Saturday, November 14, 2009 God's goodness

This morning I attended an event at church called Arise! Cry Out! - a Worldwide Day of Extraordinary Prayer for Children and Schools sponsored by Moms In Touch International (MITI). Can you imagine the power harnessed by mothers from 130 countries simultaneously praying for the children of the world? You know that definitely moves God's heart.

And when His heart is moved, things happen.

Let me tell you what He did for me today.

They needed ushers for the event so I volunteered. As a result I had to sit in the back at one of the designated usher's chairs. When it was time to pray, I joined a group of ladies towards the front. On the way back to my seat I noticed a latecomer. She was an older lady, mid-70's, sitting by herself at the very last pew. She looked like she wanted to be left alone. During the next prayer session, instead of going back to my former group, I approached the lady instead. Hesitating a little, I asked her if it's okay to pray with her. She smiled and nodded.

She motioned for me to go first. I started praying that my college freshman find a good bible believing church close to Stanford and for him to continue in his Christian walk. I also prayed for my younger son who is still home. I heard her laugh when I mentioned that my little one is challenging but he keeps us on our toes. When it was her turn, she prayed for her daughters. I listened intently to her prayers so I can agree with her. Then all of a sudden I heard "Menlo Park" and "Palo Alto." Huh? At first I thought I did not hear her correctly. It turns out she is familiar with the area and knows of not just one, but TWO good "sound" churches within a mile of campus.

I mean, can you believe it?

There were a hundred women at that church this morning. Of all the ladies that I could have sat next to - God led me to the one who has two daughters living in the Palo Alto area. I looked down and was surprised to see the tear stains on my jeans. I just cried. And cried. And cried some more at God's goodness. Later on, she came to my seat and gave me a piece of paper with the names of the churches AND the service times. She also gave me her contact info. Then she left.

I said a prayer for her.

Oh, my heart is just overwhelmed and my eyes swollen from tears of gratitude to our wonderful, wonderful God. He hears our cries. He answers our prayers. Sometimes there's a wait. Sometimes immediately that you can almost hear Him whisper, "I am here."

My faith is renewed. My desire to pray more is strengthened. I am standing in the gap.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When the "D" in DH does not mean "dear"...

Today is my Dh's birthday. I made a card for him the other night. And I am thankful for that because had I made it LAST night, it would be a VERY, VERY different version.

This is the version from the other night:
I used espresso colored cardstock (Bazzill - the best!) accented with blue. The cover read: The Things I Love About You. Inside I stuck some chipboard that said, "your smile," "your laugh," "your sense of humor," "your hugs" and a big one that said "i love everything about you." And added my own little notes to go with each. Ahhhhh, add in the rainbows and unicorns and we're set.

This is what it would have been had I made it last night:
It would be on a cheap construction paper. Black to match his heart. The inscription would read:
Where the heck were you when I was trying to reach you this afternoon???? Your son had a really bad asthma attack! We're 30 miles from home - and his inhaler. Why were you not picking up your darn phone? You are an insensitive and selfish lout and I hope you choke on your steak.

Harsh, right?

I did not even want to give him the "other night" card this morning - thinking he did not deserve it. I was still so mad! I was mad-reading through my Psalms and Proverbs, when I came across this:

Psalm 126: 5-6
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Yes, I have been sowing in tears, begging God to soften my husband's heart. And days like yesterday I get disheartened that it may never happen. But that phrase caught my attention: Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Sheaves? What are sheaves? (Because I was focused on the "rejoicing" part.) said sheaves is a plural of sheaf. O-kay, that was helpful. When I clicked on sheaf it said: 1. A bundle of cut stalks of grain or similar plants bound with straw or twine.

It did not make sense at first but the Holy Spirit just reminded me - very patiently, I might add:

Holy Spirit: It means a harvest.

Me: Huh, what? (I'm not a morning person.)

Holy Spirit: From the seeds you've been sowing in tears. You know, your prayers? (I can imagine Him saying "duh!" and sighing as He tells me this. Is the Holy Spirit allowed to sigh?) Don't stop praying. It's coming.

Me: Oh!

God's grace just amazes me. And His patience and mercy. Even in the midst of my anger and resentment, He comes in and comforts me with just the right words to keep me going. I may not see any changes now. It may even look worse than before, but a harvest is coming. I don't even know if my husband knows about it. He is in for a ride.

We serve an awesome God.

Now, I'm off to wish my husband a happy birthday. And mean it.

Update: I did call after I hit the "publish post" button. My attitude was totally different from when I started typing the title. I had a smile in my heart and my face and said "Happy Birthday!!!" I don't think he was expecting a call considering my icy attitude this morning because he sounded surprised. He thanked me for the card. I did not even mention anything about last night.
I cried after I hung up the phone. Tears of gratitude and praise brimming in my eyes because I see - truly see - God's hand in this. He really has the power to change hearts. Mine, definitely this morning in the span of an hour and his, well, sometime in the future.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord! I'm looking forward to that harvest.