Sunday, October 02, 2011

I'm catching my breath

WHAT AN AMAZING WEEKEND!  GO GOD!!!!!

Got home last night at about 11:15, got unpacked and ready for Sunday morning.  Had a great day at Celebration today.  They began "Pastor Appreciation Month" today.  It's humbling but heartwarming.  It seems they have something extra special for our 10 year anniversary (in Tampa - 25 years total in marriage/ministry) in store.  I can't imagine how it would compare or top the cruise (our first!) last year but I am holding my breath to see what our precious folks have planned.  This morning, Bernie Currie (one of our best friends & a board member) did give us a little hint that they are doing something EACH AND EVERY MONTH.  (What?  I can't imagine!  My mind is racing.  What could it be?  The anticipation is about to drive me crazy.)

I came home from church, got the clothes I washed last night out of the dryer and got re-packed to head to Lakeland this evening for a reps meeting with my husband.  We’ll be here overnight and then when his meetings are finished tomorrow we’ll head to Sarasota so I can speak at Church of Hope tonight where my dear friend Tammy Young leads “Heart to Heart,” one of the most amazing women’s ministries on the face of the planet.  I always love going there.  They have hundreds of ladies around beautifully decorated tables and everything’s “just so” and most of all the spirit of the Lord is there and their hearts are open to receive.  

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

First let me tell about North Carolina and also my plane ride home.  So much to tell.  I hardly know where to start.  The ladies of NC welcomed me with open arms.  Their District WM director, Mary Ritter, is just a joy.  She’s the real deal.  She and her husband Bruce are a true team and the warmth and hospitality and caring that comes from them…just amazing.  I couldn’t have asked for a better “team” atmosphere – the perfect setting for the Holy Spirit to have His way and move this past weekend.  Everything just worked together seamlessly.  I believe so strongly we have to do our part to create an atmosphere in planning that makes it most conducive for the Holy Spirit to move.  They know how to do that in NC. 

Two ladies who are from my home church in Baltimore, MD who I haven’t seen in at least 30 years were there!  It was such a joy to reconnect with Sherrill Keller Ellis and Cathie Wagers Moran.  We had lunch together on Saturday and caught up and wow, wow, wow, I was just so blessed!  I’ll be with Sherill again this coming weekend at the second NC meeting when I preach there.  I can’t wait!  You know, I remember my parents have a photo of Sherill standing by my crib when I was a few months old and Sherill was about 10.  That’s how far back we go.  Pretty amazing.  

The Lord showed up in the meetings and boy was I ever glad!  I pray my guts out before these things and just implore Him to please do so because the last thing any of us wants to do is waste our time.  There are so many hurting people out there who need help and the last thing they also need is another status quo service or some lady getting up sharing poems or something that makes no difference to their lives.   I prayed for supernatural life changing encounters and I believe we had some!  I can’t wait until this next weekend.  I’ve made some friends in NC that I know will be lifelong ones.  I made some “family friends”.  

 I’d go to a slum for the Lord and I’ve done so quite a number of times.  But can I just say, North Carolina is one of the most beautiful places on God’s green earth?   It as God's "bonus" to me to get to see it during this time of year. We go through there and stay almost every time we go on vacation and it’s one of my fav parts of the whole trip.  I was blessed that God gave me some of his best eye candy this past weekend.  I took it all in!

On the way home I prayed that the Lord would help me be a blessing or even a divine appointment for somebody.  I pray that EVERY DAY.  On the first flight home I sat next to a lady with a little baby.  She was already a believer.  We had a lot to talk about.  She’s a young mom and I just encouraged her and helped with the baby when she needed a hand.  

On my second trip I sat next to a lady who was staring out the window for a few minutes but soon turned to introduce herself (we were the only ones in our row) and after a few short introductory remarks she just began baring her heart and telling me her husband had committed adultery and they just got divorced.  I began ministering to her and she was in amazement of our whole conversation and suddenly she exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, what in the h#$* is going on?  I was just going to sit and look out the window and instead I’m spilling my guts to a stranger, and now you’re telling me stuff back and details and s8#$  that I’ve never even told you…”  [Just keepin' it real, this is exactly what she said!]  I said, “honey, it’s the Holy Ghost, just go with it and  receive what I’m telling you…” 

“Holy Ghost” didn’t shock her.  She told me she is from a Pentecostal background and was actually saved many years ago at a Pentecostal church in Alaska.  But she has been out of church for many years.  I said, “It’s time to come back to the Lord and to church.  God works through His church family to help his people especially in times such as you’re going through.  You need a church family to flourish…” and she agreed.  She ended up telling me she chose to leave from the Tampa airport but she lives in Sarasota.  I said, “what  a coincidence (wink, wink) I’m preaching there Monday night!  Let me be the one to introduce you to your new church!”  I told her all about Church of Hope and Tammy Young and her ministry there.  I said, “Monday night you can come and meet the pastors’ wives of Church of Hope as well as hundreds of other ladies who are ready to wrap their arms around you and be your friends.”  

“Really??” she said.  “This is unbelievable!”

“And you just come in on Monday night and there will be a dinner there for free,” I said.

“Are you serious?” she says.  “I don’t even have to sign up pay for it?  Just come?”

“Yep, just come.  Come as you are.”

“Wow.” [Tears mist her eyes]  

Please pray for Denise.  If she can rearrange prior plans she is coming tomorrow night and even bringing a friend with her.  Whether or not she comes tomorrow night she’s promised me she’s going to Church of Hope for Saturday night or Sunday morning services.

I only had a carry on piece of luggage and Denise had bags to pick up and I said, “I’m walking down that way anyway to meet my husband…let’s go together”  and we walked down and then I said, “let’s pray together before we go” and she was ready and open to receive and stepped into one of the waiting areas by baggage claim to have our own little prayer meeting for a few minutes as the night ended.     
   
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a divine appointment junkie.


2 comments:

Melissa said...

AWESOME! I love how God places people in our path for us to show His love to! I will be praying for you and for Denise!

Deanna Shrodes said...

Thanks Melissa!