Waiting for the Best

We must wait patiently when we are waiting for the best person to share our dreams and the daily ploughs and pleasures of life this side of heaven.

 

Why wait? Better to be lonely and one than miserable and two, Grandma warned me. And so we know it to be true, given a few years under our belt.

And so we wait if we are single, or single again, and ringless.  I opened a journal—written once upon a time—and was reminded once again of the truth and the journey of waiting….

Streams of encouragement flooded in at the same time from all directions to wait:

A  friend prayed for me at a difficult time:

 “God would bring me someone who loves me very much.”

The radio announced 3 encouragements by Chuck Swindoll on the topic:

1-    You may be surprised when you wait because the reason you’re waiting may be for your own change…and good.

2-    The waiting itself is wise.

3-    It’s always biblical when we get to impossible situations to wait…just wait.

A letter arrived:

I’m praying that the Lord will use your wounded heart for His glory and continue to teach you about that “in spite of” kind of love …so that when you meet that “special guy” you will love him and the Lord with a pure love. And when that guy comes along you will be so thankful that the Lord had you wait.

With a book excerpt:

“We so often want to pick the half-ripe fruit. The husbandman knows to wait till the proper time. And it is the Father, in whose hands are the times and seasons, who alone knows the moments when the soul is ripened to that fullness of faith in which it can really take and keep the blessing.”

                                                                                    Andrew Murray,  Waiting on God

And so God helps us to trust Him as we wait and to be at peace by His very Word:

“Oh how great is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you, which you have prepared for those who trust in You. “  Psalm 31:9

A Wedding Florist Story

“Don’t forget to take it slower so you can smell the roses as you trek the pathways of life. Being in a hurry will cause you to miss some very small and very beautiful things,” my Dad wrote a few years ago.

So today as I spoke with a friend, a wedding florist it fit part of her dilemma.
It was amazing to leaf through her bridal florist book. She not only considers flowers and colors to purchase, she must consider the style and fabric of the wedding gown. The bridal bouquet’s, shape, colors and quantity are thoughtfully chosen—the flowers that would best complement the bride’s look; not overpower or underplay her gown and figure. It is an art; my friend referred to as a recipe.

She feels delight and pressure to deliver the flowers for the wedding vases, pews, wedding party and parents, altar, cake, etc. etc.

“I can worry that the bride will not be happy with the flowers,” she said, in true service to her customer. “So it was great to see how God handled things once when the wrong color flowers were delivered the night before the wedding—a shade darker than planned.”

This particular bride was worried about the perfect wedding. So before my friend broke the news an older relative of the bride sat her down for a talk, to ease her lack of joy and tension. “She helped her to realize the whole focus of the wedding should be on her husband, the bridegroom and their commitment. That should be what she thinks of when she arrives at the wedding. And when she walks into the reception room, she needs to feel gratefulness for all the guests—friends and family that fill the rooms and have blessed their lives.”

My friend smiled. That talk was the perfect segue for her to break the news to the young bride about the flowers—”which turned out to work better than what we had picked.”

And so we can remember to major in the majors and minor in the minors while we prepare our lamps down here as the Bride of Christ – awaiting the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. WE must keep ourselves from getting too anxious about all these things that will eventually pass away, keeping our focus on Him. Brush off the cares that drag us away from the real joy and peace we have as His Bride and those who will one day walk into eternity. And take time to smell the roses.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; I go and prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2

Angel’s Unawares

Angel’s Unawares

She didn’t even know he knew how to take the light rail. Neither she nor her estranged husband allowed him to freely roam the city.
Just the afternoon before, my protective friend, always afraid to let go of her thirteen-year old son, Ryan, had just endured an exceptional argument that escalated to the point where she hit him on the leg with his tennis shoe.

Filled with anger, her Christian son, stomped out of their home, yelling profanities at her, hurling words that brought anguish and sorrow. She waited for his return; he headed for his Dad’s.
She called Ryan’s friends. When he didn’t return she called hers…to pray. At the time they were unaware of God’s divine interventions.

