Stories of a good God

I’m sure anyone who has walked with God for any length of time has experienced this … this will be nothing new to most … but no matter how often it happens and how regularly it happens, I am still like a kid in a lolly shop (a candy shop for the Americans) and am amazed at how God works in our lives, and the lives of those around us.

Our church had a women’s event on Thursday night.  In fact, I am sad to say I had not thought about it since popping it into my diary, since I tend to live in very short bursts of time right now due to my children’s’ schedules and the fact that anything around their schedules can change at the drop of a hat means I tend to look at one day at a time.  I was catching up with my pastor on Wednesday morning for a lovely chat and coffee when she asked if I would play at this womens event.  Now God had warned me that I may be asked, so I said yes … and then realised it was the very next day!

I thought … well, I’m going to be there anyway, so I am going to invite local people I love, local people who have no “spiritual home”, and anyone else God places on my heart to invite.  I trusted it was going to be a good night, a speaker from the Babes Project was coming, and there was going to be tea and chocolate later … who wouldn’t want to come!

Names popped into my spirit and I texted as I thought of people …

A number of friends couldn’t come, especially with only 24 hours notice, but others could and after speaking to them, and mentioning to one or two I was playing, they became determined to come (some didn’t even know I was a musician).

Now a few weeks ago I posted about a mum F who had wanted to meet me, and whose close friend, M, was an ex-member of my previous church.  I did invite F but she had the children that night and couldn’t come.  I didn’t have the details of M, but I had mentioned to F that it may be something that M would like.  I left it at that … and I basically said to God “if I bump into M at school I will invite her …” noting I never see her at school drop off or pick up  …

Well the following morning my little boy wanted to walk himself in, so the odds of seeing M was nil … I had a few things to do, but felt to first head up to a shopping strip and stop for a cup of tea, which I don’t usually do, and I felt strongly to head to a particular coffee shop to do so …

I headed in, and … yes … you know where this is going … there M was with her husband … She said she hardly ever goes to this particular place for coffee … but they had decided to come this morning.

The long and the short of this is that I invited M, she happily said yes, and I think she had a great time … I haven’t seen her since …

Now I know that this is a simple story, and many of you may be saying … “yeah whatever” but as for me … no matter how often this happens, I am in awe of God, a God who sets us up for His best … a God that loves us … a God that allows life to flow with synchronicity, if we will just listen …

Purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

A friend received some shocking news recently.  Her ex husband, who had been imprisoned for some serious crimes against her, was released without her knowledge a year or 2 before he was due to be released.  The history was nasty and not something I will cover here, suffice to say, when she received the news she went into serious shock at the news.

This girl became a friend through an activity that our children shared a few years ago.  She had been a person I had felt to stop and pray for about 3 years ago, as I went about my day.  God had shown up powerfully for her in the foyer of this place, and after the encounter with a loving God she sought me out and asked if she could come to my home to be prayed for again.  I agreed, and so a pattern was established that she would seek me out for prayer, especially when she was struggling.  She got a taste of a good God, and she wanted more …

Over the years we have prayed about her work, her children, her future, her fears and her hopes.  Healing has come for her, and she has seen God come through for her and her girls time and again … maybe not in her timing … but always His timing has been … perfect!

Each time we prayed God has encouraged her, loved her and wooed her closer.  She would visit my home for about an hour, and she would leave at peace and empowered with a “now word” from God to give her a future and a hope, all the while I encouraged her to read particular scriptures, to seek God’s face for herself, knowing that she also had direct access, that I was not the answer, just merely a messenger, a teacher and a sign post to Him.

By her second or third visit she gave her heart to Jesus and she had started to seek His face for herself in her life.  Our paths continued to cross, but with less regularity, yet she would continue to seek out prayer when she was struggling.  A text would come, I would make time and she would visit.  I knew some, but not all of her back story, so it was with sadness that I received her text recently telling me of her ex husband’s release.  When I read it my heart sank … I felt so strongly for her and her girls and the fear they must have been experiencing …

In response to her text I instantly prayed – feeling quite useless knowing that I couldn’t fix this one … this one was well beyond me … it was beyond her … it was basically well beyond anyone … but God!

