Divine Appointments

I had a “divine appointment” at a local coffee shop yesterday. I use the term divine appointments for interactions I have with other people that I have not planned but that are clearly orchestrated by the Lord.

I had been sitting in a corner booth for almost an hour trying—without success—to get some writing done. And that’s when they walked in, a young mother and her precocious daughter. For some reason, I felt drawn to them. At the time, I thought it was just me appreciating the beautiful scene of them togehe

As I tried to focus back on my work, they sat in the adjoining booth right in front of me. Within minutes, I had a new and very talkative best friend. The little girl was just so full of life, and clearly had never met a stranger. 

After a couple of minutes, her mom and I discovered we had some common interests and started talking. In the midst of our conversation, she mentioned that she had just come through a long battle with depression. She kept mentioning how bad she felt that her daughter had to go through that, and felt that she hadn’t been a good mother during that time.

At that moment, I realized this was a God-orchestrated “divine moment.” I gently smiled at her and told her I understood what she had gone through, having experienced multiple battles with depression in my own life. 

My worst battle with depression occurred when my children were about the same age as her daughter. I shared with her that with this particular battle, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through but I had found my way to the other side. 

I looked at her and said, “You also made your way through and that is all that matters.” I also added that while her daughter did see her when she was sick, she also watched her mom get healthy again so she could take care of her.

It was clear that she wasn’t the type to openly share her feelings but she teared up and said, “That made me cry.”  With a smile emerging on her face, I knew that they were tears of joy.

The Lord orchestrated this meeting in a way in which only He could do. She is a young mom who needed encouragement after walking through something quite difficult. I am a mom to grown children who had walked through the same thing and could provide her the encouragement she needed. 

Our encounter with each other was very brief but meaningful for both of us. I have no doubt in my mind that this was a divine appointment. It was clear that the Lord was guiding our conversation. 

When all of these elements come together, the Lord is clearly going out of His way to bring confirmation, clarity, and peace concerning your life or current circumstance—or those of the person He is asking you to minister to.

Together We Win

The enemy is trying to use division in an attempt to conquer mankind. He is desperate because he knows he is losing control. He knows that the only move he has left is to try to keep us fighting each other. But, he has overplayed his hand, which will ultimately lead to his undoing. 

It is important now—more than any time in history—that we stand united. Ignore all the multi-faceted distraction attempts coming from every angle. See them for what they are—the death throes of darkness falling. 

Together we win, and help usher in the greatest era the earth has ever experienced. Stand together.

God is Working Behind the Scenes

This morning, the Lord helped me make a connection between me helping my dog and how He is working behind the scenes in my life to help me.

Our dog has quite sensitive skin and gets hot spots during the summer. Last summer, we were able to keep them under control but this summer they have been unbearable. To make things even more difficult, the mosquitoes have been horrible this summer. Between the sore paws and numerous mosquito bites, our poor dog has been miserable! 

We fought a losing battle all summer to keep him from licking his paws and stop scratching or biting his fur. His medicine has finally started working but he now has bare patches of fur all over his body. He is now so accustomed to licking that he just can’t seem to stop. I had no other choice but to buy him the proverbial “cone of shame.”

I put the cone on him this morning. The look on his face said it all. At first it was shock, which turned to dismay, and finally settled on dejection. I lovingly petted him, looked him straight in the face and said, “I’m doing this to help you.” The look in his eyes conveyed, “I don’t understand why you’re doing this.” And that’s the moment I connected with what God is doing behind the scenes in my life right now—and I suspect many others.

The Lord has been asking me recently to let go of control in certain areas of my life to give Him access to do things His way. If I’m completely honest, His way makes no sense and scares me. To compound things, He is asking me to step out in complete faith in an area of my life where I failed miserably—and very publicly—several years ago.

As I looked at the hurt expression in my dog’s eyes, I realized that I was doing the same thing to God. Ever so gently, I could feel Him saying to me, “You don’t understood what I’m doing. I’m trying to help you.”

In my hurt, I didn’t understand that God is trying to set me free in certain areas where I was wounded. He is asking me to trust Him instead of the outward appearance of things. He needs to set me free in these areas in order to be able to carry out the things He has for me to do in the future. As I am able to rest in this knowledge, I find peace and excitement in letting go and making room for the new.

