It was a dreary Friday…cloudy, drizzly, and kind of chilly. It was the kind of day where you wanted to stay in your pajamas and make soup. But I had chores to do, and a few errands to run. I returned from errands in the afternoon, just in time to fix something for dinner and get ready to drive to the Ladies Night of Encouragement, where I had signed up to be a greeter.
Most Friday nights I’m at home, keeping up with local high school football that I can now watch on Public Television or casting from Youtube to the home television. So it was fun to get ready for a night out, and look forward to sharing the evening with other women.
I arrived early enough to listen to the sound check and know we were in for a real treat from the Worship band. The kitchen staff had a fabulous set up of little desserts, decorated cookies and an apple dipping station complete with warm chocolate or caramel and an assortment of toppings. What a fabulous spread designed to delight and nourish.
During the briefing for all the volunteers who would be greeting or praying, I began to feel how blessed I am to be at this special night to encourage women. God continues to walk with me right where I am, while encouraging me to be the best I can to honor Him and express my love for Him. In this past year God has prepared me to be in tune with my own mind, body and spirit, so I can recognize His grace in my life. And I became convicted that I have encouragement to share about how God has not forgotten me, even when I don’t give him my full attention. I have understanding for other moms who feel overwhelmed and inadequate because I often felt that way. Now that my kids are grown and forging into adulthood, I can hear God’s whispering that I often ignored or tuned out. It was not intentional, this tuning out. I was just a fearful parent, trying to be vigilant in my duties to protect my children that I failed to include God. I knew God was “around” and watching over us, but I didn’t pause much to lean into Him when I needed Him most. I pretty much coped by “putting on my big girl panties” and dealing with life as it came along. Like footprints in the sand, I see the times where God walked right beside me, and even carried me at times.
So these days I have a greater appreciation for seeing God shine in my life. I park farther away from buildings and enjoy fresh air and time to be thankful for my health, my family, inspiring co-workers, and opportunities to explore and grow in my faith.
So even though I have heard about this One with One Discipleship Program for 2019 at Mt. Bethel, I had decided to pass it up due to other interests and busyness in my life. But once I had a chance to pause and be grateful for all God has done and is doing in my life, I think it would be a blessing to share and encourage another Christian. It’s a year commitment that runs January through December, 2019, that will push us in our faith and challenge us to a higher standard of living in every area of life as together, we pursue Jesus. It’s important to share your time, talents and love for the Lord to encourage others.
1 Thessalonians 5:7-9
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I may have been asleep in my awareness of God’s active presence and work in my life. But today I am awake and abundantly glad for his grace and mercy. I have Good News to share.
All of this insight and blessing came to me BEFORE the Night of Encouragement even started. But that was only the beginning!
The worship music was truly spectacular, largely in part due to my nephew-in-law being the keyboard player! He is incredibly talented, but playing music is a side gig for him. After working all day, he left his very pregnant wife at home in their brand new house. While my sister and niece are unpacking and setting up a baby room, Jeff is working hard to help cover these new expenses……even if it means playing for a packed room full of multi-generation women. Now that is dedication!
The worship music for Night of Encouragement was a pure and firm calling for the presence and power of the Lord Almighty to come shine in that room and lift up each and every heart toward heaven. Whatever burdens walked into that room were commanded to be dropped on the floor as we were led to call on Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer. Truly, it was a powerful and uplifting offering to praise the One who is our only Hope. It was a blessing to be engaged in awe and wonder. I am continually truly grateful for Harvest Bashta sharing her talent and love for the Lord. She has a way of wrapping you up in to her love of Jesus and lifting up a beautiful gift of praise.
And there is still more to tell. And it is humbling because I just showed up for my assigned duty thinking I was going to contribute my small portion to serving on this night, and yet God filled my cup…..again, without me stopping to ask or listen from Him.
The speaker was Rev. Ashley Mathews, Education pastor at Trinity Anglican Church in Atlanta. Her message carried us through the Bible, literally from Genesis to Revelations. Her topic was based on a specific word spoken to me about a month ago that i did not fully understand, and it all became clear to me. The word is inheritance. And we all have an inheritance coming to us as sons and daughters of Christ. What a blessing on top of blessing.
I have much more to discover and explain, but to have this clarity handed to me feels like just an over abundance of grace delivered to my undeserving self. But this gift should be honored and explored and put to use.
Pursue your inheritance.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.