Saturday, May 25, 2013

What If She's An Angel?

We had been driving for hours.  It was the black of night and the rain began to fall so hard my husband slowed the car so he could see.  He's a car man, in the car business, so being in the presence of such an expert driver should tell you how hard it was raining.  Ahem.  As a rule of thumb, I don't stop in the dead of night for people who are broken down on the side of the road.  Hannibal Lecter  and Freddie Krueger immediately come to mind when I think of doing such a thing.  There was something about this car, though.  The driver had all the interior lights on, children in the back, and he was frantically waving down cars.  "STOP THE CAR!" I yelled.  I knew in my gut these people needed help.  We argued about face eating psychopaths for a second and then I said, "What if he's an angel?"  (I knew I loved that song for a reason.) My darling husband, Bo, immediately pulled over.  After stern directions to stay in the car, he got out into the driving rain to see what was going on.  Their car had broken down on the way to the hospital, his wife was in HARD labor, and they forgot their cell phone at home.  When Bo told me, I immediately said, "Oh my gosh!  I can help!  I'M ALMOST A NURSE."  You see, I went to nursing school and completed all my prerequisite classes.  I did not, however, complete ANY clinicals. So, I took a deep breath, formed plan in my head of how I was going to deliver a baby in these conditions.  I walked straight over to the driver's  side of the car.  "Ma'am, I can help you.   How far apart are your contractions?" Oh man I was doing so good!  She says to me, "They are right on top of each other and I can feel the head crowning."  MY RESPONSE? "  Are you hungry? I have granola bars and sandwiches. Would you like some water or soda?  I have a blanket if you are cold."  Just like that I went from being almost a nurse to full blown hostess.  Maybe even a flight attendant in training.  We loaned them our phone, they called an ambulance, and we later found out she had her baby in the elevator of the hospital.  I will never forget what Bo said to me after that, "Whew, I sure am glad you're almost a nurse.  If I ever have a heart attack, at least I will be warm with a full belly."  I can take that right off of my resume. 

That day I began to listen more carefully to the voice within.  The overwhelming urge I felt to stop on the side of the road was the Holy Spirit. My flesh was the one telling me I was a delivery nurse.  There's a huge difference.  I often wonder how many times I've ignored the Holy Spirit and missed a huge blessing along the way.  My pride has stopped me several times from answering that call.  Like the time I passed a woman in the grocery and she was really upset.  She was talking about how Christians pass around the offering plate and behave one way in church but when people like her can't afford groceries, we are nothing but hypocrites.  I literally stood behind her, frozen, knowing I needed to say something or pray with her, or even offer to buy part of her groceries that day.  I was too afraid and I was also afraid of how I might look.  I regret leaving the store and I now know that it doesn't matter what I looked like, what she could have said to me, or how she would've taken any gesture I offered.  I had the opportunity to show her a glimpse of Jesus' love and I didn't.

There is a quote I would like to share with you.  "It is becoming less and less important of what people think of me.  It is of utmost importance, however,  what people think of Jesus, because of me."

I wish I could say I have made huge strides in this area of my walk.  Although I am working very hard to be obedient, my flesh still gets in the way.  When it comes to random strangers, it has helped to ask myself, "What if she/he's an angel?" I am not so presumptuous to unequivocally say God places angels in our path to test us.  I am not a biblical scholar.  I am just sharing my experience with you as I lived it.  Do you have any encounters with "angels" you'd like to share? What are some ways you have learned to obey the Holy Spirit?  I have included the YouTube video of the song that has touched my life in such a profound way.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

"What If She's An Angel" by Brad Paisley.

What if she's an angel sent here from Heaven
And she's making certain that you're doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in her face
Knowing deep down it could have been her saving grace
What if she's an angel

"13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known you." John 16:13-14 NIV
"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20 NIV

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Orphaned Hobos

My sweet husband called and he won the prize he worked so hard for.  An all inclusive trip to Jamaica for 4 days.  Why was my heart pounding so hard?  Why was I so full of angst? I was thrilled for him but my guts were inside out.  We had not been away from our children in 7 years.  Was it separation anxiety?  I could already see the headlines, "Delta Airlines Flight 555 bound for Jamaica crashes into the Atlantic." What would my children do without me? We aren't prepared for this! I said countless prayers but they didn't seem to help.  We were doomed.  A mother's intuition is spot on, isn't it?  I knew in my gut that I was orphaning my children the minute I stepped on that plane.  What a position I was in.  My husband, of course, didn't understand.  He's not a mother.  How could he?  He didn't carry two children for nine months.  He didn't wake up countless nights on just a hunch they needed me to find they were running high temps.  He does not know what this feels like.  What does a girl do in this position?  Refuse to go and look like a selfish cow?  It WASN'T an option so I was going to have to be selfless and MARTYR myself. I had to orphan my children and pray that they didn't become hobos on the side of the road.  If they did, I prayed they at least bathed.  As we kissed our orphan hobos goodbye that morning, the tears wet my cheeks.  I was kissing them goodbye for the last time.  Sigh.  A few hours later,  I walked onto the plane and sat in my seat and begin to pray, and pray, and pray, and pray.  Again it wasn't working.  We started to take off and it hit me like a Mack truck... it was as if God himself spoke to me.  I was praying, alright, but I wasn't trusting Him.  I was just hoping He would get us there safely.  So I closed my eyes and said, "Dear Heavenly Father, I TRUST YOU. I TRUST YOU TO CARRY THIS PLANE TO JAMAICA SAFELY. In Jesus Name, Amen."  And just like that, every ounce of anxiety and fear I had left my body.  What a moment that was for me.  I don't know why it is that we pray for things and then we sit and hope God answers our prayers. 