On his way to the light rail, a strange man on the street stuck out his hand and gave Ryan a little piece of paper.
He grabbed it and stuck it in his pocket. He didn’t want to read it.

When Ryan arrived at the light rail station without hesitation he asked two strangers for money.
One was reluctant and rude, the other freely handed him a dollar.
He boarded the light rail and headed for his father’s.

Now the following week the storm had blown over. During a time reading the Word together, he sincerely shared his experience that day. They had just finished reading Romans 8:16 about how the Spirit is real.
Ryan agreed, amused and recounted his experience. He knew his mom was horrified that he had hit the streets and public transportation alone.

“Mom, that day I had a look in my eyes; everyone knew not to mess with me.” She winced.
“When I arrived at Dad’s I remembered the note. I pulled it out of my pocket and started laughing out loud.”
“What is it?” his Dad came over and wanted to know what was so funny.
“The paper this man gave me said, “You can do nothing without Christ.”
His backslidden father said, “Did you tell him you were a follower?”
“No,” he said. “I just took the note. I was too angry.”

Ryan received the note during the time my friend was desperately praying. She had called friends one after the other feeling helpless. During the time she was praying, that poor man who she now believes was an angel in human form, approached Ryan. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrew 2:14

That little folded note, given by the stranger, reinstated my friend’s faith one-hundred fold. From that time on, she now knows not just in her mind but in her heart, that whenever her son is away from her presence, God is and always will be there with Ryan.
She now possesses the peace that passes all understanding, not just for herself, but for her son. She is reminded that all things work together for good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Just a Paper Clip

It was just a paper clip. But a paper clip in Juvenile Hall can be dangerous. It could be used to poke an eye or scrape messages into a surface. It could harm someone, like one of the young criminal law graduates from the University who “staffed” our city’s Juvenile Justice Chaplaincy system.

Maybe I didn’t have a clip on this batch of music copies I’d brought in to sing for our morning service,” I hoped. But my stomach was my conscience; it had a sick feeling. A gut feeling. I shuffled through the papers and flipped open my cell phone as I headed now, half-hour later, into my own church’s single’s service.

A young man answered the phone. I explained that I couldn’t find the paper clip that had been used to hold the music sheets together. “Tell Groebe,” I urged, thinking of the burly young guard my brother and I had developed a rapport with over the four years we’d been doing the services in behalf of the chaplaincy. “Okay,” the newbee said and hung up.

I entered our Sunday School group and sat down at a table chatting with friends, uneasily. Thoughts paraded behind every conversation unseen by those I talked with. What if a disgruntled inmate gets hold of it and hurts Groebe? What if they don’t find it and have to do a unit search, a huge inconvenience as they frisk each juvenile and even have to check their hair? Some of them had do’s so big, they could easily hide a paper clip. What if they’ve already hid it in their mattress and if unconfiscated , they can use it to harm an unsuspecting roommate?

The longer I thought the sicker I felt. “Lord please help them find it, and please let Groebe in particular find it.” I don’t know why I prayed that prayer, probably because we had some good conversations and had been praying for Groebe.

Suddenly I interrupte the table chatter. “Everyone would you pray for something really quick with me? I am so uneasy I can’t sit here.” Everyone nodded and I said aloud as I bowed my head, “God please help Groebe find that paperclip.”

Seconds later I excused myself and dialed back into the unit again. Groebe answered the phone. “Did you find it?” I asked. “No, we’ve looked and there’s nothing there.” He sounded tired, surely anticipating a search.
“Could you look under the chalkboard where my guitar case was one more time?”
“Okay,” he answered.

After a small chunk of eternity passed, Groebe picked up the phone again. “ I found it,” he stated lightly. “I was just leaving the chalkboard and glanced down one more time. It was in the corner.”

“Wonderful!” a dam broke inside of me. “That is specific answered prayer, Groebe. I asked God that you could be the one to find it.”

