She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

Divine Appointments & Chili

Touchdown_Chili_Recipe.ashxToday’s post may not be full of a thousand words.  But its packed chock full.

Of heart.

Of soul.

Of spirit.

Of joy.

Of awe.

Of humble appreciation.

Of gratitude.

Of humanity.

What comes out of a simple invitation for hot chili on a cold winter day astounds me.

A new family, new to us, and us, new to them, came over for lunch.  The house was picked up. Bathroom cleaned. Table set. Flowers in a vase. Nice-smelly candle lit. Fireplace on.  Cozy was the call.

Doorbell rang. We did the usual introductions. Hung in the foyer a few minutes. And then invited them in. Fully in.  Some of the kids were shy, some eager to play together, one full of questions (always, wink wink…).

We sat down and the floodgates opened.  We shared. We exchanged. We laughed. We over-shared and apologized, but it didn’t matter, not one bit.  It was rich.

And the whole time I am thinking and feeling grateful to be a part of a Larger God-Story going on here.

I love those moments, conversations, and meetings of new people, when you know God is behind the whole thing.  That there is a reason I am now in your life.  That there is a reason you are now in my life.  Its naught for naught.  Its deep. Its spiritual.  I call these Divine Appointments.

And always, a Divine Appointment is orchestrated by God, who loves and cares deeply about people.  He brings people together because someone needs wisdom.  Or inspiration. Or healing. Or love. Or a word of encouragement. Or an act of kindness. Or a new friend.  Or a special connection for personal or even business reasons.  Or deep spiritual truth and conviction that always points one or another back to the Lord.

Yesterday’s hot chili-and-chips-or-cornbread-lunch may have filled up my tummy.  Which lasts a few hours.

Yet our exchange with this new family filled up my heart and spirit forever.  I am so very humble to be a part of what God is doing in someone else’s life. I am grateful that God would use me, (really, Chris and me), a person so flawed, so messy, so full of my own sinfulness and mistakes, to be of inspiration to another.

I always say that crisis brings clarity to one’s life. And it does.  But on the happier flip-side, Divine Appointments with another human being also bring clarity and perspective on what really matters in this short life on Earth.

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Moses Makes Great Dinners In Heaven

Some years it hits me.  Some years it does not. That post-Christmas blah. The let-down.

On December 26th.  Or even sometimes RIGHT after the Christmas morning of fun and frenzy and children’s delights are all over.

Even though I don’t believe in Santa Clause or any Christmas magic per se, I have realized my adult self still has this longing and expectation at Christmastime.  That somehow a special fulfillment will arrive on December 25th.  And then the day comes and goes and poof, it doesn’t happen.

Unmet expectations.

Longings unfulfilled.

Wishes not granted.

Hopes disappointed.

Dreams dashed into despair.

This is the reality for many, at any time of the year.

This reminds me of a time my husband, Chris, had an opportunity to share at church. The theme was surrounding suffering and desires unfulfilled. He did an eloquent job, (if I do say so myself), and its so worth passing on right now.

Here is an excerpt:

Doesn’t it seem the bigger the shattered expectation or the greater the desire that isn’t satisfied, the greater our unhappiness, pain, and suffering?  It was painful to learn that our son, Ryan, has Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), and it shattered our desires for a son who would naturally develop friendships, graduate from college, get married, have children, and grow up to live an independent life.

The most unique characteristic of persons with PWS is that they have an insatiable appetite–actually they never feel full.  Hunger is never satisfied.  Eventually persons with PWS become very food-seeking and develop an extreme food obsession.  Although Ryan does not sneak or steal food, one of his biggest anxieties arises around his eating schedule.  He needs constant reassurance every day that he will get his breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner without fail.  Cutting off a meal or snack-time for Ryan is like cutting off his oxygen.

C.S. Lewis has an intriguing quote in Mere Christianity:

   “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another wold.”

In light of all our struggles with Ryan, and other rough seasons for our family, that quote is challenging to me for a few reasons.  

Why is it that we live in a world where some of our deepest desires are not satisfied?   For Ryan, it’s his hunger.  It’s something for all of us.   If God created this world, doesn’t He bear some responsibility for our struggles and unsatisfied lives?   If  God doesn’t directly cause our suffering, can’t He nonetheless heal and fix things here and now — in this world?   How can I trust that heaven will truly satisfy all longings of my heart?   I haven’t discovered the best answers to those hard questions, but in the midst of daily heartache of life with a child with special needs, Ryan has helped me learn more about who God is.  I had one of those moments recently.

I was praying one early Saturday morning (not often I confess) and Ryan walked in the room after just waking up.  He asked what I was doing and I told him that I was praying.  He came and sat on my lap.  I asked him if he wanted to pray, too.   I told him to sit quietly and see if God had anything to say.  Ryan said ok, and put his head down on my shoulder and we sat still. Together.

After a few minutes, I asked, “Did God say anything to you?”

Ryan said, “Yes.”

Surprised, I asked Ryan what He said.

Ryan responded, “God told me I’m a great boy and He likes me.”

Hmm…perhaps God is speaking to him?  “That’s great,” I said.  “Did God tell you anything else?”

Ryan paused for a moment and turned to me and answered, “Moses makes great dinners in Heaven.”

I was truly moved and simply replied “Yes, Ryan, Moses makes great dinners in Heaven.”

God didn’t just speak to Ryan at that moment; He also spoke to me.  If Ryan had asked me what God or heaven is like, that’s certainly not how I’d answer.  However, that IS the way a personal God who cares about Ryan would describe Himself and heaven. God assured Ryan that his hunger — which nothing in this world can ever satisfy — will be satisfied in Heaven.  There’s nothing more I’d want for Ryan than for him to truly believe that God loves him, and despite such exceptional challenges, to understand that God can satisfy the deepest longings of his heart.   

I may never know why we, or Ryan, have to endure such trials and challenges, but it’s a great joy to know that Heaven is a place Ryan can look forward to and long for. Where his deepest desires and longings will be fulfilled. Forever.

Although this year was NOT one of those blah years for me, I am thankful for this reminder that Heaven is real and no blah moments or blah seasons of life exist there.

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