Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When you need a hand...

    This post is probably weird but what else is new?
    I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be married and have children.  Yep... I was one of those kids who  had tons of dolls scattered around my room and every one had a name, all my "babies" were equally important to me.  (At night, it was really tough because I didn't want any of them to have to sleep by themselves so my twin-size bed got a bit crowded...:)
   Long after the doll stage, when I was 17, I read something in the Bible Study Fellowship notes on Genesis that caught my attention. The lesson was about finding a wife for Isaac and the main point was that the servant who had to find this girl  didn't just go busting ahead in his own wisdom and strength but instead prayed first.
   Bottom line:  Eleazar prayed, asked for a specific sign,  and immediately Rebekkah showed up - the rest being (literally) history.
   In this particular BSF lesson, Miss Johnson asked if we had ever knelt and petitioned God in faith for something.  I really hadn't.  So I knelt where I was and asked God if He would someday let me have the gift of marriage.
   In BSF, we had learned to watch for several things when seeking God's guidance:  Scriptural confirmation, a deep, God-given sense of peace, and also for  circumstances to line up.  As I made my request, I realized that it might be a while before Mr. Right came along so  I asked God  to confirm His will ahead of time.  Basically, I asked Him to give me a deep peace if it was His plan for me to be married some day. No change in my current emotional status would mean that it wasn't. Before I even finished my request, I was totally flooded with peace - something that I knew was from Him and not from me.
   Having gotten the green light, so to speak, I added my plan - which was to be married within a few years - certainly by the time I finished college:) However  the years started flying by and as they did, many of my friends married while I - I became an expert at serving wedding cake and punch :(  Frankly, it wasn't easy. Each time another friend married, I struggled with feelings of loneliness, of having missed life somehow, and also with envy. And I doubted whether I had heard God correctly back when I was 17.
   As I approached thirty, yet another close friend was getting married and I knew it would be a challenge for me emotionally. So as soon as I knew she was engaged,  I started asking God to help me -  to keep my attitude joyful for my friend's sake and to protect me from feelings of depression.  And He did it! Even during the ceremony itself, I was fine.
  However, driving  back home afterwards, alone in the dark, I began to struggle.  As I was going down University Avenue the words to the song, "He's the Hand on My Shoulder" caught my attention. I listened to the lyrics and then simply asked God if He would be  the hand on my shoulder - telling Him that I needed  a tangible sense of His nearness.  And that's when it happened - I felt a slight, momentary pressure on my shoulder and a deep comfort to go with it. The sense of comfort was quickly followed by incredulity.   I had asked -  but I hadn't really expected!  I was so shocked that I even looked over my shoulder in case someone was in the back seat!  Yet even as I looked I knew that if it had been a person, I would have been scared (to put it mildly!!), not uplifted.
    Simply put, He gave  what I asked for and more..
    And, needless to say,  that song has been special to me ever since.
    Now, as Phil and I approach our 25th anniversary in Nov. (God keeps His promises!!!!), we can testify that  His hand has never left us even through the dark days and difficult times of life -He is the hand on our shoulder.. Not literally unless.... you really need it.  Then, He really can do it!

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