Groebe was silent on the other end. I hung up and returned to our table excited to report an immediate answer to our prayer. Once again I learned about God’s tailor made grace for every situation, abounding, real and relevant. And the power of specific prayer, and trust in the God who sees.

Birds and Breezes

What are your thoughts for starting the New Year?” A friend recently asked.
I usually have a word or thought to center on—usually hands down—it’s “listening.” Listening not only to what people are saying, and paying attention, but also hearing God.

Today was an example of confirmation, a reinforcement that God is truly inspiring us to start a new branch of one of our ministries at church. Today we begin sharing the vision and start sign ups.
Leaving the juvenile detention center with my guitar in hand and preparing to head over to singles at church—a breeze hit my face. Wind and the Holy Spirit are synonymous to me because Jesus used wind to describe the presence of the Spirit. At the same time the wind stirred, I glanced up as one lone white bird soared over the building and disappeared. It reminded me of the presence of God—when the dove appeared in the sky above Jesus after John baptized him. It may seem random but to me they are small significant occurrences. It is God saying “go” toward what He’s put on our hearts..

The above was journaled two weeks ago. Today we have 29 of 31 sign ups for a prayer ministry and networking as of Thursday with a bigger ministry we had no idea existed until this week.
It’s another example how God speaks to each of us in ways we hear Him…ways that may say nothing to another believer. He knows what each of us respond to…and hear. For this personal divine guidance, we are forever grateful.

There will always be birds and breezes, but God takes common occurrences and moves them together in uncommon ways…that get our attention and confirm His direction. He creates the inner working and maps the outworking of any success we encounter in life’s journey. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform…He rides above the storm and moves beyond our borders. Amazing and humbling to have God in our daily world communicating with us, His creation. It is the greatest privilege we have in life.

Airport Adventure

Two looks. The first, “Why are you so late?” stern.
The second, “Let me check the plane…yes, we have one seat…“You’re lucky – we have a delay.”
I didn’t have time to tell her I’m a Christian and I don’t believe in luck, but blessings. This was a Big One.

Banging my knee (and bruising it) on the Delta desk I limped down the ramp to the plane, and sat squeezed between two men, large and extra large, who each used the arms on both sides of me. I pulled out my journal and sat quietly practicing gratefulness that I even had a seat to sit in.

4 hours exiting the plane, I heard a voice pleading to get by everyone somewhere behind me in our busy aisle crammed to get off in Atlanta. Minutes later, on the ramp, I heard the same voice
“I have half hour. I need to get through, excuse me” As she flew by me (packing my polka-dot roller, I said, Where are you going?” Nashville she yelled. Oh, me too, I smiled raising my voice, “they’ll wait”. “Oh no they won’t…I was an airline stewardess, we need to get going now” she turned around and grabbed my polka dot roller and took off.
“I’ll get us there!” WHAT IS SHE THINKING? I followed her crazed glaze CLUELESS.
We dodged through commuters down glaring long halls, ramps and a train ride to our next gate to Nashville, a distant destination deeply filed in the huge mega airport, I’d never perused.
We screeched into the boarding line…and boarded.
“I would have never made it without you,” gratefully nodding my goodbye as we parted luggage and seats.
“Whew,” I plopped down in my last seat, a window seat, and talked the rest of the flight to the lovely professional woman next to me…who happened to be a Christian deacon at her church.
We stood side-by-side at the baggage claim an hour later when my friend, my ride called.
“My car is dying, the light’s on and I don’t know what to do.” She was headed for a gas station.
I hung up and explained the situation to my new friend. A lady on the other side of her overhearing me spoke up.
“Is she on airport property?” if she is have her call …and they will help her.
Immediately, I called my friend. “Are you on airport property?”
“Yes I am. I started to exit, but the needle on my car panel went way down so I came back in”
“Call this number…” I handed the lady standing on the other side of my new friend, my cell.
Fifteen minutes later, my friend waved.as I headed toward her car with the porter and luggage. The parking service man smiled in the truck behind her…the one who had brought her car a big jug of water… which was all it needed.
“No doubt, God you are in control and I am supposed to be here,” I laughed explaining the a-mazing day’s adventure.
Today I held my nephew’s 8 lb newborn at Baptist Hospital downtown Nashville. I am a great aunt and marveling at the timing of it all, my one weekend here.
Some times angels fly low. We know God is sovereign. But He is the One who makes the world turn all the days of our lives, whether we know it or not in this sometimes great soap opera we call life on planet earth.

