Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Pinetop Fairy Tale

Gosh guys, I'm so excited. I cannot believe this is real life. God is so good! And I know you might get tired of the mushy-gushy, but I'm going to pretend that you guys like this stuff as much as I do. So today's post is a love story, a real life fairy tale perhaps.

The first time I met Cameron I looked him up and down and considered his potential. He was tall, good-looking, kind, and wearing a big coat with a fuzzy hood. He had potential. It was a few months before we really got to know each other. I was mean. He was sweet. I considered liking him then decided not to. He loved me with consistency. I decided to give him a chance. Two weeks later we were madly in love with each other. We both told our parents a week after we started dating that we had found the one.

He proposed at least three times in the course of our dating life. The first time we had only been dating for 2 weeks. We were in the car when he told me that he had "never been more sure of anything in his life" and he "wanted to be with me forever." I took a deep breath and didn't respond. The second time was a few months in. We were driving down to the reservation in the ministry vehicle when he asked if I would marry him within the month so I could have good health insurance if he got a new job (no joke). "Did you just propose to me in the AYM van on the way to work??" I laughed. He looked sheepish. I told him he was crazy.

The third time and final time we were in Scotland. We had caught a ride with some locals over to my family's ancestral castle in the northern highlands. It was a fairy-tale of a place. The castle was right on the coast and looked like something from Cinderella. We were in awe of our surroundings. I was hoping that today would be the day but I wasn't sure. Every time he reached for his phone in his pocket to take pictures my heart would jump, but each time was a false alarm. I considered pretend proposing to him in a tunnel we found in the gardens but thought better of it. As we walked through the gardens one final time he suggested we sit down. He wasn't quite ready to leave yet and wanted to gaze at the castle a while longer. I refused to sit down on the wet bench. He insisted. I sat.

"I've loved you for a long time now, even if you didn't always love me back at first." He smiled as he spoke the words. It felt like proposal talk so I replied with some words I don't remember and he went silent. I had thought he was going to propose but he just stared at the castle silently and nervously. I think I messed up his plan by talking back. He hadn't prepared for that. He was so nervous. Slightly confused by his deep desire to stare at the castle I suggested that we leave to walk the beach. He suggested we walk into the gardens. As we stopped by the fountain he looked around nervously. I gave him a hug and after a minute he looked down at me to say. . .


"So??" I thought, "So what??"

But in just a moment he was down on one knee, like the knight in a fairy tale. He finished his sentence,

"Will you marry me?"

This time it was for real. I began to cry (naturally). I swear I said yes but neither of us are sure if any words made it out of my mouth. He slipped the ring on my finger asking, "Is this the right finger?" I smiled. I had never been happier in my entire life. He confessed his love for me as I swore to love him for the rest of his life. It was my very own fairy tale. My knight in shining under armour had come to save me from the woods of Pinetop. He had ridden in on a white jeep and swept me off my feet with chivalry and bad dancing. He made me laugh. He made me feel like royalty.

As we walked along the beach I thought about the fact that I get to spend the rest of my years with this man beside me. And I realized that no matter our ups and downs, this was the best fairy tale I had ever read in my life. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fish and Flannelgraphs

Today at the office we were reading the story of Jesus calling His disciples. We all know the story from the Sunday School flannel-graph.
  Jesus walked up to the fishermen and said, "Hey follow me and I will make you fishers of men!" I think there are probably Sunday School songs about it too. Like this one. . .

Gosh that is a terribly creepy song. Please don't use that at your church.

. . . .

Annnnnywaysssssss. . .

Anyways the version we read this morning was in Luke and there was something I hadn't noticed before. This is the version where he tells the guys to put their net on the other side of the boat and when they do they get so many fish they can barely pull it in. And then Jesus says, "Follow me" and they pick up their stuff and walk away (that's the Mer-notes version).

I've always known about the "put your net on the other side" part and figured it was just Jesus showing them He was Jesus. But this morning a thought occurred to me:

It was a huge sacrifice for these men to leave their family business to follow Jesus. Without their physical efforts their families were probably going to suffer financially. So did Jesus perhaps enable them to catch so many fish before they left so that the family business could be sustained without them, due to the profit of that one catch?

I have never thought of it like that and I could be wrong, but it would make sense to me that Jesus would provide for the family since their sons chose to follow Him. It makes sense to me because God always provides when we choose to drop everything and follow Him.

I like the thought of Jesus taking care of those guys because of their faithfulness. It has always been a theme of faith for me. . .God's provision. Just like the fishermen God has never left me stranded because I chose to follow Him. I have always had food to eat and a roof over my head. And even when it doesn't make sense there always seems to be enough. 

How cool that God would give in abundance because of their willingness to give up everything. 

What is it going to take for us to cast our net on the other side of the boat? Do we really believe that God will provide if we follow Him? What will it take for you to give up everything and believe that it is going to be ok? 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

God in the Target Line

A few months ago I went to Pasadena for a couple of days. I was at Target (because of course that is my first stop when I return to civilization) in line buying a pillow for my couch. As is my usual MO I began telling the cashier that I worked on an Apache reservation and therefore needed to buy this pillow (strong logic).

As I was explaining my work the lady behind me started asking me more questions. Was I in social work? What kind of kids did I work with? The conversation continued as we left the check-out line. She turned out to be studying pastoral burn-out and she asked if she could pray for me.

We stood outside of Target in Pasadena and she prayed a prayer straight from the Spirit. The words she prayed were just what I needed, and she referred to situations I had never mentioned. As she prayed I felt my spirit lifted. God cared enough to send someone to give me His words of comfort. God loved me that much.

As I thanked her she exclaimed how it was God-ordained that we ended up in the checkout line at the same time. She had been driving around a school she wanted her daughter to go to, 7 times around because she felt God tell her to do so. On the 3rd time around she got worried that the crossing guard would think she was crazy so she started taking the longer loop around as she prayed. That put her at Target later than expected.

I had been on the phone unexpectedly with my dad so I had spent an extra 15 minutes in the placemats aisle.

And because of this we ended up in the checkout line at the same time.

Her words spoke of transitions into a new season. She spoke about being too hard on myself and of the graciousness of God. She spoke of His plan that He had already laid out for me and His love for these kids that I love so much. She spoke the words that I needed to hear in that moment. She spoke the words the Holy Spirit had given her to comfort me. 

I was amazed that God took time to give words of comfort to someone so undeserving. I was so extraordinarily grateful to have His grace revealed and to return to work strengthened by His truth.

Who knew God would show up in the Target checkout line. :)