23 May 2008

Two, well maybe three things...

GUESS WHAT??? God healed my air-conditioner today! I'm not kidding! He really did. I know it sounds kind of silly, but trust me, I didn't feel silly when I was soaking up all that cold air goodness at 5:00 pm this afternoon as I was driving home. I left work around 4:20 pm with my big cup of ice in one hand and my cup of cold water in the other. After a few minutes in the car, my jean legs were folded up, my hair was pulled off my neck, and the windows were down. The outside temperature read 89 degrees. I hit a brief traffic snaffoo and was starting to get a little bit irritated and my good attitude was waning. I quickly pulled out my I-pod nano and got my earbuds in place to chill out to some Robby Seay. That's when it happened. This teeny tiny voice in my head said, "Hit the AC button" (or something like that). Well, let me just tell you I've done this about a zillion times since it went out several weeks back. Sometimes, I do it three times in a row, maybe once a day or once every couple days, I'm not too sure. Anywho, let's just say this wasn't the first time. But, it was the first time for the little thought that seemed to come out of the blue. So, I hit the button and the happy green light comes on!!!! This means it's working! I hold my hand up to the vent to see if the air feels cool. It doesn't at first, but slowly starts to get colder. I immediately start freaking out and yelling, "Shut up!" Must be Kasey's influence. And I'm thinking, "Wow, God! You have GOT to be kidding me." He wasn't. It's true. He healed my AC. It worked all the way home. I finally had to turn it back a bit because it was full blast at 68 degrees and I forgot that I still had the cup of ice between my legs. I was actually getting chilly! I even stopped for two errands on the way home and it was still working great. Isn't that amazing! The really fun part is that even though I'd asked God to fix it a time or two before to fix it if He wanted to, it wasn't until Wednesday afternoon when the youth staff met to pray that I actually prayed out loud for God to heal our cars. My car isn't the only one that's been a distraction lately. I figured if God can heal people, He can heal cars too if He wanted to. So, yeah, I'm not sure why God decided to have mercy on me today, but I'm so thankful He did. What a great encouragement!

And I don't want to fail to mention my great thanks to Cliff and Teresa who were going to let me borrow one of their cars that they have been trying to sell and aren't using. Cliff assured me it was one of the coldest AC's he'd ever seen. Well, I finally agreed to take them up on the offer and pick it up next week. They were even going to let me keep my car at their house! Wow! But, unfortunately for Cliff, he called today with the news that when he got it out of the garage today to wash it, etc. he realized the air wasn't working. Oh geez. Poor Cliff. Now's he's got to deal with that. So...maybe after you spend your daily hour in prayer interceding for your family, friends, and the world, you can feel free to pray for Cliff's car, along with J & T's car, along with Micah's car....It's an epidemic lately.

Again, why on earth would God want to take care of my car? I often wonder at why God answers some prayers and yet not others. I will never figure that out. Trust me, I know my car AC working again is not as important as so many other things. So why? And it's not because of my faith that's for sure. I honestly don't think I expected Him too. I did expect that it would all eventually work out and that I can trust Him to take care of me. Why did He do it? I truly don't know. Maybe He did it just to show me that He actually can and wants to provide for me. That I can trust Him to take care of me. Sometimes I feel a bit out on a limb being a single woman. A bit uncared for at times. But not today. Today God showed me that I am cared for. And that, ladies and gentleman, makes me cry. I love Him.

Okay, and lastly, I'm heading out tomorrow morning with 22 other youth leaders, college students, and youth to Paradise08. We'll drive all day tomorrow to Fort Scott, Kansas (yep, I'm thinking 12+ hours) where we will spend the night. Sunday morning we'll head to a giant empty field in the middle of Kansas to worship our King Jesus with at least several thousand young people. No speaker, no band, no agenda, no t-shirts, no organizations, just Jesus. He's the only big name this time. I'm pretty excited. I have no idea what to expect, but definitely have an expectant heart. I'm sure I'll have something to say about it next week. We drive back Sunday night and Monday. If you think about it, pray for us and all the other groups who will join us. Pray that Jesus is honored and we are humbled.

