Friday, January 25, 2008

And God Showed Up

On Wednesday night, I was sitting around at the church building when I reached for my phone to call my sister and wish her happy birthday. I then checked the time and decided she'd probably appreciate it more if I waited until *after* the dinner hour to call her. People are funny that way :-)

So while I was sitting there, a friend of mine walked by whom I hadn't seen in a few weeks. As we started to catch up and I casually asked where her husband was, she dropped the news that he had left her. Did you feel it Wednesday night when the whole earth came screeching to a halt? Um, excuse me, I think I was hallucinating there for a moment. Did you say he left you??? You see this was the strongest couple I know. The kind where they taught classes on marriage and spent time working on their marriage. He had an accountability group, taught Sunday School, attended conferences, and talked about going into full-time ministry. And to one day, out of the complete and total blue, to tell his wife he didn't love her, had never loved her, and he had no intention of doing anything but divorcing her? Huh?

Of course, looking back, he had been edging away from things for about a year, but not so that it was anything that would give any clue that he was rethinking some things in his life. Things like, oh, his life. My friend seems to be handling things amazing well and is adjusting, but then I was up half the night thinking about what I would say if I happened to run into her husband. After I slapped him upside the head and asked him what in the world he was thinking, of course.

Thursday morning was CBS and the discussion started down the most consuming topic on my mind after another lady mentioned that she was obsessed with *her* friend that was going through a bitter separation and divorce. I didn't say much, but I did listen as other talked about how you couldn't get bitter and angry. God showed up and talked to me as we were continuing our lesson. One part of our lesson was Psalm 139 and it hit me strongly as we read, " Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?". For the past year, my friend's husband has been pulling away from everyone who would be a reminder of God's word. Even now, he is running full tilt from *anyone* who has reached out. He knows he's wrong and he's trying to hide from any reminder of what he knows. God was showing me that that's what he needs to hear. He needs to hear God's word reminding him that no matter how fast or far he runs, God is there waiting for him. God is running right there along side of him, bringing others along side of him who can be help if he'll just turn his head to listen. Psalm 94 says "Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble". God promises that my friend's husband will receive blessing if he stops, turns back, and faces the consequences of his actions. My friend has said she still loves her husband and wants them to get past this; she's willing to do whatever it takes. Please join me in praying that there will be someone who can get close to him, rain God's word on him with love, and that his heart will be inclined to listen and act.

After meeting so closely with God during CBS, I was feeling much better. We left CBS and headed to Girl Scouts, with a stop for lunch on the way. I wasn't feeling like McD or CFA, our usual lunchtime suspects, so I asked God to show us where we should eat, someplace we could be a blessing to someone. After all, God had been speaking all morning, why should he stop now? K piped up from the backseat that she wanted Burger King, a place close to scouts, not in the best part of town, but not too bad, so we went there. Walking into the building just in front of us was a woman that God said "That's her. That's who I want you to help".

As we entered, I saw the woman had sat down just inside the door. She was dressed in several layers of clothes with a small backpack she didn't take off and her hair was pulled back with a bandana. I glanced back at her several times as we ordered and waited for our food. She seemed like she might be homeless, but not desperate. She wasn't asking for money or doing anything to draw attention to herself, just resting and warming up.

I remembered the $5 bill I had tucked in my pocket this morning. It had been sitting on my jewelry box for days, but today I had grabbed it "just in case I need it". I knew God wanted me to give it to the woman, but by the time we had settled at our table with our food, she was gone. I knew God wasn't finished and I waited in full confidence that she would return.

We had almost finished our lunch, when she appeared back at the same table with a cup of coffee. I swallowed my chicken and my pride and walked over to her table. Sitting down across from her, I put the $5 on the table. "You'll probably think this is odd," I said, '"but God wants me to buy your lunch today." I pushed the money toward her and said, "I hope this blesses you." She looked down at the money in astonishment. "Thank you." She paused, "I think I'll take this money and get cleaned up. I'm going to go wash my clothes and get cleaned up." She looked back at me, "Thank you, thank you," she kept saying. I smiled, patted her hand, and walked back to my table and my wondering daughters.

As the woman walked out the door and across the parking lot to a strip mall, I explained that sometimes God gives us pretty specific instructions about what he wants us to do. Today he wanted me to give a woman $5 and we were both blessed because I obeyed.

I really needed a confirmation from God yesterday and He showed up and gave it to me like I have never experienced before. And today I'm passing it on to you.

And no, I didn't call my sister Wednesday since I was a bit overwhelmed, but I did talk to her last night. Happy belated birthday, Bethany!


Susan Skitt said...

Wow, what a day!

I've had a similar experience with one of my dear, dear friends. She and her husband were youth leaders with us at our church and one day he just up and walked out... with another woman from work.

It's been many years and God has blessed my friend in amazing ways even though her husband decided to keep walking down that destructive path. I will pray for your friend. God hears our cries.

And about your lunch encounter? How very God. I love it when he nudges in a certain direction and the joy it gives when we obey.

P.S. My sister just celebrated her birthday Jan. 18th :)

Marybeth Whalen said...

wow-- I loved this story-- and it is always a great reminder to listen for that still small voice prompting us to do crazy things in His name!
I will pray for your friend... something tells me I know her, though I am not sure why. I have a friend going through this exact same situation. Her husband was a pastor and is just living so deep in lies, he can't see his way out. Heartbreaking.