Stories of a good God

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!

 

Stop by and pray for her” I felt Him urge me again … and so I turned and found a park and got out of the car.

It was a prompting to pray for a girl who was the owner of a local clothing store.  I had been in there 2-3 weeks earlier and at the time I got the distinct feeling that she had wanted a baby, but had not yet conceived.  I had not offered to pray at the time, sensing it was not quite the right time …

This particular morning, on my way out, I felt Him urge me to make time that day to stop and pray.  I was heading out and I asked Him to remind me on my way home if He wanted me to stop.  I was actually flat-out trying to get ready for a major trip overseas, and we were leaving the following day …

True to His word, and to my request, God had reminded me on my return trip, and so, having parked the car, I made my way over to the store.

I wandered in, and after the usual greetings, I told her why I had stopped by.  A little taken aback, she had said yes she had been trying to get pregnant, that it had not happened for her and her husband yet … that she would absolutely like me to pray.

Ironically she had the same name as my daughter, whose conception was a miracle.  I explained the story to her, and laid my hand on her gently and prayed, as I felt led, asking God to do for her what He had done for me those 11 or so years earlier.

She got teary, and said thank you and I left, saying I would pop back in after our trip.

We went away, returned, and life went on as usual until about 3 months later, when I felt the gentle prompting to return to the store … to just wander through and see how she was getting on …

She was there and was serving a customer, so I waited.  When she was done she turned to me and said very quietly, that not even her family knew, but … yes … she was pregnant and she was overjoyed!

She went on to tell me how freaky the timing of my coming into the store that day had been, that her “fertile day” was the day after I had prayed, and that she had conceived that day (God had answered the prayer within 24 hours) … but as she spoke a shadow fell across her face and she said with great vulnerability that she was so frightened that what had been given would be taken away … she was frightened of a miscarriage and she searched my face for confirmation it would be ok …

“No pressure” I thought … but then I chose to step into the truth and told her that God is a Good God, a Kind God, and He does not give just to take away, and that He would not have had me stop to pray for her with that sort of freaky timing, just to allow the baby to die … and I told her so, and I asked if I could pray again …

Looking relieved she said “yes” and I gently laid my hand on her stomach, and prayed for that baby … I prayed that the baby would be healthy, full term, sleep well, and that the pregnancy would  be a blessed and easy one … the fear on her was palpable, but I felt it leave as I prayed and I said to her that when and if the fear returned she was to remind herself of her own testimony … and that God was all over this, that the baby was His own good idea and that the baby would be fine!

Oh faithful one that I am (and I say that with great Aussie irony!) because I did get into the car and start to intercede for her and the baby as I drove away … but as I did I felt a quiet confirmation in my spirit that all would be well and so in faith  I stopped and thanked Him for His loving kindness …

And yes, late last year, I drove past the store and I saw the sign in the window of the store …

It’s a baby boy!”

Purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

 

 

This is an older story – an early one in my journey of “stopping for the one”.  It was the start of a journey that this man went on over the next year or two, where he started to question his atheistic belief system, and wonder whether he could also be loved by God.  It was also the start of a journey for me where God dealt with me quite firmly about my issues and my embarrassment in stopping in a known environment amongst peers … it is a story in which He essentially says … “get over yourself, stop being a prude, kneel down and pray …”

It was mid Winter and I was driving to school to collect my daughter.  It was smack in the middle of the Aussie Rules football season and in typical Melbourne style it was raining a drizzly type rain.

As I drove I saw a stay at home Dad that I had got to know called M.  He was walking to school in the rain.  M is a rough gem who wears shorts and thongs or runners all year round (winter and summer), and who had got many of the women’s tongues wagging up at the school for his lack of  “charm” … in other words he called “a spade a spade”.  I liked him.

I pulled over and offered him a ride.  He responded by saying that that normally he would say no, but that on this day he would say yes because he had hurt his knee.

He jumped into the car and we rode the short distance to school, chatting as we went.  I asked about the knee and he said that it was an old injury that required a knee reconstruction.  By the time we were in the playground waiting for the kids to come out I knew I had to offer to pray, but did not know how to do it with him – in front of all the other mums at school pick up.

God had given me a picture, and I had just learnt that God will sometimes give us a picture of how He wants us to pray to release a healing.  The picture I had received was that I was to kneel down in front of him and place my hand on his bare knee and pray as I knelt.

I offered to pray.  M said did not believe in any of that stuff but that I could give it a go if I wanted.  He then went on to say that if it worked it would be great to be able to play football that Saturday … but he doubted it would work.

I did not want to kneel – it was wet on the ground, he was a man wearing shorts and I felt it was inappropriate to kneel in front of him in the wet with my hand on his bare knee … and, what was worse, it was in front of all the other mums, milling around waiting for their kids to come out of school!

So, in my “wisdom” I placed my hand discreetly on his shoulder and started to pray.  As I prayed I felt/heard a strong rebuke from God who said “Get on your knees” – essentially saying “I showed you how to pray, now do it”.

I took a deep breath, focusing on the fact that M could be healed, and told him that I needed to place my hand on his knee.  And so I knelt in the wet, with the cold and wet coming through my jeans, in front of the car park mums and prayed.  The mums looked at me and I felt very embarrassed, but went on regardless.

While on my knees, feeling very vulnerable, I looked up at him and asked if he felt anything – he said he felt heat and so I kept praying and then asked him to move the knee around … he did and he felt some relief so I prayed again, still on my knees and I then stood and asked him to try it out …

He bent it back and forth and said all the pain was gone.  I asked him to jump on it, jumping up and down next to him as I did.  He jumped up and down on it and looked amazed and said there was no more pain and that he would not have believed it … but that he had felt the heat and that it was amazing, that maybe he was wrong about all this stuff …

Delighted (and that is an understatement!), I got on with collecting my daughter and left it at that …

I saw him the following week and asked how he had got on.  He said, like a little kid, with absolute joy, that he had played his game of footy that Saturday!

And I left knowing without a doubt that …

God is Good!

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