Yesterday we took Tim over to my friend LeAnna's house who had invited him not only to go to an event at a nearby church for the night, but also to stay overnight with their twin boys. Their family attended our church for a season, and now they're attending a home church with another family...at least I think that's what they're doing. When they started attending our church, it was a God-send, because our Pastor Ken and some others were planning a missions trip to the Ukraine. LeAnna's Armenian-born, and was able to help the team with some of the language, and with the translation of the gospel message for some bracelets. I really think that for that while, they attended our church in great part for that purpose, truly a God-send.
They have the twin boys and four girls, all slight of build. The youngest is a baby just weeks old. I went to visit them with a meal when their little baby was born, and came in the midst of the overwhelmedness that seems to invariably wave over a family with such a new addition. It always strikes me funny, how a tiny person unable to speak or walk or crawl can create such a whirlwind of confusion and human inadequacy. My visit brought back vivid memories of when we had just had Tim. I needed some nursing clothes and was making a dress for the purpose. The house was a mess, the fabric and patterns were all spread out on the floor, and being newly nursing and all, my physical state was all out of balance and I felt pretty unattractive. Just then a woman I knew from a Bible study came to visit unexpectedly. I don't remember if she had called and I'd forgotten or perhaps she came unannounced. At any rate my whole life was unpresentable. She was a person of exacting requirements, and I knew I made no good impression. To my relief she never came back--her son had always pained my daughter anyway, and the lack of their companionship felt like no great loss. So when I went to visit LeAnna, the confusion and all just brought back those memories and made me feel all the more for her.
I know I had thought of her often just after that visit. Since they no longer attend our church and we don't live very close to each other, we don't see each other very regularly. But we both attended a gathering recently, and she asked if I had prayed for her later that day of my visit, because from that point on the day seemed so much better for her. I looked back and couldn't be sure, but it was pretty likely. When someone is that much on my mind I can't imagine that I don't bring them up in conversation with God. The frustrating thing about that continual or incidental manner of prayer is that it's so incidental that later you might not specifically be able to say one way or the other just how much you prayed, it's just part of your day and you go on, and if you're asked later, what do you say? I could only say I thought so. Still, her question has brought me to realize just how much I ought to be keeping her in prayer, and just how many good things might go on because of all the prayers we put up, and might never hear about...such an encouragement to pray more!
So yesterday, when we dropped Tim off, we stayed quite a while. After John her husband took their older kids to the church event, we walked with her and her two youngest down to the river nearby. While we were on our way down, Katie called to ask if it was okay for her to go on an outreach from their college to a Skid-Road area nearby. I told her to go, that we'd pray for her. I told LeAnna about it so she would keep her in prayer as well. LeAnna told us that at one point in their life they were living in Alaska, and had to live in a tent for a period of time. So it was believable that Katie could minister to someone in similar circumstances in her outreach. I imagine that LeAnna was inclined all the more to pray for Katie because of that memory.
It was a stunningly beautiful night. There was an eagle flying overhead at the river. LeAnna pointed out that it was where she had met our mutual friend Amy, who had brought them to our church. LeAnna had approached her to share the gospel with her, which was funny, because Amy is just the type of person to have shared it with LeAnna if she had not done so first.
On the way home, we drove by the little church that was having the event where John had taken the kids. There were only a few cars there, but I peeked around the building as we drove past, and there was a small group of people who were enjoying an outdoor fire together. The sun was setting, the sky was on fire with orange and red, and the color of it bounced off of the hills, the beauty of which had never seemed so elegant to me until that moment. Though I have never dwelt in the country, I could imagine wanting to live in that area, it was so stunningly beautiful.