Wednesday, January 16, 2019
DO I REALLY MATTER?
(The real impact of one person on another's soul)
I wanted to preface the story below. It is a text conversation between me and Joan Elizabeth Proctor, the daughter of my Little League Coach Mr. Proctor, who made a significant impact on this troubled child.
Hi Joan. This is Joey Daddario. I grew up in Timonium Maryland. I wanted to share a word of thanks with a little league baseball coach I had around age 12. I believe his name was Jim Proctor but I'm not sure. I do recall that he was a mail carrier and that his son also played on our little league team. Do you know how I can get in touch with him? Or are you related to him in any way? Thanks. I'm sorry to bother you if there is no relation. Sincerely, Joey
Yea it's my dad ! And he'd love to know you remembered him ! I'm thinking my brother James was in the team , although he coached when my brother David was too . I remember you ! Dad is on fb and also I could give u his number if u like . They aren't in Timonium anymore . Now they are in Parkton . On fb he's under James proctor
The sermon today in church was about thinking back to people who had brought light into our lives. People who had a positive lasting impact on us.
Mr. Proctor you came to mind right away. You were my coach in little league baseball. I believe I was 11 or 12 at the time. I could not hit a ball worth beans - a terrible hitter. Struck out almost every time I got up. But you took the time to instruct me how to hold a bat, how to stand with my right foot planted, how to keep my left arm straight. How to keep my eye on the ball and swing through. And then amazing things started happening…
I started to hit the ball. Not only was this a success by your teaching, I went from being the worst hitter on the team to the best hitter as the games progressed through the season. Even making “All County” in the 13-14 league. Obviously you had a significant impact on me. Something I will never forget.
You see my own father was not available emotionally nor in most other ways. I will never say that my parents didn't provide because they did. They were just very troubled people. My mom an alcoholic. My dad a man who played around on my mom. My home life was hell.
Little League was an outlet. At least I was hoping it would be. Before you took the time to instruct me and Coach me I was such a bad player that I remember crying once after striking out yet again. And I have to tell you it is so uncool to be 12 years old and be crying in front of your teammates. But like I say you changed all that coach Proctor.
Although I am semi-retired now, I sing and write songs and Lead worship at our Methodist Church here in North Florida. Yes a place in life I would never have imagined I’d be led.
Your example taught me the impact of one man on another person's soul. And I wanted to share that with you. And I'm so glad that I had this chance to do so. I know now that we can change lives - one at a time. Some people never know about the significance of their actions until they reach heaven. But it's enough right now to know that one person can make a significant impact on another person. In fact your impact was significant enough for me to write a song some years ago called On Common Ground. It's a song about wanting to believe that my own father loves me but not being able to truly know if it's possible. There's a line in the song about “coaches who in Little League groomed and trained a wild seed, a star for the crowd”. That reference is you. It is a sad song. But not a song of hopelessness. But it is a tearjerker. LOL.
So I wanted to thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I pray that I can carry forward your goodness to another and another. You see I believe that the blessings we receive become true blessings when we use them to bless others. And that is my intention. With much love and thanks, Joey Daddario
Wow , that is very touching ! That will mean a lot to my dad . Dad talks about old times all the time when us kids were little . He loves coaching , he's a huge baseball fan ! Never missing watching the O's games on tv ! What a nice letter! I love this . Love Joan
Well you certainly made my day ! I know this will really touch dad ! I just love that you are doing this !!!! You are a kind man !
Joan ( keep in touch )
He had a stroke a few years ago so it takes him a little time sometimes to remember, I'm sure there's pics somewhere of the team . My mother had tons of boxes of pictures !
Just a little note to let you know three weeks ago dad found out he had a lot of cancer in his GI organs, liver gallbladder intestines and such . He wanted to die at home so mom took him home . He did well till two days ago and now he can't get out of bed and is on lots of pain meds so mostly sleeps. My family doesn't want anything on fb so I can't share it with my friends but I just had a need to tell you . Wanted to thank you again for your nice words . Love Joan
Thank you so much Joan. I really appreciate you letting me know about your dad. He is such a wonderful man. I'm so glad that you and I got a chance to connect. Let me know if there's anything I can do. I will certainly keep your family in my prayers. Love Joey
Dad passed tonight , I'm going to use your letter to read at his memorial if you wouldn't mind . He was so proud of that letter.
