Sunday, September 21, 2008

God Cares

Our pastor is in the middle of a really difficult (read: convicting, gut-wrenching, life-changing) sermon series called Help! The first message was about control (ahem), last week was about worry (ahem, again), and this week, negativity (sigh). I related to all kinds of things from the sermon series, but one thing Brandon said nearly in passing was that because God cares for us, He cares for all the things that we care about.

When I hear that, my first thought always goes to the big things we need or that are important to us, rarely do I think about the small things. Honestly, when I'm impressed to pray for something that's not life-changing I feel silly because I feel like I'm being a bother. (I'm that way in all aspects of life, not just in my prayer life. Asking for help makes me uncomfortable.) Anyway, I caught what he said in passing and noted it as I generally do, but three times that week I was reminded of God's beautiful provision in those small areas, in areas that would have never been asked about.



Emily

My cousin Emily just moved to Germany for three years. Before they prepared to move, she was really into cloth diapering. She loved cloth diapering for the environmental factor, for the cost savings, and because of the beautiful fabric on her baby's backside. As they prepared to leave for Germany, though, she packed away her diapers and transitioned to disposables. They didn't know how long they'd be left in a hotel, nor did she know if there would be a washer in the apartment they'd eventually be assigned.

They arrived in Germany, went through processing, and were assigned an apartment within days. They had their pick of three (which is really unheard of) and chose a newly remodeled one with a W/D. Nearly immediately afterwards, they were in another office and were inquiring about where to buy a baby monitor locally as the one they brought with them would give them access to government secrets or something. Someone else in the office overheard their baby related questions and came to Emily to ask if she cloth diapered. Such a strange question! Emily told her she had for a couple of years, but they'd just arrived and she had to leave her diapers behind. The woman handed her a bag full of brand new cloth diapers, liners, and covers in the pricey brand Emily prefers. They were all in Samuel's current size, and and the ones she left behind should arrive before he outgrows the ones he's got. She never even thought to pray about her diapering desires, and yet God provided for her heart's desire in a miraculous way.



Karla

My dear friend Karla broadcast an e-mail about an experience she'd had. She and her husband Erich attended a conference on prayer. Though prayer was already a part of their lives separately, they made a new commitment to rise early to pray and seek God together. In her e-mail, Karla talked about that first morning. She shared both the blessings and the struggles of rising early to pray.

In the way of challenges, Karla loves sleep like I love sleep, and undone chores are difficult to ignore. As for blessings, she was amazed by the amount of extra time to prepare for the day. No one was rushed, shoes and backpacks were easily uncovered. As they drove to school, a hot air balloon peeked over some trees. Her kids were excited to see it, but Karla was especially excited -- she loves hot air balloons. Her kids begged to follow it, but normally, a rushed school morning would disallow that. Instead, by rising early, they had plenty of time to get a look up close and make it back to school in enough time to park and walk in all together. Karla felt so blessed that her early morning devotion was met with something that she'd never think to ask for, but that brought such joy to her heart.



And finally, Me

I was talking to my friend Marcie about her BSF group when I mentioned that I needed to register for the upcoming women's Bible study at our church. Our church is on the smaller side, so we have one Bible study per semester. Beth Moore's Stepping Up was scheduled, and I wanted to be a part. Marcie and I finished our conversation and hung up the phone. I opened my laptop to check my e-mail, and before I could double-click the Outlook shortcut, the phone rang again. It was the Bible study facilitator from our church calling to see if I'd be interested in being a small group discussion leader in the Stepping Up study. I was so surprised, and immediately agreed. I felt so blessed to be asked because I really do love to help and serve, particularly in adult ministries, and that small group discussion format is absolutely my cup of tea.

The first meeting was Thursday, and part of my responsibility was to arrive early to mingle with other participants, making sure new members felt welcomed. I came in the room and put my things down at a table when a lady I didn't know came up to me and introduced herself. She was fairly new to our church and this was her first Bible study there. We sat and began to get to know one another when slowly my table began filling up. I greeted each lady as they walked up and took note that I had some pregnant women at my table.

When all was said and done, there were seven women at my table (or eight, including me). Four of those women were very pregnant, one was trying to conceive, and one (my friend Karen) has a newish little baby at home. I don't know where the last lady was with regards to her conception status, but if she sticks around long, there's little question. As I sat talking to the ladies, I was mentally checking myself (Is this okay? Am I going to lose it? Do I have Kleenex in case I lose it?). As I checked myself, I scanned the room and can't say that I saw another pregnant woman at any of the other four tables. I could be wrong and will look more closely this week, but it was like my table was a magnet for the gestating.

In my mind, that would normally not seem like a blessing, but it was. It was a little funny that I would be so bombarded with the baby thing. It was so obvious that I couldn't help but chuckle a bit about how clearly a point was being made, and while I'm not yet sure what the point was exactly, I will say I not only made it through, but that I was genuinely okay in that situation. I felt comfortable in my skin again -- a true blessing indeed.


"Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass."


-- Psalm 37:4,5



photo credit: Cliph

5 comments:

  • Someone Being Me

    Those are awesome stories. Leave it to God to answer unasked prayers.

  • Sandi

    Great stories! Thanks for sharing!
    Praying for you and James.

  • Randi

    Great stories - thanks for sharing those. God is in the big and little stuff and it's so hard to remember that some days.

  • Karen

    I too chuckled about all the prego girls at our table!!! I am so glad you are ok with it - a true sign that God is at work healing your heart. Can't wait to see what He has in store for you :)

  • taralynn819

    This was the song my dad chose for the congregation to sing at his memorial service. I loved his choice because I know these true words gave him incredible peace.

    *****

    Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
    Too deeply for mirth or song,
    As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
    And the way grows weary and long?

    Does Jesus care when my way is dark
    With a nameless dread and fear?
    As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
    Does He care enough to be near?

    Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
    To resist some temptation strong;
    When for my deep grief there is no relief,
    Though my tears flow all the night long?

    Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
    To the dearest on earth to me,
    And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
    Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

    OH YES, HE CARES!
    I KNOW HE CARES!
    HIS HEART IS TOUCHED WITH MY GRIEF
    WHEN THE DAYS ARE WEARY
    THE LONG NIGHTS DREARY
    I KNOW MY SAVIOR CARES!

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