And here is the beginning.
I met this angel woman recently. She was the kind of woman who is a bit effervescent, even from afar. I sat right behind her in a training, to which I was a late arrival. At the break, I complimented her shoes and asked where she got them. ALDO. I stored that away for later so I could find them online. You see, I had been mentally looking for this same pair of shoes. A little bit trendy and a little bit classic, because that is who I am. She had the exact shoes I was searching to find.
This angel woman and I made small talk and moved on to learn what we needed to learn in our training sessions. I didn't know her story, but she had a shine to her that I liked nonetheless. I thought, I hope I give off that kind of grace vibe as my soul begins to mature.
A day passed and we had another chance encounter in the hotel lobby. I rattled off a bit about a soul wrestling that is current, on the topic of flexing through the various demands of mothering, ministering, writing, and leading. She gave me words from her experience that eased some of my burden. She spoke life to me as a mother gives to a daughter. She encouraged me in my wrestling and strengthened my heart. That's what mother-people do after all. I left her lighter. I thanked God that he had answered another prayer for me. On my way to this training I had prayed that he would give me someone to talk to about my stirring. He did that.
A day passed and it was time to leave our time of retreat. My soul had been filled up by so much goodness, rest, encouragement, and inspirational/applicable ideas. I hugged several new friends goodbye, including my encourager, and headed to the airport. When I arrived, I found out my flight back to OKC had been cancelled. The airline paid for me to return to the hotel and I headed back to relax and enjoy another day in sunny Florida. I thought to myself what a gift it was to get an extra day to recharge in a beautiful setting.
When I got back to the hotel, I spent time in the hot tub and hung out with a few other new friends. At dinner that night, I bumped into my encourager again. She was surprised to see me still at the hotel and I explained that God had gifted me with an extra night in Florida. She beamed, asked me what shoe size I wore (8), and told me to follow her. In her room, she had me try on her shoes. She said she wanted to give me her shoes and I tried to say no. But she replied, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace. Your feet are fitted with the Gospel of Peace. I want you to take these shoes and pray for an important person in my life who needs to come back to the Lord."
I was stunned. We prayed. I left.
You see, I have never considered myself to have an unusually effective prayer life or a "prayer ministry." There have been distinct people in my life for whom I have been able to pray with particular fervor. But this dear, encouraging, generous woman may have unleashed something in my heart on that day with a simple pair of shoes and request wrapped up in a blessing. I have woken up every day since her request with a fire in my heart for not just her person but several other people and situations.
I learned something that day. What God has for us is better than what we hope for ourselves. He gives us better things than we would give us, if the roles were reversed. The normal me would be tempted to over-spiritualize that statement. But I have some very cute, suede booties in just my size from a generous encourager to remind me, that sometimes God gives us the silly desires just to remind us that he sees our smallest details.
I'm thankful. Filled up. And just needed to write it down.