There are times when you “know” you’ve just got to do something. You know, when you just know it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes it makes no sense to anyone else and therefore their opinion will be negative. That’s ok. If you have been impressed deeply to do something, then go with you gut and do it!
A moment in time is occasionally captured to stand still and remember always. A moment when the past is separated from the future by now. Right now. Old things behind us, new things in front of us, and we stand between them in the present. This morning my son took a photo of my parents’ pond. It portrays this very thought perfectly.
Seems lately we have been so blessed with God showing His incredibly awesome designs that He casts across the canvas of the sky. Below is a YouTube video I made a while back. Below that is an exert from my book, Warm Hugs for Dark Nights. Look out there my friends, He is all around us!
Take my Breath away!
It stopped me in mid-sentence and caught my breath. Immediately I knew He had gone and done it again. The sight was breath taking. “I gotta let you go, I’ll call you right back.” I ended the call with my Mom and hit the button for my phone camera.
It’s been happening for about a decade now and each time it hits me so unexpectedly and takes my breath away. So many times I’ve just wanted to give up the fight or when I am very down and at the end of my rope, there it is in front of me. It’s one of the most beautiful sights that only God can control; an awesome sunrise, an unbelievable sunset, or just an incredible display in the clouds. The timing is what gets me. It is always when my spirits are dropping, and there it is. It’s something I can’t argue with. God has spoken and I wilt and say ok. No, it’s not with every beautiful sunrise that I cast my eyes upon; it’s the ones that are strategically placed before my eyes at the most needed moment. Those are the ones that rock my rafters.
Years ago my brother and I began this thing, each time either of us would go on a trip we’d say to the other, “bring me back a sunrise.” Guess we both admire an awesome sky. And sure enough, when the film was developed from the trip it would include a photo of either a sunrise or a sunset. After I moved to East TN my brother sent me a photo he took of a sunset on my property back in West TN. To this day it is still one of my favorite. An old scraggly tree accents the sunset with such innovation. Even with this fascination with beautiful scenes in the sky, this private communication between God and me always catches me off guard and takes my breath away. ~~~
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I have a habit of pacing the floor when I’m talking on the phone. It’s a good thing phones with cords attached is not as common as they once were and cell phone is my selected choice of communication. I found myself walking throughout the house as my daughter spilled the details of her unexpected layoff. With the economy getting into the critical stage we hear of such tragedies every day but this one hit way too close to home. Two weeks before Christmas is not the best of times to find one’s self jobless, especially with a family to provide for. Even though her husband was still employed, this layoff was going to stress their finances tremendously. My mind reeled with all the fears and worries as I paced subconsciously, still listening to Tabi. My stomach churned and I fought nausea.
I about dropped the phone. In my spontaneous pacing I found myself in front of the Kitchen window. Through it was a most unbelievable sunset. Not only was it breathtaking, but even though the window is facing west, it is uncommon to see much of a sunset due to obstructions. But there it was, as vivid as I’d ever seen. Shades ranging from orange to pink as the overcast sky tried to overtake the ball of fire. My heart about leaped out of my chest. God had done it again. He’d spoken to me in a most profound manner without uttering a word. Things were going to be ok. Although I didn’t mention the sunset to Tabi, I was able to talk to her in a most confident tone that I truly believed this was just a move God needed to make in her life to get her where he needed her to be. As it turned out that is exactly what happened. Before her severance pay ran out she was hired in a position that allowed her to spend more time with her young children while pursuing her Masters and her long-term goal of teaching.
“My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.”
