December 3, 2018

Angels


The SECOND thing I do each day is take Beasley out to take care of his morning business. I really do mean this is the 2nd thing I do. I literally just throw on some shoes and a jacket, and out we go – in all my Medusa quaffed glory. Apologies to my neighbors for the atrocities that I greet you with each day. Anyway, when Beasley and I go to his potty area the sunrise is behind us. Today when we turned around for the short walk back home THIS is what greeted us:


But let me back up a little...

For Lent earlier this year, I worked my way through a daily devotional called “Pauses for Lent” by Trevor Hudson. I really loved its simplicity in that each devotion included a different “word of the day” and an easy “daily practice” that helped me stay present throughout the season. I even created iPhone wallpaper for each word, and I changed it out everyday so to be reminded of it every time I looked at my phone. I liked it so much that I am now following it up with Trevor’s “Pauses for Advent.” Reading this devotion is the FIRST thing I do each day.

So today’s word of the day was…ANGEL.

The “daily practice” for today was just to stay alert and present to God’s surprises throughout the day and watch for angels in every encounter…and WOW did he deliver!

Enter that stunning sunrise. Of course, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was one of those perfect ones where you could actually see the clearly defined beams of light breaking through the clouds. I stood there and giggled to myself thinking, “show off.” Since it started with that sort of unexpected gift from my Main Man upstairs, I was actually excited for the rest of my Monday. I just knew it was going to be good. And it was.

When I got to the office, I showed the sunrise picture to my co-worker and tried to explain what it really looked like. Her response was, “You know when I see things like that, I think that’s God just doing his thing.” Yes, girl. YES. ALLL the yeses! The rest of the work day was pretty standard. There were a couple fun surprises here and there, but then…

THIS was the sunset that guided me home at the end of the day…


COME ON! Are you kidding me, God?!

As I approached the traffic light that marks the halfway point of my commute, I noticed a man with a sign who needed some help. I knew I didn’t have any cash (because I never have any cash. Shout out to all of the forgiving parking attendants out there!). Instead I grabbed the apple that I had in my purse – intended to be a nice healthy snack at some point in the day, but instead I opted for Cool Ranch Doritos (stop judging me! GAH!). I am going to choose to believe that if I had eaten the apple, then I couldn’t have had this next encounter, so those were divine Doritos, you guys. Anyway, I rolled down my window, and he walked over to my car. Before he could say anything, I told him, “I don’t have any cash on me, but I hope this will help a little,” and I gave him the apple. He looked at the apple and then looked back up at me and said one word, “ANGEL.” I was speechless. In my silence, he spoke up again saying, “Money is not the most important thing, you know. Thank you.” I asked him his name (it’s Matthew…because OF COURSE it is) and he asked me mine (it’s Amy). I told him I’d pray for him. He said he’d pray for me and blew me a kiss as I drove away. I’m not sure who the Angel was in the situation, but I don’t think it really matters.

The last thing I did before turning my car toward home was stop by CVS to pick up a few things. As I was about to check out, I noticed that there was something going on in front of me at the register. A woman – white, probably late forties to early fifties – was profusely thanking a young man – African American, probably in his 20s. There were two CVS employees witnessing whatever was going on and their expressions were positively giddy. I had to ask what I had missed. Turns out, the woman couldn’t find her wallet, so she didn’t have a way to pay for the 3 gallons of water she intended to buy. Apparently this young man had been in line behind her and quickly offered to pay for her items himself. He did, and the woman immediately paid him back through Venmo on her phone (I mean, this is 2018 after all). As he left the store, the woman continued to pour out her gratitude, and just as he put his hand on the door to leave, she said to him, “You are”…wait for it…”an ANGEL.”

When I got home, I immediately sat down at the computer to tell you about this wonder-filled day.

