3.08.2018

What I NEEDED.

The night before I left for my vacation, I prayed with each of my children because I wanted their last memory of us together to be connected to the Lord, not just me. It was a sweet time of prayer and conversation ending with hugs and ''goodbyes." A wonderful way to part with those you love!

The Lord used Micah's prayer in a unique way. Somewhere in the midst of his supplications on my behalf, he said, "I pray that my mom will be a blessing to everyone she is with on her trip." DING! DING! DING! Next stop, Conviction Alley! In all of my excitement to spend time with dear friends whom I had not seen in almost a decade, it never occurred to me to think or pray about how I could serve and bless them. I was only focused on being with them because I missed them and wanted to reconnect. {insert headshake here}
Once Micah uttered that phrase, however, being a blessing to my sisters was the only thing I could think about. My perspective completely shifted, and I was thankful. What better way to spend a vacation with three unique, godly, loving women than seeking to make them smile, ease their burdens, listen to them share their hearts, pray for them, and encourage them in their faith. The Lord gave me nine days to live out the "One Another's" of Scripture - and it was a delight!
I cannot speak for my sisters, but I know that I left each one feeling encouraged, stirred up to love and good deeds, and completely refreshed ❤ - and I pray they felt the same.

Each of my friends is unique.
Jenny
Kelsi
Michelle
Yet each one loves the Lord, her husband, her children, her family, friends, and ministry.
If we had nothing else in common, we share the greatest thing in common - Jesus Christ. And He is enough to sustain our friendships throughout eternity. Praise Him for such a gift!

Though each woman is different, we all shared the same joys.
Mutual enthusiasm and encouragement.
Fantastic conversations that mattered.
Lots and lots of laughter!
Adventures and new experiences.
But the best part was being TOGETHER - because I never thought I would be able to experience such an opportunity.

A little less than a year ago, I sat in our van in the driveway staring at our house while tears poured down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed with parenting, homeschooling, learning needs, behavior issues with our daughter, personal struggles in the hearts of my teens, and outside pressures. I literally cried out to the Lord, "Am I EVER going to be free?!?"
I could only see what was in front of me - and it was more than I could bear. I felt trapped in my own home - everyone needed me - and most of them were completely dependent on me. Leaving the house could not last more than a few hours, and I rarely did that because the cost was too high. Even with the full support of Dennis, the needs of my children outweighed my own personal need for space, fellowship, and peace.
As the tears continued to roll, I knew I had to surrender. I thought of every woman who had struggles far beyond what I was experiencing and knew that if this was the life God was calling me to, there was only one response I could give. "Yes, Lord." And I refused to leave the van until I could speak those two words with full and sincere conviction.

Fast forward eight months. I am standing on the other side of the country. Alone.

As I stood on North Carolina soil the first day, I marveled at the goodness of God. A woman who didn't feel she could leave her house for a day was about to spend ten days enjoying good friends, God's creation, new sights, and unique experiences. Because the Lord was faithful to remind me how far I had come (literally and figuratively), I purposed in my heart that I would soak in every moment - fully present and fully aware - for it was He who placed me 3,000 miles away, with three precious sisters, "for such a time as this."

When I planned my trip, I thought it was what I wanted.
But the Lord made it clear that my trip was what I needed.
And I am, and forever will be - grateful.

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