Are there areas in your life where God is putting His finger on things you’d rather have left alone? Is He asking you to step out in faith and trust in Him? What if God is asking you to get out of His way because He working out incredible things for you behind the scenes? 

Hold on to What is True

Fear is running rampant right now. I can feel and sense it all around me. Right now it is important that we hold our ground against the onslaught of fear by standing firm in a position of faith. The messages of fear, doom, and gloom that are being thrust upon us right now feel very powerful—and at times overwhelming—but they are not real! These fears are being created and manipulated by lies.

The Lord strongly impressed upon me that we need to be actively seeking Him to hear what is true. When a wave of fear hits you, go to God to learn what He sees. Ask Him directly, “What is the truth?” Whatever His response—or any impression you feel from Him—is the reality of what He is doing in your life. It doesn’t matter if everything going on around you appears to be the complete opposite of what He says. God is speaking the truth that you need to hold onto. 

Then pay attention for encouragement from Him that confirms what He spoke to you. The list of ways He may reach out to you is endless. However, God will orchestrate things in a way where you will be able to recognize that the interaction is coming from Him, and it will bring you a sense of peace or encouragement.

The way we stop the lies from having power over us is by speaking the truth. We empower things in our life through our thoughts—which direct our actions. Think the thoughts God gives you that bring life.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely,
and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep
putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard
from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)

The Season of the Misunderstood

We truly are living in unprecedented times where so many lines are blurred. What is true? What isn’t? More so than any other time, the ability to truly think for yourself is important. And, if you take the time to truly look, you’ll find answers in the most unlikely of places.

The movie “A Bug’s Life” has come to my mind in recent weeks. The theme of the movie is an ant colony that is persecuted every year at harvest-time by a small but physically imposing group of grasshoppers. Harvesting for their own colony is a monumental effort but under threat of physical repercussion, they take on the herculean task of gathering extra food to appease the grasshoppers. 

At the end of the harvest, the ants have miraculously gathered enough food to sustain their colony, as well as the allotted amount needed to appease the marauding grasshoppers. The food for the grasshoppers is placed on a large leaf, so they can quickly grab it and fly away. Moments before the grasshoppers are due to arrive, tragedy strikes. Flik, the free-thinking and innovative aunt, who is considered a dreamer and bumbling idiot by the rest of the colony, accidentally bumps the leaf. The colony watches in despair as all their hard work spills into the moat of water that surrounds their home.

The grasshoppers arrive to find no food and the ant colony in disarray. Enraged that their demand has not been met, the grasshopper’s leader Hopper erupts into a tirade. He reminds the ants that he is really acting on their behalf by protecting them from “dangerous” insects. 

When the princess ant says that they can’t replace the lost offering, he threatens to harm her. To the entire colony’s astonishment, Flik steps out of the crowd and speaks up in her defense. Hopper erupts into a tirade at Flik’s defiance and reminds the entire colony that they are forgetting their place. He demands double the amount of food from the ants as repurcussion and vows to destroy the colony if his demands are not met when he returns.

Pandemonium breaks out in the ant colony as soon as the grasshoppers leave. Facing potential starvation and destruction, the ants feel they have no other option than to attempt to find more food to appease Hopper. Several ants meet with the Queen to strategize how they can possibly achieve the insurmountable task at hand. 

And in typical fashion, Flik bursts in uninvited with a seemingly ridiculous solution. Flik proposes to the Queen that he leave the colony in search of other larger bugs that would be willing to help their colony fight off the grasshoppers. In the midst of laughing at Flik’s idea, the colony realize that they may have found a way to keep him from ruining things again, and urge him to set off on his quest.

Flik sets off to save his colony—once and for all—from the tyrannical demands of the grasshoppers. Along the way, he meets other misfit and ostracized bugs. They find common ground in the fact that none of them fit in. With Flik’s encouragement, they form a group and head back to save the colony.

The movie pans to a scene with the grasshoppers hanging out at their secret hideout. Hopper overhears the rest of his gang saying they want to hang out at their secret hideout instead of bothering with the ants again because they have plenty of food and it’s just one ant that stood up. Hopper completely loses it, saying, “If you let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.” And with that, he tells the gang they’re going back right then to deal once-and-for-all with the ants.