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the image of gold King Nebuchadnezzar set up, he threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace.  The men responded, Daniel 3:17 "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand."  They were bound up and thrown in.  When the King looked inside, he didn't see 3 men, he saw 4 and they were walking around.  In the Bible, the fourth man was said to be a "son of God."  None of them were  hurt!  When the King ordered the men to come out, only three men walked out, unbound, and didn't even smell like smoke!  They trusted God and He delivered them.  Just like he delivered me on that plane. 

We all have fiery furnaces we walk through and we cannot escape them.  In our furnaces, though, the fourth man, is not "a son of God," it is ourselves.  The other three are the trinity.  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  We must start trusting God to get us through our trials instead of hoping he will.  He allows us to walk through them for a reason.  He wants to break the chains that keep us in bondage just like he broke them off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  When I did a personal inventory of my heart, I realized I smelled like smoke more than I cared to admit.  I have some resentment, anger, and hurt feelings I would like to be set free from.  I'm tired of feeling so wounded about certain things.  Do you ever feel that way?   Are there areas in your life you might be feeling a little smoky? When we come through a trial, God wants us to come through it victoriously and unscathed with no scars!  I encourage you to pray and TRUST our Father to make your heart a smoke free establishment.  He loves you so much.  While you are at it, could you pray for my husband?  Only that man could love me like he does.  Crazy cakes and all... 

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Proverbs girfriend

I must have started this blog ten times already.  It is my first post so it is a big deal.  The Scrabble nerd in me keeps writing articulate entries that might impress some folks but I want what I write to be exactly what would come from my mouth.  Not a research paper I was writing in college.  In saying that, if you are the grammar police or find yourself needing to correct my errors then this may not be the blog for you.  I am imperfectly perfect and I want my little corner of the universe to be just that.  Imperfectly perfect. 

A dear friend of mine sent me a link to a blog the other night that really spoke to my heart.  It was about girlfriends. Women gathered together and wrote things on stones that were keeping them from friendship with other women. Things that were building walls around their hearts. Words.  One woman simply wrote "Not Enough" and reading those words shook me to my core. That was just one stone.  I've not stopped thinking about that one stone since.  I imagine if we all stopped and made a list of hurts that were holding us back, we could have a backpack full of stones, couldn't we? Isn't that what we do anyway?  We carry that backpack of "Not Enoughs" around with us and use it as walls around our hearts so no one can get near us.  If they dare get too close, we reach back into our pack, grab one of our stones, and hurl it at them.  Maybe it is a stone that says "anger" or "resentment" or even "jealousy", but we pull from our own arsenal and project it back on others.  Hurt people, hurt people.  I have done it so many times in the past that I literally isolated myself.  I was sick of myself and sick of women. I was broken and found myself placing my shards into other people. It took some time but with God's grace, I am back among the living and now have a few friendships I absolutely cannot picture my life without. We are sisters at heart and our bond has been built by defeating despair, stitching broken hearts, walking hand in hand through the weeds of life, and helping each other get rid of some stones along the way. Absolutely knowing we are not in this alone, we lift each other up and encourage one another. We rejoice in each other's success and fill each other's cups.  It's the kind of friendship I always dreamt of but never knew existed.   It's time to lay down the swords, tear down the walls, and open our hearts to one another. We aren't the only ones that knows what this feels like even though, at times, we feel alone.  Our sister is hurting, too.  Our girlfriend is hurting.  Our neighbor is hurting.  The lady who asked us to lunch and we are unsure about is hurting.  Pain is not prejudice.  It hits every home and it does not care how much money we make or what kind of car we drive.  Human suffering is the same across the board.  The real healing begins when we move outside of our comfort zone and become vulnerable to others. That is where real friendships begin, too.  I don't know your story or where your road has taken you.  My road to healing started with some apologies.  They were long overdue and I had to humble myself but I absolutely owed it to a few people and I was met with love in return.  I had a truck load of stones to contend with and I still have some miles to travel but everyday the distance gets shorter and shorter.  Maybe your road to healing begins by offering an ear to someone you know is going through a hard time.  Maybe your road is simply refusing to participate in gossip from this day forward. I encourage you to map out your road and start your journey.  We are daughters of a King! Let's make our Father in Heaven proud. Let's aim to be a Proverbs girlfriend. 

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness." Proverbs 31:26 NLT