I shouldn't be surprised by how God works, but after 38 years of walking with Christ, I am consistently amazed that He is so present in my life. When I feel so badly about myself, or my parenting skills, or whatever it is that has me down, He never leaves me. He is right there with me, just where he promised to be. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20.
I have a friend named Robin. We have made an agreement in recent months to hold one another accountable and to pray for one another. In the midst of my no good, very bad day yesterday I texted her to ask her how she was doing and to let her know I had just prayed for her. She replied briefly that she was fine and we'd chat later.
Today she sent me a long note detailing how I must've been praying at precisely the right time. She needed to feel God's presence and I was able to reassure her that in that moment I was lifting her up to our Father in heaven, who loves her (and me!) so much more than we can think or even imagine. It's such a simple testimony to His love for us and His faithfulness. He is with us always. Always!
I shared with Robin some of the struggles we'd been facing lately, and asked her to pray for us.
First I had a huge problem at work. It was a blow to me personally as well as professionally. But I dealt with it. We prayed our way through it and hung in there.
Then I started getting traffic tickets. I know that sounds unusual. It is. I am 44 and had never been in an accident up to this point. I'd only gotten a few traffic tickets in my driving career, and then they were very few and far between. In a span of 2 weeks, I was looking at 3 citations, 1 accident, and a total fine of nearly $500 for all combined.
OK....I admit I was getting a bit skeptical. If this is Satan trying to drag me down, it's working. I know that he cannot do anything to a believer without getting permission from God. So I tell myself that God is allowing all this. OK, fine. Not sure what the message is, but I'm a bit ticked. I don't get it. I'm working as much as I can, our family barely gets to go to church due to my work schedule and 2 piece o'crap vehicles, and now this. Right before Christmas. I admit --- I thought that God was NOWHERE in sight in the midst of all this. He's off helping Franklin Graham raise millions for orphans in Uganda, or helping Beth Moore write another best selling Bible study. But here in New Orleans with the South family, who'd given up everything, moved to a violent city, and now sat here nearly broke with Christmas approaching.....I didn't see Him in this picture. And then the final straw? The van died. On the way home from school, it died. I admit I had a moment (more like an entire evening) where I could totally identify with Job's wife. I just did NOT get it.
This morning, Robin pointed me to a message from a missions conference she'd just attended with her husband. I watched the entire thing, tears in my eyes through most of it, as God gently and lovingly reminded me of the call that He placed on our lives in January of 2005. Paul and I knew that God had spoken to us, He had laid His hand on our hearts and told us in no uncertain terms that we were to go. Not knowing what that meant, we surrendered. We sold our house, packed our belongings, and moved to a still shaky and uncertain post-Katrina New Orleans for seminary. It seemed the logical place to start.
4 years later, with multiple changes that have taken place in our family, we were quite honestly beginning to question that call. I was back to work, we'd added a 3rd child to our family, we'd quit homeschooling and put the boys in school....our lives looked dramatically different than it did when we came here. "How could this be what God wanted for us", we'd ask one another often. We didn't have the answer. No one did.
And then Robin sent me that link. Walker Moore. He may have spoken to a group of pastors in Arkansas before Thanksgiving, but today he spoke to a skeptical woman sitting in her 800 square foot seminary apartment, ready to throw in the towel and quit.
No, I correct that: it wasn't Walker Moore. It was our Almighty God speaking through a man who had himself surrendered his life to God's work. And it's all it took to reignite the passion that God placed in *me* some 15 years ago. And it reminded me of the feeling of complete peace that Paul and I had as we walked to the front of our church in Biloxi, on January 1, 2006, and told Chip Stevens and our entire church family that we would go where God wanted us to go, and we would do what God wanted us to do. We believed that with all our hearts then, and I believe it now.
And then, from way back in the portion of my brain that stores all those Scriptures I've memorized over the years came a familiar, loved verse....
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)
Perhaps I'd gotten too busy. Maybe I've tuned him out with children, TV, radio, washing machines and dishwashers. I've gone to work and listened to monitors and babies cry and IV pumps....but I didn't listen for Him. The noise of the world had drowned Him out. But He hasn't budged. Hasn't gone anywhere. He is right here, speaking to me and to Paul, and even to Tucker, Griffin, and Anne Claire; He's getting them prepared for the job that is marked for our family---the one for eternal purposes with our name on it.
No, He hasn't gone anywhere. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20.