Hope Deferred

Last weekend a friend and I were sharing our hearts with one another.  I talked about some areas for which I was asking God’s direction, but have not sensed His clear leading yet.  Waiting (which has never been my strong suit) had morphed into some feelings of restlessness.

We ended our time together praying for one another.  My friend prayed that even if it was not the right time for God to reveal the full answer to my prayers, would He show me some glimpses of His plan this week?  This week I have been amazed at how many times I have seen “a glimpse,”  or what is sometimes called a “God sighting.”

Is God more active in my life this week in answer to my friends prayer?  I don’t think God is the one who changed.

By sharing my struggle with my friend and praying together , I am the one who changed.  I have a renewed awareness of God’s Hand at work in my life, and confidence that He has not forgotten me.   And I have the gumption to wait for the full reveal in His good time.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12 NLT

Hope Rocks

This Is My Brain . . .

This is my brain, and this is my brain coming out of overload . . . .

Lately I feel like my brain (along with my calendar and life) have been on overload.  Consequently I have had no margins to dream, think or write.  That’s not good.  Combine that with weather that primarily has been pretty dreary for a few weeks and I was left feeling pretty empty and void.

Thankfully this last week God blessed me three times (truthfully He has blessed me so much more everyday, but these three are of particular note) with:

  1.  Times of reconnection and fellowship with two friends whom I haven’t chatted with in ages.  Such deep sharing refreshed my parched soul.
  2. Being together around the Word of God with others who are the hands and feet of
    KBN
    Photo Credit:  Freeman Miller

    Jesus in the city of Philadelphia.  I never experience time with these brothers and sisters when my passion to know Jesus deeper and serve Him more fully is not fueled.

  3. Opportunities to be outside with days of sunshine and warmth.  Amazing how that readjusts the psyche, especially when the sunshine is enjoyed when taking a walk.

Today Jerry and I attended an event on the field at a minor league baseball park.  Walking along the all dirt infield we saw two places where shoots of grass were bursting from the the ground.

These last few weeks I felt like the infield, dry, flat and totally void.  After this week of blessings I see and feel new life springing forth from the barrenness.  And I am so thankful!

Coffee and Friendship

imageBreakfast is my favorite meal to eat out, but one I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy. I met with a friend for breakfast at a grocery store where they serve a buffet meal. We decided not to get the usual coffee that comes with the meal but instead go to the coffee bar nearby.

A customer standing there seemed to be waiting for the barista to make her drink. After several minutes the customer moved to the other end of the counter and after another minute or so wait the barista came and took her order and quickly got her drink (if you can call the thick green goop a drink).

Thinking it was our turn I stepped to the counter. No other customers were around. But then neither was the barista. She went back to the other side of the shop and resumed a task she was doing earlier. She also put a fresh pot of coffee out with seemingly no realization that we were waiting.

I gently called to her saying, “excuse me, could we get service?” She replied that she would be with us shortly.

After a couple more minutes we gave up on the idea of getting a specialty drink , instead filling our cups with the brews available to the public. As we finished she came to us and asked what we would like to order. I believe I was calm,but purposeful in saying, “We gave up waiting and just got regular coffee; I just need to pay you.” She apologized and rang up our order.

While paying I suggested that perhaps next time when she saw customer’s waiting she could look over and say, “I’ll be with you in just a minute.” or something to that affect. She replied she did that. To which I reminded her she did indeed, but only after I finally brought our presence to her attention.
Her reply startled me,”I didn’t think you’d mind waiting.”

As much as her reply startled me, it was the reply of my friend that startled me more. She asked me (in private) what was going on with me and why did I respond that way? She actually snickered that we were together catching up with one another, so did a few minutes really matter?

I took a breath and realized (as you have probably already discerned) that it wasn’t at all about a wait for coffee or service. It was about a situation at work that had me so flummoxed that it clouded my processing and reactions.

What a precious gift to have a friend so willing to speak the truth to me. She helped me bring the situation to the forefront, spoke some wise words to me and enabled me to gain perspective and enjoy not only a rich time of sharing with my friend, but also breakfast and a pretty good cup of hot coffee!

Reflecting on Redwoods

There was much we loved about our life in northern California:  our home, our church (even to this day Jerry misses his men’s group that has never been replicated), our friends, the weather, and travel opportunities.  And it was the place where we were married and started our life together.  Such sweet memories.

One of my favorite places to spend a day off or to take visitors was Armstrong Redwoods.  I found such solace and communion with God there.  The coastal redwoods are majestic and stately.  As tall as they are (about 200-250 feet) it is surprising for people to learn that their root systems are very shallow.  You’ll never see a Redwood growing alone, they always grow in community; standing firm against the storms and elements because their roots intertwine with the trees around them.  Redwoods.jpg

Jerry and I felt that intertwining of our roots in community when we lived there.  As hard as it was to leave we knew God was calling us east.

When we first arrived in Pennsylvania we felt like a lone Redwood.  We had one another but that was all we had (within an hour’s drive). We felt the instability as the winds and storms swirled in those early years.

Today, nearly 18 years later I sit in a hotel just a mile or so from where we spent our first nights in Pennsylvania full of anticipation, exhaustion and a healthy dose of fear.  I still miss the people and beauty of northern California and am grateful for the broad root system that crosses the 3000 mile gap.  Yet we’ve grown stronger and richer as many beautiful Pennsylvania roots deeply intertwine with ours.

Who knew there were Redwoods in Pennsylvania?

 

 

Legacy

I am grateful for the faith my parents instilled in me. Today I reaped another blessing from that legacy.

Jerry and I were invited to share the “Mission Moment” at the church where Mom first belonged and worshipped when she moved up to live with us in PA.  That church was a wonderful source of friendship and service for Mom.

When I greeted Irene, she shared that when she sees Joni and Friends on their church prayer list she doesn’t pray for the ministry, she prays for me and Jerry!  I have probably only seen Irene three or four times in the last 15 years, but she knew me from Mom.  Mom was a great ambassador for Joni and Friends everywhere she went and to everyone she met.  What an encouragement to know her investment in us is still reaping benefits two and a half years after her passing.

Later in the morning I chatted with Cynthia, who shared how much she still misses my Mom (I assured her I do too).  She counted Mom as a dear friend.  Cynthia shared that she has never taken Mom’s name off her prayer list.  Knowing that Mom no longer needs prayer she instead uses that as a prompt to pray for Jerry and me.

I was humbled.  Thank you Mom for paving the way for others to lift us up in prayer when you were no longer here to do so.

Makes me wonder who will stand in the gap to pray for us when God calls these ladies home?  Makes me also want to go deeper in my own prayer life to stand in the gap for others.

Thanks Mom, and Dad too.70bd8-fullsizerender

Hope Realized

A few weeks ago I shared an anecdote about my missing pink and brown moose sock.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I brought in our mail and saw a small packet from a store that sounded “Alaskan” to me.  How fun to open it up and find these – a new pair of New Moose Socksthe EXACT sock I had lost!  Even more fun was to see who sent them to me, someone with whom I am developing a new friendship.

When I thanked my friend, she shared that she thought it would be a fun way to share a blessing with me. She was right!

No longer do I hope to find the errant moose sock.  My hope has been realized.  But now I have a new hope – about how God will work in our lives as my friend and I get to know one another more and seek God together.