You will be fine.

Matt and I stumbled across this sign on the way to dinner in Chinatown, Chicago tonight. Enough said :-)


Angel on the El'

Last Tuesday, while waiting for El' train at the Jackson stop, I reached in my bag to pull out my book. But something in my gut stopped me and said, "Get out your Bible instead." Now any smart, God-fearing woman would get out her Bible, because clearly God had something to say. But not me. I'm stubborn, so I told God, "You know I do my reading time in the morning. After work, is my time to read a little fiction and unwind." Though my prideful statement was deserving of a good smoting at that moment, the lighting strike never came down into that tunnel. Instead an inner prompting quietly said again, "Get out your Bible." Ok, Ok, there were a few things I wanted to read through anyway... Begrudgingly, I reached for my Bible and turned to Galatians.

As soon as I opened the pages, a train arrived and I quickly boarded so I could find that coveted seat in the midst of what would soon be a rush hour cattle car...especially because it was a Cubs game night. I hate evening cubs games for this reason. The trains are usually packed enough during rush hour...add all of the cubs fans and it's a full hour of madness, but I digress. So I got a seat and decided to read Galatians.

I made it as far as the Galatians 1:1 and some guy turned around and had the nerve to interrupt my reading and ask where he needed to get off for the cubs stadium. Initially I had quite the Christian response, and thought to myself, "You idiot, just get off where the other thousand people wearing blue shirts get off." Good thing the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was holding a Bible and that I would not be acting as the best ambassador for Christ if I said that. So I took a breath and kindly told him where to get off and how many more stops and went back to my reading. A few seconds later, he looked at what I was reading and said "good book." I readily agreed and the best conversation started.

He explained to me that he was in town from Orlando. He then went on to share with me his testimony of how he came back to the church a few years earlier after returning home from the war in Iraq. He had essentially made a deal with God, that if He got him through the war safely, he would go back to church. Well, God did get him and his men home safely, but he did not hold up his end of the deal. Months after returning home, he still hadn't gone to church. Then one day, four completely unrelated people invited him to church. He said that really got his attention so that Sunday, he went to church. God got a hold of him that Sunday and he has been serving Christ ever since.

We talked a lot about what God was doing in our lives...and though I didn't know this guy at all, I found myself sharing with him about Isaiah's death and my struggle with hope and joy ever since. He actually said that his pastor's daughter had just been though the same thing and he asked how I was doing and was incredibly encouraging.

He told me how meeting him on the El' was such an encouragement to him and I readily agreed. As the Addison stop approached, he stood up to exit the train and turned back and said he would be praying for me and left.

Seriously, it was such an uplifting conversation and just what I needed after the tumultuous weeks I had just been through. It was amazing to think that had I not gotten out my Bible, this conversation would never have happened. Good thing, the stubborn girl in me lost to the obedient one that afternoon.

I know he was just a man from Orlando, but to me, he was an angel on the El'. See, CTA isn't always so bad :-)



I hit a low point this week when I found out we were going to be sharing what we are thankful for and praises for what God is doing in our lives at our Gospel Community meeting. When I found this out I became very cynical about the whole idea. The thought of everyone sitting around talking about all the great things in their life could not appeal to me less. I honestly thought that other than Matt, I don't have anything to be thankful for. All I could dwell upon was how awful this year has been. Losing Isaiah should have been enough to darken this year, but with the bad news compounding around me, its almost more than I can bear. I even emailed a friend on Thursday and mentioned that it felt like God doesn't even like me.

Ridiculous! Thankfully my friend pointed out that this was clearly Satan toying with me and I just needed to yell at him to get away and cry out to God to start filling my heart with his love and his truth again.

I wish I could say that I feel all better, but I don't. But I am simply refusing to let my thoughts be clouded by these negative and ridiculous thoughts. I am realizing more and more than even though I am not feeling the love of God right now that I need to put feelings aside and remain firmly grounded in His truths. He is good and I know He loves me more than I can ever imagine. Even if that were the only good thing in my life, that should be enough. He is enough!

As I pondered my terrible attitude this week, a verse kept popping in my head:

Be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18.

In all circumstances...ouch. When I first read this, I thought this was just cruel. How could God possibly ask me to be thankful when all of these horrid things were happening to us and those we dearly love around us? But that's when the Holy Spirit highlighted a key word for me, "in." I know what you are thinking...she has lost it completely, but really the word "in" made the difference for me. At first I was reading this verse as though it said be thankful "for" all circumstances. Well of course I am not thankful that my son died, that my cousin died, that another cousin is battling a terrifying disease and the many other hard things we are facing, but I can find ways to be thankful "in" these circumstances. I can be thankful for great doctors, dear friends, an amazingly supportive husband, loving family, provision....

Wow, when I start to list the things I am thankful for, its almost hard to stop. God is so good and it feels so good to think of these good things rather than dwell on the negatives.

May you too find the peace of dwelling on the things you can be thankful for in the "ins" of your circumstances.