|A Red Chair Moment at
My head was pounding, no doubt due to the haze of yellow pollen that enveloped Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I walked to class early to reserve a seat. Steve Laube’s class filled up quickly, everyone vying to listen to this legendary literary agent. If I hurried, I would have time to return to my room, grab a Coke Zero™ and swallow a handful of ibuprofen, and allergy medication.
As I approached my building I saw my friend Sandra, sitting at an outdoor table. She didn’t see me walk up and I pondered whether to stop and say hello before or after grabbing headache medicine. I felt a nudge to stop now rather than later. “Honey, are you okay?” Her tearful eyes answered my question.
An hour earlier, author Susan May Warren gave the keynote address. She spoke of her experiences as a missionary in Russia. She captivated the audience, by her true story of God’s protection and provision, while being held hostage and robbed. Susan spoke about starting over with nothing when her family returned to the United States eight years later. In a shaky voice, Sandra explained she had a similar experience as a missionary in Eastern Europe. Susan’s speech stirred up emotions Sandra had suppressed. Until Susan May Warren’s speech, Sandra didn’t know of anyone else who would understand.
|Susan May Warren’s autograph for
my library book
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
As Sandra spoke, the silver charm of her necklace reflected the early morning sunlight. Inscribed on the simple charm was Psalm 139:14. I knelt down and prayed for her. We hugged and I wiped my own misty eyes, wishing I had worn waterproof mascara.
There was no time for me to return to my room for headache medicine. While checking my make up in the lobby restroom and I realized my pounding headache was gone! Outside I skipped towards Sandra (yes I skipped). I was excited to explain how God removed my headache!
Did God give me a holy headache so that I would come across her path? Was my headache a test of selfless obedience? During my week at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I signed up for several faculty appointments. However, my headache and discussion with my Sandra was divinely appointed.
What about you? Have you experienced a divine appointment? Please share in the reply below.
|Andrew gave all that he had.
The Wade Family Christmas is a large affair, with a gathering of over one hundred, our clan mostly dressed in Wranglers and boots, gather at a local reception hall. Each year, our extended family chooses a family in need. Often we donate food and firewood, and money. This year my parents, and the kids and I packed up our firewood to give to a family member going through a difficult time. After dinner, the monarch of the family announced another collection would be used to purchase new dentures recently lost at the nursing home.
A few days later, I discover money and a note on the kitchen counter. I counted the money and read the note from Andrew: “New teeth.” I called Andrew into the kitchen to explain. He said, “Well, it’s not a lot, but it’s all the money I have, except for Wal-Mart gift cards. You can’t buy new teeth with a Wal-Mart gift card can you? We know two people who need new teeth and I want them to have my money. I have teeth. Everyone needs teeth, mom.” I cried. I lifted my head to the heavens and thanked the Good Lord above for this boy!
We spent Christmas Eve with my parents, my sister and her children. After the presents were opened, my mom announced she had one more gift to give. She handed Andrew a crisp twenty-dollar bill and said, “Andrew, I heard about you giving all your money away to help buy new teeth for Wilton. This is for you!” Andrew’s eyes lit up with excitement, and then he spoke, “But Grandma, this is too much. I only gave away $18 not $20.” She smiled at her only grandson and said, “No, you keep it!” From across the living room cluttered with wrapping paper, I asked “Andrew, what is it I always say about giving?” With a huge grin, he erupted, “YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE GOD!” It’s true; we can never out give God! In fact, the Bible says to test God on this subject.
“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
I received many treasured gifts this Christmas. However, the most treasured gift was watching Andrew walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to give; then watching his face light up when he received back more than he gave. That’s how God works. You can’t out give God!
Tuesday morning, I was standing in the kitchen washing dishes and singing my heart out. As I belted out praise songs, I was thankful the bible asks us to “Make a joyful noise before the Lord” (Psalms 100:1) because that is all I can offer. Immediately I thought about a woman from church. I love watching her sing. Oh yes, she has a fabulous voice but I love seeing the JOY of the Lord in her expressions. She has been redeemed from a difficult life and it shows!
