A Pea Coat, A Girl, And a Lesson in Trusting God

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All of my adult life I have wanted a pea coat. So I was very excited when I finally was able to buy one. I loved it. It was brown, fit me perfectly, and was snuggly warm.

Not long after I bought it, I wore it to church. They were having a class that my oldest daughter (around 18 at the time) and I were taking. We were dropped off and were going to walk the mile or so home after it was over.

When we came out of the church I immediately noticed two things. 1) There was a full on blizzard happening. It was lightly snowing when we went in and was pouring snow (at an angle due to wind) on the way out.

My daughter and I were up for the challenge. We loved long walks, were bundled up, were looking forward to talking uninterrupted on the way home (something that is hard to come by in a home full of young children).

So we started our walk, but only got as far as the parking lot when we came upon, 2) A girl, who had been kicked out of her home at 18. She was barely making it and that day was just getting out her car, to meet with someone at the church. I immediately noticed how she was shivering from the cold.

“Where is your jacket” I asked (after the usual hellos).

“I don’t have one.” she replied.

“You don’t have one?” Are you sure?” I was just too shocked. How could anyone not have a jacket.

“Ya. I did have one but it got lost in the move.”

“I am so sorry” I said, and was just about to say goodbye and wish her luck, and potentially pray for her to get a jacket. When God stopped me and simply said “Give her your coat.”

I quickly replied in my mind, “But God I don’t think you understand, this is the coat I have always wanted. This is the coat I have dreamed of. This is the coat that I got on sale for 75% off and that I know there is no more of, this is the coat!”

“Give her the coat.”

“But God do you even understand that I still have to walk home a mile in this blizzard. I will surely freeze to death.”

“Lisa look at her, she is freezing. She needs to coat more than you do. Give her the coat. I will make sure you are warm.”

So I gave her my lovely brown Pea Coat (it fit her perfectly by the way), and after giving her a hug, started my walk with Megan home.

About five minutes into it I noticed how warm I was. It was like I had an internal heater and someone had set the dial up to toasty warm. I do not remember much about that walk home except that I kept saying over and over, “How cool is this. I am actually warm.”

It was a miracle! God kept me warm and taught me a lesson at the same time. That if I step out and do what He is calling me to do, He will take care of me.

I never did get another Pea Coat. But that is ok, because my friend bought me a winter jacket that is the warmest  jacket I have ever owned. And every time I wear it I am reminded that God is trustworthy.

Photo – © Doug Baines – Fotolia.com

Keep Trusting

Trust concept.

So what do you do when you have done everything that you thought you were supposed to do, and you still don’t have success?

What do you do if you have burned all of your bridges and you can’t go back, but you have had a setback and disappointment, and it feels as if everything might just fall apart around you?

You keep trusting God!!!

If you know that God has spoken something to you, than hold on to it. Do not let go of it for nothing!! God does not abandon his own.

The bible says:

If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matthew 7:9–11, The Message)

I am no stranger to setbacks, in fact I have recently had one of my own.

I stepped out, doing what I wholeheartedly believe that God called me to do, but I was rejected. It was a kind rejection, yet a rejection non-the-less.

So what am I, a person that has burned all her bridges, supposed to do with the fact that from the outside it looks like God has led me astray (or at the very least, he allowed me to lead myself astray)?

I  hold on to that verse and so many, many more that speak of God’s love and heart toward me.

I hold on and believe the God did not lead me all this way to drop kick me to the curb.

I hold on and remind myself that God did not “call” me to England for no reason.

AND

Most Importantly

I hold on to the promise knowing that God did not change His mind!!!!

His promises are sure and trustworthy!!

I can trust Him!!!

And you can trust Him too!!

Credits

Photo: © creative soul – Fotolia.com

Bible Verse: The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Jumping High ~ Part Two

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So when I finished “Part One” of Jumping High. I thought I was done. It seemed a complete post to me. No reason for a “Part Two” as far as I was concerned.  

But then it happened. Just as I was about to push the submit button, I heard this still small voice inside me say, “There is more to this article, so label it part one.”

I would like to say that I immediately obeyed Gods direction, but as is often the case (more times that I would like to admit) I kind of blew God off. I thought, “It doesn’t make any sense and therefore cannot be God.”

I can only imagine God’s response, “Lisa, when will you ever learn? What I ask you to do does not often make sense in the beginning, nor should it have to. If you are going to be led by me then you have to get over this need to want everything to fit neatly into a box.”

God is right (when isn’t He). I often want things to make sense. It is this need for everything to line up that causes my impatience when they don’t. It is an area that God has patiently been working with me on. And amazingly I have seen big changes in my yielding everything to God, so that He alone may direct my steps.

But, that said, I still have a knee jerk reaction to not trust.

It strikes me that I am not the only one out there with the same tendencies.

I know when I survey the landscape that is life, I see way too many walking wounded. People who have been ripped apart in the heat of this battle. They have had all of their weapons torn from them, so that all is left is their defense. Which is often simply “control.” They believe that if they control their life and the lives of those around them they do not ever have to be hurt again.

There are two things wrong with that.

1)      It simply doesn’t work. Life is messy at times. Things happen. And unfortunately people get hurt.

2)      It keeps them from living the best possible life. They one in which God is in control and all they have to do is rest in Him.

Life is so much easier when you do not have to have everything figured out all of the time.

It took me awhile to finally realize how TRUSTWORTHY God is. To trust that if He was calling me to do something, I just need to ask Him (through prayer), knowing He would never let me fall.

