Saturday, December 14, 2013

Love Notes from Dad

My Dad, who always made my school lunches, would often tuck little notes of encouragement into my brown bag. I remember feeling such a boost when, in the midst of a hectic school day, I would sit down in a noisy lunchroom, open my sack, and find his tender words among my sandwich and carrot sticks.

This week, it seemed like my heavenly Father sent me a few such love notes. As I traveled to the town of Mâcon to help train mentors for emerging French leaders, as I was far from family and immersed in many unknowns, as I timidly stepped out into a new ministry opportunity, God whispered words of blessing through unexpected messengers.

The first whisper came on the train. I had already traveled from Tours to Paris and traversed Paris via the metro from Gare Montparnasse to Gare de Lyon. Then I boarded another train in order to get from Paris to Mâcon. I found my seat at the back of the car and settled in with my computer to work on a monthly report. I tapped away on the keyboard for about half an hour, and then paused to eat a sandwich. In that moment, my seatmate--a thirty-something French man--asked, "Are you Jennifer Williamson?" It turns out that my seatmate was a pastor who was headed to Mâcon to be trained and encouraged as a mentor, and he recognized me from a photo in an email where I had been introduced as one of the facilitators for the group. We had a lovely conversation the rest of the journey. In that moment it was as if God said to me, "I see you."

The second whisper came at the retreat center the next day. The man who was in charge of all the logistics for the event approached me just before a lunch break seeking a minute of my time. I thought he was going to tell me something about a reimbursement for my travel expenses, but he hesitated and said instead, "I had a dream or a vision or something last night, and I think I am supposed to tell you about it." He was almost apologetic, not wanting to freak me out, and insisting that it could have just been a strange dream, but he wanted to tell me about it nonetheless. In the dream, he saw me before the throne of God, praying for something that had been heavy on my heart for a long time--though he didn't know exactly what that "something" was. He then heard the Lord say, "Be patient." And that was it. I thanked him sincerely. In that moment it was as if God said to me, "I hear you."

The third whisper came on the last day of the conference. There was a man at the mentoring community in Mâcon who had also been at the church planting conference in Lyon two weeks prior, where I had been responsible for the times of meditation. He sought me out intentionally to tell me how the Lord had used the meditations that I had shared in Lyon to speak specifically to him. God touched him in an amazing and unexpected way--in a way that I could never have anticipated or orchestrated. I was blown away by his story, and I thanked him for telling it to me. In that moment it was as if God said to me, "I'm using you."

I could have opened my Bible to Genesis and the story of Hagar and realized through her experience that God sees me. I could have read Hannah's story in the book of 1 Samuel and deduced that God hears me. I could have scanned through Paul's many letters and come to the conclusion that God uses his children for his purposes. And yet....

And yet God, in his tender mercy, chose to speak these things directly to me, he chose to write them into the very pages of my life. He sends loving, personal expressions of his grace if I just open my heart to receive them. He's such a great Dad.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, Jenn! All the ways Abba Father leans in, whispering His love over us! Thank you for sharing these stories!!