Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
I hope a new habit isn’t forming, but I really had to work today and did not begin writing this blog until 4:00. So if you aren’t reading this “J” post until the day “K” is due, forgive me. But if the truth were known, I did not even have my “J” word until after 2pm today when I met a dear friend for coffee.
|St. Patrick’s Day 2012
Jean is a gorgeous woman who has children my age but looks young enough to be my sister. She’s elegant, attractive, articulate and intelligent. Jean is a pastor and the wife and daughter of pastors, and she is also an English professor. If I add up all of Jean’s beautiful pieces, she’s the soul mate sister-friend of my heart.
Jesus is my savior. He and Jean know each other intimately. They go way back, longer than I’ve known either of them. He’s my Teacher, Director, and my Counsel. Many people don’t realize this, but I confer with Him on a regular basis. I don’t meet Him in church, but He is everywhere I go. I don’t talk to Him on the phone, but He hears everything I say. And He answers me. Sometimes out loud, sometimes using the voice of someone else.
Today, both Js had something to say to me, which left me feeling very grateful for their love.
See, I’ve had some business decisions to make lately, and, having recently lost the person who handled all of that, I have felt much like a fish without fins–sort of floating aimlessly in the water, no real direction and no way to get there. After dealing with the grief of losing someone very close to me, I also had to face business issues unfamiliar to me, and I wasn’t sure I was fully equipped for that. So, I called in reinforcements. I asked God to help.
You may think, “Oh, another churchy blog — why must these Christians always choke us with their beliefs?” I don’t intend to do that; I am only going to tell you why I am grateful for Jean and Jesus today.
I told God that I wasn’t equipped to handle these issues (I think He must have laughed, because the truth is that He equipped us all with the ability to do whatever He puts in our hearts), so I asked Him to handle the problems for me. I told Him that I wasn’t a real bright bulb, so if He didn’t mind, I’d need an answer so obvious that even I could see it. I asked for a sign, an answer from Him so that I’d know His will for my business. It’s OK to ask for a sign. In fact, I think God is up there tapping His foot just waiting to amaze us with His signs.
“What? Dana asked for a sign?” God smiled. “Watch this!”
I learned today that right about the time I was asking Him for a sign, Miss Jean started praying for me. An overwhelming sensation came over her regarding my business, but she initially suppressed the feelings she was having because she did not want to overwhelm our new friendship. She was worried I would take her message as interference. So she prayed earnestly and privately for me. For weeks.
But see, that’s the beauty of God’s unfathomable planning: He knew two years ago when Jean moved to Bakersfield that we would become friends through writing, and that He would use her to answer my request for guideance.
Jean grew emboldened. She felt pressed upon today to call me, to see me. She had a book for me, yes–we’re booky girls–but she also had a message. I could see something was troubling her when she hemmed and hawed over coffee. Her sky blue eyes searched mine. She was like a student in class, looking for the right time to pass God’s note to me. She was dying to tell me something but was waiting for just the right moment.
She prefaced the discussion with assurances that she did not mean to impose, and then she voiced concerns about my business, concerns I’d had, too, but had revealed only to God. Jean, the consummate lady and Christian example, does not know anything about the Halloween industry or the business hiccups I was having, but I could tell she had no choice but to deliver the message, no matter how unfamiliar it seemed to her.
Why am I so grateful? Because today — again — I learned that yes, He does hear every word we lift to Him in prayer, He answers requests for “signs,” and He uses the people around us as his messengers.
When I got in my car to drive home, I started crying, but not from sadness. The joy of being loved THAT MUCH overwhelmed me. How in the world could a God who seems so far away make Himself so present? Easily. He isn’t that far. He is with us all the time.
Thank you, Jean, for listening to your gut–which isn’t really your gut at all. You didn’t know it, but you were being used as God’s precious mouthpiece to give me the answer I had asked for in no uncertain terms: “Please tell me what I should do. I need a sign.”
You were it. Thanks, J & J. I love you both.
(Editor’s note: For the record, the message wasn’t what I was hoping for or what I wanted His answer to be. But it was His answer to my question, so now I must consider it.)