I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Two weeks ago I has a conversation, via test message, with my niece about looking for open doors to talk to people. We even went one step farther and defined what some doors look like. Last week heavenly Dad installed a double “pained” glass slider into MY life that I wasn’t expecting.
This last week there was a Ladies Day Out, a bus trip to Holland, Michigan, shopping day. I do not enjoy shopping but LOVE exploring and photography, especially knowing that Christmas decorations are quietly exploding from nooks and crannies of nearly all retail outlets. Since last year was the worst Christmas of my entire life, my goal this year is to take in as many of the lights, decorations and celebrations and encourage others to make as many memories possible with those they love.
Taylor was excited to go with me and her boss let her have the day off to be with her mom. Awwwwwe :o)!
Anyone that is a “friend” of mine has been watching as Taylor is slowly spreading her wings and easing her way out on her own. We knew that this would probably be our last outing while living under the same roof, and were excited to spend an entire day together touring this little town. We imagined looking for things she might need that we had forgotten, and discussing what her taste and styles are for decorating. Of course, massive coffee intake was just a built-in opportunity bonus in our minds.
The bus parked, doors flew open and we were off! Since the majority of the stores were not quite opened, we chatted a bit with the ladies group. Eventually, we made our way into a shabby chic kitchen store. As we meandered the store we discussed what she has, what I have, and what she might need. The long and short of it is: I’ve got stuff to spare and then some. I am struggling right now on my journey with “stuff.”
I’ve said it before, as it has not changed: we go through this life constantly planning our next step. We find great/amazing deals on…stuff, that is going to help us entertain: the missionaries when they come into town, the youth group when they have class parties, couples that we want to invite over for dinner when we are “empty nesters”, family whenever it’s our turn to host a get together, camping trips when we FINALLY have weekends off, and so on and so forth. What do you do with all the “stuff” when none of those events happen? I feel guilty and stupid thinking about donating them because,”What happens if I need them down the road?” I mean, wouldn’t I look like an idiot to heavenly Dad if I asked Him for something that I had donated 10 of, just three years before???? Taylor does not want the “stuff” because she has different ideas of what she wants for her life. Ugh. And then there is Archie’s stuff. Also, there’s my mom’s stuff. Every piece brings back a memory and it seems disrespectful to even think about donating memories. Now you see a glimpse into my head (scary, isn’t it???).
We left the kitchen store and headed to get coffee. We had googled for coffee shops but really hadn’t made a final decision when we came upon Crane’s in the City. We were looking at the adorable sign overhead when one of the locals came running up to us(technically, she was a runner and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw us). She introduced herself, asked about us (we just told her we were on a bus outing with our church and that we were from Goshen, IN, nothing else), I asked about her and then she proceeded to tell us that heavenly Dad had urged her to stop and tell us a couple of things. She told me not to worry about the journey I am on. It’s going to be ok and God is making a way for me, so don’t be afraid. For Taylor, she has the gift of hospitality and will be using it to serve the Lord. She prayed for us, I hugged her, my face leaking, and she ran off. In case you are wondering, she is heading for the mission field in February.
When my niece and I were discussing what doors look like, these were some examples: a sweater “Wow! That is the most amazing sweater! Did you make it?” a book “I saw that book at ____and was thinking about buying it. Is it any good?” To me, a door is anything that sparks a question, commonality, or compassionate act that heavenly Dad nudges me to open my mouth or act. It’s sad for me if I ignore the door He built/had waiting for me, and I walk right by it, instead of knocking and going through.
The Holland runner, though, that was waaay beyond what I have ever considered to be my comfort zone, but then again…it was her door. She answered the call, knocked on the door (stopped and introduced herself and asked about us), and after some very interesting conversation about coffee shops, her family, her amazing Dutch name, she relayed heavenly Dad’s message to a heart that was open and ready for it.
In my time with heavenly Dad he gave me this song. This young lady went out without any plan, just a soft heart, to go where God wanted her to go, looking for doors to pray for people.
This week I am looking for doors. They don’t have to be open, I just need to have eyes that are looking for them and with heavenly Dad’s help, the courage to approach them. How about you?
Until next time: Blessings!