Special education her passion; Heaven her destination, God is Good!

With a new school term upon us, my daughter and I made a dash to our local shopping centre to ensure shoes would fit properly for the coming days.

As we ducked through the department store, a jumper (sweater) caught my eye. In a flash, I felt to buy it. On checking size and colour, I proceeded to the cashier’s desk.

A beautiful young girl called ‘Alicia’ came to serve us. We chatted as she processed the sale, and I knew I was to ask if I could pray for her.

Words of knowledge rapidly came to mind, so I gently felt my way through what I was hearing as we talked. I mentioned that working for the store was not her destiny. For some it is, I knew a girl years ago who loved retail and went on to a very successful career, but it was not for Alicia. In sensing this, I asked her about it, and she told me she was studying to become a teacher. I explained I was a Christian, and asked if I could pray for her, for her destiny to open up. She readily agreed. So I took her hand, listening for what God wanted me to pray. My 9-year-old daughter by my side.

The word ‘travel’ came to mind, and I sensed it was for overseas travel. I asked her about this and she said she was saving up to travel overseas. And so with the start of my ‘assignment’ I blessed her finances and declared ‘open doors’ to her destiny.

As I prayed, I ‘heard’ the words ‘special ed’.

 I queried her again, saying: “I know you are studying to become a teacher, but I sense that your heart is in special education, is that right?

She took a breath, responding that yes, special education was her passion.

So I prayed open doors into the field of special education, and I blessed the desires of her heart. I told her she would be a marvellous special education teacher. I did so because I knew she would. Indeed, I declared she would bless many ‘special ed children’ and their families, and she would alter destinies of those she taught for the better. I told her what I knew, and I stated as I prayed she would be a great blessing. It all encapsulated her heart’s desires, and I knew because it was God’s heart for her too.

I then heard the words ‘UK’ – ‘United Kingdom’

Again, I clarified by asking her if she was travelling to the UK. She said she wanted to travel to the USA to meet friends that were ‘having a blast.’ Smiling, I encouraged her to her to consider the idea of travel to the United Kingdom, explaining there might be opportunities and open doors there for her to teach in special education. I said to her that the UK was a wonderful place to live, but I also said:

I could also be wrong in that… just don’t discount the idea,’ and I smiled.

My daughter looked up and grinned at me, tugging my arm in excitement. Alicia stood in awe, amazed I would know these things about her. So, I explained I knew these things not because I was special but because she was special. God saw her. God wanted me to know them about her, so that I could pray them for her, that they would come to pass. In my knowing these details about her life, showed her that there was a God that knew her, saw her, and loved her enough for me to stop for her.

I then felt the nudge to ask her if she wanted Jesus Christ in her heart.

‘You haven’t asked Jesus into your heart yet, have you?’ I asked,

She replied no.

On the unction, I asked her if she wanted to do so.

She thought for a moment, ‘yes, I do!

So in the women’s clothing section of our local department store, a young woman gave her heart to Jesus Christ, accepting what He had done for her on the cross, and asked Him to fill her heart.

Once finished, I felt to give her my mobile (cell) number and name. I briefly explained my background so she would be comfortable to know I was not a Fruit Loop, and I left – my daughter’s face shining; me thoroughly washed in the love of Jesus (because that which flows through you, leaves a residual Presence, which is why it is so much fun to do this); and with Alicia staring at us as we left.

Anyone watching would have seen an ordinary mum and daughter, off to buy school shoes, hand in hand, leaving behind a beautiful and much-loved young woman, a bright destiny open, and a gift of salvation received.

‘Did she call?’

It would surprise me if she called.

There was no surprise. There was no call.

Some have criticised me for this, for leading someone to Christ but not following them up personally, taking their phone number, buying a Bible etc. Those people rarely stop for anyone as they go, so it’s easy to criticise. Some do stop and always follow up – I honour them. The year I had this encounter, I would have stopped for over 1000 people on my way. Some I mentored, others I prayed for and released to God.

The critic always plays a perfect game from their place of comfort.

I used to follow up every single one that I led to Christ, and in the early days I would follow up every one I prayed for too. I ran myself ragged. No one would help me from my local church, and I simply could not do it all on my own with two young children. By this stage, I had peace.

