Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I have called you by your name; you are mine."

5:43 p.m. Today's project, after barely crawling out of bed with serious back pain, was to get Steve and myself ready for my morning at ladies' Bible study at church. Nervousness seemed to pervade everything, even my journaling, because our caregivers have been MIA or very late this last week. I began to picture a variety of scenarios.

1. The best of the bad scenarios was that the caregiver would be late, so I would barely get there before the ladies did, even though a group leader needs to arrive early to gather name tags and attendance sheets, and re-arrange the chairs to make smaller, cozier circles. (The Monday night groups are much larger).

2. The next best scenario, which has the caregiver not arriving at all, was a little more tricky, though not impossible. I could take Steve with me and let him sit in the back with a book of his choice during our times of discussion, and then watch the video along with us if he cared to. This would call for him to hurry back upstairs and change into his better jeans, which would trigger major confusion. (Whenever I ask him to change pants for laundry, for example, he takes off his shirt too). So we would definitely have been late.

3. Worst case scenario, I'd just text one of the leaders and say I couldn't make it without a caregiver. And with my back in vicious pain, three hours of being seated, no matter how edifying and full of sisterly fellowship, could have made an absence quite justified in and of itself. But that was out of the question: not only was it my duty to lead my group, but the ministry I lead, Heart to Home, is beginning a new fall session of classes, and I'd asked for some time to announce and describe the four selections we are offering. With the pain I had when I woke up, #3 was the first option that came to mind, honestly! But I was determined to serve the Lord as He had asked me to. I knew He'd bring me through.

A passage of scripture I have loved since my earliest days as a believer is Isaiah 43:1-3a, where God through the prophet assures Israel:

But now, thus says the LORD,

who created you, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name;

You are Mine.

When you pass through the

waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall

not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire,

you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

For I am the LORD your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your


Nervous and jumpy with worry, I couldn't help but be distracted by mentally rehearsing the exasperated words of the agency's scheduler last week: "Why does this keep happening? And it only happens with you guys!" before she tracked down a caregiver to come over to replace a no-show.

Now I don't know the exact answer to that question, but since there's an unseen world of spiritual warfare going on around us all, the devil can certainly trip up or slow down a caregiver on his or her way to assist a person who needs to be present on time to teach a Bible study on Thursdays the last 4 1/2 mos; or a leader of a Bible study group at her church who also needs to be on time. And last Saturday, even though it was a Mary Kay business obligation, my witness and my credibility as a believer mean something to me, and to all others who think, "This is how a 'real' Christian behaves, huh?" So barring a traffic accident, being on time was imperative. And people ARE watching, you'd better believe! The sweet consultant I was sharing the shift with at our MK booth is very active in her church, but asked me once during a lull in our weekly meeting, "You're a Bible person. What do you think about ...?" Thankfully the Spirit gave me a scripture for her!

So for me, punctuality, reliability and consistency have more than the standard meanings. "As He is, so are we in this world" (I John 4:17b). Believers are to represent Christ faithfully, working and ministering as unto the Lord, making our best effort, without excuses. In my case, I could seek services at another agency, or ask for the most punctual of caregivers to be assigned to Steve. "A plan of care" meeting with the agency is taking place here on Thursday, so God's timing seems to be just right to get this issue hashed out, tactfully and in a spirit of gentleness and respectful correction.

I was upstairs turning on the shower, when I heard the doorbell. It was only 8:15, and I'd scheduled with the agency for 8:30! The caregiver came early!! I was able to leave a little after 9 a.m., arrived at church with time to spare, and we had a marvelous discussion of becoming obedient to the vision God gives you.

May the name of the Lord be praised!

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