Category Archives: Intimate Infinite

Special ways in which the infinite God is connecting with me, personally, uniquely, intimately.

Dear Someone, Thank You!

Lifelong Christians aren’t supposed to get frustrated, or discouraged, or wonder if they’ve made enough errors to be abandoned. Seeing miracles from time to time is supposed to shelter the faithful ones from all forms of doubt. Or, that’s what we tell ourselves…or perhaps tell each other.

Well, this lifelong Christian, called missionary, and observer of miracles has been having a rough go of it. Few know how discouraged I’ve been getting, how many times I’ve wondered if I’d have served better by staying in my former life. A six-figure life, complete with modest mortgage, two cats, and a fair bit of affirmation from coworkers, church leadership, and my beloved youth group. But I was under a call to another realm – the place of seeking deaf people and introducing them to Jesus. So I packed up my gear and headed north to focus on relearning American Sign Language (ASL).

The plan to become an interpreter for income fell through, leaving a lot of dust, doubt, and debt in its wake. I was at a point of nearly despairing, considering the need to return home and admit defeat. Then came a period of two weeks where I was placed in a home and assigned to a ministry. Not only was I not forgotten, not abandoned, but I was on track once again in a place of service to reach the most invisible and spiritually isolated people all over the world – deaf children. I’ve since moved steadily south to get closer to ministry headquarters, living in four different guest rooms so far.

I confidently agreed to accept whatever funding I could raise, counting on being a scheduled speaker at monthly missionary services. I looked forward to telling about my target group and receiving support to devote myself to the mission. A few of us discussed how a team of people would surround me to encourage, pray, and help me with building a network and a speaking schedule. That whole plan didn’t fall through — it crumbled, slowly and agonizingly… Memories of school fundraiser failures and dishonest televangelists mingled with impossible numeric goals and the already busy life rhythms of those I thought to lean on. It looks like I need to take on all aspects of fundraising, and I just don’t have it in me to treat people like walking wallets.

This is the burden that’s grown to unbearable proportions over the past several weeks. Reminding myself that God is faithful and His resources are unlimited doesn’t effectively counter the idea that I’ve failed too much to imagine continuing forward. It seems time to take on a second job for income, knowing that it will reduce the hours and energy I can give to this ministry. If I’m not in ministry, I’ve wasted the last eight years and the sacrifices of several loved ones. My standing prayer request at the moment is for clarity and against discouragement.

That brings us to the title statement: “Dear Someone, thank you.”

Two weeks ago I visited my friends up north. Not only was it a refreshing encouragement to be with my deaf friends, but they were willing to provide taxi service, lunch, and a love gift of $100 from “Someone.” I decided to put that toward a women’s retreat happening soon in the same area.

Yesterday, I noticed that a local pastor (and friend) intended to speak on John 14, and I could use a little “I’ve gone to prepare a place for you…” right about now. Still exploring church options near my new home, I chose to go there. The radio message was Dr. Paul Nyquist’s “Heirs with Christ,” on being adopted by God. I was warmly greeted by several people at the church and had some discussion with the Lord about perhaps serving with this body, then the pastor gave his message on the Fatherhood of God. His focus was verses 13-14, “ask in My name, and it will be done.” Then, being prompted, he asked the congregation if someone would give $20 to the visiting missionary. I was overwhelmed with more greetings, encouragement, a couple of contacts, a prayer, and a total of $386.

Afterward, I had a text from my friends up north. The cost of the women’s retreat is covered. Another unexpected blessing.

To all the Someones who have given of themselves to pray, encourage, affirm, and provide — especially recently — THANK YOU! I am overwhelmed.

Night of the Wolfmen

It wasn’t really night, more like supper time nearing dusk. We could easily walk the 4-6 blocks back to campus before dark. There was no cause for concern, until there was… Continue reading Night of the Wolfmen

Engage!

It was a few months before my graduation, a little over a year ago now.  I had just finished another one of those Mother-Daughter conversations that daughters can recite with astounding accuracy  – it’s practically scripted.  Truth be told, it has been for generations, but some mothers & daughters get an early escape from it.  We didn’t.

“If you were married, I wouldn’t worry so much.” Continue reading Engage!

Faith Workout – Session 3

No, we’re not even going to count how many weeks it’s been since Session 2.  The important question is, do you have your list of blessings that are yours due to your placement in your family, community, country, and time frame?

I’ve already taken advantage of several this morning: a firm mattress bed in a sheltered place (with snow outside), an operational commode & sink, privacy to dress in clean clothes, and at least three choices of breakfast food.  Since I’ve chosen cinnamon toast, I’m pleased to have an electric toaster that won’t turn my bread into a burnt offering, and of course, the electric to operate it.  In America, it still goes without saying (too often) that I am free to make choices and live without fear that half an army will come swarming into my home.