Hi Joan. I know this must be a hard time for you and your family. And my heart goes out to you. I would be honored if you wanted to read the letter I sent you and your dad. Truly it would be an honor. Thank you for staying in touch with me. Love Joey PS one thing I hadn't shared with you before but I will now is that I cried pretty much throughout the whole writing of that letter.
Somewhere between the time I first sent my letter to the time Mr Proctor died, I was rushed via ambulance to a hospital 3,000 miles away from home. My appendix had burst and I was dying.
When I returned home weeks later, I was in such a depressive funk that I was crying several times a day. My life felt violated – traumatized. Life seemed almost a joke. We live. We die in agony 3,000 miles from home without being able to say goodbye to our loved ones? Or worse yet, not giving them a chance to say goodbye to us?
Writer CS Lewis once cried out in grief, “Is God a cosmic idiot?”
So I got back into 1-on-1 therapy with a great counselor. Even finding her was a God-send. But the truly amazing thing is that some 4 months later I received the text from Joan that Mr. Proctor had died. She had said he loved that letter I wrote and that she wanted to read it at his funeral.
The tears flowed again. Isn’t God weird? Yes but God is not a cosmic idiot. Ha ha. You see, I was thanking Mr. Proctor for his time, caring, encouragement and he was elated to hear it. But the story was not over as I thought. Who knew that I would need, and in return receive, encouragement and purpose months later when my life was falling apart? In Joan’s single comment asking to read my letter at her father’s memorial…well let’s just say I felt purposed by God. We do make a difference – all of us.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Saturday, May 7, 2016
JEAN-CLAUDE – A CAT WITH 10 LIVES…AT LEAST
by Joey Daddario
Seventeen days ago a cat wandered into my backyard looking very frail. It was during a week-long Nor’easter. Windy. Cold. Wet. Being a lover of animals I called it and it came over to me and we immediately bonded. Both alone on an unusually cold day on the coast. (Jeanie will tell you that we bonded because we were both so needy. Lol. )
I thought the cat was a stray until I saw a rather heavy looking tag hanging down from his tattered collar. Aha! His name is Jean-Claude. Below his name were his initials “JC”. Now, where have I seen those initials before? Hmmm. I picked him up and brought him inside. He instantly began emitting the deepest purr I have ever heard – and after stroking him, his purring became incredibly deeper, sounding more like a relief. It said, “I’m home.” I know we both felt it. It felt good.
In addition to his name there was an address in Gainesville, some 2 hours away, a phone number, and a rather unusual last name. I called the number. No longer connected. I searched Facebook, googled pet finder lost and found sites etc for hours. No luck. More on this later.
I called Jeanie. She asked me if I needed anything. I said, “I have dry cat food (as I like treating our community’s cat population) but I could use some wet food because Jean-Claude is only interested in eating from my safety can of tuna fish. That tuna happens to be my safety net for food. Only to be opened for ‘Joey emergencies’ – that is, when I have put off going to the market. Jeanie replied she’d be at my house as soon as she went shopping.
Meanwhile, I started examining Jean-Claude. It was clear he was an old, old soul. He was so thin his spine practically pierced his skin. He had the clumsiest walk because his hind legs didn’t bend like nimble young cat legs. He walked a bit like a lizard. In exaggerated motions. He was dirty – fur unkempt - eyes crusty – claws in need of trimming…and I loved him. Oh, did I mention he was almost completely blind?
While waiting for Jeanie to come over, I wet a wash cloth with warm water and began gently wiping his fur. He was busy eating my tuna and drinking from an old cat dish I saved from my cat Jordy who passed at the age of 16. I proceeded to dry him off. Jean-Claude purred and purred and purred. I brushed him out very slowly with only the softest of brushes. Eventually clipped his toenails and wiped the sleep from his eyes.
I noticed when he went to drink water he would slowly lower his head until his the pink of his nose contacted the wet surface. Then he’d jerk back as if startled. I realized he couldn’t see the water. Probably could smell it somehow and that this was his way of successfully getting a drink.
