Friday, October 22, 2010


Patience can be defined as the tolerance of delay.
We imagined an easily accomplished afternoon.  A visit to the allergist.  A visit to the bank.  Other errands, and caring for our granddaughters.  Our one vehicle requires careful planning of our days.  Last Tuesday's needs created opportunity for Jeff and I to juggle a busy schedule.

With two girls in tow, safely attached to their car seats, Jeff would drop me by the doctor; then, he would go the bank, finish the errands, and take the children home.  I would call him on my cell when my appointment was done.  It seemed so easily managed.   

And so it was easy until I walked out of my doctor's office, picked up the phone, dialed home, and received a "cannot complete your call now; please try again later" message.  "OK," I thought.  "I must not have a good signal inside the building.  I'll step outside and call."

Same number.  Same message.  Same problem.  I couldn't get through.  I tried again.  And, again.  And, again.   

I scanned my phone for numbers.  Maybe someone else could get through.  I found my brother's number and gave him a call.  He phoned my home number and called me back.  "Andrea, I'm getting a busy signal."

I scanned my phone for my son, Steven's, work number.  He proved very difficult to reach, but after a long while, I got through to him.  He tried to call his dad and got the same "Your call cannot be completed" message.  Steven would see what he could do to help me and call me back.

I was stranded for now. 

I stood outside the beautiful brick building, its four columns gracing a covered portico, which gave me shade.  The afternoon was very warm but not hot, and a light breeze occasionally lifted its gentle presence across my face. 

I remembered a hair clip was in my purse, so I dug through the depths of pictures, eyeglasses, papers, book, pens, mints, and everything else and found the clip at the bottom, took it, and put up my hair. 

I ignored the looks of the passersby, who were going in and out of the doctors' building. 

I waited.   

I thought of walking the three miles home.  "If only I hadn't worn these shoes with heals.  (They were only two inches, but for me may as well been five.)  Why didn't I wear my cushy, black sandals?"

I waited. 

I thought of how my patience span was much less elastic than it had been an hour before. 

My cell rang.  It was Steven, who said he couldn't leave his job at present, but was sending someone to take me home. 

I waited.  Longer.  And longer, still. 

A new problem began to grow in my soul.  I felt an urgent choice arise within, as on one hand my flesh begged for permission to be angry, and on the other hand my spirit remembered words hidden in my heart.

I breathed, and prayed.  "Father my days were all written in your book before I was conceived.  Help me, Lord, to hear you here, in this place, in my now.  Holy Spirit, help me to rest in you.  To be patient.  To do what pleases you.  To see in you in this frustrating, passing moment."

Minutes later, still alone, my son called with news that my deliverer was lost.  I walked in front of the building and found the address number, so he could call my rescuer and give her clearer directions.  Yes, I am one of those people who just might forget to include an address with directions, but please remember my Father loves me anyway.

Several minutes later, a lovely young girl named Stephanie pulled up in front of me.  "Are you Steven's mom?"

"Yes!" which was said with a huge, huge, huge sigh of relief.

Realizing my new friend needed gas in her car, I asked her to stop so I could bless her for blessing me.  Afterwards, we spoke of her children and the difficulties of being a young mom.

Stephanie glanced at me.  "You're different than I thought you would be.  I was afraid you would be mad after waiting all that time, especially when I couldn't find you."

Feeling very humbled by her candor, I told her I was so thankful she could help me and I was in no way mad at her or anyone else.

We parted with a connection and a God-placed nearness.  I knew she wasn't a Christian, and though I hadn't won her to Jesus, a seed was planted.

That seed was placed in her soil because the Lord had given me grace to keep tight in Christ. In my weakness, He gave me strength to make the choice to "Be still, and know" that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
I wish I had a picture to share of my dear Jeff's shocked face when he opened the door to find me standing there, my face red from stress and warmth and my hair plopped on my head like mashed potatoes on a plate.

"What in the world?"  he asked, as he and Olivia and Ella stood gazing at me in awe.

I explained it all.  He picked up the phone to find our service was down.  A few phone calls later found us with a new provider for our landline.   I love my husband!

And, I love You, Lord!  What a wonderful friend and shepherd You are!  Because of Your grace, I could keep tight.  Because your word was fire in my heart and hope in my soul, Stephanie could wonder why I was not angry and rude.