I felt an anointing flow as I drove and prayed. I hoped, I trusted, that she would feel God with her, she needed His tangible presence at this time … and when I got home I texted to let her know I had been praying peace for her and her girls …

I saw her later that week.  She wanted and needed more prayer, in person, and she needed a cuddle, and so my husband and I made time.  We stopped in our busyness to be with her, to give her a word of encouragement, including the word “plugged in”.  We knew it was time for her to connect … not just with us, not just with God … but into a body that could care, pray and walk with her through this time …

She said that she hadn’t known what to do when she got the news.  She was paralyzed with fear and shock. She just knew to text for prayer, and so she did … and the peace came not long after.  I couldn’t call her or text her at the time, but as soon as I saw the text I started to pray knowing the stress she would have been experiencing. She knew I would pray and she told me she felt a flow of serene peace … a peace that she just could not explain … and she knew the text had got through and been responded to … she knew I was praying for her, she knew God was there for her to hang onto.  She had said at the time that the peace was amazing, but she also felt comfort that there was someone who cared enough to be available to text and to pray …

She continues the journey.  It has not been an easy few weeks, but she has now taken the next step to get “plugged in” … she is plugging in deeper with God and she is getting plugged into a local Christian community with our family (oh the blessing of a local church!).  I believe that it will be in that community (rather than it just being me and God) that healing will come.  I am trusting and hoping that community will form around her to walk with her and her girls, and that she will continue to heal, and learn how to walk knowing that God will protect her because …

God is Good!

 

 

 

 

Last Thursday was a day of beauticians and blessing …

I had a busy day but I felt prompted to book in an eye lash tint for that day too.  This was not logical!  I usually have an eye lash tint once a year, before Christmas, so I don’t have to worry too much about make up etc … but for the rest of the year I tend not to worry.  I was therefore a little surprised when I felt God prompt me to make an appointment.

That morning, I briefly caught up with a beautiful Christian friend.  In the past she had worked as a beautician and when I told her of the prompting she encouraged me to make an appointment.  She then proceeded to tell me some stories about eye brows, tinting and waxing that had us both laughing out loud …

With hurried goodbyes, I headed to the supermarket to get a few necessities, hoping for a quick run through. Items found and in my trolley, I looked up and there was a check out completely clear of people – a miracle itself at that time of the morning.

I headed over, started loading up the conveyor belt and said “hello”.  I made a little bit of small talk and I felt that familiar nudge to pray for the girl.  She was quite young and I asked her how she found working at the supermarket.  She responded saying she wanted to study, she was a qualified beautician and she wanted to further her study at a particular school.  I recognised the name, having spoken to other beauticians over the years about their dreams and goals.  I mentioned that I had heard of the place and that I believed that it was quite a prestigious place.  She agreed it was, and with that I offered to pray for her and her dream.  I introduced myself and she happily gave me her hand.  I prayed for her future, to have favour with respect to her studies, that her dreams would be realised.  As I did I felt she was also looking for work as a beautician.  Now, this may seem obvious to you, given she was working on the supermarket check out, but it wasn’t necessarily obvious to me at the time, since many young people work part-time to support their studies.  I felt a little nudge to pray for a new job, so I asked her if she was looking for  a job currently in the beauty industry … she was … so I also prayed for favour with her search, for that the perfect job and as I left the store I encouraged her that the job would come quickly, much more quickly than she thought.

I headed home and I then remembered that I had felt that I was to make a booking at a particular local waxing place for an eye lash tint. I tried to logic it away, thinking there would be no way they would have an appointment with the right girl in the next two hours, which was the only time I had left before I had to pick up one of my children from school, and so, with such a small window of time that I had available, and given my schedule I knew that there would be no  chance of an appointment.

Are you getting the gist?  I was using logic to step out of obedience … my husband and I call it “logicing” ourselves out of “it” … whatever “it” might be …

As I tried to use my logic (I really couldn’t be bothered by this time) I felt convicted and so I picked up the phone and got the girl I needed on the phone.  Within 2 minutes I had the perfect appointment, with the right girl, that fitted exactly with my time allowance for the rest of the day … go figure … Go God!!

I headed up to the waxing place, and made the usual small talk with this girl.  As we chatted she started to tell me about how as a child she had pulled her eye lashes out – compulsively.  She said she loved eye lash extensions, but she couldn’t wear them because when she got them she would pull her eye lashes out with even more ease … it became such a problem that the person who put her extensions in refused to give her extensions any more, being concerned that she would end up with no lashes at all.