I laid back on the couch and let him sit on my chest. Apparently this wasn’t close enough for him. He needed to be closer. He burrowed into the crook of my neck and literally vibrated. A warm natural relaxing sound. A deep tissue massage for me on the outside. But as good as it felt outside, it felt even better inside. This was a rare event. Special. And definitely Godly. Ironically, at that moment, a flea jumped on me. God’s sense of humor.
I didn’t want Jean-Claude to suffer with fleas. I took a risk of leaving him alone and ran out to the local Walmart, arriving mere minutes before closing. Purchased the best flea and tick treatment for a sticker-shocking $53. I’ve used the cheap stuff in the past and it just doesn’t work.
I got home. Jean Claude had found his way upstairs and was sleeping on the pillow on my bed. This cat was definitely communicating. I put the flea and tick ointment on him. I brought him downstairs and waited for Jeanie.
Jeanie burst in armed with Fancy Feast cat food, litter, a litter box, and a scooper shovel. Wow! She is a cat lover too and has rescued so many animals I have lost count. I tease with her that when she is driving us, there is no guarantee we will make it to our destination on time. That’s right, if she spots a stray animal, all punctuality goes out the window. It’s rescue time. As disruptive as that can be, I love that quality in her.
She set up the litter box and I told her about running out to the store, last minute, to pick up the expensive flea treatment. I realized all too late I had set myself up for one of her smart-alek jabs. You know the type. The ones that only people who know you really really well can fire back quicker than a reflex: “Joey, I can’t believe you actually went out that late and spent that much money. What’s gotten into you?” And we both laughed at the absurd yet amazing difference this little animal had already made in my priorities. Yes, God had provided a perfect outlet for me to escape my self-absorption and concentrate on helping another.
I said goodbye to Jeanie and asked her to come back in the morning to help me find the owners.
That evening I made a ramp from the floor up to my bed to help Jean-Claude. Jean-Claude saw his opening and waddled up the ramp and attached himself to me like glue. Purred me to sleep.
The next morning I resumed searching for the owner. In the process I noticed there were people living in Gainesville with that unusual last name on his tag. I started googling them and making calls to Gainesville. Bingo. I got a call back from a neighbor living on the next street over. His name was Wesley. The owner.
Wesley came over and picked up Jean-Claude, very appreciative that we had taken care of him. He gave us a little peek into Jean-Claude’s history. Jean-Claude was 25 years old (are you kidding? !!!), born in Italy. His original owner, Wesley’s uncle, had died and left Jean-Claude to Wesley. He said Jean-Claude was diabetic. He mentioned that it was probably past due for him to be put down but that he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Well, that explained a lot.
I totally understood where Wesley was coming from. In the past several months of my late cat’s (Jordy) life, I worked diligently with the kindest vet to confirm when it was “time”. And when it was time to say goodbye to Jordy, my dear friend Jeanie came with me. We sat with him the entire time. I continuously petted and talked to my dear sweet 16 year-old companion. It was, and still remains, the hardest day of my life.
Wesley left that morning, cat in hand. Before the days end Jean-Claude was back. Since all his “stuff” was still inside (food, water, litter) I picked him up and brought him in. As soon as I held him against my chest his deep soothing motor began rumbling.
He made himself “at home” and followed me around keeping very close. It was as if he kept himself within some invisible boundary known only to him. It seemed all this miracle-aged cat wanted…no, let me change that, all this cat needed was to be close to me. To be held. To love and be loved. It is not lost on me how similar this relationship is to that of our heavenly Father and His children. In fact, throughout the 17 days, there was much Godly symbolism. And I believe there is much more overflow to be revealed from the encounter, in addition to what is written here.
I finally gave up taking Jean-Claude back to Wesley’s because he would come back again. And over the few short weeks, a loose routine developed. Jean-Claude would spend time with me. Inside on the couch. Outside on the porch. Night time in my bed. A bit of a dependence was developing - for both of us. I asked myself, “How can this be possible in the short time I’ve known him?” I found myself looking forward to snuggling up with him and greedily soaking in his generous healing waves of massage-like healing. It relaxed me. Purposed me. The relationship made me more responsible. Matured me. Grew me. Put life a bit more in balance as far as self-centeredness versus service-oriented living. And truly, I say, it is much more rewarding to leave self-centeredness for the sake of helping others.
