My 'jubilee' year is coming to a close. Last fall I turned 50 & a season of restoration & redemption began & it is still cresting! I will have a birthday soon & thus begin the second half of my life. I feel like I have been given a new start in so many ways, as if I were 'born again-again'! I wrote about it several times in this blog. One entry in particular, "Restoring What the Locusts Have Eaten" outlines this in a beautiful way. If you haven't already, may I recommend that you go look for it & take a minute or two to enjoy it before reading on about this?
Last night following my fellowship group at "Jubilee" I stopped to get gas. The weekly meetings are at my friends Tim & Robins' home & the property they live on is called 'Jubilee'. It is much more than a bible study or prayer group, because this group is on fire for the kingdom of God like I have rarely seen! Tim said it is a 'call to arms' & I noted it as an 'Equipping the Saints' for battle. Visions, healings & prophecy are coming from this group. I can't always make it because I work till 8 & showing up late is not exactly a good way to profit from such. So I offered to assist them in preparing for it in other ways. It is my way of 'sowing my imperishable, endless supply of seed' into the Kingdom. Please refer to another entry about this:
As I roll up to the gas station, there is a young man working there who I have known since his childhood. I immediately recognized him & we were both happy to see each other. I knew he had gotten tangled up in some really bad stuff & was behind bars, but here he was with a second chance! The thought that there are 2 kinds of people comes to mind: The Caught & The Uncaught. Therefore, I have no judgments against this young man. Apparently he 'paid his dues' & is now back to make something of himself. We hugged & he said he was doing great!
As I was struggling to figure out how to use a 'bonus card' to get a reduced price on my purchase, he enthusiastically helped me. He took my cash & keys & ran inside to set up this purchase. It was so good to see him with a 'servants heart' rather than the thuggish behavior I recalled. As I saw him inside ringing me up, I prayed that the Lord would assign a legion of angels to guide & protect him as he makes his way in life. Having a 'checkered past' gives the 'enemy of our souls' every excuse he needs to try to remind us of who we were. Well, I am here to declare that in Christ, we have a hope & a future that no accuser can deny! Satan is the accuser of the brethren, always there to keep us in the bondage of who we were, never giving Grace a chance to renew us!
As we are chatting, there is someone walking into the gas station who is hollering, "Don't I know you?" She is across the parking lot & it is after 10:30pm so I am cautious in this situation. She said, "I could hear your voice and I remember you!! What is you name?" Well, she was Christen, my former bosses wife whose wedding reception I did all the decorating & detail for back in 2006. They were high school sweethearts who both had failed relationships & then found each other via the internet. They rekindled the relationship then blended their families with a Folly Beach wedding & a reception at "The Sandbar". It was a happy time for us both! I loved doing their details & helping to create such a wonderful memory! 'Creating backdrops' for others & events seems to be a theme in my roles in life.
She was so happy to see me & said, "I have thought of you so many times & wondered if I would ever see you again! Your voice is unmistakable!" Well, since James Island & Folly are essentially pretty small, the odds were good! I just didn't know it would be now! We exchanged numbers & will be hopefully getting together soon to catch up. She is a brave soul with several teens under her roof at one time. Oy!! Every parents worst nightmare!! My only advice was, "Buckle up for the ride & grow a 'teflon-finish'....a non-stick surface is essential!!"
In this season of restoration, so many people are coming back to me. They remind me of the kindnesses I must have shown them at different crossroads in our lives. It is not that I seek these appointments out, they are just happening in such a big way all the time! I have thought about these friendships and the different levels of such. We bounce our way through the 'pinball machine of life' without much concern or awareness of how we affect others. (I pause here to note that not many young people today have any clue what a pinball machine would be & how this reference is even applicable! Anyone recall 'The Who' singing the theme from the film "Tommy")
I thought of the handful of folks who I could live the rest of my life without ever seeing again. What is my role & responsibility in this? I ask forgiveness, take responsibility for my part in these & seek if it is appropriate to make amends. Mostly, they are either out of my life geographically or deceased, so I can't make amends. I ask my Father to help me with this process. Forgiveness is a process that God directs & His ocean of mercy is a cleansing flood for my soul. I rest in knowing that He has this in HIS capable hands! If I have any regrets, let them be from erring on the side of loving too much rather than the opposite.
God continues to bring throngs of people back to me in such wonderful ways. It is exciting to anticipate who I am going to 'find' again every single day! These affiliations are nothing short of miraculous in my estimation. My 'second half' is starting up nicely!***This I know!