Prayers from a Stranger

Last week was busy . . . and stressful. My list of projects at home and at work had become a bit overwhelming. By Friday morning, I was was completely worn out and ready for the weekend.

I really didn’t have time for visitors in the office, but our sanctuary is always open during the day, especially for those wanting to pray. A pastor acquaintance brought some friends by to see our church, and to pray with them before they left town. Happy for even a brief chance to stand and stretch, I greeted our guests, and walked them to the sanctuary doors. The friends were siblings, a brother and sister from India, committed since childhood to lead others to salvation.

I was delighted to meet Brother Joe and Sister Jessie. I learned that their travels later in the day would take them to Dallas, Texas for a prayer gathering. Our church was their last stop on the way to the airport.

As much as I wanted to sit and hear more about their ministry, I needed to get back to work. They prayed together in the sanctuary for about 30 minutes, and then stopped by my office again to thank me before leaving. The exit doors clicked shut behind them, but a moment later I heard the door open again. Sister Jessie shyly came into my office and smiled at me. “May I pray for you?” she asked.

Heaven Sent

I have no idea what may have prompted Jessie to return and pray for me, but I know who did. This godly woman, who I had met only moments earlier, was prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for me.

Sister Jessie stood by my side and gently laid her hand on my shoulder, praying words of love, strength and encouragement over me. It was like a soft, soothing rain shower falling on the parched desert floor. Tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes as her prayer concluded.

What do you say to someone who prays into your heart? I could only thank Jessie, and hope that she knew how her prayer had touched me. She asked me if I had ever been to India, and invited me to visit. We exchanged hugs and contact information, and then she was gone.

Connected by Faith

The rest of my day went smoothly. By 5:00 p.m. I had completed every project that had been weighing me down all week.

Kind words and a simple prayer — offered by a stranger — helped to lift the burdens that were weighing me down. Those healing words from Sister Jessie’s heart were a powerful reminder of the connection I share with all my sisters and brothers in Christ worldwide. We may be separated by the physical boundaries of distance, but our hearts are joined by our faith in Jesus.

The Thankful Life

The Happiness Secret

Why are so many people unhappy?

I don’t know the secret to happiness, and I have yet to meet anyone who does. What I do know is that gratitude makes a difference. Being thankful, even for the smallest blessings, can change the way we look at life.

As I celebrate another birthday this week, I can look back at the past year and remember it in two ways. I could focus on the bad things that happened, or I could celebrate and give thanks for the joys instead.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians‬ ‭4:12-13‬

Happiness vs. Contentment

The Apostle Paul had certainly seen his share of adversity prior to writing to the believers in Philippi. But throughout his trials and imprisonment, he knew that his brothers and sisters in Christ loved him. They were praying for him. Paul also knew that Jesus provided him with the strength to persevere. Paul found contentment regardless of his circumstances.

My brother and I celebrate our TWO January birthdays with Mom

I may not be happy with everything life dishes out, but I am learning that contentment is more precious.

I sometimes feel sad that my mom no longer remembers who I am. It’s frustrating that she remembers her granddaughter’s name, and my brother’s name, but not mine. Yet I know beyond a doubt that she loves me. Her face lights up when she sees me, and she loves being with her family. I am content sharing her joy.

Although dementia has taken over my mom’s life, I am still her daughter. In this role, I am content to be her cheerleader. I can help find the word she is seeking, or guide her next steps with her walker. These may seem like small gestures, but they can make a world of difference to someone in need. Contentment has helped me to be more patient, more thoughtful, and even more creative in the ways I communicate with her. This has made a difference in my everyday life.

Sunday thought for the day: Sometimes happiness is found when we finally relinquish control of a situation, and give it over to God.  Why? Because God loves us. He always has a very specific plan and purpose in mind. And so, we can be thankful that life’s dilemmas are no longer our problems to figure out. 

Isn’t that a happy thought? 😊