Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wake Up!

One of the points in our Women's Bible Study last night was, The fully awake respond. It was part of a lesson by Lisa Bevere, Awaken the Lioness in You, a call to Christian women to become actively engaged in reaching the lost.

Our facilitator related that on her trip to Canada from which she had just returned, she met someone in distress and surprised herself by giving exactly the right words that ministered to the person. Our leader said she was glad that she was awake to what God wanted her to say.

One woman shared that, although she had been a sympathetic ear to a friend going through long-standing problems, sometimes she knew she wasn't really listening or empathizing, and the friend did not seem to be coming out of her difficulties.  Then one day at a meeting something was said that caught her attention, awakening her and galvanizing her to action.  She spoke words to her friend who suddenly seemed herself to awaken and comprehend, tears streaming down her face in the realization of God's love.  It was a turning point for her.

Yesterday my husband and I were in a store and when checking out at the counter, the clerk asked us if we wanted to donate school supplies for children of military personnel. My husband is usually the conversationalist with checkers, and I normally look on in amusement.  He mentioned that since we had already paid, we would do that next time we were in.

"Our church is having a Back-to-School Bash this Sunday with backpacks and school supplies to be given away," I heard myself saying.

The cashier looked up with interest. "Really?" she exclaimed in surprise.  "Where is the church?" We told her, and she immediately grabbed paper and pen and wrote down the directions.  "That is so wonderful!  I have kids and I need all the help I can get!" As I noticed her more closely, I was aware of the lines crossing her care-worn face and realized she was probably working at this low-paying job to make ends meet.
I had only made the remark casually, having no idea of her response.  Whether the Lord put the words in my mouth or heart, I'm not sure, but I was awakened to say something!  Apparently, she had never heard of our church, so maybe this will be a connection for her to know that there are people out there who care.  It may be an opportunity for the church to awaken her to the love of Jesus, showing that we are awake and respond!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Impulse Buy

I was in love!  Browsing the antique store, I spotted a dresser.  An old-fashioned one with a padded bench in front of the lovely mirror.  Just what I had been wanting!  I could imagine the piece re-done in the new/old style with chalk/milk paint!  Wait! What's this?  A bed!  A charming headboard with curlicues carved into it, gingerbread style!  Then I spotted the matching chest of drawers and a night stand!  All in great condition.  The associate said they were from the 40s!

Where was my husband? I finally located him at the back of the store poring over old musical instruments.  "Look!  Isn't this amazing?" I asked when I pointed out the bedroom set.  To his question of "How much?" I showed him the ticket with the original price slashed to half off!  He walked away disinterestedly.  Well, I knew even at half off, it would be a stretch, so I didn't press the issue.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it!  The bedroom of my dreams!  Then when I got home and realized how much furniture I would have to move and rearrange to make room for it, I was a little uncertain. I've always subscribed to the theory, "If you love it, you'll find a place for it!"  Still, I kept calculating in my head how we could afford it.  Finally, before I went to sleep, I prayed a prayer that God would make a way to get the set, or that He would give me a sign it wasn't for me.

Yesterday, I accompanied my husband to town so he could get a watch-band adjusted.  When he came out of the jewelry store, I  realized that the antique store was just down the block.  "Let's go in and look at that bedroom furniture," I ventured.  "I want to take pictures of it."  My idea was to show them to my daughter to get her opinion.

We walked in, and I had my iPhone at the ready.  "Was it in this section?" I asked Howard.  Then I stepped down to the display where it was.  This is funny, I thought. Everything had changed.  In the headboard's place was a scrolled, metal headboard.  And there was no dresser, or anything else!  Just an odd assortment of antiques.  The same bright quilt covered the present bed, but my heart sank at the thought that it was gone.

"Did that white bedroom set sell?" I asked a clerk, to which she answered, "Yes, it sold!  It's been moved to the back."  I walked out of the store numbly.  My dream was up in smoke.  But I felt a nudge of conscience when I thought about my prayer.  God had answered it!  I didn't expect it to be this way, but in my spirit I felt the confirmation that that was indeed the answer.

Perhaps God has something better for me in mind, or perhaps he sees something in the future precluding the purchase.  Whatever it is, I know I have a prayer-answering God!  Sometimes his answer is Yes, sometimes it is No, and sometimes it is Wait.  I will wait and see.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Get-Away

It seems everyone is having wonderful vacations this year!  Our son Trevor's family has just returned from a cruise. Much more than a stay aboard ship with marvelous food and entertainment, their vacation included adventures such as zip-lining over a Honduran jungle, cave-tubing in Belize and splashing in the refreshing waters of Little French Key.

Son Mark and grandson Grant enjoyed the hospitality of a friend's invitation to New York, a first-time visit for both.  They shared Facebook pictures from a boat with the two of them posed on either side of the Statue of Liberty in the background.  I loved the shots of them biking in Central Park.  They even saw a Broadway play, not to mention the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square and Grand Central Station.

Grandson Reid went along with friends to Disney World, saying it was the best trip there he had ever had.  I can't keep up with his sisters' activities, as it seems they are constantly rafting, tubing, floating, concert-ing or going to a beach somewhere.  (All this worked in despite summer life-guard jobs and hanging with friends.)

We kept busy and on the roads, too, celebrating the graduation of one grandson and the wedding of another. These gala events contrasted sharply with the sorrowful good-byes to my brother and our eldest grandson at their services this summer.  Even those occasions were not devoid of sweetness, though, at the pleasure of being with loved ones who live far away.

Vacations are important, and can be a time of refreshing and of gaining new perspectives.  Jesus recognized the need for rest and getting away from people when he advised  his disciples as recorded   in Mark's gospel. "And he said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.' For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a desert place..." Mark 6:31-32.

This was shortly after John the Baptist had been beheaded.  No doubts their hearts were sorrowful at this great loss.  People need time and space to grieve when someone dies.  My daughter and her husband felt the need to get away after their son's death.  They took solace in the beautiful Tennessee mountains near the ancestral home of Julie's grandmother, my mom.

Life goes on after vacations and times of rest, and/or sorrow.  In our family, life is rushing in, swirling with happy events. Julie's preemie baby grandson, our great-grandson, has gained over two pounds and has been released from the hospital.  Our now-oldest grandson and his fiance' have announced their engagement to be married next year.

There is a beautiful passage in Song of Solomon, reminiscent of our call to our heavenly home. "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land....Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!" Song 2:10-12, 13. 

Verse 9 says he is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice!  It can't be long before  see Him and our loved ones in heaven, the sights making any earthly vacation pale in comparison!

"But as it is written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"