There have been many nights when I’ve struggled to fall asleep because of the thoughts cycling through my mind. This time was different. It was the whole, “I’m going to Disney World tomorrow” type of thing! I was overcome with joy and expectation…for what exactly? I wasn’t quiet sure!
I’m one of those people who gets really excited on special occasions (specifically, my birthday, New Years, and Valentine’s Day…just in case you were wondering). This was the night before Valentine’s Day 2018 and my ‘single girl’ heart was excited to spend time with THE one who is love Himself! (Proudly one of my favorite things to do!) He reminded me of words He poured into my spirit over the past two years, and also spoke of new life and adventure with Him! In the midst of me, my flesh, and I…Jesus FILLED my heart with beautiful truths.
Like I’ve already mentioned, as a result of joy and expectation, I struggled to fall asleep, and was not one bit mad about it! God had began to give me a word to share with the guys who come to our Fountain basketball gym…not knowing when I’d have the opportunity to share, I prayed that He would continue to build on that word.
With my Valentine’s Day stickers in hand, I began the next day praying that Jesus would continue to speak. I was soon given a massive bar of Norwegian chocolate, a beautiful red carnation (picked by one of my sweet neighbors), and pizza…seriously?! (I’m thinking of all the ‘single’ Valentine’s dreams & memes) To continue on my joy and expectation streak, I then braced myself for entering the Dollar Tree on Valentine’s Day…WOW. What. An. Experience. I was on my way to buy candles and balloons to bring to a memorial service for one of our 23 year old neighbors who had lost his life days before. When I say the store was packed, I mean, it was packed…with ONE register open. It was so packed, that they made an announcement that if you wanted to buy balloons, you had to use the helium tank and fill them up yourselves. (I made a couple of new friends while trying to navigate my way through the balloon adventure!) Before heading to deliver the balloons to the family, I went to the Fountain…was able to give a big hug to some of our kiddos before heading into the basketball gym. I never would have guessed it, but God really used those little Valentine’s Day stickers…they said “I love you because ________________!” With every one handed out, I asked Jesus to give me a word or a phrase. “You’re bold! You’re a leader! You carry joy!” It created an opportunity for me to share the same kind of truth that Jesus poured into my heart the night before. And if you don’t already know, every time we open the Fountain gym for basketball, we stop and take time to pray and share a devotion. About a solid minute before share time, I was ‘given’ the opportunity to share…my flesh so wanted to pass it off to someone else (I tried, but then took it back haha). God started preparing to share with these guys the night before, and I didn’t even realize it.
How do you know that you are loved by God? How does HE know you love Him? Does He truly know you?
“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3
At the end of my share time, one of our new guys volunteered to pray out load in front of the other 35 guys in the gym (BIG deal)! He didn’t have much to say, but managed to thank God for waking us up and keeping us safe, but I was so thankful to see him stand and pray. On his sticker, I was able to write “You’re bold!” and I thanked him for being willing to try, as he told me he had never prayed like that before.
After we closed up the Fountain, I headed down the neighborhood alley to visit with the family preparing for the memorial. After watching one of the balloons I worked hard to inflate fly away, I began to pray that Jesus would be with me as we delivered balloons and candles. What do you say to your friends who lost their brother? What do you say to a mother who no longer has her 23 year old son? Man, I’m so thankful for Jesus!! Sitting outside near the memorial where the young boy lost his life, we were able to shine the light of Jesus, and hug the hurting. What an honor to get to be HIS hands and feet.
Soon after I was scheduled to share with a beautiful group of ladies who are recently out of prison. With Valentines cards written by our young kids in hand, I was ready to pray for hearts to be open to Jesus. I watched 2 of the women hear from God and make choices to give their hurt, their pain, and their trust to God. What better way to end the day, than with people who heard from the Father. What a gift! What an honor!
Jesus knows how to surround us with love. He knows the desires of our hearts. To be known by Him is the sweetest thing!