Over the last year, Keith and I have been doing a lot of house cleaning. Not just our physical house (though that too), but of our lives. We've been sorting, prioritizing, throwing out, and reorganizing everything. Why? Because our pastor, Dr. Brian Disney, challenged our church to figure out where the Kingdom of God ranked in our lives. A lot of changes have occurred, and the Lord has affirmed each one time after time.
One of those things was prioritizing which relationships have the most influence and demand of our time. Once school ended, we were sitting in the teacher's appreciation banquet and I looked around. I realized half of the top 28 people on my list (adults can only reasonably manage 28 close relationships at a time), were sitting in the room. I had a huge sense of peace that I had chosen my 28 very well and that that room full of MBBC and FCS people really were my tribe. [After my family that weren't there, the majority of the remaining 28 were members of another group that I'm a member of; they're also my tribe. They know who they are.]
And that was just a single moment of the hundreds in the last year that the Lord gave me incredible peace that we were making the right decisions, the right priorities.
So when MBBC Sunday school classes were cancelled last week due to our teachers all being atLTIA we had longer ministry teams. My team used the time to watch this I Am Second video featuring Alex Kendrick. The question the Lord posed Alex at the beginning of the video is one that He's asked Keith and me many times. And every single time, we responded the same way. And every single time, the Lord came through quite loudly. Every single time of trial in our married life came after we told the Lord, "We'd like the fruitful life. Please just spare our children's lives until they know You."
After I watched the I Am Second video last week, I reaffirmed with Keith that we were still on that path. The very next day, the Lord stepped up. He began opening many, many doors that had been closed for a long time. He began giving me platforms that hadn't been available before. And with that came the attendant "hard road."
I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Satan is out to get our babies because Keith and I refused to take the easy road. There have been two brushes with death in our family this week. And the second came after I refused to stop sharing Christ after the first brush.
The kids and I went up to the church to paint VBS drama sets. We'd spent about ten minutes carrying all the paint down from my office to the parking lot. At this point, I should point out that I'd checked the weather twice, once last week and then once again Saturday morning, and it said "clear and sunny" both times. So, when we'd finally moved the last paint can and I looked up to see black clouds moving in, I was a bit confused. I told the kids, "We'll have to take all of this into the gym." I grabbed the drop cloths so that I could prepare the gym, and I went up. Just as I finished laying the drop cloths out, I was telling Mrs. Michelle we'd have to hurry to get all the panels in before it rained. And right then lightning struck. It was incredibly loud and bright in the activity gym, which has no windows. The light drizzle turned to heavy downpour when the lightning struck. I moved to the gym doors to tell my kids to come inside until the rain slackened a little; I could carry paint by myself for a bit.
That's when I heard the screaming. I walked down to the elementary doors to find my kids in the hallway, crying hysterically while Mrs. Gerri held them. I held them all, told them it'd be ok. I thought they were just scared because the thunder had been so loud. And then LadyBug told me her leg hurt. Frog told me they'd been hit by the lightning. I looked at Mrs. Michelle, realizing the situation just went from "my kids are scared" to "my kids are in danger." I rushed them into the van, asking Bro. Dennis, who'd come down from the lot next to the first building, to please bring in my drama set.
It wasn't until I was on the road driving like a madwoman, calling Keith and my dad, that the reality of the situation set in. Satan had just tried to electrocute my children. Calls were made; texts were sent; we somehow made it to the emergency room without a car accident.
Keith was waiting for us, and he'd already talked to them, so they were ready to check out LadyBug when we walked in. The doctors and nurses checked over all of us, but ran tests on LadyBug since she'd been hit with debris. By the time the doctors declared all of us alright, four church people and four family members had come through the emergency room to shower love and gifts on my children. Dozens of people had texted or called us to let us know they were praying. I jokingly told Keith, "Nothing like a lightning strike to let you know who is most important to you and who considers you important." I really was kidding, but there was no doubt in my mind that people loved us and were scared for my kids. Many, many people.
And then the opportunities kept coming. We now get to talk about God's grace this weekend. About how Satan tried to kill our kids, but God kept them safe.
The electrical system at the church was blown out. Bro. Dennis got shocked touching his van, hundreds of feet from the strike. There was a hole in the parking lot less than ten feet from where the kids were standing. And yet my kids are safe. LadyBug got minor scratches, but that's all. We've had a couple of days of rest following the shock, but we're safe.
Last night, as I left my babies sleeping in their beds safely, I went to work. I pulled up my MBBC Sermons podcast and this gem was the next in line: God's Hands: Safety and Security in the Lord. I drove down the road, crying cleansing tears and praising the Lord for His protection during the scariest hour of my life. So much could have gone wrong yesterday. Satan wanted to take our babies. But the Lord protected them.
Yes, telling the Lord that we want the fruitful life, no matter how hard the road is is a scary prospect. But the rewards and safety found in the center of God's will is worth it. I know the doors and platforms and fruit that we've seen this week would not have happened if we hadn't said, "Yep, that's still what we want" last week. And, yes, even after the scariest hour of my life, I still want God's best. Because His best for me is a million times better than I could have dreamed of before we began this journey.