our church is on a corporate 40 day fast. To be clear, the entire church is not on the fast. Only 70 people have made a commitment to fast for 40 days, but still...I think that's pretty significant that this many people are committed to persevere for that long, together.
I have been believing for huge things on this fast. The Bible says some things will only happen by prayer and fasting.
I've been believing for specific things so much I have even asked one of my unbelieving friends to pray for me. (She actually did! Thanks Laura.) You know you're getting desperate when you're asking the unbelievers to pray. Ha ha!
Many of my prayers are about reaching hurting people in our city and breakthroughs for Celebration Church and I have also prayed about things I am longing for personally. One of those things I've never shared with anyone but a few people privately is for a retired pastor's wife to come to Celebration. Not one in transition. Not one stopping by for a few months of healing. (We've had many pastors and their families who were in need of healing or in transition become a part of us for months or even years, and we thank God for that. It's a privilege to be part of someone's healing process.) But I desired someone who is planted and can be here to support, serve, to understand. A few friends of mine who are lead pastors' wives have this. Honestly...I've been jealous. One of my friends, Joy Conley has multiple retired pastor's wives in her church. Can you imagine? My eyes turn green each time I see her.
To have another seasoned, loyal, rightly motivated former lead pastor's wife who can be there as a support in the same church??? Pretty much a dream, right? This would be right up there with Krispy Kremes that contain no calories.
So Sunday, April 7, one week into the fast, in walk a retired lead pastor and wife, who have just moved to Tampa. (Not only that but attended with their grown daughter who is a graduate of Lee University and her sweet little boy...also looking for a church home!) They seemed to pretty much experience love-at-first-sight with Celebration and say, "We're retired but we are still active, and want to serve in whatever way you need us." My husband and I instantly felt their spirit was right. (And that is soooo important. In the recent past that we had the same offer from another retired pastoral couple and the very first day, red flags went up with some demands they made, and we knew the motivation was not right. So we politely declined.)
I wanted to believe this was for real. I just hoped I wasn't reading more into it than was really there.
Then first thing the morning after their first visit, the retired pastor called my husband and said, "Good morning Pastor. I called to follow up on our conversation yesterday. What can we do? We're here to help you and your wife in any way we can!" Before we could even pick up the phone to follow up on the guests from the previous day, he had already called to "follow up" on us! Now there's a first.
The gift of having someone who understands and has lived the pastoral life is like the icing on the cake. (But I can't eat cake right now, I'm fasting. The first thing I'm eating on May 10 is a chocolate chocolate chip pancake. Just sayin'.)
But Jesus just gave me something so much better than cake.
He loves me.
He loves me so much.
He is crazy about me!!
A few weeks ago He spoke to me through a rock in my yard.
Now He speaks to me by answering my prayer and sending exactly what I've prayed for.
He shows me everyday..."My eye is on you, Deanna. My ear is not deaf to your cries. My hand is on you. My heart is for you. I love you." [happy sigh]
He is so amazing!!!