I’m amazed that only a few months ago I was spending hours in bed, gaining weight, unable to do much/ Now I can average over 4.0 miles per hours just walking! I go up the hills, down the hills. I even jog! Sometimes when I feel the urge to run a little way, I see a driveway or mailbox and sense God wants me to jog to it. Often it is farther than I want to try, so I’ll negotiate. I can almost hear Him saying, “Okay. Just that far, then.”
But the distances I run are lengthening.
Today was another of those breath-taking God days. I didn’t want to put much effort into my God-walking time. Wanted to listen to my Scriptures and just meander. But I sensed Him directing my feet and readjusting my attitude. I ended up at one of the churches I have prayed for periodically. (Often when I turn down a side street I still don’t know where I’m going to end up!) I told the Lord, “Okay, just this one. But I don’t feel like praying for all five of them. I’m tired.”
I felt the prompting to sing. I sang lots of carols and a few praise songs. I walked around the property of this little church a couple of times since I felt led to keep going for awhile. When I finished, I started to walk across the parking lot, and a man came out. “Can I help you?” he asked.
I fumbled around, explaining that I sometimes walk around his church and pray for his people and sing praises to God.
“I heard you singing,” he said. “It was beautiful.” I enjoyed his accent. I asked if he was the pastor, and he was. I smiled and started to leave.
“Will you pray for me?” he asked.
“Sure.” I’m still moving away.
“Will you pray for me right now?”
My feet stopped. “Of course.”
Humbled, I prayed for this stranger. Soon tears fell. Overwhelmed, I felt such a great honor to stand in that parking lot, hand on the arm of a pastor, asking God to pour into him and his church, to bless their Christmas service, to speak grace and love into his relationships and into his family.
In these times you just pray. You never know what situations are behind the words that come out, but you trust that God is giving you the prayer.
We parted, me walking forward in absolute wonder that the God of the Universe would orchestrate such a sweet meeting of two strangers of faith. I never wanted to pray there that day. I was too lazy. But God had a blessing for me and for the man, and He led me anyway. Glory to God!
At this point I was ready to go home. I started to cross the busy street to return to my neighborhood, but there were too many cars. My walking app was still running so I didn’t want to stand there and mess up my average pace. I started up the hill, looking for a break in traffic. It didn’t come. I walked further. I was just under the lip of a hill and thought it would be unsafe to cross because I wouldn’t be able to see the traffic until it crested the hill. So I topped the hill still on my side of the street, and there was another church.
And no traffic.
I laughed and crossed the road. I might not have wanted to pray for the churches this day, might have felt tired and not wanted to expend the energy, but the Lord had different plans.
There was a victorious spirit pounding through me as I walked around that church, sang praises to God and prayed. A whole different kind of prayer poured through me, and I felt like a warrior on the offensive, breaking ground for really wonderful new things. I prayed for a new release of His grace and truth, for an enhanced ability for this church to serve others, for an incredible worship time as they celebrated Christmas. By the time I finished I was crying again, tears streaming, full of power and victory and singing, “All Hail King Jesus!” with arms raised.
I’m sure the drivers of the cars passing by thought I was one crazy woman. I did get some startled looks.
I started down the hill back toward home, passing yet another church. Of course I stopped to pray; how could I not?
As I circled the little church—twice—my heart grew heavy. The grounds spoke of poverty, the little playground for the children in need of repair, the very earth barren and hard and cracked. I was sure there was no carpet of grass there in the summer. I prayed against discouragement. I felt the call to pray for the youth not to give up and turn from Christ. I prayed this little group would sense God’s grace and embrace His love and be full, not barren.
A little later, back home, I reflected on my incredible walk. Who knew one could have such adventures so close to home?
My younger boys and I packed up and headed to my brother’s house for a little holiday family time. My sister-in-law made a beautiful meal, with chicken slow-cooked a champagne sauce for the main dish, and spiced plums over ice cream for dessert. (I love how losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating nothing but lettuce.) I did a game with some little gifts for my niece and nephews, then we put the younger children to bed. I snuggled a moment with each, joining them in goodnight prayers and basking in how precious they are.
Then the rest of us curled up together for a Christmas movie, “Joyeux Noel.” I had no idea how impacting it would be. It was about WWI, when many spots on the front chose to stop for Christmas, had mass together, shared their meager supplies and even competed in soccer. I wept again, thinking of the power of the Incarnation, of the unity true love in our God brings to us, broken, lonely, sometimes desperate people. Thinking that there is hope in Him even in the very darkest places. ~December 21, 2012
Real Time Update:
Sorry today’s post went a little long. I have some stuff to share about what’s going on here in March, but I’ll save it for tomorrow!
How About You?
Would love to hear about everyday adventures that surprise you.