Phyllis Stanley, My wonderful friend, speaking at one of my seminars.
Today, when this comes out, I will be in Rome, God willing, with my dear friend, Phyllis Stanley. God has a sense of humor and He also believes in girlfriends and the need to celebrate life together, even in the midst of fires. Sooo, here is the some of the story of my last 24 hours.....
Last night as I was coming back from Joy's Summit Ministries Graduation, where over 200 kids had celebrated their adventuresome week here in Colorado Springs amidst the fires and evacuating and lectures about faith, I was struck with how amazingly powerful God is every day, all the time, even when we do not know what He is doing because as C. S. Lewis says, "He is not a tame lion."
(I would not want a God that I could manipulate or control or who was as finite as me. But hearing how excited all of the students were to follow hard after God, to become speakers and leaders and witnesses for His glory, was such an inspiration. To see faith being even more catalyzed because of the send of eternity the fires brought, was such an encouragement.)
98 girls sleeping on one large conference room at Mountain Springs Church, because they had to evacuate the conference center. (the church provided pillows and sleeping bags and mattresses)
God surprises us by showing up in the most interesting places.
"Mom, I think we are all closer because we had to sleep together, 3 bathroom stalls, 2 showers. We are all partners in arms in an event in history that will catalyze our faith for years to come."
Then there is Phyllis, my 72 year old, Godly friend. Though evacuated from her home because of the fires being within less than a mile (347 houses have been destroyed.), she is not daunted in the least, having spent 17 years on the mission field and having worked in Communist countries where her husband was always traveling and ministering for the Navigators.
But a year ago, Phyllis and I dreamed of going to the wedding of a dear friend of ours' daughter on the Amalfi coast in Italy. We love this family and we wanted to celebrate her daughter's marriage, one that we have prayed for for years. While working in London, our friend faithfully atended Hill Song where she works with young girls and seeks to disciple them. In ministry at this church, she met her fiance, who is also passionate about the Lord and happens to be an Italian banker. So excited to celebrate with them, the wonderful answer to prayers, we both bought our tickets with our points on airlines last October, made our plans and have been looking forward to this trip for almost a year.
I would go to Italy, just to have 6 days of cappuccino with Phyllis and to share our friendship, because she always makes me want to love God more and she inspires me in my ideals. Our shared fellowship is revolutionary to both of us as we draw each other to faithfulness, faith and boldness in ministry.
But, with a family of 5 staying in our home and Phyllis out of her home and many more dear friends still in limbo, I finally got a hold of Phyllis.
"So what do you think about our trip on Saturday?"
"Sally, my bag was already packed, I have my passport and I just need to trust God with my home until He shows me otherwise, and we have a friend waiting for us in Italy who wants us to be with her to celebrate one of the great legacies of life--marriage. So I will pick you up at 1:30."
This was the real finish line I was looking for! After a very challenging year, I was so longing for time with a dear, spiritual mentor to celebrate life together. Throwing t-shirts and dresses into my one carry on suitcase, I am off today and finally, so very excited!
And here, God, who is good, opened the doors in the midst of a very difficult time, and because of my sweet friend's faith, for us to go and celebrate friendship and joy and to restore for some of the other adventures that will be ahead in both of our lives.
So, yes, I think God believes in girl-friends and fun and beauty and joy and He has surprised me at the end of this week with the possibility of something I just didn't think would come to pass.
May you see His hand and joy in your own life in surprising ways this week!