May 1st 2016 was the last time I saw Jean-Claude. A mere 17 days after we met. I went to church that morning. Instead of returning straight home, Jeanie and I had a concert to perform downtown. I was away about 5 hours.
When I arrived home, Jean-Claude was right where I left him on his blanket on the floor near his food and water. But something was wrong. He was lying on his side. Something he never does. His little hands were twitching. I dropped everything, only slightly aware that I had left my car open and all my equipment exposed.
Immediately I bent down and rubbed his delicate bony side. “It’s OK Jean-Claude, I’m hear, I love you. Hey sweet boy.” He responded. But it was a blood curdling scream. “What’s wrong baby? Are you having trouble standing up?”
Things started to add up. I had left a message with Wesley the day before telling him that Jean-Claude wasn't doing very well. He was having more trouble walking than usual. His appetite had diminished, and he was not making it to the litter box in time.
I picked him up. Carefully. Like I always do. I stood up with him and let his front paws hang on my shoulders. He relaxed a little. With cat-in-hand I rushed to the medicine cabinet to get a plastic syringe. The idea I had was to fill it with water and feed it to my poor kitty. Maybe he just needed hydrating.
Just as I got the syringe filled, Jean-Claude arched his head back in an impossible position and then became still. I sat on the couch with my little baby stretched out on my lap. Jean-Claude had died in my arms.
I had never before heard the sounds that came out of me that day. “Wailing” just doesn’t seem to be strong enough. I screamed, “No! No! Please no!” All while petting his still warm frail body with both hands. And oddly, in my agony, rage, and devastating inconsolability, I noticed something. Jean-Claude looked so peaceful. At peace. And then I got the point. He had gotten exactly what he wanted – to spend his last days on earth with those that sincerely loved him. Yes animals know the difference. And to, at last, die in the arms of one that loved him.
It is both hard, sad, and healing to tell this story. I cannot let the traumatic, painful, final hours with Jean-Claude obscure the immense good and joy he brought into the world. It would be unfair to him, selfish on my part, and simply wrong.
And yet therein lays a weird characteristic when we experience the death of a loved one:
When tragedy and loss befall us, it is overpowering. For it requires our complete focus to absorb it. Yes this single event has the power to wipe from our minds, at least temporarily, all the good God has surrounded us with. We can’t see God’s timing nor purpose at all. As a result, the good in our world shrinks. We can’t see it because it is obscured by the huge amount of attention that our loss demands.
I have had the consoling benefit of seeing many of Gods awesome works in this experience. And I think that is the reason I want to share it. There are a few special folks that I especially want to share my grieving with. They fall into a rare category I call "compassionate listeners". And I wish to tell readers that the best in people can be brought out in the most unusual situations.
For instance…two dear friends, Chuck and Jeanie, came to my rescue that day. Yes, they both just dropped what they were doing and came over. They quickly responded to my phone calls as my still weeping wavering voice cried out, “Help me, I don’t know what to do.” I will NEVER forget their love, their soothing words, and even more, their soothing presence. The comfort of the Holy Spirit worked mightily through them that day.
Chuck and Jeanie quickly, gently, and respectfully went into action. I asked Chuck to verify Jean-Claude’s condition. We needed a blanket to wrap him in. Excellent, my prayer blanket from church. Perfect. I asked Chuck to please take Jean-Claude from me and wrap him. He did. Ever so gently. And as if that weren’t enough, Chuck allowed us to bury Jean-Claude along the wooded acreage by his home where there is a small Pet Cemetery. So the three of us took Jean-Claude to the site and placed him lovingly in his final resting place. Even one of Chuck’s cats came over to attend the funeral and say goodbye. It was beautiful.
I welcome tears. And it has been a long time since I have cried. With the passing of this precious creature of God - my dear pet, the tears are pouring out. This is a good thing. God knew I was overdue for release of much held-back emotion. And in writing this, crying on and off, I am honoring the life and contributions of a little animal that roared life into a soul and into a community. A creature God used to bring out the very best in His Children.