If God prompts me to get their number and chase them up, I will. If not, I know and trust He has their best interests at heart. I trust He will call them into His Church, into His Body, and I leave them free to contact me as and when they wish. It is their journey with a loving Father, and hence literally their call if they reach out to me for more for:

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)

Regardless, I do what I feel I am required to do. I ‘go about My Father’s business’ (Luke 2:49), as best can, and as I do, I am certain that they will know, that Alicia knows that…

God is Good!

 

The God who sees (part 2)

© Sam Manns
God gave me kisses on Thursday. I had been flat, I needed encouragement.
He is the God who sees…

The next day, I saw a great friend. You know the type: encouraging, positive, loves your quirkiness and knows you well enough to brush the dirt away gently to reveal the gold while calling you higher. Community matters!

Home again, I sorted daughter responsibilities, and felt to take our dog for a quick walk. Her life long buddy died recently, and she is more needy these days.

As I walked I thought about two random moments from years ago. Both these moments involved drunk guys. Andrew had stopped for them. One was a homeless man whom Andrew took shopping – he had cried tears in delight as Andrew ‘just happened’ to pick up his favourite foods and load up the trolley. The other man wept in the dark as Andrew sat by his side in the local football stadium, talking about his broken marriage.

These ‘random’ memories should have pointed me to what would happen next – but I was none the wiser.

As I walked into the local footy oval, I saw a man to my left. At his feet was a wine box, with a couple of bottles of champagne.

© Michael Odelberth

He averted his gaze. I sensed sensed his shame and as I did my heart went out to him. His despair and sadness was tangible. With a nudge to acknowledge him as I walked past, I smiled gently.

‘Hello,’ I said.

A quiet ‘hello’ came back.

I continued to walk, and I ‘saw’ in my mind’s eye a picture of me sitting next to him on the park bench, talking.

I never choose to sit down next to drunk men at parks.

I prayed instead.

The image in my mind stuck.

‘I will stop for him and sit if you like. Just let me know if I stop on my first or second lap.’

As I came near to where he sat, he got up.

‘Oh, he’s leaving,’ I thought, ‘missed it.’

However, to my surprise, he merely shifted along to the next park bench. Some men had been working on the turf, so I reasoned he was perhaps uncomfortable. He seemed a gentle soul. He later told me he had become too hot in the sun.

His shift of seating made it difficult to join him, so as I walked close to the boundary fence instead and said, ‘Are you ok?’

‘No, I’m not, I’m actually really struggling,’ he replied.

His vulnerability was raw.

© Alicja Gancarz

‘Wow, that must be tough. Do you want to talk about it?’ I asked.

He did, and he started talking.

After a little while, I mentioned I was a Christian. I explained I had felt prompted to come over to see if he was ok. Note: I have great local non-Christian friends who would have done the same.

I told him about the picture I had of us sitting and chatting. He said that sounded nice.

We sat side by side on the park bench. I listened some more. He spoke. I prayed for him. He wept.

I told Him about the God who sees him, who loved him right as he was. I spoke briefly of my messes…

I told him God did not judge the drinking, the pain, the mess, the self medicating; instead, I explained, God adored him. I responded to a comment that God did not judge him, that Jesus had dealt with all that, but then I said I was not there to preach.

I repeated God loved him so much and merely hated the drink because it hurt him. I also said that God sees and hates the hurt that he was trying to stifle, and like a good Father wants to see him set free in order to have a wonderful life.

© Jen Theodore

As I prayed, I saw a picture of a little boy. The boy was so full of joy and excitement about football that his eyes shone with delight. Speaking to the broken dream in his heart, I prayed for the boy who had played football and cricket at the very oval we sat beside.

I told him he could not be any more loved than he was right now, just as he was. He shared his struggles to believe in a God that could ‘allow’ such pain in the world. I told him he had good questions, and I responded by telling him of my own struggles with faith when faced with the brutality my refugee clients had survived.

We kept talking, he wept, he drank, and my dog sat patiently by my side.

Eventually he said how much my saying ‘hello’ had meant to him.

It was a tiny, yet significant, act of kindness.

I shared how God prompted me to sit by his side, and how I had prayed for him as I walked all around the oval.

‘Really?’ he said…

© Natasha Ivanchikhina

I said simply, ‘He is the God who sees, He loves you, He cares’ and I thought of my encounter the day before.

