Nov 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Day with Family? I wonder what God will show you.

The last time I went to visit family, God surprised me with a gift. He used the actions of one of my loved ones, to speak directly to my heart.

The original purpose of my visit was to gather some old childhood toys. Money was tight. So, I thought, "Now that my toys are over 30 years old, they might be worth some money." I called my loved one and arranged a time for our visit.

During the drive, I faced very little traffic, and as a result, arrived early. My loved one wasn't quite ready for me to take down those old boxes from the rafters in the garage. So, while I waited, I busied myself by reading a chapter from the book, 90 minutes in Heaven. Soon, I found myself lost in the author's personal testimony.
When suddenly the garage door, just feet from where I was sitting, slammed opened. Echos of an unfamiliar voice flew in upon a draft of wind. My loved one was leading the way.  Right away, I noticed the look on her face. I sat in amazement, watching as she changed her shoes, to seemingly spare her carpet from soil, while simultaneously saying, “I have to come in for awhile. That neighbor who just walked up gets on my nerves.”   I remained silent as she continued on, “I made him dinner once after his wife died a year ago and now he won’t go away! He’s an alcoholic. He comes over all the time and enough is enough!”

Immediately, my heart cried out to God! “Oh Lord, I am so sorry! That was me, wasn’t it? I cared more about my house than the suffering of others. In my arrogance and self-righteousness, I distanced myself from those who needed me. I am so sorry God!” Through my loved one, God was demonstrating how much He had changed my heart. 

I was never a gentle person, though I told others I was a Christian. In the business world, I was known as a woman who would "Get the job done." Usually, this meant I had to bully and manipulate others, and I had no problem acting this way. However, through the crisis in my marriage, and my subsequent surrender, God calmed my soul and through His Holy Spirit, taught me to exhibit gentleness and self-control.
 
I remember the first time I acted gentle and how it caught me off guard. One day while driving my youngest son to the local coffee house for a treat of hot chocolate, a man in a large white, work truck, cut me off. He appeared in a great hurry. As my car rolled to the upcoming stop sign, I felt the adrenaline begin to rush through my veins along with the fear that caused it. Rather than cause trouble as I would have before, this time, I remained at the stop sign for moment and prayed. A feeling of peace and gentleness came over me. Within an instant, a desire to mirror God's peace to this hurried man entered my heart. I looked around for the work truck, but the man had raced past the stop and was nowhere to be found.

So, I continued on my way towards the local coffee house. As God would have it, when I glanced up at the truck before me in the drive-thru, it was the same man! I told my youngest son what I was going to do, got out of my car, then went to this stranger's window and explained, "Sir, I am Donna. You just cut me off back there. It seems like you are having a rough morning already. Can I buy your cup of coffee today?" The man's eyes became really big before he politely refused and dropped his head. When he drove up to the window to pay for his order, he was extremely polite and soft spoken to the employee.

Over the past three years, God has completely changed that old, selfish and harsh woman I used to be. I no longer care about how presentable my home is. I no longer put on airs. Instead, God has burdened my heart for the lost and those in pain. And each time I act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit by showing kindness, forgiveness, charity, and love to a stranger God opens my once closed heart that much more.

I wonder, while you spend time with your loved ones this Thanksgiving Day, what will God show you?

To read the only written and published personal testimony, please go to:  
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