That was the verse that was referenced in the blog post “When Life Burns What We Could Do For Each Other”, by Ann Voskamp at www.aholyexperience.com. Also that day I had read where Proverbs 31 Ministries is having a legacy campaign this month for you to honor women who have impacted your walk with Christ. For me, I thought of how God used B to pull me from the fire. This was about 15 years ago, and as I found my way into church – she followed me out every Sunday – yelling a name that wasn’t mine – so I ignored her. Finally, when she was able to stop me I explained to her that she had my name wrong. She invited me to a retreat, and my response? – “No thank you…I did not come here to make friends.”
Wow. Today I can smile because I know B well now and love her dearly. That response put me on her radar and she continued to pursue me until I finally relented. I went on the retreat and found out we had quite a bit in common. She understood me somewhat and I softened with her. She gently and authentically showed me how to trust and rely on Christ. It didn’t happen overnight and I had quite a ways to go, but I shudder to think where I would be today had she not pursued me each week as I bolted for the parking lot before the music even ended.
As all of this is rolling in my mind, I think of a friend’s daughter. Joy is a beautiful girl who finds herself in a hard spot right now…in a fire of sorts. I have some of those same burns. I get it and I ask her mom if somehow we can talk, but she is not sure it will work. I said oh, I wish she could go with us this weekend to the conference! Later I called her back and said look I will call her myself – I just want to help pull her from the fire.
This is the same night of the prayer. I mention to the two ladies I am with to pray that somehow Joy can join us for the conference. Another friend was at church that night and I mentioned to her that she should come and see if Joy would come with her. She said, let me text her.
At about 10pm I am in Wal-Mart and I get a text from Joy’s mom that says she’s here now can you come talk to her, and I rushed to check out and said YES! By the time I got to the registers, she had texted me back…nevermind – she is coming with you this weekend to the conference.
PRAISE THE LORD.
I have a voice, my head is lifted, my heart is full, and even I can be used to help Joy. God is good.
Despite all of my efforts to make it where she and I get a chance to chat, we did not get a chance to chat. She rode with someone else, and sat with someone else, and roomed with someone else. The conference was awesome and on Saturday I never even saw her at the conference. As the invitation began I texted our friend to say is she here? and she replied – Yes, she is praying with friends..and later at the very end of the conference she came and sat beside me and said, “I just prayed to receive Christ!”
We had to stand up and find a partner and repeat out loud to each other. She and I spoke boldy to each other. It was beautiful. God is good.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
On the ride home, we were finally able to share and chat with one another. It was surreal. In fact some of the things I had thought about sharing I never said, and things I had no intention of sharing I shared.
Our families celebrated her “birthday” at dinner together that night and what a joyous time of celebration!
What an encouraging experience. God taught me so much this week. I tend to try and control and manage life. He is teaching me He is in charge. He is teaching me to trust Him….let Him lead me…for such a time as this!
Esther 4:14 (The Message)
“If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive from someplace else;….maybe you were made queen for such a time as this.”
Do you smell the smoke? There are many fires out there consuming us. If you are in the middle of the fire right now reach out – and pray!! If you can be used to pull someone from the fire – grab that hand and pray. If you were once in the fire – ponder who God used to pull you out? Have you thanked them lately? Send them a card or call them and share how their obedience impacted your life. To God Be The Glory!!! Such encouragement!
For such a time as this…