It’s February 5, 2019. As this month approached, or actually, way before it began edging its way here, I had memories of my sister, Wanda popping up often. When my mother, or my sister, Aimee and I are together, or like a couple weeks ago while I was driving to Dothan alone…the list goes on. The holidays especially bring her closer to our minds and hearts.
We celebrate purple month for her. For those of you who don’t know–Purple was her favorite color, she was born in February and she slipped quietly from this life in February 2008. She would have celebrated her 44th birthday –but God chose to give her a heavenly celebration instead.
This morning, while I was having my quiet time with the LORD, a memory flooded back to my mind in a rush. (Please bear with me, as this is lengthy, but I wanted to share a sweet weekend with you.)
In 2006, we loaded up my little maroon Isuzu with the ladies I love to get away with; my sisters, Aimee and Wanda, our mother, and her sister, Evielean. We dubbed our times together, “The Sisters Retreat”.
No sooner had we reached Eufaula, Alabama, heading further north and we needed a potty break. Of course this was an excuse to actually dig around in the back for the “tea-cakes” that our aunt Evielean always baked and packed for us. (I’m telling you all of this so you actually FEEL the journey!)
We struck gold under the direction of aunt Evielean and were soon munching on cookies and sipping on colas, driving to a sweet B & B in Georgia.
We oohed and aahhed over the scenery, all the leaf colors and soon began to talk about things we wanted clarification on in the Bible. We actually had to call up one of the preachers in the family to answer a very important question that God would use on our retreat–and we sang and prayed.
We were directed somehow to a passage in 2 Corinthians 4:1-16
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (emphasis mine)
What began to be just a retreat for us girls, turned into a God appointment. When we left home–we all prayed together and asked to LORD to show us things and surprises…this one was a triple surprise.
That night, after a supper we had brought with us to prepare, we cleaned up and gathered around the fireplace. Each pulling in as close as possible. We shared portions of Scriptures from our current devotions, or a song that we had been listening to–and the Lord began to stir our hearts about something.
We knew the host, Mr. Tom Ford, was very sick. The Lord laid it on our hearts to have prayer that night for him, anoint a handkerchief, and share a passage of scripture. It was this particular passage.
The next morning, after breakfast, we moved over to the living room in the main house. Mrs. Martha had been preparing and serving and we had some light chit-chat, but we finally asked her if it would be okay if we prayed for Mr. Ford after breakfast. She told us he would love that.
We had an absolutely scrumptious breakfast–and when we left the table, we all settled back into the living room–whispering reminders to one another of who would do what and say what–when Wanda said she wanted to share something too.
Wanda was usually very quiet, but this particular morning, God has stirred her with a reminder that HE was in control. And that HE would give peace even in the hardest of situations. I had rarely heard her share her testimony– but she was willing to share whatever the LORD needed.
After I read the scriptures and Wanda shared what the LORD had put on her heart, we sang. It was actually a song we learned on the way to the cabin. That too, was something God did.
With lifted hands and tears streaming down his face, Mr. Ford was glimpsing something in the spiritual realm that I wish we all could have been privy to. But it was all for him that morning.
I have a question for you: do you make yourself available for God to use anywhere and anytime? Even when it looks different than what you or I had planned…. ???
As we celebrate this 5th day of February– I know and love the fact that God loves to use each one– and He especially loves it when we make ourselves available.
We celebrate her faith — the purple we wear also signifies royalty… as believers we are sons and daughters of the King of all kings!