20 May 2008

Thoughts on driving in Houston, Texas in the summer without any air-conditioning

Like my title? I used it because it sounds like something John Piper would title something. Of course, the rest of this won't sound like him, but you gotta start somewhere, right? :)

Okay, so here's the deal. Last month I spent over $400 on car repair and maintenance. So...when Red Velvet's (my 1992 Buick LeSabre) air-conditioning decided it didn't want to work a few weeks ago, I decided to ignore it. Actually, not so much ignore it as intentionally decided to look the other way. Thankfully, it has been an unseasonably cool spring for Houston and we've had lots of really nice weather the past couple weeks. The circulated outside air has proved quite sufficient most days. However, reality is that it's summer in Houston which means that today it is 94 degrees. Yes, that's Fahrenheit. And if you've never been here I can't explain the humidity, but let's just say when you step outside you feel like you've been submerged into a really big deep broiler. It's warm. It will get hotter of course, but let's just say for now it's not a wimpy kind of heat index. So, on my commute home this afternoon I began thinking of the essentials I've added into my routine to make the drive much more endurable. But before I get to that, let me just remind you that I drive about 35-60 minutes home on the I-10 Katy Freeway at 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Oh, and did I mention the bumper to bumper traffic? Or the construction?

My new essentials:
1. God's grace which comes to me in the following ways...
2. A good attitude which in itself is a gift and is greatly enriched by the following items...
3. Remembering that I have friends all over the world who drive around in cars with no AC and more than that walk everywhere and take buses stuffed with a hundred other people who consider deodorant a luxury item. Also, these many friends don't have AC in their apartments either.
4. Remembering that I have life a million times easier than most of the world's population...I have clean water, I have a safe place to sleep, I have food everyday, I am not sleeping outside for fear of earthquake aftershocks. And frankly, for some weird reason I feel like it's good for me learning to do without something that I usually consider a "have to have" to survive. I'm not entitled to air-conditioning and maybe it's healthy for me to suffer in this teeny weeny way.
5. Being thankful that I will not be spending eternity somewhere really hot.
6. Okay, enough of the philosophical essentials...first tactical item in my survival kit: my i-pod nano and accompanying earbuds. This is extremely important to maintain #2. Radio is insufficient because with windows down and traffic blaring by, I simply can't hear it. With earbuds in place, I can sometimes listen to an entire album creating a joyful if not worshipful experience.
7. A large cup of ice to hold in my lap. I owe Jerome for that handy tip - it makes a world of difference.
8. An insulated cup of cold water to sip and cool my insides.
9. Dressing in layers to work so that I can take one or two layers off before I head home.
10. A rubber band. Any kind will do. To put my hair in a ponytail of course.
11. Sunscreen. This is a newly implemented essential I added today because I noticed my left arm getting much browner and frecklier than my right arm. Plus, I don't want to suck it up driving around without AC because I know it won't kill me and then ending up with skin cancer. Definitely not worth that!

So, any of you living without AC? Any tips you want to share? Or maybe how you try to keep a good attitude with your personal irritations of life? BTW, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I have a better attitude about this, other times I'm grumbling and complaining the whole way like this morning as a matter of fact. Of course, perhaps that's why I realized this afternoon that this list really is crucial. God gives us grace. Sometimes we just need to use it.

05 May 2008

He really does

God really does answer prayer. Really. He does. He answered a prayer of mine today and ya know what, it just feels good. It's not even about the outcome as much as it is that I apparently needed the reminder that He actually hears me. It doesn't even matter today that there are many other prayers He hasn't answered yet. It's just so amazing that He listens to little ol me. He is gracious. He actually listens to me when I call. He acted on my behalf. He defended me. He answered in such a cool and tangible way for me today. I am so grateful that my God, my Friend, my Savior, my Lover answered me today.

So if you're praying and it doesn't seem like He's listening, I hope you can take encouragement from this knowing that if He hears me, He can hear you too. I know He's silent sometimes. Trust me, I KNOW. But my friend, He is listening. He will act. In fact, He probably is already acting on your behalf. Sometimes it's days, months, or years before we see the fruit. But you CAN trust Him. And remember, He is faithful not because of you or what you deserve or what you do or how hard you pray or how much faith you have. He is faithful because that's who He is. It's his nature. He can't help it. He really is faithful and that means you really can trust Him.