Did you share my closet #1 story with someone this week? Have you had closet encounters in your own homes with divine blessings? Do you feel closer to Christ while reading these stories? I hope so. My blessings come when people tell me they are blessed by the stories God stirs my heart to share. Thank you to those who keep sending cards, stopping me in local stores, or calling to share words of encouragement and gratitude. Please know I am humbled to write stories from my heart and to God be ALL the glory. Now, enjoy the ending for the closet # 1 story of burden turned blessing.
God’s blessings in closet #1 experience were not intended solely for mother and son. The people who helped Clint and me restore our closet and bedroom received them too. When Clint went to bed, I would write stories for my column in the newspaper. One night while writing, God stirred my heart to talk with one of the helpers about her salvation. The next morning, I read about sharing Jesus wherever we go from “My Time with God”, my favorite devotion book. God stirred, “Give your book to the lady when she comes to work.”
I did not jump for joy, for this book had sentimental significance for me that this lady (don’t even know her name, Lord) surely would not embrace. So, I looked on my little, two shelf library for another book to give her instead. The nudge to give my special book grew stronger, as did my faith. Why do we try to make deals with God? ‘Trust and obey – for there’s no other way’ is the gospel according to God! So, I agreed to give my book to a stranger.
God orchestrated an encounter with the lady three days later, as only He can do. She knocked on my door in the dark hour of 6 a.m. with news that she could not work that day. I was writing a story with the devotion book beside me; I picked it up and asked if she would join me for my time with God? She sat still as I read the message for Dec. 19, 2008. “God is love. This is how God showed his love to us. He sent His one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is what real love is. It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins. No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made perfect in us.”
I told her God had stirred my heart to pray for her and to give her my special book. Then, I handed her a four page letter I felt led to write her the night before. She accepted both with wonder in her eyes. She looked weary and worn, with signs that told me her life had been hard. I told her about Jesus helping me through tough times. Tears filled her eyes as she clinched the book and letter close to her hurting heart – that opened with stories of survival that confirmed she’d been searching for peace and joy and love in all the wrong places. She accepted Christ as we talked and prayed. We parted with a hug that told me she had witnessed God’s love in our home. Yet, I was the blessed one in the one hour span when God opened her heart and mine to fellowship in one accord. And I wept with joy for releasing my book with the right attitude, for writing a letter I had felt foolish penning to a complete stranger, and for God’s grace and goodness in loving and looking after all His children…red or yellow, black or white, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, Methodist or Baptist, uptown or across the tracks, we are all precious in His sight!
Heavy fog covered the island that cold Friday morning. Workers decided to wait until Monday to finish up their jobs, so Clint and I joyfully agreed to head home early. The drive home was a blessing to top off a wonderful week, like the cherry on top of a delicious brownie covered with homemade ice cream. I told Clint about the lady. He told me how his life had been touched throughout the long process of tearing out, throwing away, cleaning up, and restoring our closet and bedroom. We talked about seasons past with reverence to our Maker and anticipation for new seasons with awe of how God works things out and brings new beginnings to our lives. It seemed we made the one hour and twenty minute trip in a split second. That’s the way it is with God’s love when you are experiencing it in ways you really cannot convey in words. Mother and son soaking up time together in this waning season like sunshine on a summer day. Words to a favorite Jack Johnson song say what my heart felt that day and every day God gifts me ‘time’ to spend with Him and those I love and cherish… “It’s Better When We’re Together”!
Clint dropped me off at The Learning Station. We were having a holiday lock in for our children that night. Angel surprised me by having the place decorated with twinkling lights and messages of love ushering in the Christmas season. We enjoyed pizza, baking and decorating cookies, devotion and prayer. Then, 24 excited children, Beth Best, John Bell, and myself settled down for a long Friday night, when all of a sudden there arose such a clatter, I arose from my chair to see what was the matter. Curled up in sleeping bags, they were laughing with glee; they wanted to sing Christmas carols at 12:20! I gathered them together no matter their gloom, with only a flashlight to brighten the dark room. Beth and I told them about baby Jesus and Mary and the Wise Men too, we sang and enjoyed our time together ‘till quarter ‘till two. Then, we nestled them in their cradles to sleep – while warning them we better not hear a peep. Soon, they were snoring and curling up like little cocoons – with His sweet Holy Spirit filling that room. I tiptoed around touching each precious little face while thanking God for giving me children to care for in this place. Then, I settled down in my office to check messages of what went on while I was away, when in front of my eyes a bright colored bag had a tag that did say…”To Becky my dear and precious friend, I pray God blesses you every way.”
I quietly opened the gift with childlike glee, wondering who in the world left it for me. I pulled from the bag a gift that only God could have sent to me…the same gift I had given the lady, a stranger I might never again see. I gasped with joy while holding my book “My Time with God” close to my heart- crying like a baby I declared my book and me would never depart. The handwriting gave a clue as to who, while my faith and love for her and for Jesus supernaturally grew. Tears wet my face as I read over and over again… words of love penned by a dear friend. “Belongs to: Becky Spell; Given By: Doris McArthur; Occasion: Christmas…I love you so much”
God had touched her heart too, I’m grateful she did exactly what He told her to do. I sat still for the longest time, with wonder and love filling me to the brim. I curled up on a couch to watch my children and declare my love for HIM… and could hardly wait ‘till morning to share my miracle with them.
I promise to share the closet # 2 story with you next week; it’s really late and I gotta get some sleep!