Caden and Evie, this is a lengthy story, but the way that God shows up is just “too awesome” to not share. And at the end of this, I will further confirm why I just HAVE to share it with the both of YOU!
So in June, I went to The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in Indianapolis. I had never been to the conference before, but my dear friend assured me that I just “had to go!” Leading up to leaving for the conference, there were a series of “no good, terrible, very bad” things that threatened to keep me from attending that conference. And though I will spare you the details, suffice to say, mommy’s dear friend even said before leaving that week, “I KNOW God wants you to go because the enemy is working so hard for you to not!”
Alas, God won, and I went!
During the conference there are three, breakout sessions that you are able to attend in between the larger, group sessions. I had pre-registered for my breakout sessions months before, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that all sessions were still of interest to me. As I walked to #2 of my breakout sessions, I found a crowd of women huddled around the door, listening to a woman who was giving the following announcement:
“Mary Wilson will not be holding her session. Instead, she will be holding a prayer vigil for the man who is threatening to jump from that building over there.”
Pointing to her left, we were able to see (the convention center has a ton of glass windows/walls) a man who was pacing at the top of another tall building. Apparently, he had been pacing for hours, threatening to jump.
As I left the room, I was humbled by Mary Wilson’s willingness to lay aside her “time of fame” to humbly and lovingly pray for this man. As I walked, I prayed for this man, and I also prayed that God would lead me to another session.
Caden and Evie, I tried TWO OTHER SESSIONS but both attempts were unsuccessful.
The sessions were full as I passed room after room in the convention center.
Lord, where do you want me?
As I walked, I found myself back to where I started– outside of the main hall. Not surprising, this room had thousands of open seats.
Leafing through my brochure, I found the speaker and the title of the session.
Being a Titus 2 Woman in a Romans 1 World.
Go ahead and judge me (it won’t be the first or last time you do), but the title felt a little cheesy to me, and I was not particularly drawn to the speaker. However, the Spirit nudged me to find a seat.
As I sat down, the speaker literally starts with the following words:
“Years ago, when I was a new mom, I felt led to find an older woman to mentor me.”
Immediately, my body, soul, and heart cringed.
As she shared her story, I felt as if she was sharing mine.
Because 7 years ago, after having just given birth to you, Caden, I sat across from a woman at a restaurant (just like the speaker). And with eloquently prepared words, I shared my desire for an older woman to mentor me (just like the speaker). And as I sat across from this woman, a woman who I was sure would say, “absolutely yes,” to my godly request, I found her uttering the words, “Thank you for this offer, but I am going to have to decline.”
As the speaker shared her own shock when she, too, was also declined by her mentor request (hers was over breakfast, mine was over lunch), I felt tears rising to the surface. There were many reasons why I cried as I drove away from that lunch date in 2011. But suffice to say, I was both hurt and devastated by that decline.
The speaker continued, and I sat.
Lord, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here.
“Ladies, you NEED to continue to pursue being both a mentor and a mentee.”
Feeling anger rise up, I muttered in my soul, “Yes, I get it! But Lord, I am always the mentor. I’ve tried to be the mentee, Lord. I have!” And kiddos, if you could read through the many journal entries found within my prayer journals, you would find those prayers repeated over the years. Over and over again, I would ask the Lord to bring me a mentor. And over and over again, He never answered.
The speaker continued. “Don’t give up! Keep pursuing growth!”
Almost immediately, the Lord brought a woman’s name to mind. And almost immediately, I shot the idea down.
No, Lord. NO! I have met her one time, and I am NOT going to ask her to be my mentor. That is weird.
Again, I felt the nudge.
Pulling a Gideon, I tested God.
Lord, I will ask someone to be my mentor if you show me an older woman’s name/face when I open Facebook.
Grabbing my phone, I opened the Facebook.
And smack in the middle of my news feed was the VERY name and face of the woman who God had already whispered into my heart.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!
Immediately, I closed my phone and turned off my heart.
Nope, Lord. Not doing it. It’s too weird, and I don’t know enough about her.
The conference continued; the conference ended; and I found myself back at the house, sitting at our picnic table and scrolling Facebook.
And as I scrolled on that Sunday evening, the VERY woman appeared in the middle of my news feed again.
Facebook told me she had “changed her cover photo.”
Taking a closer look, I found her cover photo to be of a book–a book that she, herself, had written.
And what was the title?
“When God Says Remember.”
The title held the VERY theme of what I had just shared with a client earlier in the week.
Graciously but truthfully I told the client, “I don’t believe God is a God who joins us in memory amnesia. In fact, I think He calls us to REMEMBER. He wants us to remember where we were…where He has brought us…and how He has delivered us!”
Again, the Lord was stirring in your mama’s heart.
Fine! FINE! I’ll ask her, Lord!
Crafting a message in Facebook Messenger, because I didn’t even have this woman’s contact information, I shared God’s prompting to ask her to consider being my mentor.
Feeling weird, nervous, and a LOT awkward, I waited for her response…a response that I feared would contain rejection…AGAIN.
Within 24 hours, she responded. Cautiously, I opened the message and read.
And though I can’t remember her exact words, she said she felt humbled by my offer and would be glad to meet with me and talk about being my mentor.
I was simultaneously elated and scared.
So on July 1st, I drove to the local Panera Bread, and met her for the 2nd time…EVER.
She had been an English teacher…so had I. She had married a “Don”…so had I. She had two children (one a son, one a daughter)…so had I. She was an Extroverted-Feeler…so was I. She was an avid reader…so was I. She loved to write…so was I.
And as we talked and as we shared, the Lord only continued to confirm His leading. But when she uttered the following words, my heart stood in a humbled puddle of awe.
“I always felt like I reflected the character traits of a Titus 2 woman, but I have never been asked to be a mentor, and I always wondered why.”
Caden and Evie, this dear woman is 75 years old and for years, she has wondered why no one has ever (specifically and intentionally) asked her to be their mentor.
And God, because HE DOES KNOW…knew that in June of 2018, that this 75 year-old woman (who had been waiting for years) would be asked by a 34 year-old woman (who had been asking for years).
Dear children, HE REMEMBERS.
And as I write this on August 24th, 2018, I have met with her twice. And this morning, I just finished the book she wrote.
And how does it end?
It ends with the words of Joshua 24, the very words I wrote in a blog post that I wrote here this past Sunday, August 19th.
And what does she say as she ends her book with the words of Joshua 24?
Sandra Harner admonishes the readers with this:
“We have a responsibility to share the memories–to teach our children and our grandchildren–about the way God has worked in our lives…It is important that our children and our grandchildren know what the Lord has done in our lives. We have to keep those stories alive so that they will know the power of God and choose to serve him.”
Caden and Evie, our God is a God who sees. Our God is a God who hears. And our God is a God who both answers and remembers!
May this story, and the many others you hear from the lives of your parents, read within the pages of Scriptures, and experience in your own lives, be a testimony to His un-changing, un-faltering faithfulness. And when you hear, read, and experience these powerful acts of the Lord, may you hide them in your heart and share them with your children and grandchildren.
So that the nations might know that HE IS LORD.
“Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.” -Deuteronomy 32:7