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Posts tagged ‘Prayer’

Twenty-Seven Dollars

     The iPhone ping came in at 4:59 AM, exactly one minute before our scheduled departure at five. It was a notice from our bank warning us that we only had $27 in our checking account, significantly less than the $100 minimum we set up as an alert point. Ironically we were about to leave on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise, a vacation that had been purchased months earlier when the bank balance was much higher.

      I dug deep into my resolve, remembering the words in Proverbs 31. She laughs at the days to come.

     I knew God had already been with us as we planned the trip. It was actually bought with someone else in mind. Circumstances changed and that someone decided not to go. And, even though the cruise coordinator assured me we could not get our money back, I asked if I could speak to a supervisor and explain our situation. While I was on hold, I got down on my knees and thanked God for his favor. When the coordinator returned to the line, she was way more astonished than I. “This has never happened before,” she said, “but we are going to give you a full refund for the fourth person.” It’s times like this when I feel like it’s okay to move forward. So despite no real desire to go on a cruise, except to take the person who now wasn’t going, we were about to leave home.

     “Is this a mistake? How did this happen?” These were among the questions my husband and I were asking ourselves, still mulling over the timetable of leaving on a vacation when the check we needed to pay additional expenses had not made it to the bank on time. We pondered all the possibilities and recognized that not going would only cause us to lose the money we had already spent and wouldn’t do anything to help the situation with our account.

     So, instead of stepping OUT of the boat on faith like the Apostle Peter, we stepped on to the boat knowing our financial circumstances were completely out of our control. Tropical music, the smell of sunscreen, and the unlimited food buffets went a long way in allowing us to forget our finances.

     But, now seven months later, we’re not so sure our trip had anything to do with our faith walk, our finances, or a family vacation.  

     Shortly after we settled into our new normal on the ship, a particular photographer captured our attention. And, a Divine Appointment started coming into focus.

     I thought it was her haircut that caused her to stand out. She had those super short bangs cut straight across. But, the more we watched, the more it seemed her ability to be an amazing ambassador was what intrigued us. Out on open water, we saw her on the pool deck, the walking track, down on the dinner floors and then at the gangplank for destination stops. Each time, she was smiling and happy as she took hundreds of photos. Keep in mind, there are many other photographers on the ship but we just kept seeing the same one.

     A Christmas concert, we would normally have not attended, ended up on our itinerary when the cruise director promised a snowfall. It did snow; it was spectacular, and there she was again taking photos in front of the tree. This time, we talked with her at length. What she shared with us is that, in order to take all of these family photos she has to leave her family, in the Ukraine. She’s married, has a young son, and spends six months of every year on a ship along with her husband so they can earn enough money to support their little boy. Just as astonishing, she’s only working as a photographer. In reality she’s a singer. But, isn’t everyone? We’re from the Nashville area and…well, we’ve heard that story a few… dozen… hundred times.

     We see her again and again…talk to her every chance we get…offer her encouragement… and continue on with our cruise.

     The last day came quickly and, as usual, all those guests so anxious to get on the boat are just as much in a hurry to get off. So, we found the only seats available to wait it out and there she was once more. It seemed clear to all of us that at this point exchanging email addresses and Facebook information was quite appropriate. She showed us a photo of her little boy, we shared some pictures we took on the trip, and we said goodbye.

     In the days that followed, we actually found her on YouTube and realized that this “would be singer” really IS a singer. There are several videos and hundreds of thousands of viewers. This beautiful young woman was working as a photographer on a Carnival Cruise Ship when she has an amazing voice and a large online following. There are so many shows that involve music; it just didn’t make sense that she was taking pictures.

     We had already been praying for her. But we decided it was time to go boldly to the Throne of Grace, as she so deserves to be recognized for the talent God has given her. Even so, there was still a heavy burden to say something, to do something, to reach out to Carnival on her behalf. So when our post cruise survey finally arrived, we took great pleasure in pleading for someone at the top to see the singer who was standing right there in front of them on their own ship.