Meanwhile, Flik has returned to the colony with his rag-tag band of friends. He formulates a plan to defeat the grasshoppers and, with the help of his friends, puts his plan into action. The grasshoppers arrive and a battle ensues. Flik’s plan appears to be working against the grasshoppers, when at the last moment their plan crumbles and all appears to be lost.

Hopper steps up to seize victory and exact revenge on the ants, starting with Flik. Flik has been brutally beaten by Hopper but before he is able to deliver his death-blow, Flik finally sees the truth and summons supernatural courage to call out Hopper’s lies by stating, “Ants don’t serve grasshoppers. It’s you who needs us! We’re a lot stronger than you say we are. And you know it. Don’t you?” And you start to see, in the eyes of the rest of the ants in the colony, the courage to stand up and fight.

As the energy starts to turn in the ant’s favor, Flik continues to stand up to Hopper saying, “Ants aren’t meant to serve grasshoppers. I’ve seen these ants do great things. And year after year, they somehow manage to pick for themselves and you. So, so, who is the weaker species?” At this point, the entire colony is enraged and moved to action. 

You see, for the first time, real fear in Hoppers eyes. He is losing his control over the ants that completely outnumber him. Hopper resorts to the tactics he has always employed to keep the ants in line—using lies to create fear and intimidation—by yelling, “You are mindless, soil shoving losers. Ideas are dangerous things. You were put on this earth to serve us.”

With new found confidence and the support of the entire colony, Flik responds,  “You’re wrong Hopper.” And then the ant colony attacks the grasshoppers. Hopper is killed, the rest of his “gang” leaves, and the ants are saved.

The once misunderstood Flik is suddenly transformed from outcast to hero. It was his pioneering spirit, ability to think differently from the crowd, and courage to stand up for what was right that saved his colony. But his actions had an even farther reaching impact on his colony by enabling his fellow ants to change their thoughts to create a better community for future generations.

Now, take a look around at the things we are facing in society today. The problems, challenges, and unique pressures at this pivotal time. Do you see the Hoppers? But more importantly, do you see the Fliks? 

Maybe you are a Flik; if so, keep shining your light for all to see. It is more important than you realize that you continue to be yourself. God created you out of season and never meant for you to blend in so that, when the time was right, you would stand out. And, He placed within you the knowledge and fortitude that is so desperately needed right now. 

Quotes from Hopper: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120623/characters/nm0000228
Quotes from Flik: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120623/characters/nm000492

Joy Comes From Seizing the Unexpected Moments

I have been praying a lot lately asking the Lord to help restore my joy. And, as usual, in the most unexpected way He helped me.

Our family just returned home from a vacation to the beach city where my husband and I grew up. By some beautiful coincidence—on the second day of our trip—I enjoyed a beach day with just me and both my grown kids. I sat on the beach and watched as they boogey boarded.

My son came back in quickly to drop off his board so he could body surf. He asked me if I wanted to join them in the water. Without thinking, I blurted out several excuses so I could be lazy and just lounge on the beach.

As he turned to go, I was instantly frustrated with myself. Here my grown children were asking me to join then and I had said no. So, I jumped up, grabbed the boogey board, and made my way to the water. 

When I got to the water, it was cold and I was taking my sweet old time getting in. I found myself falling back into my old pattern of wanting to be lazy so I could just go enjoy the warm sand and book I had brought. Apparently I was being grumpy and my son said something to the affect of, “You’re not having fun so why don’t you just go back.”

And that’s when I had my moment of clarity. Instantly, the thought hit me, “When did I become such a stick-in-the-mud?” Followed by the realization that my younger self would be so sad at what I had become. When I was younger, I was full of life, effervescent, and a free-spirit. I had loved growing up by the ocean and was always the first person in and one of the last to be dragged out at the end to the day.

So, I sent up a quick “hail Mary” prayer saying, “Help me to let go and find the joy in this moment. And, I’m just going to ride these waves and think of nothing else.”

I ended up spending over an hour catching some great waves and having the most wonderful time with my kids. I could have missed out on that experience …but I’m glad I didn’t!

As I walked out of the water, I also realized that I was lacking joy in other areas of my life. I had found myself asking God in recent years to help me find my joy and zest for life again. It was finally clear to me that I needed to start changing my outlook and my actions if I wanted the things I was asking from God.

Joy comes from seizing the unexpected moments.