I’m breaking all rules of blogging today. This is wordless Wed, and yet, I have words. Lots of them. I’m relaying a story and not engaging in a dialog, and I’m very self indulgently using the word “I” more than “you.” Even so, I want you to read this. I’m trying to be careful how I write what I want to write today. Even though I opened with a picture of Ken Davis, this blog isn’t about a person – it isn’t even really about me, it’s about God.
If you walk away from this post with nothing but one thought – I hope it’s this – God meets our needs before we know we have them and if our remember-er breaks, he will make it new.
Have you ever had a dream? I do. This year, I’ve chosen to invest in myself and those dreams that can only come of God. I want to be a professional speaker. You my friends, went with me on the neurotic ride when I stepped out on faith and went to the Professional Communicator’s Summit a few months ago, and I appreciate that.
I was scared spitless traveling to Nashville by myself. I used to travel all the time, but that was before I became MOM. I felt guilty about spending money on a class that could have been used towards the boys. I felt a lot of things. I also felt joy in following something I knew God had placed before me and trusting him with the results. Today’s wordless Wednesday photo is in part a reminder to keep your dreams alive, no matter how you feel on the inside, it is also a reminder to me about the faithfulness of God.
I loved being there, and I’m still digesting everything they taught. I worked up the courage for that by going to Speak Up with Confidence in 2008. The success from that gave me enough personal confidence to take more classes this year.
It’s been a few years since I chosen to invest in myself. The last time I did that was when I joined the Christian Writers Guild writing classes six years ago. We didn’t have the money to pay for it ($2,000) and after much prayer I submitted my application before the funds were available. Not how I typically roll. The following Sunday, I saw an ad in my church bulletin for a church receptionist opening across town. I applied for the job and was hired two weeks later. My classes were now paid for. I acted on faith – not foolish faith – but prayerful faith, and He responded. What I did not expect was the all out spiritual warfare that ensued. I fell on my butt pretty hard and it took me a long time to get over that. I never finished the classes even though I had paid for them.
Choosing to pick that dream back up, and start taking classes again, is scary. Knowing the God is in the middle of it makes it all worth it.
When Jeff told me he was being demoted at work and we needed to cut back on all financial expenditures, I questioned the wisdom of my dream and the money it would take to fulfill it. I also fell into a small pity party, but I’ll spare you those details for today. Today, I want to relay something else.
I have been speaking publicly since Spring of 1979. A family member had joined AA the summer before and I was dragged into Alateen the following Spring, ungrateful and less than willing but present. Strangely enough, I stayed and they stuck me behind a podium to tell my story the following year. Shy as I was, I learned that I have natural talent for speaking and I’ve been speaking nationally at conferences, retreats, and groups since then. Feeling bored with the “adult child” stories, I stopped giving 12 step talks five years ago. They just don’t seem relevant anymore. I do, however, still speak and want to pursue that as a profession today.
I have spent the last five years, learning how to bring my recovery story into church and rework my 12 step talk into my Christian testimony. I’ve had a few false starts, stumbling on words and making people laugh hysterically without meaning to. (Classic testimony gone bad: I have a few catch phrases, one of them being referring to revelations from God as “Burning Bush Moments.” – perfectly acceptable phrase, UNLESS it is paired with a story about how I accidentally set my dress on fire trying to hide the fact that I was smoking from a pastor. I learned what “mortified” really means that day.)
With the financial uncertainties of today’s economy and Jeff’s current demotion, I really started to question myself and doubted that I was really called to do this. I thought that maybe I should find something else. And I know that’s Satan and not God speaking. How I face obstacles speaks volumes of my character. Do I cave at the first sign of difficulty or do I persevere? Do I trust God to provide the means necessary? I’ve learned I do a little bit of both, and that I pray a lot like King David in the process. “How Long, Oh Lord…” (Wrist on forehead for effect.)
And then God, in a way only God can… spoke to my heart when I least expected it. He reminded me of something this Sunday while I was teaching a class.
