Angels Unawares   5 comments

October 1, 2018

What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you or said to you? Why did this mean so much?

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We live in a pretty uncivil world these days. People just treat each other badly, often … in traffic, on social media, in the grocery store … it would be easy to get discouraged with the current state of affairs.

CoolerBut I’ve had lots of people do kind things to me and for me. Once when our family was going through a really rough time, I came home from work to find a cooler of Alaska wild-harvest products (jams, jellies, crabapple butter, and a raspberry and rhubarb pie) sitting on my front porch. Under the sweets was a caribou roast and a bag of potatoes with the dirt still on them. Twenty-four years later, I have no idea who did this. It wasn’t that we needed the food so much as someone knew we were having a hard time and they took the time to show me they cared. If you’re reading this, thanks for the cooler. We still use it on picnics.

I am an Alaskan woman which means I can change my own car tires and do simple auto repair because people (male or female) who can’t do that here end up dying of hypothermia waiting for rescue. Triple-A comes from Seattle, so that’s three days at 60 mph if the tow truck driver doesn’t sleep. We have cell phone service these days, but not everywhere. So skills are a necessity here. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it when young military guys pull up behind my car on the highway and offer to “change that tire for you, ma’am?” I’ll compliment him on his skill and pull over at the nearest gas station to check those bolts are tight enough. Be grateful, but verify.

When I worked for an agency that was going through a rough re-organization, the Executive Director (who was not known for handing out compliments) said to me one day that he appreciated that I always kept a good attitude and never said “No, I can’t do that” without a good reason. That compliment meant a lot of me because I knew I’d earned it.

Hitch HikingI was one day sharing my concerns about my daughter’s gypsy musician lifestyle and one of the women in our Bible Study group apparently misunderstood what I was saying because she said “Isn’t it marvelous that she’s so brave and what a incredible testimony to how you and your husband raised her?” It was a different way of looking at the situation and changed my attitude toward Bri’s adventures. I am partially responsible for them because my husband and I raised her to be fierce and independent and comfortable with hiking in the wilderness with bears, so she’s not frightened by the highways and byways of America. I still worry about her (you never stop worrying about your kids, I think), but I now see her life as an adventure and believe that God has her back and will see her through many of the dangers associated with the life she’s chosen.

But the most heart-touching compliment I ever received wasn’t really a compliment. It was more like a prophesy. Several years ago, events caused me to decide to leave the church I’d been a member of for decades. I loved that church. That spiritual family had seen me and my family through some wonderful times and some hard times. It is still my heart-home. But the pastor at the time was insufferable and the other members were backing him up, so it was time to go. I made that decision on a Sunday morning just before church service. I was literally in the parking lot when I decided I couldn’t go in. So, I went to a gas station to buy a coffee and decide what church I would go to that day. My heart was breaking as I waited for the man in front of me to fill his coffee vase so I could fill my cup. He turned around and I smiled because I have a commitment to being civil with people in public and it wasn’t his fault I was sad. And these words came out of his mouth:

Bless you, my sister in Christ, for your value is far above rubies and you have come into this world for just such a time as this. Your feet are upon the mountain path and it looks scary now, but don’t you worry because He has your hand and will lead you home.

He was right. I did find another spiritual home. Ironically, I went to the church we are currently members of that first morning, but because we had several friends already at that church, we didn’t want to just make an easy choice. We wanted to be where God wants us to be. So we visited about 10 churches over the next couple of months, but we finally returned to the first church I went to that morning of the prophesy. And, while it isn’t like our old church in so many ways, the feeling of spiritual family has gradually grown so that when we were asked if we would come back to our old church after the insufferable pastor left, we decided it was best for us not to do that.

But how he knew my situation that morning — it was a pure God thing. I’ve since met him again. He’s a deacon at a local church and he says God gave him those words many years ago and he’s felt called to say them a couple of dozen times to various people for no reason that he has ever known. He has another one for men. It’s a prophesy of foresaying – speaking God’s word into the life of someone at that moment rather than some future event (foreseeing). It draws from four different Bible passages — it’s not new revelation. I probably already knew what he said, but I needed to be reminded of God’s word and he was there to deliver the message. He was quite blessed when I was able to tell him that his message was delivered to the right person at the right time that day. It gave him hope that he’s not just a crazy man spouting forth Bible verses to random strangers in gas stations. And here’s the rub — two seconds before he said those words, I had decided I was going to go home and not attend church that morning. Maybe that would have been a fateful decision. How that would have turned out, only God knows, but I suspect it wouldn’t have been healthy for me, which is why God arranged for me to encounter this angel unawares.

Storm Clouds Rainbow

We live in a divisive world full of people who backbite and strive to outdo one another, where civility is a limping, bleeding sacrifice to the tyrannical attitudes people hold toward each other. But there are a lot of bright spots if we keep our eyes open for them. Sunlight shines through the clouds and, even now, still creates rainbows.

Posted October 1, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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5 responses to “Angels Unawares

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  1. Your deacon obviously has a kind of sixth sense that helps people in times of stress. I’m happy you found your church, Lela.

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  2. Not everyone is willing to allow their children to make their own decisions once they are grown. I’m sure your daughter is glad that you give her that freedom.

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    • She took the bit in her mouth and we just knew better than to fight over it. A lot of parents want to bubble-wrap their kids and you just can’t do that and hope they’ll ever grow up to be adults.

      But, man, is it hard to actually do that instead of just say it!

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  3. I’m glad you found a church that works for you. I spent a lot of years sucking it up in churches before I realized that it was okay to get out there and really search one out. Now my weeks are better because church refreshes instead of draining me.

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