Talkin’ Daniel in the den of the lions
Talkin’ Jonah in the belly of a whale
Talkin’ three Hebrew children
And they’re standing in a furnace, fiery furnace
But the fire didn’t burn them, and the lions didn’t bite
And the Lord reached down and you can be sure that
Everything turned out right
Oh you’ll meet the Lord in the furnace
A long time before you meet Him in the sky
The Book of Daniel has been following me around for the past month (in an awesome way) or so – in the Daniel Plan I’ve been working through and in a sermon series my pastor just finished – and on Friday night that old Rich Mullins song popped into my head.
Oh, you’ll meet the Lord in the furnace, a long time before you meet him in the sky.
We’ve definitely been in the furnace recently, with loss and illness and stress and pain.
Friday night, everyone was asleep and I stayed up late, even though I was getting up early to drive Sara and I an hour and half north to a women’s conference to hear one of my favorite authors speak.
While I was up, I was catching up on my One Year Bible and a 90 day study I started with my ladies group last Monday and also working in my planner for next week.
Since it’s the start of a new month, I also came to this page:
It’s time for a little honesty break here:
Though I do my best to keep a positive attitude about all we are dealing with, there have been times this past week where I have literally been screaming, “I can’t take anymore. It’s just too much.” at God.
It’s hard not to feel that way sometimes.
So, before I went to sleep Friday night, I earnestly prayed that God would send me the right life verse for this point in my life and that the conference would be really meaningful to Sara and I and that I would really feel His presence.
And I went to bed.
On Saturday morning, Sara and I loaded up and hit the road, headed for Hokes Bluff, Alabama.
On the way up there, I put on a random mix on my iPod and that Rich Mullins song actually came on (!!!).
When we got to Hokes Bluff, we found ourselves at this beautiful church, where everyone was so kind:
Though the speaker we were going to hear, Kasey Van Norman, was the last speaker of the day, we decided to go up for the whole day and I am so thankful that we did.
As I said, I prayed to really feel God’s presence.
The first speaker of the day, Amy Carter, lost her daughter in a car accident last year and has since founded a non-profit in her honor.
Her talk was incredibly moving by itself but what just floored me was this:
When she read the mission verses of their organization, I knew that God had sent me my life verses:
The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him. – Isaiah 61:1-3
This is what I want my life to be about. Beauty for ashes.
When we came to the second speaker, Carmen Smith, she could have knocked me over with a feather.
First off, the story she was speaking on was from Daniel 3, the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo story – THE FURNACE STORY, that had showed up in one of my studies the night before. That might have just been coincidence until she also read Psalm 50:15 – another verse that had come up from a different study I was catching up on Friday night:
Call on Me in a day of trouble and I will rescue you and you will honor Me. – Psalm 50:15
There was no way all of that was an accident and so much of what she had to say seemed to be directly to me.
Also, her big thing is #praybig. Before everything went awry last week, I had just finished watching War Room, inspiring me to make my own prayer binder and redo my prayer area so her talking about prayer journaling and praying diligently and often felt personal.
So I guess the point of all of this is just that when I asked God to show up, He really did and I am so thankful. ❤️❤️❤️
After she finished, Sara and I took a lunch break in town:
And then we came back to hear Kasey:
If you aren’t familiar with Kasey’s work, I highly – HIGHLY – recommend her book Raw Faith to anyone who is dealing with any sort of health crisis – or any other crisis for that matter. She wrote it during her battle with cancer and it will change your life.
The last time I heard her speak was during a wonderful women’s weekend with my mom and I was so excited to get to “share” her with Sara as well.
This time she spoke on being satisfied in God alone despite our external circumstances, using Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace by which we stand and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:1-5 Her talk was also right on time for what I have been experiencing and really meaningful for Sara as well. Oh my mama heart. ❤️❤️❤️
And we got to stay and talk with her for a bit before we left and let her meet Sara:
As if all that wasn’t more than I could have asked for, when we were heading out, Sara gave me this prayer journal from the conference that she had gone on the sneak and gotten for me:
And, while it was a precious, precious gift, the Sara-esque inscription is what really just makes it the most perfect gift (I’m not crying; you’re crying):
God is good.
Be well, everybody.
Love and light. ❤️💛💚💙💜