Most importantly this writing documents God’s hand in our lives - His incomprehensible love and mercy for us. Jesus who cries when we cry and grieves when we grieve (my interpretation). God the Father, whose workings and timing of events in our lives are always with precision, even though they seem to be out of control. Truly our best option is to “take it on faith” which, at times, is possible only with great difficulty. But God knew this and gave us each other so that we might be comforted through His Holy Spirit who dwells in us. It is our decision whether or not to seek God’s beauty in all things. When we can’t understand the whole picture, we need accept that God’s ways are higher than our ways. And take one step forward.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A PRAYER FOR PROTECTION (To be prayed before ministry)
In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of his Cross and his Blood, we bind up the power of any evil spirits and command them not to block our prayers. We bind up the powers of earth, air, water, fire, the netherworld and the satanic forces of nature.
We break any curses, hexes or spells sent against us and declare them null and void. We break the assignments of any spirits sent against us and send them to Jesus to deal with them as he will. Lord, we ask you to bless our enemies by sending your Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance and conversion.
Furthermore, we bind all interaction and communication in the world of evil spirits as it affects us and our ministry.
We ask for the protection of the shed blood of Jesus Christ over _______ .
Thank you, Lord, for your protection and send your anqels, especially St. Michael, the Archangel to help us in the battle. We ask you to guide us in our prayers: share with us your Spirit's power and compassion. Amen.
P.O. Box 9520 • 438 West 67th Street
Jacksonville, FL 32208
904·765·3332 • fx 904-765-4224
PRAYER TO BE SET FREE (To be prayed following ministry)
Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing with us your wonderful ministry of healing and deliverance. Thank you for the healings we have seen and experienced today.
We realize that the sickness and evil we encounter is more than our humanity can bear, so cleanse us of any sadness, negativity or despair that we may have picked up. If our ministry has tempted us to anger, impatience or lust, cleanse us of those temptations and replace them with love, joy and peace.
If any evil spirits have attached themselves to us or oppressed us in any way, we command you, spirits of earth, air, fire, water, the netherworld or the satanic forces of nature, to depart - now - and go straight to Jesus Christ for him to deal with you as he will.
Come Holy Spirit: renew us -- fill us anew with your power, your life and your joy. Strengthen us where we have felt weak and clothe us with your light. Fill us with life. Lord Jesus, please send your holy angels to minister to us and our families-guard us and protect us from all sickness, harm and accidents. (Give-us a safe trip home.)
We praise you now and forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and we ask these things in Jesus' Holy Name that he may be glorified. Amen
(Prayers by Dr. Francis MacNutt)
How To Pray For Healing (put on the face of Jesus)
1. Ask “Where does it hurt? When did it start? “Listen on both natural & supernatural level.
2. Determine why they have this condition. Unresolved emotions often roota.
3. Prayer types (always ask God 1st how to pray for them): Petition to God; Confront demon (remember satan lost & now knows you know it); The person can pray for self.b
4. With oil anoint forehead w/cross, “In the powerful name of Father, Son & Holy Spirit come minister to ___”; ask to lay on hands; more Q&A. They also need to tell their condition to leave to break bond of familiarity with ailment.
5. Post Prayer: When healed- “sin no more and don’t follow flesh”.(Jn 8:11)c
Not healed- say “God loves you”. Seek more LT healing, scripture.
Years of sorrow/weeping/grieving – too long
Cancer – “In the name of Jesus I curse you & command you to die, every cell. Immune system, thank you for helping.
bWe need to assume our power & authority. God wants ailment gone more than us.
cWhen healed they walk away with deeper understanding of God’s love.
Other Important Points
6. Leave people alone who have been slain. HS is working on them.
7. Quell distractions: Remove distractors from area.
8. Pray out loud (demons can’t hear our thoughts)
“Lord God I call your big angels with swords to do the battle in the spiritual realm that I can’t see. Lord, cancel any assignments given to demons sent against me in the spiritual realm. The One True Lord Jesus, Lord of this room, gives me His full authority over this room. I will only allow what He wants. You demons may not act out in any way that may frighten us.”
9. The demonic does not respond to medication nor counseling. We can only cast them out in Jesus name.
10. Often illness comes from sinful behavior in these 4 areas: physical, emotional (forgiveness issues), spiritual, relational. Healings are often a process. We can pray for ourselves, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I bless my body for health.”
Thursday, January 24, 2013
January 24, 2013. As I was looking over some old documents, I stumbled upon this story of a day that was full of surprises.
