Posted in children, Grace, mercy

Total meltdown

gem-lauris-rk-606993-unsplash“Ok, two minutes.”

That’s all I said. That’s all it took. Suddenly, my grandson fell to the ground, let loose a long, agonizing wail, and would not accept the truth that we were leaving the fast food restaurant play ground in two minutes.

This caught me off guard. A two-minute warning was usually well received. I had never seen such a reaction. I know he was just getting over a cold and wasn’t 100% yet, but this was over the top.

Later, I wondered — what makes me melt down like that? We all have our moments. Most of the time we are well-behaved, composed, and in control. But all it takes is one look, one comment, one request, and we can lose it, too. We may not scream, but we’ll certainly feel like it.

I did a little soul-searching and came up with the one thing that makes me melt down, at least on the inside. (When you are an adult, you learn how to stuff your feelings and make everyone think you’re doing just fine.) It’s when someone asks me to do just one more thing that I don’t consider to be part of my job description, but is a request that makes perfect sense to them.

I know, I have to explain. Here’s a good example. Someone who has no connection with the church whatsoever calls to ask me to perform a religious service for them, like a wedding or a funeral or a baptism. Or someone is concerned about their adult child who has never really shown much interest in the church, but perhaps I talk some sense into them because they are making bad decisions. Here’s another — someone has a great idea for ministry that they think I should implement. Will they help? Not a chance.

Those are just some of the moments when I just want to say, “I’ll be back in a minute,” so I can go outside and just scream at the top of my lungs. I don’t often do that. But I sometimes feel like doing that. In fact, if we’re talking and I step out for a minute, you can be pretty sure that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So I really wasn’t too upset when my grandson lost it. I thought, “I know; I feel your pain.” I’ve been in meltdown mode before. I’ll be there again. I’m thankful that I have a heavenly Father who’s willing to take me by the hand, walk me out of there, and give me a chance to pull myself together. I think there’s a lot of kicking and screaming in the kingdom of God. But he loves me anyway.

Posted in Christmas, helping, mercy, Ministry

A couple from out of town needs a place to stay…

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

“There’s someone on the phone — they need a place to stay tonight.”

“OK, I’ll talk to them.” When I pick up the phone, I never know how the conversation will go. Even though I’ve heard the request before, it’s never the same experience.

“Hey, how can I help you?” The story was familiar but unique. Evicted, no transportation, friend picking them up tomorrow to drive them back up north, need a place to spend the night. He and his wife were at the hospital last night until they were asked to leave the ER waiting room. Now they were waiting at a gas station, calling around to find someone who would pay for a motel room.

In the “olden” days, you would work your way through the yellow pages listing of churches in the area. Today, I guess you google “churches” and find out who’s in the area. Then you start calling until you reach someone who will help you out.

I had about an hour before a scheduled visit and had just finished up a sermon for tomorrow, so I agreed to come and get them and take them to a motel. It wasn’t out of my way and it’s not a lot of money and mercy is a good thing, so I headed out the door and down the road.

On the way, I though to myself, “Shouldn’t you be more careful?” I mean, you have no idea who is on the other end of that conversation. You have no idea what they are really up to. You are just going to go there and pick up a guy and his wife and take them to a hotel?

Then I thought, “Oh, stop it. What are they going to do, rob me? I was going to give them the 11 bucks in my pocket anyway. I’m meeting them at a public place. If they look creepy, I’ll figure something out. Why don’t you try trusting God? He made sure you had extra time today. He’s got your back, you know.”

I pulled in, walked up and met one of the nicest couples I’ve encountered in a long time. They had come to Florida from Pennsylvania, couldn’t really make it here, and were headed back where they had family support. They had been married just over a year, were feeling very alone, and very, very grateful. After a short ride, the very kind hotel manager got them situated, I had a chance to pray with them, and we parted ways.

What would I do if I were in that situation? Who would I call if I had no where else to turn? I have no idea. They had more courage and faith than I did today, humbly reaching out to a stranger, any stranger, for help. I think God is starting to get somewhere with me. My gut more often tells me “have mercy” than “be careful.”

And I didn’t even see it till just now: this is Christmas. A couple from out of town looking for a place to say. No baby, but maybe someday. You know what? This is even better than being in a Christmas play or live nativity!