I decided to take my thoughts of her a step further and call her. When the phone call went to voice mail I almost hung up. Instead I left the most random message in the history of messages. It went something like this:
“Uh hi, this is April, you know from church. I… well I was just thinking about you and I wanted you to know it. I am standing in my kitchen washing dishes and singing and thinking about how I love to hear you sing and watch you sing. You have such joy, I mean J-O-Y on your face that it is encouraging to me. I appreciate you, being you…no pretending, no masks, just yourself all the time. I know this must be the most random message, but I was thinking of you just now and I wanted you to know it. Love ya’ girl.”
What I didn’t know was at the same exact time, she was standing in her kitchen baking bread and bawling her eyes out. When the phone rang, she didn’t feel like talking and she let the call go to voice mail. She listened to my message and replied with this email:
“I just got your voice message and it was exactly what I had to hear in that very moment. I was in my kitchen trying to bake bread, bawling my eyes out, feeling worthless and ugly, lonely, depressed and ready to jump off a cliff…literally. I was at my wits end. Telling God I was through. Tired of riding this up and down roller coaster. Tired of worshiping a God who I feel has abandoned me. Tired of trying to make everyone happy when my heart is in pieces most of the time and feeling like nobody really cares.
I wasn’t going to listen to Him so I suppose He had another way to get through to me. You.
Your message stung but healed. It made me realize my sinful, angry, selfish attitude,
but it also encouraged me to know that
I really am not alone and haven’t been abandoned no matter what my mind tells me.
Thank you for making that call. It was a lifesaver in so many ways.”*
Tuesday we were both standing in our kitchens, and yet we were not standing alone. God was there . God was beside me as I preformed the mundane task of washing dishes and even prompted me to make a phone call. God was beside my friend as she baked bread, wiping her eyes with the back of her hands wondering if anyone cares. God cares, in fact He was standing in the kitchen!
This was just another reminder that God is “El Roi” the Hebrew name for God meaning “God who sees me.” No matter where you are and what you’re doing God sees you and He has not abandoned you no matter what your mind tells you!
She gave the this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “El Roi” for you are the God who sees me. (Genesis 16:13)
*This email was used with permission.
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
Today if you hear His voice, do no harden your hearts.
From the sideline of the soccer field, the timekeeper yells out “Minute and a half left in the game.” Further down the sideline a father yells “Son, we’ve got time for one more.” This father is referring to another goal. I smile at the thought.
This is the last soccer game of the season and our team is winning. Our wins and losses for the season are fairly equal, but there is something exciting about winning the last game of the season. The son, hearing his father’s voice nods his head and sprints across the field.
The boy bends over, hands resting upon his knees, gasping for breath. He is tired and weary, yet there is a faint smile across his face. The timekeeper yells out “10 seconds left!” Again from the sideline a father shouts out, “Son, we’ve got time for one more.” I glace over at the father thinking he’s crazy. His son’s team is already winning, why try with only 10 seconds left on the clock. The son, hearing his father’s voice nods and yells “Got it.”
The crowd erupts in cheers. I stand there in sheer disbelief. I overhear someone on the sideline say to his wife “Did you see that boy’s response when he heard his father’s voice?” I
watch the father hug his son. The words still echoing in my mind: “Did you see that boy’s response when he heard his father’s voice.”
From the sidelines, I watch as parents pack up the folding chairs while the kids run in circles. Meanwhile, I contemplate my personal response to my Heavenly Father’s voice. Do I nod and say “Got it” and press on, even if it seems crazy? Do I try, even if I know I have already accomplished my goal? Do I ignore His voice knowing I’ve done my part; thinking let someone else do the rest?
I know God desires to do the impossible in my life. “Lord, forgive me for not responding with a willing heart when I hear your voice. Help me to respond with a “Got it” attitude (no matter how tired I am) when I hear your voice.”
As you have figured out, my husband was the father and Andrew was the son, nodding when he heard his father’s voice.
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20, HCSB)
May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:12 NIV)
P.S. In case you wondering, the father on the sidelines is my beloved, and the boy is my son.