I knew of this condition.  I had researched the condition when one of my children, when  little, had started twisting their hair and pulling it out at night when it got knotted.  I had found wads of hair knots in the bed.  At the time I had googled it, thinking it could be a stress response to what was happening at her school.  I had found the condition in my search – it was called alopecia.

I have written about alopecia in other stories.  For these stories see links here and here.

When it came to my child we had a chat, let them know it could develop into a habit and that habit could result in bald patches … the behaviour instantly stopped with the possible consequence understood and not desired.  Whereas, the girl at the waxing place was now an adult, and although she knew it was a bad habit, she felt compelled (as she had as a child) to pull out her eye lashes.  She found it very difficult to stop and could not control the compulsion.

I mentioned to her my child’s story.  I said I had heard of the condition and that it was called alopecia.  She was a little shocked that I knew the name of the condition.  We had bit more of a chat as we walked out to the register for me to pay, and once the payment transactions were taken care of I gently mentioned asked for her hand and as she gave it to me I explained I was a Christian and I said I was going to pray for her to be healed. She smiled and said “sure”.  I could sense that she felt it was just a nice thing for me to do.  Most non-Christians out there seem to have no problem with us praying for them … I think most do see it as a nice thing to offer to do; however, I felt that she expected nothing, which was fine by me … I couldn’t heal her if I tried … but my God could!

I smiled back and asked the Holy Spirit to come, and I prayed breaking the addiction, requesting healing and finishing in Jesus Name.  As I prayed I felt a rush of the Holy Spirit through me, and I assumed it went straight into her because as I prayed she looked a bit startled, jumped backwards in her chair and she said:

 Oh my gosh … Oh I just felt tingly all over … oh my gosh that was so weird, I am so tingly

I smiled again, and said that the tingly feeling was the Holy Spirit.  I explained that it was definitely not me, but God and that she could ask God for more through the day and He would come to her again and again.

She looked at me with big eyes and said “oh my gosh … oh … thank you so much … oh wow!”.

I left her there and wished her a brilliant day.

It was only later that day that I realised … three “appointments”… three beauticians … there was a coincidence there … I actually still don’t know what that was about … but what I did and do know was that God is always on the move, He is always wanting to touch and kiss and love on people, He is always wanting to release people into their destinies, encourage and love them, and show them through experience that He is real … purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

My son had a birthday party last Saturday.  It was a sleep over party, but we had said we would collect him at 9pm and return him the following morning to continue the festivities.  The mum is recently separated, has three children (18, 9 and 7) and is best friends with her ex-partner.  She’s one of those beautiful people – those mums in the school yard that are beautiful looking, elegant, just gorgeous, in a laid back way, doesn’t try too hard way … you girls know the type I mean … beautiful!

My husband and I arrived just before 9 to collect my son and we were enthusiastically greeted by her, her ex, and his parents.  They were like this huge happy family and insisted we stop, have a glass of wine, say “hello”.

I had felt like something was already taking place when I had dropped my son off earlier that day.  She had insisted I stop and chat, which I had, even though I was a little perplexed why she insisted so and feeling a little intimidated I just went with it.  Similarly, I was intrigued with the invitation to come in later that night. What was God up to I had wondered as we walked in.  Earlier that day she had started telling her story,a young pregnancy, a separation, and her father had been a Presbyterian Minister.  I was pretty sure she didn’t attend church … she struck me as someone who was part of the trendy beautiful group that loved life and did not know Jesus …

My husband and I stayed and chatted.  They were all very very friendly.  They really were lovely people, and after 40 minutes had ticked by (I could have happily stayed, they really were lovely) we said that we really must go and get our son to bed.  We thanked them, collected our son and made our way to the door.  At the door the mum threw her arms around me and said (and yes I noted there was alcohol involved so the inhibitions were down) how much she had wanted to meet me, that she had watched me in the play ground and she had wanted to be my friend for such a long time.  I was a little shell-shocked at the statement because I am quite ordinary, but this is not the first time this has  happened. Time and again people have said “you (or your husband, or your children) have a light” … “you seem so nice” … “I just wanted to know you” … “there is something about you” …. it actually frightens me a little because I know it is not me but Jesus in me and I know that once they get to know me they actually realise I am indeed quite quite ordinary!  They are in fact  attracted to God in me.  It generally happens when God is doing a number on them  (see story Christmas shopping with Jesus … that particular mum said my husband and I “shone” and she wanted to stand next to us at the shopping centre, she was literally drawn to us across a crowd and got really excited when we approached her daughter in the wheel chair and then later when we came and prayed for her too).  And so, in this case I knew it was Jesus in me that she was drawn to, just as I did life, since I really have not been that overt in my son’s school in recent years …

The following morning we needed to collect my boy for church.  I felt to go as a family to collect my him.  I said nothing about church, I said nothing about our faith but I knew that somehow it would come up …

“On your way to church are you?  Where do you go?” she asked.

