On Wednesday the 9th, I was feeling pretty blue on the way to the office, so I called my dear friend Gentle, who never fails to lift my spirits. Sure enough, she had many encouraging words, including a scripture she'd found during her Bible study that morning. She said she thought of me when she read it, and she prayed it over me. Here was the verse:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
In that moment, I felt pretty courageous. But with the distractions of work, I soon forgot about the verse. While I was driving home, Gentle called and told me she had a surprise for me, something she'd made. She was laughing with delight, but she wouldn't give me even a hint of what it was. Of course, I swung by her house immediately.
Here's what I found:
|God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, |
and wisdom to know the difference.
My eyes filled with tears when I saw the plaque she had hand lettered in beautiful colors. Just that morning, I'd mentioned being moved by the Serenity Prayer at Celebrate Recovery, and she wanted me to have a daily reminder. So she just whipped out this little masterpiece! (It's now hanging over my desk, so I can look at it all during my work day.)
I was in high spirits when I brought Allyson home from school. As usual, Allyson scampered to the mailbox. "What are these?" she asked, holding out two cardboard cylinders.
"I don't know," I said. "I didn't order anything. Hmm... But these do have my name on them." After a moment's thought, I concluded that they must be some sort of inspirational posters from work, nothing to get excited about--not that I don't need inspiration, mind you.
Inside, we threw everything on the floor and went straight to the kitchen table with the tubes. "Open them, Mama!" Allyson said. I was already struggling to pry the lid off of the first canister.
Inside was a wall decal imprinted with a scripture. Can you guess what it said? I bet you can. Yep, it was another sacred echo, the coolest yet!
|Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, |
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Of course, I thought of Gentle. I initially thought this was the same verse she'd read me that morning, but then I realized that her verse was from Deuteronomy, while this one was from Joshua. Still, Gentle knew I wanted to plaster my walls with scriptures, and this was just the sort of thing she would do.
I fired off a text: "Did you send me scripture decals? I got two. One is the verse about being strong and courageous."
Her answer set my heart thudding. "No!!"
What were the odds that God would lay a verse on Gentle's heart for me in the morning, and on the very same afternoon the same message would mysteriously land in my mailbox? I'm thinking God really wants me to get the message: Don't be afraid! I'm always with you!
Allyson and I practically danced a jig with excitement. "Who could have sent them?" I said over and over.
"It's kind of nice not knowing," Allyson said. "That way it's like God sent them to us."
"Well, I'm sure He did, honey."
When I opened the second canister, I had an idea who my angel might be; over breakfast the previous Saturday, I'd told my friend Jenny that the first verse I wanted to put up in my house was Joshua 24:15.
I emailed Jenny, and she fessed up. What an incredible gift! I will feel both her love and God's every time I look at those scriptures.
Here's the ironic thing. After reading the meticulous directions, I was decidedly un-courageous about putting them up on the wall. One wrong move, and a decal could be wrecked. So I called for reinforcements. Gentle has lots of experience with wall decals, and she was happy to help--okay, to do it all while I stood by and prayed that the letters would stick.
|Gentle and Her Helper|
I think it took almost an hour. The end result was flawless:
I'd like to conclude with the full Serenity Prayer. Previously, I'd been familiar with only the first part. I love every word of it, and I'm trusting God to help me put it into practice.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
(Emphasis added... the parts that make me cry)