As we go through the day, we pause, when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day, “Thy will be done.” Alcoholics Anonymous

…and even when we don’t have time to pause there is the prayer as Charles Spurgeon called Nehemiahs prayer in ch 2, vs 1-6, “the electric flash, like the winking of an eye, done intuitively yet done…”

and if we panic and nothing is done on this end, we know Jesus is at the right hand interceding for all of his Hebrews 7:25

Airport Adventure

“An adventure is by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing we choose.” G.W.Chesterton

Sometimes we know God is at work and “who will hinder it?” (Isaiah) Not even…ourselves.
Take my trip to Nashville. I arrived…by flashing green lights—no doubt– it was meant to be.

It started at 7am Thursday morning with a cheery wake-up call, “Hi, ready for Nashville?”
“Oh yes, I’m lying here reading. Going to color my hair in a bit.” I explained. Soon I finished reading and picked up my laptop browsing car rental deals, glancing infrequently at the clock past my snoozing peaceful dogs snoring on the bed and noting the pre-packed bags, little and big ducks in a row, lined by my dresser- except for the cosmetics– all packed.
8:30am I calmly sprung to life. – “Okay time to go!” I hopped up to begin mixing my hair dye (nicely laid out), shower and finish packing cosmetics. Smugly I looked at the clock. 8:30 Am. I didn’t have to be at Dad’s for my ride to the airport in Lincoln, a 43 min drive…until 9:30.
A gigantic pause followed by a blast of hot thought–WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Sudden scurry, hurry, worry—forget the hair, no shower, throw cosmetics, grab the dogs, lock the house, avoid noticeable speeding and… hit the roadwork.Roadwork! In the winding roads of Lincoln foothills? Never in thirty years. until today! And Murphy is at it again.

Quick transfer of luggage to Dad’s car = hurt back, nausea enroot…How will I carry a laptop and handbag with hurt left wing? Check in outside, past long Vet Holiday security lines. Yes! Thank you God for time to shop for a wheeled carrier. I’m out of warp speed. Lucky break! The last 50% off polka dot wheeled carrier that my bags fit in. Light and lovely, I rejoiced and sauntered over to another shop and browsed.
“Do you know what time it is?” I asked the shop lady. She shook her sleeve, 12:05.
“12:05?” I looked at my watch. A hazy cloud moved from a brain cell.
My plane departs at 11:52. MY PLANE DEPARTS AT 11:52! WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Frantic, I skid up to 3 hostesses at an empty waiting area behind Delta. “Did I miss my plane?
3 cool stares. . (to be continued Thursday)

Trust in the Lord and in His Hand

The hand of God appears when our thoughts are mentally stuck on a hamster wheel and there is no escaping to consider any worthy solutions –we have lost the ability to think creatively, or see any scenario beyond that cage we are trapped in—our human understanding. It is in such states that God coaxes us to trust in him, forget the spinning thoughts, don’t lean on our own solutions that aren’t happening anyway, and acknowledge Him– trusting He can direct our path. He can open the door and lead us to freedom, and new options, and a whole world of possibilities and answers we cannot comprehend beyond the cage, beyond the wheel of our finite mind.

That is what it is like to trust God, the God who created everything and made mountains and challenges us to cross their very face…following Him. When everyday feels like a challenge and a mountain then we are following the right guide. The perfect guide. “He will be our guide even until death” ( Ps 48:14 KJV)

Once I was on a glacier, unable to move my feet, clinging to the side of a white slate of ice in a true state of paralysis of analysis. “If I put this foot in this little carved out step across the face of this mountain, the other one might slip,”I thought. So I just stayed still. Which is also part of guidance. Often it’s better to do nothing and wait—than to do the wrong thing, all first responders know in ER situations. Suddenly help arrived. The mountain guide who was leading our trip stepped his way easily to my position on the mountain, and stood beside me.