     And just as quickly as she first caught our attention, news came that she had been selected to sing…not on the ship we were on…not the one where she worked as a photographer. No, she was chosen and called to perform on one of the newest and best ships in the fleet.

     Did our letter reach the executive branch at Carnival Cruise Lines? We have no idea. Did God answer months of prayers for Lidiia? Prayers were certainly answered, but I feel sure we weren’t the only ones praying. The Bible tells us if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Lidiia delighted in the photography job God gave her to do, and she did it as if she were doing it for the Lord.

     She messaged this week to let us know her first few shows went really well. It’s still a bit surreal for her as it all happened so slow and yet so fast. Dreams that come true sometimes seem that way.

    As I type this story, she is somewhere out in the Caribbean, in the center of a soundstage, on one of the newest and largest ships to set sail.

     She’s in the spotlight…she’s singing…and this time someone is taking her photo.

      Our cruise started on a Saturday and by Wednesday we got word that the check we needed had
arrived back home. The person who was supposed to go on the cruise was actually the one who took it to the bank for us. We had only one bill due, so I paid it with a ship to shore phone call, and laughed at the memory of our $27 bank balance.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

 

 

© Copyright 2018, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

GREAT Things Happen all at ONCE!

  Audio Version

     The cell phone rang when I was half way across town running a routine errand. “Our cousin is moving to Florida and he has two horses he wants to give away,” my aunt announced.  “He’s had offers, but he wants someone who will love them.”

     My heart pounded.  My mind raced.  And then just as quickly, I reasoned my way back to reality.

     “I don’t have a place to keep one horse,” I told her.  “I sure don’t have a place to keep two.”

     “Well then, find one,” she said matter-of-factly.  “And you’ll need to do it soon.  He’s already leased his land and needs to find a home for them by Saturday.”

     It was Monday.

     We hung up and I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do.  I called my husband and blurted out all she had said.

     “Go slow,” he warned.  “This could be God.”

     I had been praying for a horse for over 30 years.  I was so passionate and so determined to have one, I was even able to convince my “city husband” to buy a house out in the country.
I had spent the last year praying for a very specific horse I really couldn’t afford.

     “But God knows I want an Appaloosa,” I whined.

     “Well,” my husband responded, “Do you want what you want?  Or do you want what God wants for you?”

     “I WANT WHAT I WANT,” I said, somewhere between laughter and tears.

     “Then the best way to know if it’s God,” my husband encouraged, “is to take it one step at a time and see where the road leads.” 

     The fact that he didn’t think we were all crazy was the first step.  

     Monday night I called a stable close to our home.  It was full.  I called two other places.  No response.

     While all this was going on, my uncle had passed away, and we were preparing to leave town.  I had no idea where this cousin lived so I called to tell him we might not be able to come see the horses.  He told me he only lived about five minutes from the funeral home and if worked out for us, we could stop by after the visitation.  On the way there, we joked that they were probably going to be run down old farm nags, and we would have to politely decline. Of course, they were beautiful, healthy and happy to see us.

     When I REALLY don’t know what to do, I ask my dad.  He almost always gives me his opinion.  So I ran to him.  He  just laughed, hugged me and said it was up to me.  

     But it was starting to feel a lot like God.

     We came home Wednesday night after the funeral and I called the stable again.  Despite being full on Monday, they now had two openings.  It was even less expensive than I had imagined.  The horses would need tests and shots.  And this process, I was told, usually takes a week or more.  

     Thursday morning, a veterinarian agreed to see them and return the tests in 24 hours.

     We still needed a saddle because, no matter how pretty the horses were, I couldn’t bring them home without riding first.  I found a used saddle online but it was in another town.  I called my husband again.  No problem.  It just so happened, he was scheduled to do a presentation for work that afternoon, just a few miles away from where the people were selling the saddle.   I think I knew, before we
saw it, that the saddle would be perfect.  It even cost hundreds less than it was worth.