A day of Holy Spirit Surprises!
This story started on a beautiful Saturday morning , April 10, 2010. Joey and I were set up at our local Farmers Market, doing our usual ministry with music. We have a tent/shelter and a table with information and products on it. We usually stand behind this long table to keep ourselves in the most shaded spot. It is not uncommon for people to stop and share stories, sing along, ask questions, or listen a bit and thank us for our ministry. There is a lady in the tent next to ours, who is a beekeeper (yes, I said beekeeper) and she sells fresh honey. We have gotten to know her pretty well over the last couple of years. Her name is Amanda. She is a big supporter of ours and we enjoy fellowshipping with her each week. We always feel blessed that the overseer of this Market, placed us by Amanda.
On this beautiful Saturday, Joey (my ministry partner) was feeling down. His 16-year-old cat had died that week and his 84-year-old father was quickly dying of cancer. Joey was very much in pain. He couldn’t seem to think because he was so sad. We had been singing for over an hour. We were considering what to sing next and he decided that he wanted us to sing a song that we wrote called, Hold Me Up. The song is a healing song for us (that is another story) and usually melds us with the Holy Spirit, but this time it fell flat for both of us. Joey was lower than ever. Joey really wanted to stop for the day and go home but I encouraged him to keep singing a while longer. Shortly, a breeze kicked up… it was refreshing. The trees rustled, I felt something in the air. I looked up and a lady had stopped at our booth and stood and listened to us sing for two or three songs. She said her name was Cathy. Two or three songs feels a long time when someone is two feet away. Having a person stare as you sing is a bit awkward. She didn’t want to talk, just listen. I finally asked if there was a specific song she would like to hear. She said, “please play something healing.” I told Joey that I felt we should play Hold Me Up. He quietly reminded me that we had just played that song earlier (before Cathy showed up), and it didn’t go well! He wondered why I would want to do it again. I said, “I feel strongly that we need to play it again.” He reluctantly agreed but was so consumed with sadness. As we started to sing something was happening. By the second chorus, the Holy Spirit consumed the air and Cathy started to tremble, she was weeping, ……I felt that I needed to step around the table and go to her but I also felt we needed to keep singing. In that split second, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Amanda (the beekeeper lady) bolt out of her booth and go into the street and grab onto Cathy. Both of them were weeping and embracing. Amanda was caught up in the Holy Spirit and had no hesitation to embrace this stranger. It felt as though we were the only four on the street at that moment, but really a crowd had gathered and others were impacted. As the song closed, we circled and prayed…and prayed. When it was over and Cathy was gone, our beekeeper friend, Amanda had to sit down. She was overwhelmed. Joey said, “I don’t understand why the first time we sang it – that song fell flat and when we sang it this time – it was amazing.” I told him, “Joey, the first time you sang it for yourself, the second time you gave it away and we were all blessed beyond measure!” What a treasure we experienced because we gave it away!
We packed up shortly afterward and were heading to Georgia for a rehearsal with the band. We had a large event upcoming and we needed to get prepared. The band members are from various towns and we opted to meet at Burger King to caravan to the rehearsal site. Joey and I arrived a bit early, still floating on our Holy Spirit ride and decided to go inside and eat. As we got to the area at the end of the counter, where we would pick up our food, we noticed a cardboard box filled with wooden crosses threaded with red yarn (to make a necklace). The box had written on it, “free, take one”, so we did. I thought how cool it was that Burger King was handing out crosses. We sat down to eat and Joey was starting to get sad again. Anticipating his Dad passing was constantly on his mind. He started saying a blessing, over the food, and all of a sudden he didn’t sound like himself….he was speaking in a different tone. I looked up and he was staring straight ahead and speaking randomly and then said, “I will be your grief”……then he started to cry and he seemed himself again. It was if the Spirit spoke through him. He said, “what was that?” “what just happened?” he said “something took over me.” When I told him what I saw and heard he wrote it down and was consumed with comfort…he said that he knew God would carry him in his grief. He cried… “God just said he will be my grief!” ……the story continues….