He is the God who sees…

Eventually I stood, I needed to leave. I had to return home to help my mother, whose sister (my aunt) had just died. Promising to leave Andrew’s number at the reception of his accommodation, I said we would love to see him for a coffee. Drunk or not, it was ok; he was welcome just to catch up.

He said he would like that.

I felt the urge to give him a hug; but ignored it the first time. Feeling it again, I offered him a hug. He immediately responded ‘yes’ and threw his arms around me in a way that he was desperate for love. He was hungry for the acceptance that only human warmth can provide. As I hugged him, I hoped he felt the Father’s heart. I could feel his basic human need to be seen and to be loved.

I hope he calls for a cuppa.

I also hope he can kick the addiction and step into his inheritance. I had prayed a future I saw.

He has kicked the habit before. I believe he will again.

Yet, even if he can’t, he knows there is a God who loves him, right where he is at. He knows there is a God who sent a random female stranger to sit and talk on a park bench for an hour.

Yesterday, God gave me kisses…

He was the God who sees…

Today God gave him kisses…

He IS the God that sees…

I hope and trust that this man at the park tasted to see that…

God is Good!

© Suhash Villuri

Can you see the one before you?

This morning I was a little flat. We are still in stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, and although there was some lifting of restrictions last night, the changes do not really change anything for us in our little bubble.

Restless, I pulled on my big girl pants and drove to the naturopath to pick up some tablets.

As I chatted to the owner, I asked her how she was.

She felt the same – a little flat.

We chatted and exchanged comments, and as I did, I noticed the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.

I stopped and asked: ‘can I pray for you?’

She looked, muttered ‘yes’ and instantly cried.

‘Oh gosh, yes, please, oh, gosh, that would be nice… I don’t know why I’m crying, how kind…’

Her words tumbled out through her tears.

I responded through tears: ‘it’s ok, I can feel the Holy Spirit here, and I felt to offer to pray…’

She came out from around the desk. I asked if I could place my hand on her back. I actually desperately wanted to hug her…

I prayed for her to be refreshed and to receive joy, hope, good sleep, favour for her children who would also remain at home when school returns in a week.

I also felt I heard a word for her, which I gave for the business, and she stepped back wiping away her tears.

There was nothing more to say in that moment.

We both agreed – three more weeks and perhaps it would be better for us both…

Gerberas to give. Nothing to lose ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I drove away, I thought of the woman who had texted me that morning that she was closing her business. It was too hard. She texted all her customers; I was just one of many. I felt the nudge to drive to the concourse where her shop was located and buy some flowers, so I did, some beautiful large bright happy orange gerberas, thinking I would offer to buy some of her produce to help with the finances of closing shop and moving to the country.

If I was to do this, surely she will be in her shop clearing it out… if I had ‘heard’ right… right?

The shop was closed and no-one was answering my knock!

Maybe I got it wrong…

Frustrated, I then felt to drive back to give them to the naturopath practice.

‘Surely it would cheer her day,’ I thought. Nothing to lose. I did, but I felt it fell flat… I felt foolish…

Maybe I got that wrong…

Still feeling unsatisfied, I drove back to shop area, drove past the shop and the door was still shut with no-one inside.

So I took the Gerberas home ©Beth Kennedy 2020

‘Right’, I thought, ‘I’m driving home’, but it didn’t feel right to just drive home…

Soooooo, I went back again and bought some gerberas (this time smaller bright orange ones), hoping I had ‘got it right’ this time…

Nope – the shop remained shut and empty.

I brought the flowers home and they sit on my kitchen table, bright and cheery.

So I am telling this to encourage those that are giving this ‘stopping for the one’ a go. People that have heard many of my stories think somehow that I get this stuff right, all the time…

I don’t!

You will get it right sometimes.

You will get it wrong sometimes, but if it blesses someone who cares, God loves your heart, and someone gets blessed.

You will get the timing wrong sometimes – I will give it another shot if I can to bless the woman whose business is closing. Let her know her community cares.

And sometimes you just don’t know what you were hearing… but try to step out any

way.

The bottom line is, giving it a go counts – giving it a go is a ‘win’.

So, even though I feel like I missed it, I didn’t.

I loved on a woman who was struggling, and I tried to love on another.

Incline your ear, regardless of how you feel.

Stop for the one as you go, and you will learn, as you go…

And I can guarantee that you will taste and see that…

God is Good!

 

Let me know when you thought you got it right, but then you got it wrong, or you thought you got it wrong… but did you?