A Morning to Remember in 2014

shepherdDriving to church, alone, one morning, I listened to a song titled, “Back to You” over and over in my car.

It’s not about what I do for You, it’s about what You’ve done for me.

Love that line! Want to adapt that attitude in every area of my life.

Well equipped, I entered the church lobby, bumping into the grandma from my first Miscarriage Support class. With just a glance, I could tell she had been carrying around a heavy heart. As we chatted, she opened up to me about her 35 year marriage being a sham and wanting more and ready to walk away.

Now that I’m divorced, it seems as if people feel I will be one to advocate the dissolution of their own marriage. I always say, “I would have taken a miracle over what I went through and at times still have to endure.” Today, I added, “We happen to serve a God of miracles, and while my marriage couldn’t be restored; don’t be too quick to dismiss God’s hand on yours.” Thankfully, I thought to mention the upcoming 6 week Marriage Series that begins next week at church. She felt encouraged as we hugged and I promised to be praying for her.
Church was awesome! A sermon all about Forgiveness and again, “what He has already done for me”.

Baby Elijah

Baby Elijah

Upon entering my volunteer shift in the Kids Department, I ran into the family of Baby Elijah. His life was spared, in part, by little Jeremiah’s photo and story. Elijah was just precious. As I looked into his Mother’s young eyes, I could see joy and love for the gift of a son. It was a nice moment for me.

Childcare was a little crazy, as I came alongside a large group of needy 3-year-olds, but it felt great to be a blessing to them and to their parents. One boy cried, on and off, the whole time. He needed extra TLC and constant reminding that “Mommy is coming back”.
Despite the dried tears on his cheeks when his parents came, they were grateful. This was the first church service they were able to sit through, together, without one of them being called out to come and get him. I encouraged them that little Liam would get more and more used to the routine, that they should definitely keep coming as it will get easier and easier each week. All 3 of them walked out with smiles on their faces that mirrored my own.
I fondly remember bringing my own little boys to Sunday School. Oh, how I wished It was still as easy to just strap them into a car seat and take them wherever I wanted.

Upon leaving church, I stopped by the information table to see if there were any diapers dropped off from people who forgot to bring them to last week’s collection drive. There were about 10 more boxes and I offered to take them off their arms and into “Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic” this week. The busy Church Secretary offered to call someone to help me load them into my car, but for some reason I declined her offer.
I brought my little Ford Focus around to the front of the Church, wondering if I would even be able to make them all fit. As I got out of my car, I heard a teenage girl arguing with someone on her cell phone. With her skateboard in hand she was begging someone to please come get her, as it was now very hot and she didn’t think she could “board” all the way home. Instinctively, I walked right up to her and said, “I’ll make you a deal, if you help me load all these diapers into my car, I’ll give you a lift to wherever you need to go.”
She smiled rather shyly, knowing I must have heard her unpleasant conversation, and then quickly agreed to the bargain. Once my trunk and back seat were filled strategically with diapers, she grabbed her skate-board and squeezed into the front passenger seat.
As we drove, she shared with me that she has been coming to Shepherd since she was 4. At age 5, she had to be put into Foster Care. Her Foster Family doesn’t attend church, but she uses her skateboard to ride down from their home in the hills of Porter Ranch in order to come to Service. I felt inspired as I thought of my own 2 teenagers who chose not to accept my ride to church and attend with me that morning. I asked her if she still sees her biological parents. She explained that she was told that her mom was dead and that her dad was hiding from the police. Wow! What a weight for a child to bear. It certainly put a new perspective on what I define as a hardship.
We reached her house and we thanked each other. She was grateful for the ride, I was grateful for the inspiration.
It just so happens that she lives down the street from my old neighborhood. I hadn’t been back to our family home since it sold last April. Feeling Armored Up, I boldly decided to drive by. Seeing the house we lived in as a family for nearly a decade wasn’t as sad as I thought it would be. God had filled my morning with blessings and as a result, I had a heart filled with joy.
63370Upon arriving home, I learned that the teenage boys I left sleeping in their beds this morning, had been helping their Papa in the yard; sweeping leaves, filling trash cans and picking up after the dog. In that moment, I was just as proud of them as I was of 17-year-old Savanah, I had met earlier that day.

There is something to be said about “Just showing up” to the place God leads you and not bringing your own agenda.
That morning, I had really wanted to use my “Mom Card” on getting the boys to come to church with me. But there was something in me that said, “Just let it go, today.”
Now, in retrospect, I realize that if they had come, the morning would have panned out much differently…

We most likely would have listened to their music on the way to church and I would not have heard “Back to You”.

I would have merely said hi to my friend in the lobby, as my boys presence would have deterred her from opening up about the trials in her marriage.

Upon leaving church I would have never offered to take the diapers to Open Arms, due to 2 passengers who took up much space.

In turn, I would have never moved my car and overheard Savannah’s conversation. She, nor the diapers, would have received transportation from me.

Having not needed to drive up into the Hills of Porter Ranch, I would not have driven by our old house and been made aware of the healing that had occurred in my heart.

Lastly, knowing the work ethic of my 83 -year-old dad, the chores would have been done by the time we got home. The beauty of his grandsons coming alongside to care for the yard (we all are blessed to live in) would not have been experienced.
That morning I wanted to do the “right thing” for God, and make my boys go to church. But As the song says…it’s not about what I do for You, it’s what You’ve done (and continue to do) for me.
Thank you Lord for orchestrating my day down paths I never would have known, had I ignored the prodding of my heart.




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3 Responses to A Morning to Remember in 2014

  1. Francine Harland says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Christa Jensen says:

    What a lovely story about a beautiful day.

  3. Ericka says:

    It’s nice to see how What He does for us is seen on an everyday level. It’s easily overlooked.

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