My son shared the whys with Stephanie when she arrived safely back to her job.  And, I pray God will nurture the tiny, tender seed in her heart with His great love.

I wondered later:  "Why didn't I call directory assistance and get a taxi?"  Sometimes being a little dull around the edges is a useful tool in God's hands. Truly, His grace is functional in everything great and all things small.

Friends, keep tight in Christ,

Friday, October 01, 2010


Summer is gone!  I am not saddened by its disappearance because I do not like hot weather, and I loathe humidity.  What a relief it is for this southern girl to awake to crisp, breathable air each morning! 

The cool air and colorful strength of fall means more than breathable, physical change.  It speaks of a transition time that holds new meaning and purpose.  It begins a journey toward celebration of harvest festivals, Thanksgiving, and the birth of Jesus.

This current fall morning, our forward journey includes the continuing story of the November 2009 fire we had in our home.  I would have never believed it possible!  Who would have known that we would still be in the throes of it all?  Yet, God's good has walked with us and will walk with us through fine details that will be completed.  Through God's grace, we will finish our climb to the mountain above us and look down at the smoky valley with God-enpowered vision. 

What a faithful God we serve!  I could not have walked this way without His presence!  Sometimes Jeff and I pause to question the process of what seems a year of our lives lost to an explosive second.  Yet, God's grace immediately interrupts our pauses, speaking peace, speaking patience, speaking hope, speaking faith, and speaking the reality of what could have been true disaster.

I share a story this fall 2010 morning because of divine intervention.  Sweet Olivia, my three year old granddaughter, was spared injury and possible death from the explosion simply because she didn't want to leave Mimi's house an autumn afternoon in 2009.  If you're not familiar with the story, you can read about it here:

Olivia and her younger sister Ella spent some time with me Tuesday.  While a frozen pizza baked in the oven, we all snuggled up on the daybed in our little walk-through bedroom.  I love cuddle time with my grands and take advantage of every cuddle opportunity.

I was whispering "I love you" in their wee ears when Olivia suddenly lighted from my arms, walked to the bookshelf, and brought me a book.  I saw that it was The Wind in the Willows, a classic that will be fun to share with my grandchildren when they are a little older.  Expecting to read a bit from her choice, I was surprised when she said, "I want to read you a story, Mimi."  Of course, she cannot read, but as any three year old, she wants to believe she can, and I humored her pretension.

"Okay," I said, with no reservations, yet having no clue that God had shown up with a blessing prepared for us.

Olivia entitled the book He Walked the Way.  In hearing those words, I knew our cuddle time was going to be more than our usual grandmother-granddaughters bonding.  It would be a bonding session with Jesus.  God had chosen to sweeten my current fall morning with a real message about real life and real values.  With each of the page, Olivia "read."  I'll share with you her story.

"Jesus had a cross....He had a cross.  He walked the way....He walked the way for Livvy....He walked the way for Mimi....He walked the way for Ella....He walked the way for Papa....He walked the way for Bubba....He walked the way for Mommy and Daddy....He walked the way.  Amen."

Jesus walked the way.  Truth spoken from the lips of one too young to fully grasp her words entwined its beautiful vine around my heart! 

Those words are the summation of our faith.  Isn't His walking the beginning and ending of all our experiences?  Don't the lines in the sandy soil that led to Golgotha's Hill mark every conscious decision of our lives?  Don't the images of Jesus' compassion and his sweat and blood and suffering give us faith that makes us stand when our world is rocked or turned upside-down?  Doesn't his resurrection give us hope that is not tied to temporal things?  Doesn't the vision he gives us reveal the true meaning of living?  

Yes, He walked the way.  He walked a way that was scorched with pain of every kind, so I can walk freely in the Spirit.  Thank you, Abba Father, that you sacrificed your only Son for me, for my family, for everyone of us.  

Jesus walked the way for our freedom, so that we can have salvation, freedom, joy, peace, leadership, deliverance, healing, and so much more.

Whatever your journey requires, Jesus has surveyed your steps.  He has walked your way.  He knows your way.  He is the Shepherd that leads you on your way and will carry you when paths are too rough for your treading.

I love passing Olivia's story on to you!  Rejoice!  You do not have to fear!  You are not alone and never will be!  He has walked, is walking, and will walk your way!