It had been a most difficult day at the office. As I climbed into my car I wondered what on earth prompted me to transfer to this new position. I was exhausted, mad, aggravated, with no desire to continue this battle. I just wanted to give up, say whatever, put in my hours, take home my pay and not worry about it. I didn’t want to “care” anymore. My mind was full of such thoughts as I took the ramp and joined the traffic on 640, the by-pass around Knoxville. My tired mind jumped to attention when spread before me was one of the most magnificent skies I’d ever laid eyes on. The setting sun was masked by a wide dark cloud yet, there in the middle was a fissure that allowed the sunbeams to burst through. All around the outer lining of the cloud the sun beams were gleaming, twinkling in all directions. As I drove west I was so amazed at the sight and I watched the fracture in the wicked cloud continue to rupture allowing more of the luminous rays to burst through. As I took the off ramp onto 275 south it was as if I was driving right up into the brilliance but the curve in the overpass quickly took me back to reality and I smiled thanking God for his encouragement in the sky. I then thought, “God, you need to be careful with these shows, especially when traffic is all around me.” It came to my immediate attention that if God was awesome enough to create such a sight for me to see, he would also keep me safe while I was viewing it.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
My hip ached and so did my back. Sitting in the car for hours on I-40 takes a toll on this “well seasoned” woman. It’s not always easy looking at 5 ½ -6 hours of interstate. By the time I reach Nashville (my halfway point) I’m aching. I can’t complain though, my choice, couldn’t breathe if I had to sit at home by myself. Besides, there’s something worth driving toward (and from). Still, the miles get long and I get weary. Today, I’m very weary. How much longer shall I continue this 350 mile commute across the state? Am I just a fool with nothing else to do? Does God have a plan as I have begged for him to lead me to? Sometimes, being on the road so much, the fear of a crash overwhelms me. I top over the hill and there is my answer. Yep, he did it again. Each time, it’s amazing how they come so unexpected. I never sit there saying, “Ok God, time for another sky-show”. Well, actually I do say that from time to time but they never appear at those times. It’s when God decides to speak to me on a moment’s notice. This one is particularly inconceivable. The Brilliance of the different hues is astounding. One glance and it’s a fact; God is the most magnificent painter of all. The sky is his canvas and he swipes his paint brush through his palette with ease; deep periwinkle blue for the backdrop, tangerine orange, raspberry sorbet violet, delicate whisper pink, turquoise and powder blue wisp across the sky. God is good.
“God will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber… The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.” Psalm 121:3,5-8
I rose to the noisy alarm clock as usual and began my day. Ruth Ann danced around the edges of my thoughts. I made a mental note to ask Mom about her on our daily phone call while I drove to work. Ruth Ann had been such a dear friend and neighbor my entire life. She was always bubbly with an easy laugh. Her years as school bus driver and school band supporter/bus driver made her a favorite to many a youth in my hometown. Sadly Ruth Ann had battled cancer for the last few years. Even the cancer could not stifle her cheerful spirit. A couple of years ago when Daddy was in the hospital in Memphis (3 hours from our neighborhood), Ruth Ann was taking treatments there. She and Harry Ben made the long trip each and every day. Even with this battle with her own health, they stopped by daily to check on Dad, offering to be family shuttle bus or do anything they could since they were making the trip anyway; always thinking of someone else. That was Ruth Ann and Harry Ben. Recently Ruth Ann had taken a turn for the worse. Mom hadn’t mentioned her in a day or two and with my waking up with her on my mind, I was eager to ask Mom for an update. I hit my speed dial. We said our morning hellos while I began maneuvering my way through the traffic. I had just yielded onto Pellissippi heading south when Mom said “Harry Ben just called, Ruth Ann passed away this morning.” As her words spilled out along with her tears, before me was an awesome sight. The entire sky was grey with gloomy clouds; except for one puncture. With glistening sunbeams it was as if the heavens were pouring through the hole down upon the mountains. Such a Beautiful sight! It stopped me in mid-sentence and caught my breath. Immediately I knew He had gone and done it again. The sight was breath taking. “I gotta let you go Mom, I’ll call you right back.” I ended the call and hit the button for my phone camera.My camera phone could not grasp the enormity of what I saw that morning. It shows only about 10% of the magnificent panorama my eyes soaked up that morning. I wanted to preserve the moment, the beauty, and the awesome warmness in my chest. I was so disappointed the photo did not portray such exquisiteness. I can only remember in my mind and in my heart; and remember who placed it on display and why. God is so kind and so loving. In amongst all the sad dark clouds that consumed the entire sky, His love broke through and reached down to us below. I think that is how he took Ruth Ann that morning. Reached down and scooped her right up! …and took her home.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
There’s drama everywhere. Some people feed off of drama and if they have none, they will create some. Sometimes it becomes too much and our heads swim. Sometimes we just have to step back and take a breath. Every time you feel yourself getting pulled into other people’s nonsense and Drama, just repeat these words: “Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys”.