Joey and I were again overwhelmed and we started to talk about all that had happened the preceding hours and then started talking about the crosses at the counter and thought we would like to find out if we could get the supplier to make some for us to hand out at the farmers market. The girl at the register said a man makes them as a ministry. I asked if I could give her my card and have him call me about making some for us. She was agreeable and I headed to my car to get a business card. Just as I got to the door an old man was slowly limping across the parking lot. I am embarrassed to say, My first thought was that I could get to my car and back and still be there to hold the door for him, as he was moving very slowly. But….. I thought, “no, I’m going to honor him and wait on him.” As he approached I said hello and chatted a bit. He told me he was slow and I told him I had no place to hurry off to and I’d like nothing better than to wait for him. He said, “I’m having my knee replaced next week.” I responded, “indeed….you will be dancing again.” I told him I would pray for his knee surgery. He smiled and finally got in the door. I ran out, got my business card and gave it to the girl at the counter. ……..
……as Joey finished his meal, I felt an internal nudge ……no, really more of a shove to talk to that old man…..he was sitting across the restaurant. Finally I yelled across the room, “did you pick up your free cross?” He said, “no, I didn’t see them.” Joey said he was going to the car and I told him I wanted to get the man’s name so I could pray for his surgery. I walked over to the old man’s table…..he was alone…..and I held up the wooden cross and said, “you really ought to have one of these.” He said, “Jesus ain’t on that cross ya know….” I said, “no sir He isn’t, He is risen.” As soon as I got the words out of my mouth and was about to ask him his name, he raised his hand and forcefully started to pray over me. He said, in a proclaiming voice, “From the top of your head, to the tip of your toes, may you be covered in the blood of Jesus Christ…..may you go out in boldness proclaiming HIS name with your mouth, with your music, with your entire being……HE has called you into his service…..HE has claimed you…. Obey…. He expects you to act…… now go out..in his name!” oh My ………OK……I almost passed out…. I was weak in the knees, crying, he was crying…………right in Burger King! Goodness….wow… …. I just could not believe this was happening. I told him, “I came over to your table to bless you but I got blessed, so blessed!” He smiled and said to me, “Mam, you are right…. I will dance again!” Without him saying it, I know that he was placed there for me, and he knew it too. I hugged him and thanked him and as I was leaving, Joey was outside wondering what was taking me so long. I told him, “I tried to give away a blessing but I was blessed instead!” I told Joey what had happed when we got to my car……..and I said, “Joey, I never told him I am a music minister, but yet he prayed that blessing…..he knew me without knowing me.” Was that a prophetic prayer?….……..was he an angel ?…..I don’t know… I haven’t learned enough yet to know what that was…….I just know it was real.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Unexpected gifts: November 26, 2012
I am often amazed at the sweet moments God allows us to be a part of. As our Pastor Brett reminded us in his recent sermon, we should look for unexpected gifts--and I do! They are gifts from the Holy Spirit that say, I am here and I love you. When they come it is like a feeding, filling me like nothing else and nourishing me for days, sometimes weeks!
Last Saturday, Joey and I, as we have done for the last five years, set up our ministry outreach booth on the street behind the church --at the Farmer's Market. We both were a bit concerned that day. We would be there for four hours and knew we had three other music commitments that afternoon, which is so stressful vocally and physically. We prayed that God would help us work it out since we know our time in the street at the Farmer's Market is always important. We came prepared to amplify our music for the first time, by request of the new market coordinators. When we arrived the coordinator came to speak with us - anxious - saying she had accidentally double booked and another musician was also scheduled to play for the market. I suggested she put him at the top of the street and we would be in the middle - plenty of room for both…I thought. Since the other musician was to amplify, we decided to keep our music acoustic so there was no competing sound. Disappointing, we thought, but the right thing to do. It wasn't long before we realized the only time we could actually sing was when the other musician was between songs, because while he was very talented, he was SO extremely loud. Admittedly we were a little annoyed at first, but I told Joey we should look at it as a time to practice songs and just enjoy having less pressure. When we let go of what WE "hoped for" with our music that day, HIS gifts began. People started to stop to chat, some friends, some we did not know, so instead of exhausting ourselves, singing for four hours, we were relaxed and enjoying time with people. Gift #1: God was giving us an easier pace so we could manage the rest of the day)
One of the people who stopped by our booth was a friend (I'll call her Sally). She had a relative (a young woman) with her who was not a Christian. Sally took me aside and asked if I could pray that she would have the opportunity to comfortably talk to her relative about Jesus before their visit was over. After we shared a few fun stories, the two women moved on down the road. In a short while, they returned and Sally wanted us to sing a song for her relative. Joey and I chose a happy song, a song of the joy of Jesus. As we sang and clapped, then it happened, The young woman wept - openly. She had been touched. By the song, I wondered? how strange since it was such a happy song. The next day I found out, Sally had indeed talked with her relative about Jesus. The young woman had experienced the Holy Spirit as we sang to her at the market and her heart was open to hear! God used a happy, clappy song - not an emotional heart tugging song to speak to this woman. Wow! Gift #2: God allowed us to be a part of the process of Sally’s relative becoming touched by His Holy Spirit.
