Nov 26, 2013

Beauty for Ashes.....

So, it's been a month and a half since I have posted here on SHINE. Gosh, I sure miss all of you.

I had to write today. I just had to.

First, I want to tell you just how funny God is. Not just funny, but just how He keeps my little {or not so little} bootie in check.

Two days after I wrote my last SHINE post telling you girls that I felt God was leading me to rest and take a break--my computer died. Yes, DIED.

How does a perfectly in tact, well maintained computer just up and die?

Hmmm, I think only God can pull that off. What do you think?

I am typing to you now from my son's ultra tiny little laptop. My fingers feel like an elephant trying to keep her balance on the back of a small tortoise shell. Yes, this keyboard is teeny.

This computer was dead too--also two days after my last post. Yes, no coincidence there.

Somehow, I had the nudge to turn it on tonight and check it out one more time before we paid to have it checked and fixed, or buried it one.

It worked.

Moving on with my story, elephant fingers and all.

Today, my family and I served lunch to some precious homeless women and children.

I prepared myself for several days, because I know how my heart and my emotions can go haywire after an opportunity like this. Hormones, tears, and wacky emotions make for a pretty unstable few days for a girl like me.

After much prayer, and many conversations with the Lord, I felt I was ready for today.

Humph.

Shows how much I know.

Quick Newsflash: Before you start feeling condemned or guilty if you have not had the opportunity to serve, let me just reassure you that this is the first time in over a year that I have done this. I don't want y'all to think that we do this regularly and think more of us than we are, because we are not. Mostly, we wanted to do it because we want our kids to have some perspective, especially this time of the year.

Here a few things I learned today:

These women and children that we served are better than me. Really, they are. They were so grateful...not just grateful but JOYFUL! Smile after smile, thank you after thank you. I was blown away at the kindness. I kept thinking to myself..."would I be this joyful if I were in their worn-out little shoes?" I don't think I like my answer.

This verse kept coming into my heart every smile I met: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The last lady I spoke to blessed me the most.

I listened to her as she told me how much she loved football. Of course, my 12 year old son was intrigued. He immediately tuned in, and before long they were talking about the Manning brothers, and all kinds of football things that I have no clue about. I decided to have a seat and prepared to tune out for a few minutes. I mean, football is just not my favorite subject.

My ears perked up, however, when she said this. She was telling us how much she loved the Falcons but how terrible their team is this year. She looked me straight in the eye and asked me this question: "Do you know what those Falcons need?"

I was glad I had decided to sit because I knew this conversation was about to get knee-deep in football talk. I was preparing myself to nod my head a lot and act like I knew an iota about football.

She continued on saying this: "Those Falcons need prayer! We need to go to that stadium and cover that place with the Blood of Jesus Christ!"

I could have jumped out of my little 4-legged chair! Perhaps, I did?

Finally, this precious brown-eyed lady was on a topic I liked to talk about! Jesus!!

We talked and talked and talked after this.

She is a writer. Who has actually published a book. {I verified it on Amazon after I left}

She just had found herself in hard times. She still had her Joy. She still had her Jesus. Really, what else did she need?

I asked if I could pray for her. Right there, with Presley sitting on my lap, hands in her precious hands, we prayed for this sister in Christ.

Here's the really good part....

As I said amen, she continued on in prayer. She began to pray over ME.

Tears in my eyes, lump in my throat. This woman was giving what she had to offer, maybe one of the only things she had to offer.....to me.

"They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." Mark 12:44

After her prayer, I thanked her profusely for blessing me so much. We were kindred sisters in Christ. Both writers, both lovers of Jesus.

More than anything, I wanted to get my purse, scrape up some money and give her something. Anything. I had nothing. No purse, no nothing to give her.

I heard a whisper in my Spirit ,"You are giving her what you have to give her.  Your ears to listen, your mouth to pray, and your heart to love."

We left that church and I was changed.

Presley and I had a long talk tonight. Crocodile tears rolled down her soft pink cheeks. "Mommy, I don't think I have ever seen anything so sad. I want to give them everything I have. I want to give them all of our food. I want to be them, so they can be me."

Lump in my throat the size of the great state of Texas, I nodded. Yes, I understand, darling.

Presley was changed. How could she not be?

She's 8, yet she's changed.

Jesus can open your eyes at any age. 8 or 108, He can and will open our eyes when we ask Him to.

Presley and I then held hands and prayed together. I showed her this verse. The Lord led me to this verse on our drive to the church to serve. I read it over and over before we arrived. It was my Hope to cling to before I walked into a hopeless sight.
   
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,            
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,    
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.            
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
Isaiah 61:1-4

Maybe you need to hear those words today, or maybe you will need to hear them in the future.

Today, I needed this Hope. I needed this Truth to lay my weary, tired, and heavy bleach blond head upon.

As I pulled in the driveway this afternoon, suddenly my house seemed bigger. My leaf-filled yard seemed beautiful, and my messy kitchen seemed not-so-messy anymore. I walked to my bedroom and felt the warmth of the heat wafting through the room. I was overcome with gratitude and thankfulness.

I sat in a bath full of white bubbles immediately. I felt like I needed to wash off the heaviness, the despair, the sadness.

The hot water was pouring out of the spout, and I cried my eyes out. I have cried many times in that tub. This time, the Lord showed me something in my sadness.

As the tub filled with water, just as quick as my eyes filled with tears, I envisioned His Hand pouring in the water. Pouring, pouring, pouring.

The water was my gratitude. The water was the Lord opening my eyes to the blessings surrounding me. My heart, although heavy, was full. Full of Gratitude.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective. Don't we? When discontentment rears its ugly little head again, I will remember this day. I will remember my new friends. I will lift them up, instead of rotting in discontentment.

Will you pray for Vancille and Dalita and Malachi (7 years old) tonight? Will you lift them up to the Father? Even if it's just a one time prayer, He hears us. He will provide.

Yahweh Yireh=The Lord will Provide.

Yahweh Yireh will provide for you, for me, and for those precious souls we serve today.

Praise Him for this with me, will you?

I love you all, and I am so thankful for each and every cute one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.


overflowing with gratitude,

jill


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