So I prayed about “Part one.”  He confirmed it for me and here I now am writing “Part Two.”

Why? Because God had a plan. I believe that God would say to you, “Let down your guard! Trust me enough to lead you! If you get an inkling that I am calling you to do something, even if it seems a little bit weird, set your mind to obeying my call. If you are afraid then come close to me in prayer. If you ask me to stop you from doing anything that is not God-led then I will. I love you and will not lead you down a wrong path. Why? Because I am your Father, who is crazy about you and who can be trusted.”

Jumping High ~ Part One

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Once, back when I had first re-dedicated my life to God, I was listening to a radio station. They were talking about the subject of trusting God and someone said that, “trusting God is like jumping first, and then when you get off the ground, asking Him asking how high.” I never forgot that because that is exactly what it feels like most of the time.

I am a curious person. I love adventure, yet I do not like change. Really that means I want my base (home) stable and love to go out form it, experiencing things unknown. That to me is exciting. To explore places I have never been to, and things I have never seen, whilst still having a secure home to go back to, is what makes me feel alive.

What does not feel so exciting, however, is when the adventure means jumping to say goodbye to my home before even know where I will lay my head the day after I will move out.

I remember the last time I moved. It was under very bad circumstances and things looked very bleak, I remember thinking, we might be homeless. I remember being really angry with God and saying “After all these years of serving you, after everything I have been through with you, and everything my family has been through, Where are you? I thought you cared. How could this happen?”

Just then God had my Pastors send me an e-mail to me, saying that God had prompted him to tell me… “You ask God where are you?” It ended with, “He is going to set you on a high place.” This email was amazing because my Pastor was new at the time. Though he knew I was dealing with some things, He had no idea that I had just angrily questioned God or what we were facing.

I realized after receiving the email that I was focusing on my problems, not on the one and only God who could solve them. I repented then and there from focusing on myself and then I saw an amazing thing happen.

That very day day  God  put things in motion to “set me on a high place!” I now live at the very top of the same main street that I used to live on (about two or three miles up). Back then my vantage point was so low, that I never knew what the view from the top was like. I was amazed after moving in (to a beautiful new place the God had miraculously provided) to see such an amazing view of the mountains, right from my front door.

God is good because he can take our anger, our questions, and still love and lead us, as long as we are willing to follow Him, doing what He calls us to do.

That is the thing about God though. When He asks you to do something, he often makes sure that you do not have everything figured out. Because if you did, then where would the miraculous come from. God is a miracle-maker. Not us.

So the next time He asks you to jump be like the Nike commercial and “Just do it.”  because you are not really jumping into the unknown, you are jumping into His arms so that He may carry you to where you need to be.

Right where I need to be!

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Every time I think I should have been born in the forties, so that I may have had a chance to dance with Astaire, or cuddle with Cary, or even shoot the writing bull with Hemingway, I remember that they did not have the technology that we have today. Yes Authors did have typewriters. But if they wanted to “cut and paste” they would have to bring out the scissors and glue. I remember that God made me exactly how I am and most importantly I am right where I need to be.

That helps when I take a look at my current crazy life. I think “if only I know exactly what my future holds,” or “if only I know exactly how I am going to manage getting ready for the move,” or “if only I know where the money is coming from.”  Those dratted “if onlies!”

I have a long history with them. Our relationship started when I was young. The questions came like rain falling down upon my head night and day. “If only  my dad was around.” and “If only I was popular like my siblings.” and “If only I was pretty like my friend.” And it continued to be my constant companion through my teenage years. “If only that boy liked me.” and “If only I wouldn’t of made that choice.” and “If only I had what they had.” Our friendship was cemented in my adult years “If only I could have more money.” and “If only I was skinny.” and “If only my husband wouldn’t of died and my kids had a father to embrace them the way that one does theirs.”

They say depth in relationships is a good thing but not where they are concerned. You see, I thought they were my closest ally but really they have been my biggest enemy. For all this time all the years when I was focusing inwardly on them, I was missing what was all around me.

Yes my dad wasn’t around me. But my mom was and she was great!! She baked cookies, talked with me,  held down a full time job, made dinner from scratch every night, and even  was my campfire leader. I have no idea where she found the time to do it all.

OK, so I was not as pretty as my friend, I was missing the fact that I had a friend that was my closest confidant for many, many years.

OK so I made some choices that I shouldn’t have. But I also made some great ones. Like choosing to walk down that church isle and give my life to Jesus at 9 and 1/2.

And finally, Yes it more than stinks that my husband died of cancer at 49. And yes it sometimes hurts to see fathers leading and guiding their children and embracing them when there are no physical father arms to embrace my own.

BUT

Although they are not all as close to God as I would like, looking back over these last 5 and 1/2 years I realize that He has always been close to them, leading and guiding them with an unseen hand.

And not only them but my as well. I have seen him do amazing things in my life and now to put the cherry on the top of it He is sending me to England, a place I have wanted to go to since I was a small child.

While I am wishing and hoping that it will all work out OK and that there are just way to many things that must come together in a very short time, and while I am reminding God of all those things and more, I am reminded by Him if I had everything figured out and no miracles were required then my move to England would not be much of a testimony.

So instead of wasting my days wishing and hoping for this or that. I am going to spend these last few months in America and look around me and enjoy everything as it unfolds and know that I am exactly where I need to be.

For I am in the center of His will.

And if you are following after Him  so are you.

If Not why wait!