June 23, 2015

Open for 2015 {Week 23}

Coming home from Colorado last week was like walking into a hurricane!  There were so many things on the calendar I wanted to turn around, reboard that plane, and hightail it outta town before anyone knew I was home.  The irony was it was all stuff I wanted to do, but I was not sure I had the energy to handle the valley after the mountain-top experience of being in Colorado with Sally and all those great women, thinking lofty thoughts about living for the Kingdom, being poured out, and living intentionally and with joy.  I sure am thankful for the valley, though.  "Life in the valley", where we all spend most of our time, is where we really exercise faith, learn our dependency on the Lord, and most see Him work in and around us.  The title of this blog is no accident.

Last week I had to be OPEN to the plans that I had made and embrace them for what they were.  And you know what they were?  Visits with three great friends from three different stages of my life!  I felt so emotionally and physically spent, though, I was not sure it would be a good week, having those visits in the midst of all the routine things on the schedule.  I was not getting into bed early enough, the house needed a fair amount of attention, my husband was leaving town mid-week for nine days, and ... well, you get the picture.  Tasks upon tired were adding up to a Heather that was tense and less-than-fun to be around, ask my kids!

As each day dawned I spoke with the Lord, asked Him for what I needed, gave thanks, and then dove into the day.

It was not a perfect week, but it was a very good one!

Tuesday my high school friend, Kim, came out to see our "new" place for the first time.  She brought her mom and my mom was here, too.  What a delightful time we had around the kitchen table sipping iced coffee, munching cookies, catching up about the present, and laughing - hard - about past memories.

 Thursday evening my Cambridge-days friend, Carol, and her two boys arrived to spend a couple of nights with us before picking up her daughter at camp on Saturday.  We had so much fun playing with our children, sharing simple meals together, going swimming, and sitting in the evenings chatting as if we still do that regularly all the time.  I could sit for a lifetime with Carol on my back porch; my soul was filled up!

Saturday, after farewells to Carol and the kids, we headed in to Pittsburgh for a birthday celebration for my friend, Emily's, twins.  Those three years went by fast!  Their family has birthday parties on Emily's grandmother's giant screened-in, wrap-around porch, where there is space to lounge on couches, eat around a large table, and play with a variety of vintage toys.  Oh the memories we already share on that porch!  I entered the party with a pretty massive headache and by the grace of God it cleared while I sat, next to Em, and the children all entertained themselves.  Her husband served me a fantastic iced coffee; I think maybe that magic elixir was what finally fixed my head.  Thanks, Caleb!

Then before leaving town on Saturday, we met my mom for dinner at Chick-fil-a.  She was supposed to be back in Rwanda but had to stay here for some unexpected surgery she had yesterday,* so we arranged to met up since we were already in town.  We had so much fun talking at the table while the kids yelled and ran around in the sound-proof play area.  God bless you, Chick-fil-a!  That visit was the cherry on top of this week's sundae of sweet visits with important women in my life.

I share about these three friends and mom - also a friend! - because as I drove Route 22 away from the city up and down through the Western Pennsylvania hills, the Spirit reminded me of how many times I have prayed for friends: Lord, we are moving somewhere new, please provide good friends for us during our time there, however long.  I choked up meditating on how faithful God has been to provide companionship for me everywhere I have ever lived.  His kindness overwhelms me sometimes!  I was so grateful.

This verse came to mind:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:9-10

Time to Take Action:  I wonder what the desires of your heart are today?  What do you need God to provide?  Often we feel silly asking Him for things that seem trivial or unimportant in the grand scheme of the needs of the world.  But, dear ones, I can tell you stories of the times the ladies above, Kim, Carol, Emily, and my mom, have gotten me though trials and tribulations.  I needed them, even if at the time I didn't realize how much God had provided.  And they aren't the only friends God has given me at just the right time, they're just the ones who I saw this past weekend!

Ask!  Be bold with your requests and trust the Lord to provide.  He's into caring for His children.

And, look back and give thanks!  It is easy, in the face of life's tasks and responsibilities (like I was feeling after Colorado) to forget the Lord.  He is always faithful to us, forgiving our sin, providing for our needs, and protecting us from evil and temptation.  Thank Him, today.

*The surgery went well and she is doing GREAT!

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