Now, we’re going to narrow the scope farther, and make another list.  C’mon, you knew this was coming eventually…  This time, start a list of blessings, opportunities, rescues, and messages that are uniquely yours alone.  The day you were at your wit’s end and the one friend or family member who could help without making matters worse just ‘happened’ to pop by, unaware that you needed them, but with time and energy to give you.  Arriving at a busy store at just the right moment to get the closest non-handicap spot.  The right song coming on the radio just when you needed to hear it’s message.  An overlooked $5 bill in your pocket just when you need a bit of cash.  Being the one person on the scene with an intimate knowledge of some mechanical or medical situation so you could be someone else’s Angel-du-Jour.

In my life, there have been several chains-of-events that I could trace back through and see the decision tree that made the current moment possible.  One is in this article.

The key is, you were specifically designed with characteristics and experiences in order to fit into God’s scheme of bringing unique individuals to Himself.  Part of growing your faith to help you walk through the situations that seem uncomfortable or wasteful is seeing the situations of blessing and provision that are uniquely yours.  Making this list will help you get beyond the media message that everyone is just an amorphous interchangeable blob of tissue & emotion.  Let God show you that He is not too busy to be involved with the moments of your life.  Yes, yours!

If you could use a jump-start, take a look at Ehud in the book of Judges…he was a lefty, so he got his dagger past the standard pat-down of his day, freeing his people from a tyrant.  Joseph was falsely accused & sitting in a jail cell when the king’s servants were put there for some infraction, and his ability to understand dreams eventually resulted in saving their known world from an impending famine.  Esther was selected above all other ladies to be the next Persian Queen, enabling her to speak up for all Jews in the empire during a critical and deadly episode.

What coordinated incidents (coincidences) have you been involved in or privy to?  What special skills or insights have you been granted because of your collection of characteristics and experiences?  Dust off your pen & start listing… (and don’t forget to say ‘Thank You’).

The Man I Would Marry

During one foray into online dating, many years ago, I was asked for 5 characteristics that I wanted in a man I would marry. Fair question, a good one really, and I gave it some thought – how would I pare down a list of preferences and must-haves into the top 5 without losing some of the essentials?? I finally came up with a list, and being the word-wrangler that I am, I was able to make an alliteration, which has come in handy. I still want a few items that don’t fit conveniently into this list, like someone who enjoys variety in dining, but the absolute essentials are these:

Pastor of our home. Above all, this man must have a solid relationship with Jesus Christ, and a readiness to lead his family to the throne room with praise and prayer for any issue big or small. He is the one answerable to God for the decisions of our family, and he should be in a position to get his answers from God before that time comes. He is to have a pastor’s heart, as gentle and comforting as it is firm and uncompromising, appropriate for the situation.

Provider. He must have the ability and ambition to bring an income that will cover our need for food and shelter. He must have a reasonable perspective on money and what it takes to earn enough, being neither a workaholic nor wasteful. He must also recognize where provision ultimately comes from, and not deny the need for Godly generosity, yet with wisdom.

Protector. I will be his prize, and a not-so-bad prize at that, so his first thought should be toward my best interest. It may or may not mean heroically sacrificing himself to snatch me from the teeth of death – but he should love me enough to be unflinching if it comes to that. Generally, it would mean encouraging me and my to-do list to maintain appropriate balance, and stepping in to do the heavy lifting so that my body is not prematurely worn out.

Partner. We’ve got to work together, whether it’s in ministry, remodeling, or dishes. There’s no point in me joining my life with someone else’s if we’re going to continue living as independent individuals. He will need to be ready to discuss and negotiate, then follow through, holding up his end of the bargain and occasionally lifting me – as well as accepting that I will occasionally need to lift him. Partnership works that way.

Playmate. Part of life is enjoying its blessings – the scenery, the stories, the flavors… While we will have interests & friends that don’t necessarily cross over (he isn’t invited to women’s retreats), we must truly enjoy one another’s company. We have to laugh together, and be free to laugh at whatever strikes us as funny, even if in a moment, it’s the iced tea I just dumped in my lap or the keys he accidentally locked in the car.

I started, over the years, to believe that such a fellow doesn’t exist in our century. I’ve been learning lately that I’m incorrect. I’ve met guys such as these, usually through my relationships with their wives. These are blessed women indeed. One day, perhaps, I may meet a single man in my age bracket who meets these qualifications, and whose qualifications I meet. Until then, I’ve learned that I have Someone who meets all of the above characteristics. I have a Pastor, a Provider, Protector, Partner, and yes, even a Playmate. I’ll have to tell you about Him in another post, but I can honestly say (and have), I am well cared for. There is no man on this planet that could have given me all the provision, protection, and encouragement I have gotten from the Lord. Granted, I don’t get to sneak bites of chocolate pie from His plate with an impish grin, but He’s managed to make up for that. He’s also promised a big party & fabulous meal in the future, when spilling tea in my lap will be impossible.