A short time later two young women came by our booth with handmade crosses that they had. They were not fancy but were bright colored crosses made from thick yarn. They asked if we would like to buy one for five dollars. Joey said “no thank you” and I brushed them away promising to buy another time --- not wanting to spend five dollars on something I didn't really want. As Joey played the guitar and we began singing another song, the women smiled and walked up the hill. In a few moments, I felt this warm electric sensation that I have felt so often in my life. That feeling when God is all over me, telling me...."you are gonna miss it....this is important.....don't you get it??....hurry up...I sent them to you!" I told Joey - "this is a deeper thing than ladies selling crosses - I have to go after them". He agreed and admitted, he had actually wanted one of the crosses. As I left the booth to find them, I didn't know if they were scammers or what but that didn't matter, I just knew I had to go. I ran up the hill and when I caught up to them, I touched the one woman on the shoulder and felt a sensation that feels like dipping my hand in warm butter- Also a familiar feeling when God is speaking to me. The young woman turned and smiled. I said, "come back - I want to look at the crosses you have for sale". She and her friend came back to the booth and I told her that I felt in my spirit that I should buy a cross and thanked her for coming back. As we made small talk , I looked at her and said, "that church over there is our church. There are a lot of wonderful people that will be there tomorrow and we would love for you to join us for worship". I said, "there is no need to dress up - come as you are and you will be welcomed". They said they were familiar with our church. They told us they are homeless and have lived in the woods for almost a year. They said they eat dinner on Wednesday nights at our church. They said, "your church feeds us". I told them I would be eager to see if they would join us Sunday morning. Gift #3: They came....Sunday morning! After the service, the young woman, in her old clothes and cheeks rosy from her life living outdoors, came down the aisle at church with tears in her eyes and hugged me so tight and didn't let go easily. Her friend and two men were with her. She said the men were their husbands. She said they had tried attending other churches but this was the first time they had felt at home and not judged. I introduced them to several people and everyone eagerly greeted them. I told people about their beautiful crosses and many eagerly asked to see them and bought the handmade yarn crosses. Go church! ...go God!
As The market wrapped up on Saturday, we were energized. The other three commitments were at a pace of leisure.
God had it under control the whole time ! Imagine that!
I realize that even with these gifts that I still get weary at times from the life issues that arise and mountains I am faced with and so much suffering that I see. I do find myself at times caught in a spin and God can't get in. In those times, I envision me as a tornado and God standing, waiting for the spinning to stop so I will see him and feel his heart. In that spin, I wonder if my longing for the broken to find solace in a place is possible or is it fantasy. When so much is wrong, can it really be better? Can we, the church, really see others as Christ sees us? But in the spin, I do know God is there and waiting and maybe laughing a bit at my humanness. I do know that it is possible, and I hate that I ever slip into doubt.
Joey often says, "God CAN-DO-IT if we are the CONDUIT" I think that brings us to Pastor Brett's sermon message from yesterday.... re-creating the world. I do hope and pray that other church congregations are loaded with the Spirit and ready to re-create God's kingdom , reaching out - one person at a time. And I truly realize that our church - Memorial UMC is doing it! It makes me happy to know our church will welcome those who God sends to us. It makes me know that through God all things are possible. It makes me abundantly thankful for unexpected gifts that feed me and make those times of spinning less and less as God shows me how to use his faithfulness as my anchor. I am thankful.
in His Name............jeanie