Sunday, March 25, 2018

Headed "home"

Walk with the wise and become wise; walk with fools and get in trouble.
Proverbs 13:20

The night before my flight to Texas I could not get to sleep. I had been fully packed for almost a week, well except the last minute things that had to make it into my check in bag. I was showered, my clothes were out and I was prepared. My mind would not shut down, just kept excitedly going over every detail. The way I would describe it is like the night before going home for the first time in a long time. Only this home isn't some place with the family drama. No this home is like going right up to God's lap and jumping in. It wasn't a fear of flying, or the fear of fitting in the seat belt, no the work God had done at other retreats took care of both of those fears. It actually wasn't fear at all, it was an excitement like the first time I saw my children, or grandchildren. A deep sense of expectation. I knew He had something big to ask me to hand over, I just wasn't sure it what it was going to be. 

I knew that from the first retreat with MYRRH Ministries back in 2013, that God would ask me to lay something down, and then pick something from Him up. I have always dreaded surprises, anything that detours from what I plan, or agree to. I think it's because the surprises aren't always good. These retreats God has taken me to have always got an element of surprise to them. One of the things that God has kept for surprise is what area He's going to dig into in my life. It's not always a painful journey, but it's always life changing. This year I was struggling to figure out what He was going to do in His transformation of my heart. 

I had to be at the airport to fly out by 5:45 am and we live at least 1.5 hours from the airport. I still had to get ready so that was another hour I needed on top of that. Looking at my phone and seeing the time was 1:30 and I had to get up at 3:30, brought in a panic. But God reminded me that I could sleep on the flight. Finally I fell into a deep sleep that felt like...I had just shut my eyes, but the anticipation for seeing so many sisters and experiencing everything God had for us together, was enough to get me up with a bright shiny smile. I was ready on time and out the door in the nick of time. Of course I had given myself plenty of time, with plenty left over. For the first time the trip to the airport only took about 45 minutes so I had almost 3 hours before my flight. Even after checking my bags and going through security, I had way over 2 hours to wait. 

I decided to get breakfast then sit and do my reading for my Bible study. I was still running on the adrenaline rushing through me from the expectation of this retreat. 

While reading God gave me the answer to my question. While I recognized part of it, I didn't grasp just how deep this would actually go...yet. What I did get was the authors reference to a tree being representative of us all on our journeys with God. How the closer we get to God the higher in the tree we go. That's such a great visual. I also loved that she explains that it's almost like a reaching up to those who are wiser, and accepting those who are reaching up for us. Not looking down their noses but reaching down to steady them as God lifts them to the next branch up. 

I knew that He reached through others to help me up, I guess I didn't consider that He would use me to do the same. I had been holding onto a deep lie that I wasn't enough. This lie had been planted many years in my young mind. I had always done my best to please people, not really to please them but to make me feel good. In that, I could hide behind the old child mentality that "I am not enough." I had never felt enough for anyone because God didn't create me to be someone else's Savior. Jesus came for this exact reason. Wow, throat punch there about where that chunk of pride was hiding, right in plain sight. 

I closed my book and looked around. There were so many people. Everywhere I looked. They were rushing here and there, some walking with their faces buried in their phones, while others simply looked at the floor. I realized I was there alone in that airport, God was with me, but I didn't know a single person. Just then Poppa whispered, "all separate even as they are all right here together." I sat there watching these strangers walk by, searching for each one who happened to glance my way. Everyone who's eyes I locked with I shared a smile, if they were close enough I would also speak to. Not many have time to stop and just share a smile and hello with someone. For a people person who had hours to wait, this was an invitation.

I made my way over to my gate. I searched for a seat, first one alone...don't judge I'm just being real here. The gate was pretty full because of a flight before mine. I found a single seat next to a mom with a giggly little guy. He was glad I sat down, or at least it seemed like it in his grin and the giggles. He was climbing up his mom, over and over he would climb up and almost make it to her glasses then she would gently move him back down into her lap; but he wouldn't give up and for almost an hour he climbed up over and over again. We chatted and I learned he was 7 months old. It seems like that time flew by. Before I knew it I was on board and we were up in the sky checking out God's view. 

My plan to sleep on the plane was good, but not possible. I was still too excited to get to Texas. I settled in with the sweet sounds of praise and worship music from Bethel, Elevation and many other wonderful voices gifted by God. The flight was not full so there was a seat between me and the gentleman next to the window. He was watching his phone for awhile, but eventually he put it down and looked at me. I had been waiting patiently. I smiled at him and he smiled back at me. I moved my headphones and said "good morning." He said "good morning." He asked if I was from Arizona or Texas. I explained I live in Arizona, but how I believe God's going to move me to Texas to surround me with people who point me to Him. Then I asked him the same question, he said I live in Dallas. One of my kids lives in Arizona. He shared that this was his first trip since his wife died several months before that. He almost whispered the next part, "I tried to cancel this trip, but my daughter had already paid for it. She wanted to take me to Mexico to get my teeth fixed, she wanted to pay for it and refused to take no for an answer. So here I am." His eyes were sparkling from the tears that threatened to well over, but he still forced a smile. My heart hurt for him, I wanted to take that pain from him...give him God's peace. The only words I could get past my lips at that moment were, "I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you accepted your daughters help. That is not easy for us parents to do, we always want to take care of our kids. The good thing is that plants seeds of selflessness in them that God will harvest." He smiled and shook his head yes. He went back to watching his phone.

I just cried out to God for peace for him. That He would surround him with people like his daughter that would share the love of God with him. I asked God to lighten his burdens and bless him abundantly. Then I went back to listening to my worship and singing (probably out loud) and talking to God. When we landed he said "thank you." I smiled and said, "God bless you sir." 

I headed out to meet Mr A & little B who were picking me up and taking me to the retreat. I thought we were going straight to the retreat center, but God had other plans...He was bringing His little firecracker too, and we were picking her up at the other airport. I had no idea at the time, but my sweet little sister would speak some mighty powerful words to me...directly from my Poppa God's lips. I did know however that I loved her boldness, her instant friendship and most of all...her BOLD love for God. 

Simply by the way God was starting this day I knew that He would be moving some more mountains in this amazing visit "home."

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