In Sunday's sermon at Peachtree Road Methodist, Senior Minister Bill Britt talked about the wonder and hope of Christmas, and that if we pay attention, we can see miracles - and yes, ANGELS - if we train our hearts to recognize them. His closing charge to us was to think about the angels who are already in our lives. These are the people that give you living breathing proof of God’s constant presence and amazing grace through their words, actions, and love for us. In addition to the ones I met today, here are just a few of my angels: 
My dear friend Sarah who will send me text messages like this   
on any random day at any random time…except I don’t believe it’s random at all. She serves as the hands and feet of Jesus in everything she does. I hope you have someone like her in your life.

There is my friend, Amanda who is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Her greatest joy is helping the people that she loves, and I am so fortunate to be one of them.

Then there’s Ed. He is 'Christian Soldier' personified. He has a heart on fire for service and has been teaching Sunday School to 3rd graders for I don’t even know how many years and has probably been an adult Bible study facilitator for almost as long. I am so grateful to have learned from him and been a witness to his leadership. I look forward to all of the things we have yet to learn together.

My college roommate and lifelong friend, Courtney, is on a mission to fill up every family with giggles and light up every community with loving kindness. She never gives up and is always looking for new ways to offer a blessing to someone else.

And my yoga teacher, Jenny. She is a warrior. She has been dealing with the kind of heartache that no one should have to experience. I never know what to say, because it's one of those things for which there are just no words. Yet in every one of her classes, she pours love into us through her silliness, encouragement, and gratitude. She is a bright shining light.

There are also angels like Bill Britt and Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio and Chris Hodges and Rachel Hollis and Lysa Terkehurst and Jen Hatmaker. They have that way of digging deep into your heart – into the broken places, the hurting places – and holding space for you there while saying or writing the things you desperately need to hear.

There are countless others in my life who bless me in every way imaginable and some unimaginable. I couldn’t possibly name them all. I don’t even know all of their names.

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
Who are the angels in your life?

How does God reveal himself to you through them?
☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

It’s Christmas time – a season of hustle and bustle, family and friends, happiness and, for many, sorrow. God shows up in every circumstance and emotion every day of the year in the mundane, hum drum, routine of doing life. He’s always there. We just have to look for him and the angels he sends to deliver his indescribable love straight into our hearts. My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you will be alert to God's blessings all around you. My hope is that your Christmas season is filled with wonder, expectation, and mindfulness. A season of surprises. A season of miracles.

After all, the very first Christmas was the greatest miracle of all. Even that holy event began with a deeply personal and quiet message from God to a poor young girl in her ordinary life delivered by...who else?

An ANGEL.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!


September 10, 2018

September 10th


On Monday, September 10, 2001, a family had dinner together for the last time. A dad put his children to bed and kissed them goodnight for the last time. After a long day of meetings, a tired business woman looked forward to the morning flight that would take her home...but that flight wouldn’t reach its destination. A little boy went to bed in PJs with fire trucks all over them. They were his favorite, because his daddy told him stories about how he gets to go to work and ride those trucks everyday. His dad was his hero, and the next morning his dad would be the very real hero to countless others, but he wouldn’t be home for dinner that night or any night after that.

May 29, 2018

Orange Starburst

Poor orange Starburst. Undesired. Unloved. Unwanted. REJECTED. Just like the unathletic kid in PE, they are the last ones left in the bowl.

Who hasn't felt like the orange Starburst on occasion? I know I have.

April 2, 2018

I'm Naked!

A quick Google search for the most common nightmares reveals that many of us have nightmared (not a word, but "dreamed" seems too pleasant to use here) about being naked or "nekkid" as we say in my native tongue. You know the deal - you're on a stage, in a classroom, or down at (the) Walmart, and then the realization hits you...you ain't wearing a stitch of clothes.

This situation, as it should, ignites an inner monologue of critical analysis:
  • Everyone is staring at me! - OR - No one is even looking at me. Which is worse? 
  • Did I come here in my birthday suit? 
  • Did I just strip down spontaneously in aisle 7? Why? Why did I do this?
  • Why is Sponge Bob here? Maybe he will give me his pants. Why does he even wear pants? He's a SPONGE, for crying out loud.

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