Yesterday was golden. The kind of day that defies memories of torrential downpours, days of frying eggs on the sidewalk, windstorms that toss trees like toothpicks leaving gargantuan voids in the front yard.
Yesterday’s temperature balanced between perfect and sublime. The cherry on top of a day that would have been wonderful anyway, was that I spent it with Lisa. I haven’t seen Lisa in about 2 years. God has plotted my life about two dashes behind her since we first met in North Carolina. When she moved to WA, I followed and when she got to Virginia, I showed up there, too.
Even though I’ve now lived here for 10 months, we just got together. We tootled down King Street in Old Town Alexandria. There were sights to see and stores to browse. The glass player was in his traditional spot by the Torpedo Factory, swooning tourists with his rendition of Mozart on goblet shaped glasses. It was also the final weekend for Bilbo Baggins’ Oktoberfest beer selection. But we missed it all.
Lisa shared so much of Jesus with me that it was all I could do to soak it up in the 3-4 hours we had together. After a Starbucks to start our saunter, we finally sat at an outdoor cafe and refreshed with sparkling water, tomato juice, fresh fruit and bread – and we talked.
It’s an amazing thing to have a friend who can convict you without you even knowing it. When we said goodbye, she hoped that she hadn’t been to harsh – never! I heard love and encouragement and empathy. Much of what we talked about was for our ears only. Suffice it to say, our husbands will be thrilled and honored that we spent the day together.
Lisa did confide a couple things to me that I would be remiss not to proclaim more publicly. At one point, Lisa stopped me amidst the flow of people and said, “The Lord wants me to tell you that He is in the business of building, not breaking.” That hit me in a certain little wound, but it might strike you somewhere else. In one way, often it feels like God’s anvil or potter’s hand is destroying us. God’s way of refining us sometimes feels brutal. Remember, He is building you, improving you, making you useful and beautiful.
Lisa also confided in me that God has been increasing her generosity. We were approached by at least 5 people asking for money. I have never been approached by a beggar on King Street or any metro stop. I’m sure it’s not that unusual, but I had never experienced it. Usually, no matter where it happens, I tuck my purse a little closer and try to pretend I didn’t see them. I give to 501C3’s, I give to tax-deductible causes, I give where I’m ministered to. Lisa didn’t see it that way.
I was shocked to see her pull out her wallet and give the first beggar a few bills. Then, the next one. Then, she asked me about my usual response. Since she had already observed it, I was honest.
“God has really laid it on my heart that when someone asks, I should give. Regardless. It’s not what they do with it that matters, but the condition of my heart,” she said. Lisa told me stories of one man asking for $4. She had exactly $4. She told me about turning around in traffic because she had missed her opportunity and the Holy Spirit was insistent.
As we sat grazing outside the little cafe, one more girl came up to us. In Spanish she kept asking for money. She had a little folded piece of paper that translated her need. Truthfully, her clothing belied her words, but, it’s not what she does with the money that matters, it’s the condition of my heart.
I need to wrap this up, but God dovetailed yesterday right into Sunday’s sermon. Our church is planning a huge building project. In 2+ years we have doubled in size but our building has stayed the same. (I’m also reading a book right now about praying big, Sun Stand Still prayers.) Pastor Marty said that we need $2,000,000 to pay for the project out right. He also confirmed my belief that we should remain debt free.
Pastor Marty offered an equation. If each person gave a certain amount, we would meet our goal in two weeks. And that’s what he is praying for. Is it ironic that the amount each person might give is exactly the amount that God had laid on my heart to give toward the building cause?
Faithful God has been teaching me so much lately. In pain, real pain, He has drawn near and loved me so much closer. And He is enabling me to hear Him. And bless the Lord, He is speaking. Let me listen.