Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Had a Dream...Grace I can understand

This dream is as powerful as to me as Martin Luther King, Jr,'s was to him. It changes things. For me, in my spirit, heart, and head. Some things are just so hard for us to understand...and sometimes, God makes them so clear.

So I dream that I have a meeting with Ed, who I only know thru a mutual friend. He's not a client, but has asked me to do a valuation on his real estate business. I begin to explain the work involved, and it's clear that he is expecting me to do it for free. Again, I explain why I just can't do it for free, and he drops the financial statements down on the desk, and goes to take a call from someone. I look at the statement and see that his profit last year was $617,000! That's a lot!! I've only had a handful of clients who ever earned that kind of money in a year.

When Ed returned, I told him there was a problem: that either he had that much profit and therefore enough resources to pay for a proper valuation, or if he didn't have that much profit, he had an even bigger problem with bad books and needed even more help. He looked away and said, "I didn't really want to tell you the reason I wanted you to review this. The laws have changed, and I need to update my beneficiary information." And then a bombshell: "I want you to take this over."

And I said, "Whoa. Hold on. Don't you have a wife or kids?" And he said, "No, no one. I want you to have it." And I said, "But you barely know me..." And suddenly I was reeling. Why would this man give me his business? A super successful business? He really didn't know me. And I was shaking, and weeping...uncontrollably, at the generosity of this. It made no sense. He had the wrong guy.

And immediately something else hit me: THIS is GRACE!! Oh, my. Why have I not seen it? How did I miss that it's just like this? God (who, truly, I barely knew!) stopped by my table, and said, "You're mine. Son. Rescued. Hope given. New ending to your story." Out of nowhere. And why? Because He wanted to.

As I thought about it later, I thought, "Well, this would be something like some stranger driving by in a red Porsche, stopping in my driveway, leaving it with the keys and title, and walking away.

And yet, this is so much better. And I've grown so used to it. Maybe even feeling at times like I deserve it. It just becomes so common. Like someone who wakes up looking at that scene above everyday, having their coffee out there and going, "Ho hum. Another crappy day of work ahead..." and so wrapped up in their life that they can no longer see the very things in front of them. Now. Here.

May God give me eyes to see it, a heart to receive it. It really is amazing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Story Too Good Not to Tell...about Prayer and Boats and God

We'd been set for a final trip out to the Annapolis area where our daughter is stationed in the Navy. She was scheduled to start training in Pensacola, so we needed to grab our granddog for adoption into our own home. The week before the trip, there was a change of plans, orders changed, so we were scrambling. very kindly refunded us the non-cancellable booking for the week! It was the 3rd anniversary of our son, Ben's leaving Earth for Heaven too early, so we wanted to be 'away' as if we're every really away from that.

We found a Groupon for Lake Lawn Lodge for three of the nights, and we do love that place in the summer. They have the best pool around here, overlooking Lake Delavan, and a summer afternoon there is just splendidly beautiful and relaxing. So I searched for other options for a couple more nights, and kept coming up with nothing. Finally, I figured we might as well see if Lake Lawn would give us a couple more nights at the Groupon rate, and they did! So we were booked for most of the week. And then we wondering, "Well, other than eating at our favorite restaurants, what are we going to do all week?"

So I thought: Boat. We're on Lake Delavan, and Lake Geneva is next door. We need a boat.

There were a couple problems, though. My sailboat was still Up Nort, an hour from Green Bay (Go Pack Go!) since it had just been a crazy busy Spring and Summer, so I'd not had time to get it or sail it. And, we don't own another boat. So I searched out rentals to see if that were feasible. Not. Unless you think $400 for a half day is ok. I don't.

A few days later, I kept thinking, we really need a boat. And I thought, I have friends who have boats who won't be using them, surely someone would let me borrow one. But how do you call and ask, "Would you loan me your boat for the week?" It's just not like borrowing a lawn mower, you know? And I thought about all the people I know and stories I'd heard where they need something, pray for it, and Bang, there it is. Right. We usually just go buy what we need instead, right? But buying a boat for a week (though it did occur to me that I could return it....) wasn't in the cards.

And then, I felt something in my spirit that said, "Why don't you ask God for a boat?" And I'm like, right. Really. But for one brief moment in time, I actually believed I could, and so I did, and for one more brief moment in time, I actually believed that God would come through. I know. Crazy. (But He's crazy, too!)

Two hours later, I get home, see my neighbor a couple doors up pulling weeds around his mailbox, and stop the truck to chat. I told him we weren't headed to Annapolis after all, but to Lake Lawn. He'd first introduced us to the place a few years back when they got a Groupon. So he asked if we got a Groupon, and I told him no, and then the story of how we booked it for the same price anyway. And then he said, "Are you taking a boat?" And I about fell out of my truck. First, he knows I don't have a power boat. And he knows my sailboat is still Up Nort. And I said, "No, but I need a boat." And he said, I kid you not: "I can get you a boat..."

And so the next day, we went and got the boat from a friend of his.

So many, why the boat? Boats don't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Why don't I pray like that for more important things? Well, I do...but do I just say words, or do I believe? And even when I do believe, God often says, "No. Not now," anyway. But for whatever His reasons, this time, He said, "Oh, I've got to do this and blow him away!" And He did. It was crazy, loony, fun, and silly...and just like our God. He reminded me in THIS, that He's hearing all the prayers, knows our hearts, has NOT abandoned us even when we think so, tells me not to believe the enemy's lies, and to never give up. Never. And He reminds me that He really does love surprises, and to delight His beloved.

I just wanted you to know this story. God is good. He proved it with a boat, and drove it deep into my heart at full throttle.