I told her it was a new church that we had just started attending after 21 years at another church miles away.  Another mum was standing there, one of the clique …

“Oh where do you go?” the other mum said …

To cut a long story short … the other mum went to a local church, having moved out this way from a suburb near our old church … and they had just left a church too … our old church … This second mum said she had not quite found “home” and wanted to know where we went … What are the odds … BUT GOD!

I laughed and told her where we were, and I explained that it was quite different to where we had both attended … our old church being like, as she described it, a rave at 4 am in the morning, but on a Sunday morning, without drugs, but alive with the love for Jesus …

The 1st mum laughed and said “oh one of those happy clappy churches” …

I said no, our old church was not really happy clappy but more like a mosh pit.  I said our new church perhaps would be more “happy clappy” by her standards (now please note … I love our new church and I love Sunday services …).

She then said “Oh I couldn’t do happy clappy … my dad was a Presbyterian minister you know …”

I thought “God is soooo doing a number on you” …

I then explained that our new church really was a little more sedate than a happy clappy church, and that maybe she could come along to our new church some time.  I explained we stood to sing, we did clap sometimes, but we didn’t tend to move out of our seats.  I went on to say there was no mosh pit, or even dancing really (except for last Sunday which is yet another God is Good story – a girls just got to boogie when the Joy of the Lord hits!).

I suggested she could come along and check it all out some time … and just as I said this the Christian mum’s husband walked in and said straight to mum 1 “when the Holy Spirit hits you can’t help yourself!” I laughed and we all said our goodbyes …

Now I don’t usually do the “get them to church to get them saved” deal any more, but if that was how God was working this morning then I was on board … hook line and sinker …

We left and had a wonderful day.  Later that night I texted to say thank you, but mentioned  nothing about church … God would do the rest … and He did …

The response came back by text

We all had such a lovely time together. Everyone is exhausted! It was great having you guys over. Just finished packing. Ready for bed. So excited!!!

[she was heading to Bali for a week the following morning].

Hope you had fun at your ‘happy clappy’😉

I’m coming next time! Xx

I smiled to myself and responded to the text, giving her back control over the timing,  “Let me know when you are ready” I said.  The invitation will be there nonetheless … God will woo her … I just need to listen do as He prompts me to do.

We will see what God does next!

He wants her home.  I can sense that there was so much about her that spoke of pain and sadness from the past … I knew not to rush in … and I know to wait for God’s timing, and I know He will call her home because …

God is Good!

 

I just met a fellow blogger (randieanderson.wordpress.com) whose own journey of faith has been awe inspiring … a new friend made, a blessing received … thank you God!

As we chatted about the goodness of God I mentioned a story I thought I had posted years ago about praying for a hairdresser … I cant find the particular story I referred to, but I reread this one and decided to repost!

Ironically the hairdresser who received the miracle through a friend called me last week to let me know she had been blessed with twins after this first pregnancy, and that she had opened her own salon …

She surely has tasted and she has seen that …

God is Good!

God is Good!

Good news warms the heart, so, why do we so willingly repeat bad or sad news?

There was a book, or rather a series of books, that I read over ten years ago called “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. They were lovely books, celebrating the goodness of God … the goodness of people …

I had forgotten about those books, until this Wednesday, when I received a call that warmed my heart … and the idea for the title for this blog started to stir inside me … Yet, it was on Friday, when a dear and beautiful friend landed on my doorstep with a huge pot of chicken soup, that I then knew that the title of this blog had to be “chicken soup for the soul” … I needed to affirm how good news is truly good medicine to the weary, hopeless and sad …

Last Wednesday I received a…

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Our family has been on a journey for the last 2 or so years.  Our children have got involved in an activity at a high level, which requires sacrifice from all members of the family.  The training is “vocational”, and they started this not long after my husband and I gave them permission to chase after their dreams, to go ahead and shine.  This journey was very unexpected and has my husband and I (with help from family and friends) travelling into the city six days a week (a 1 and a half hour round trip just on the road).

