A while ago, I had coffee with our pastor’s wife. I sought her out because James’s heart is such the heart of pastor and I truly believe that one day he will get to be a shepherd of God’s people and I want to know what being a pastor’s wife is like. From the heart of a pastor’s wife. Her insights were very interesting and so genuine it touched my soul and brought me to tears more than once during the conversation. I’m not sure if she noticed. Maybe she did and was just being gracious by ignoring it. This one conversation has been such a pivotal one in my heart and even daily life. I know she doesn’t realize it, but the Lord used that one meeting to bring about such amazing joy. One instance of this joy I will write about in a few days, and one I will share tonight that the Lord has used to open a door to an incredible ministry opportunity for me.
At one point, she quickly mentioned I should read some of what Jill Briscoe has written. Now, I had no idea who Jill Briscoe was, and I quickly forgot the name. Anyway, we finished our coffee and realized we both needed to get going to work. We hugged, and went our separate ways.
Fast forward about a month. James and I have been getting to know our neighbor and her precious four year old son since we got married and he moved into the apartment. They have been through a lot. And while she attends church, throughout conversations we’ve had, it breaks my heart to realize she might not truly know Jesus and that following him does not necessarily mean our lives will automatically be easy and happy and rich. I mean, Paul had a lot of stuff go wrong. It would seem unfair that so much “bad stuff” would happen to one person who was dedicated to following Jesus, right? Wrong. Jesus warned us that following him is not easy and we won’t be showered with riches and greatness. I mean, the King was born in a stable with farm animals. That’s definitely great. Anyway, after having dinner at their apartment on Friday night, I spent some time praying for them on Saturday. I decided to go to the bookstore in search of a particular book I thought would be perfect for her situation and would solve all her problems. Oh how the Lord must smile and my naivety. I couldn’t find it. Halfway through my search, the Holy Spirit laid it on my heart to try hard to remember what the name of the woman was that my pastor’s wife told me about. All I could remember was that her last name started with a B. And there it was. Spiritual Arts by Jill Briscoe. I picked it up and took it back to the little coffee shop at the back of the store and started to read.
At this point, every word I read was ringing in my head and piercing my heart. I continued reading, and at the same time, carrying on a conversation in my heart with the Lord. I realize that the Lord has placed James and me in this apartment, across the hall from this woman and her son, for a very specific reason. He was calling me to be the women’s ministry she is lacking and desiring. I looked at the price. I cringed and texted James, who was working. We are going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and every penny counts. We literally discuss EVERY purchase we even think about making. Down to a $1 pop. No joke. So spending $30 on two books (one for me and one for her) was a big deal. He quickly called me and gently reminded me that $30 is nothing if it means ministering to the heart of those who need Jesus. True. Ok. We hung up and I walked toward the register. So now, I was dealing with just not wanting to dive into a deep relationship with this woman. I had every excuse in the book ready and at hand. And my sweet and gentle Lord was so kind. He let me battle through my selfishness. My stubbornness. My pride. As I walked out the door of that bookstore, I couldn’t hold in the tears. How could I be so unkind? So hard hearted? My sweet Jesus is providing me with an opportunity to minister like he did to the poor, broken and hurting. Even thinking about it now brings the tears.
I brought the books home, wrapped one up and placed it at her doorstep (they weren’t home), and sat down at my kitchen table and continued reading where I left off in the store. Such divine providence from the Lord. Each word was so amazingly truthful and perfectly relevant to my heart, and even more so relevant to this beautiful woman across the hall’s heart.
I left her a note asking her if she wanted to go through the book with me. I haven’t seen her since Friday night. So I will continue to pray that she will be open to meeting with me.
All I know is my heart has been so challenged. Like the changing and warming weather, I feel the winter of my soul has gone and life is emerging from all around as I continue to seek the Lord in all things.
If you have never been there, seeking Jesus through a relationship with him, please let this be the last thing you read before you find a Bible. Read the book of Romans. Or John. You won’t be disappointed.