I went to my very first women’s retreat in 1995ish (I can’t remember the actual year.) My former pastor’s wife was a huge Ken Davis fan and showed his videos a lot. At one of those retreats, the leader showed a video called Healer of the Wounded Heart. It was one of those stories that really touches my heart. It has a great message about how much God loves us and how we should love others, and yet there was a hidden story that I’d forgotten. I really do not remember the story as his, but it must be as it really is in the video- and I have no idea why it’s in his talk – other than as an example of a father’s love.
I own his videos today, and like Lisa, I show them when appropriate. What thrills me about teaching, is how much God teaches me in the process. In my “where are you in this God?” questions over the past two weeks – He chose to remind me of a time he was there before I knew of the need. I showed Wounded Heart in my Sunday School class this week. It’s been years since I’ve watched that video, and I only chose to show it this week because we are in a gap between classes. We just finished one series and do not start the new one until May 10. I brought it because it fit pastor’s sermon for the day: “God Heals a Broken Heart.” I thought the video fit perfectly.
In Wounded Heart, Ken relays a very short story about a time he saw a speaker and while this man was delivering his message a child comes on stage to speak him. Ken was surprised to see the man stop speaking, turn to the child, whisper in his ear and kiss his cheek. Ken asked him about it later – and turns out the child was his son and this was routine. No matter what, at bed time, the child would find his dad and the man would stop what he was doing whisper in his ear, tell him he loves him, and pray over him that God would send his angels to watch over him and protect him while he sleeps. For the sake of the video – it’s really just a nice little story that gives a picture of a Father’s Love. In the grand scheme of the whole video -I thought it was kind of a throw away story. It’s not a key point that one would keep with them or so I thought. It’s not one he stayed on for very long anyway. And it’s not one I recalled hearing, ever.
I first saw that video in February of 2000. Lisa had moved away and Zeal was now doing the retreats. This was her keynote video for the retreat. I remember the whole “Love Monster” thing as that is what she pulled out. The whole retreat was about God being the Passionate Pursuer of our Hearts. Christianity isn’t a list of dos and do nots, rather it is about loving one another. It’s about that God Shaped hole in our hearts that needs to be filled. It’s about a lot of things. The over all message was not about praying for angels to watch over a child and yet there it was – a word for me that I apparently received and put into action without realizing it.
I speak at times on the Eyes of Angels – and how when Dillon was first diagnosed with Epilepsy, (Summer of 2000) we would pray for God to send his angels to watch over him while he slept and keep him safe. Up until Sunday, people ask me where I learned to pray that and I would say had no idea, I must have have heard it somewhere. It’s not a normal prayer. It’s not a prayer I’d ever read about or learned about, I just remember I heard it somewhere and thought I’d try it. It is also scripturally accurate. I didn’t know that until I studied it.
I don’ t remember learning that from Wounded Heart, but I must have. The timing fits perfectly.
And so, here God speaks to my heart. “I was there for you then before you knew you had a need, and I’m there for you still. I won’t leave you hanging, I promise.”
God used a video at a retreat, to teach me a new prayer before I even knew I was going to need it. And he used that same video almost ten years later to remind me that he was there for me then, and he is there for me now.
One of the greatest gifts about teaching and about speaking, is how much He teaches me about love, about himself, and about us in the process.
I’ve closed with this in my talks many times, and it is as true for me today as it ever was.
We are at times those eyes of angels sent by God to watch out for one another. Whether it is upfront and personal, or in a talk where we allow him to speak through us. We are also that God with skin on (or the “Love Monster” as Ken calls it in his video)whether it is for that person hiding in the back corners of our churches or someone who may be sitting next to us who is walking through something they have never had to walk through before: Cancer, a divorce, the loss of a job, or maybe the death of a child or spouse. And we know, either for the first time in our lives, or as reminder yet again, that we are never alone.
God is not only in the middle of all that is happening right now, he’s already written the ending. All we have to do is step out the day to day and remember that we are not alone.
What about you? Now that I’ve shared this story with you. Are you willing to share a story about God’s provision in your life? Leave me a comment. Let’s talk about.