The demands of this has put our family in a dilemma.  Our children are now 12 (my daughter R) and 9 (my son M).  This is a critical age in the children’s Christian walk, yet the thought of the entire family climbing back in the car early each Sunday morning for yet another long car ride (church was a 1 and a half hours round trip for us) left us feeling drained and exhausted …

We recently came to the realisation that we needed a local body, close, that would be community for us and our children in this season of our lives … and so with great sadness, after 21 years of serving in the same church, we started to look for a place that might be our new “home” …

As this transition played out, many beautiful friends, both Christian and non-Christian, loved on us … without knowing what was going on in our own lives … yes God is Good!

To name a few …

Chicken soup for the soul” one of my most loved Christian buddies said laughing as she stood on my doorstep, unannounced, with fresh chicken soup for my family. I hugged her wanting to share, but knowing it would dishonour our leaders if our pastors were not the first to know of our decision …

Another non-Christian friend texted me … the day my husband spoke to our senior pastor of 21 years … “Hi B – you have been on my mind today…how is everything?? Hope all is well. X”

God was looking out for me and my family … loving us on purpose through what He knew would be hard and painful, and sad …

Over the last 2 or so months I have received kisses from God in  much the same way …

The goodness of God is amazing …

The morning we walked into the church that we have now decided to call “home” the pastor, a vibrant amazing beautiful highly prophetic gifted woman said: “you are the answer to my prayers.  I was praying yesterday and asking for mature Christians with children the same age of my own, and here you are!”

At the time I thought “no pressure” as I held back the tears … thankfully she was gracious …

Her husband, also a pastor at the church is a gifted musician, worship leader … he has a heart for worship, in all forms … the thought is bringing me alive again!

They are hungry for what we are hungry for … and have a great vision for the area … the area in which we live, our burb … where I have stopped for the one numerous times …

I have just received an email from another friend who has heard the news this morning:

I am thrilled your family has found a new local church that is closer to you and I pray the transition is smooth for you and your husband and kids.

I also pray that your whole person (mind, emotions, will, personality, spiritual giftings etc) are welcomed, understood and blessed in your new spiritual home/family and beyond.

People celebrating us as we move … it brought tears to my eyes.

There is a deep sense of excitement stirring in the deepest part of my being …

God has loved us and will continue to love us through the transition, purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

I was dripping as I stood in line waiting to purchase our Splash Mountain family action photo …  I had been nominated front seat person in the wet but fun ride at Disneyland …  and I looked like a drowned rat!

As I waited for the photo I “heard” the word “sweetness” and I knew it was for the girl serving me at the counter.

I got to the counter and quickly said “hello”, explained that I was a Christian and asked if I could pray for her … She agreed introducing herself as “M”.  I in turn introduced myself.

I took her hand and said I felt she was really sweet. In fact, that there was a real sweetness about her, that the word I had “heard” for her was “sweetness“.

I said I felt that she had been hurt due to that sweetness and I prayed for a healing of those hurts.

I then felt that God wanted her destiny opened and I looked at her, explaining that I felt she had not yet discovered what she really wanted to do, what her passion was.  She agreed that this was the case, and so I declared her destiny open and prophesied that this next season would be a season in which she would find what it was that she was really passionate about, after which I encouraged her that when she found it, which she would in this next season, she should step into it, even though it may take great courage for her to do so …

I smiled, and thanked her for letting me pray … again saying what a beautiful sweetness she had about her and that I could see how beautiful and sweet she was, that God made her that way and that it was not a weakness but something lovely … a strength.

She looked and thanked me saying “you have no idea how much I needed to hear that!

I smiled wanting very much to give her cuddle and a kiss … I told her so  … Saying how I could see what a beautiful girl she was … but that I was bedraggled and dripping wet …

I know she needed to hear how she was sweet and that it was ok to be sweet …

I know that she needed to know that although she did not know what her passion was that she would find it soon and to look for it …

I know she needed a touch from God, because He had asked me to pray for her, and He did so in order for His will to be released on this Earth in her life because He loved her so …

And I know this purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

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