     There was still one thing I hadn’t thought much about… how to get the horses home.  Three people had told me they would be available with a trailer if this day ever came.  But none of them could do it.

     Little did I know, my stepmother was already online looking and had sent an email, earlier in the week, that for some strange reason I hadn’t seen.  It had the phone number of a man with a brand new horse trailer for rent, and it was on the way between our house and the horses.

     I had no control over anything that was happening and yet everything was in control.  It even seemed as if each detail had been meticulously planned out in advance.

      We got up early Saturday morning, stopped for a few horse supplies (one of the greatest shopping sprees ever) and off I went with the
three most important men in my life…my husband, my son and my dad.  
We took pictures every step of the way and we’ve told the story many times.  I share it with you now, because I am reminded, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts.  He sees us.  He knows us.  And even after 30 years of praying, some days begging, some days crying, never really understanding why I couldn’t have something I wanted so desperately, God had planned double for my trouble.  I wanted one horse, he gave me two.  His timing was perfect.  The stars were aligned and we were ready.  While I didn’t get an Appaloosa, we did get a Palomino, the horse my husband had dreamed of owning when he was a boy.

     Their names are Star and Judah.  It’s been one year since they joined our family and it is still so surreal.  Some days I just shout toward heaven, “Oh God, you gave me horses!!”  Because it is true, good things happen over time, but GREAT things happen all at once.  Don’t give up.  Keep praying.  Keep asking.  Keep believing.  He hears you.  He loves you.  He wants to bless you!

“Delight yourself in the Lord

and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart;

consider what great things he has done for you.”

1 Samuel 12:24

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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Some Smelly Socks

          A silly little saying can sometimes stick in my head longer than the words of wisdom from a deep theological study. 

           When I was a teenager, my friends and I had a catchphrase we would use whenever we were embarrassed.

            “I’m just gonna go crawl into my socks… and peep out.”

            It helps if you imagine it being said with a bit of a Southern drawl. 

           I most often found the saying useful after I had offered up my opinion and unsolicited advice to someone, then later found myself in the very same situation, reacting exactly as they had.  My sisters and sister-in-law can certainly testify here for all the times I questioned or criticized their parenting skills before becoming a mom myself.  And I fully acknowledge after this confession that some of my current friends are about to raise their hands in agreement that I should go get my socks.

           As a full-time mom for the last 13 years, finding time to read my Bible, study, pray and spend quiet time with God, has been a breeze.  The more often I relaxed on the front porch swing, in the big mama chair or in total hammock heaven, the more I thought everyone should be doing the same thing.  My working friends would drop behind in group Bible studies and I would think they were just slacking… succumbing to the pressure of a paycheck and giving God less time than He deserved.  But now, here I am, operating most days on four hours of sleep, praying in the car on the way to work, grabbing a quick verse from my new daily devotional and looking longingly at the Beth Moore study collecting dust on the headboard of my bed. 

           While I miss the time I used to have with my family, I feel far more desperate for my quiet time with God.  But He did try to warn me.

           Before I walked reluctantly back into the working world, I kept seeing and hearing the word “sacrifice” in studies, on signs and in sermons.  Now that I can look back and sort of understand what was about to happen, the words “self righteous” are beginning to appear.  The words came to me again this morning while praying on my way to work.  The Spirit was pretty clear on how little I really comprehend the stress, struggles and tight schedules of other people’s lives.  I felt sad and sorry, though I still felt a little entitled.  That is one of the problems with our flesh… and a good God doesn’t want us to stay that way.

             So, it’s a Saturday and I’m at work.  But when I get home, I’m going to find a pair of socks and, if you look closely my friends, you will be able to see me peeping out.

 

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 7:1 

Yep I see that a bit more clearly now. 

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 

In addition to mercy and grace, what I need is more time to do that study.  But in honor of all working women  I’m going to try to keep quiet about that for a little while.

🙂

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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