting flight may also be delayed, but don’t get your hopes up. I’m reserving you a seat on the 6am tomorrow.”

I’m prepared to spend the night in the airport…but I’m not giving up yet.

I reach Cleveland. It’s 5:20 and my connecting flight leaves at 5:40, on a different airline, at a different terminal and I have no idea where to go to get there. It’s not looking good at all.

I’m standing there, looking around for departure information, trying to figure out where to go. Out of nowhere, a man is beside me. He’s carrying a bag and wearing a white “Continental Airlines” shirt. “Where are you headed?” he asks.

“I’m on Delta at 5:40,” I tell him.

“Alright, you’re going to need to go down these stairs and then walk down the people mover.” He’s not a chatter.

He is by my side, move by move. Each step of the way, he coaches me… down stairs, around corners, through construction areas, out of terminal D and into terminal A.

“Just keep walking,” his voice is behind me, urging me on, directing me where to go. We are running through the airport.

 He takes me straight to the gate. “Thank you, sir,” I tell him, near tears. “I’ve got 4 babies at home wanting to see their momma tonight and without you, I’d be sleeping here. God bless you.”

He nods and disappears. An angel.

The plane is already boarded. The jetway is closed. “Has Memphis departed?” I ask the attendant. He is processing the next flight: Houston.

“Yes ma’am,” He says. “But let me just check…”

The clock behind him reads 5:26 and says that gates will close 15 minutes prior to departure time.

Another attendant appears and I ask, “Is there anyway I can make this flight? If not, I sleep here…”  My voice trails off and I can see he is receptive. Here is another of Cleveland’s best, a young black man with the energy of my 8 year old son. He looks at me with favor, grace.

Gift.

“I don’t know if there is a seat left,” he tells me. “Let me run check…” Before he exits through the “Authorized Personnel Only” door, he turns back. “Come with me!” he says.

I grab my bag and run. Again.

We run down stairs and outside through the rain.

“Hey!!” He yells it up to the flight attendant on board, waving his arms to prevent the door from shutting.

I’m standing in the rain with my bag. I see the staircase at the open door and I know I’m on this flight. Thank God, I’m going to see those babies tonight.

He runs ahead and checks for a seat. There is a single, solitary one remaining onboard.

And it’s mine.

I thank another Cleveland angel and everyone is watching me as I pass to the back of the plane and I’ve never felt so loved in all my life.

I sit down next to a lady headed to Pheonix and I know my face is beaming. It’s gotta be.

“It’s a miracle you’re on here,” she tells me.

“I know,” I smile. “I know.”

All the way home the rain disappears and I look out over cloud formations of mountains and canyons and islands floating…and I bask in the provision He made and the strangers He touched for me to get home.

I think of all the years I felt unloved by Him. The years I wondered. The times even now I’m tempted to doubt.And I praise Him for the eyes to see His love for me. He was sent to give sight to the blind and today I see. Today I hear. Today I know….the way He loves me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re running short on time {Why we need each other}

Update: Rikki, a sister in Christ and reader, sent me her Lies/Truth Chart and is willing to make it available for anyone interested. It is wonderfully helpful!  (And much prettier than mine!~ smile.) Please email me if you’d like me to forward you her chart.

 

They unfolded the Bibleland board game and asked me how to slide over the rainbow.

“Well, if you land on this green square here,” I pointed at the board, “then you can slide over the rainbow to the other side. You save a lot of time because you don’t have to travel all these spaces.” Fingers trace the path of color that meanders around the board.

Sometimes this mommy needs the shortcut.

I’m the last one in the race and I desperately need to hit the green square and slide over the rainbow if I’m going to stay in the game.

That’s when a family member comes along and shares their tip. They know how to land on the green square.

Someone who has taken the time to do the research; a pastor who has put in the hours of study, a mother who has waded through the hard issues and discovered a solution; a sister who has traveled through found the gem.  And they share in a sermon, a study, a book, a blog post.

In my journey to stay in the game, I stumble upon a 200 word book review…a brief summary of a book I will never have the time to read. And the words are apt, like apples of gold in settings of silver. I thank God for this sister in the family who has taken the hours of reading and meditating and has presented the gem of the material in a simple way that aids me in my journey.

Her few words are just what I need, the way over the rainbow. Thank You, Jesus!

And I give thanks to God who allows us to help others. We can take the gems of our journey and offer them as green squares to others, help them over the rainbow, keep them in the race.

We need each other, this family of Christ.

It is my privilege to now take the simple offering of my studies on the name Adonai, boiled down and presented in a little 5 day study for you and your children… Perhaps they will be apt words, like those apples of gold. Perhaps they will somehow serve you as a green square, the way to keep you in the game when you can’t keep up yourself.

Click here for Adonai: Adonai

Click here for past studies on the names of God Elohim and El Elyon

For those of you unable to download the Cheat sheet from this post, here is a pdf file for the Path of Life

May you slide over the rainbow today, dear friend.

This Day

Five days in bed sick, head hurts, body aches…

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Last night’s dishes piled high in sink…

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Toothpaste smeared in hall bathroom sink and skid marks in toilet…

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Loads of laundry to wash and house to sanitize…

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

The sun came up today. Again. The witness in the sky testifies to God’s faithfulness.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

The birds are outside finding their breakfast from the Father’s hand.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

God’s love never fails and today is a gift from His hand and I will take it.

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