When the guide appeared, he melted the cold block of rigid fear inside of me, by putting out his hand. The moment his warm grip encircled my hand, I forgot about my feet. I lost the thought of the difficulty and danger I was in, freed by the fact that the guide was there with me. “Follow me,” he instructed. And I did, so I can write about it thirty years later. But don’t ask me where I put my feet. I never did figure that out.

Shepherds of our Soul

Gentleness is love in action, being considerate and meeting the needs of others, allowing time for the other person to talkand being willing to learn. God called us to maintain a gentle attitude in our relationship with others, as we learn from the one who is gentle and humble of heart.

Today I heard John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian church refer to Christian leaders as “Guardians of the Soul.”

It touched that scripture I love in 1 Peter 3:1 that says we are now called to live in righteousness for “we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.” One thing leads to another. So we are in this world to tend others as he tends us; to comfort with the comfort he gives us. It reminds me how God had Moses in the desert tending sheep for 40 years and learning how to lead, so one day he could tend and lead a million people across that desert.

In the same manner we can bet, as we pray for those on our heart, they are on His heart. God puts people in our lives to lead and help as we understand where they are heading…to the Shepherd.

“My wife was reading my story,” he said.

She knew the direction it went. She knew him and understood the Author’s heart for her husband. It is amazing how people who know and understand us can see better than we sometimes, many times…what we need; the direction we should go.

Today we listened to Dr. Dan Allender as he discussed a crossroads in his life: the decision to work at a seminary or start a graduate school. The list of advantages, disadvantages, was a quickie. The pro-con list stacked up for the seminary position with benefits—and ease. But then his wife looked at him and said, “You’ve never been able to do anything normal. Why start now?”

Wonder in the Fall

Today I noticed the leaves are turning. It’s the first day I’ve noticed.
Makes me question if it’s been happening all week and I had my head in the sand, or sandstorm…again.
Is everyone else in a time twirl or is it just me.

It seems like 5 people I talked with had headaches last week. Is it change of season or the approaching holiday rush, busy frenzy feeling, feeling like it will be Christmas tomorrow? It is that time of year. Shoppers were buying costumes last week for Halloween, which is my lab’s birthday. He will turn 4 in his angel costume.

My brother was in Utah this weekend and he described sitting in a living room visiting with friends, the fireplace crackling in the background and snow falling horizontal and steady out the window.
I think our city needs a good snow. To calm us all down. To keep us all in and still and quiet, contemplating contentment, forced into cozy chambers with good conversations …about the weather!
Doesn’t that sound fun?
So if Elijah prayed for rain and God answered, maybe if we all pray for snow…
We’ll have a new kind of fall right here in River City… a white one!

So if we can’t do that we can practice our observation skills. See if we can spot the first leaf to turn on a tree. Years ago, this became a challenge when I looked up one day and every tree on the street where I lived was bright gold and yellow. When did that happen I wondered?
So I don’t want to worry about Christmas. I want to wonder … I want to wonder about Fall.

Our 4th grade teacher , Miss Wizer, had us memorize a poem by Joyce Kilmer. Then we would be instructged to find the best leaves, the most colorful and brightg and bring them to the classroom. So we would search the branches and the ground on the way to school for Autumn leaves. Do you remember tracing them with crayons and ironing them between wax paper to make cards? Children still do that today! Maybe we should make a go of it too!

“I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree,
A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts it’s leafy arms to pray…” Joyce Kilmer

God help us all to discover those moments of beauty all around us today. Even if they are yellow and gold, again, our city’s changing season. They are beautiful- a daily reminder that you are moving us along in time and purpose, in worship and wonder.
He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end…” Ecclesiastes 3:11