Archive for October, 2016

REFLECTION: The angels came and dwelt among us… (at times, some of God’s angels come in human form)

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Although I usually end up terribly sore, tired and with “battle scars” from preparing and coordinating our Believe Street Meals, not once had tears been shed over the past 8 years until yesterday, at about 10:30 in the morning.  Our God has a sense of humour and at times, He enjoys drama…

The drama began on Thursday when a wasp and I hip checked each other and its stinger ended up in me.  Although the anti-histamine came in handy, that didn’t prevent some swelling and the horrid itch.   I am one who is overly prone to scratch and so the swelling doubled in size.

Friday and Saturday came and went with a powerful Divine Mercy Retreat held an hour away at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta, B.C.  Sunday rolled in, and the day began by begging and bargaining with God to give me just a few more minutes when the alarm rang at 7:00.  Two bags of carrots where peeled and sliced and it was off to our Parish industrial kitchen with the rest of the ingredients that needed to be cooked on that final day.

The first angel arrived a little after 9:00 that morning.  Her name was Nicole.  My daughter and I had planned to cook together the night before, but I didn’t realize that the scheduled retreat would bring me back home after 8:00 that evening.  Thankfully, that unplanned delay brought her to where she would play the role of my biggest “angel”

While carrots, pasta and cabbage boiled, we wandered off to the coat room of the parish where a friend had said she would drop off some clothing.  I had anticipated a bag or two , but instead, there were 3 big heavy plastic bins full of items, together with a styrofoam ice-chest and another card board box.  We peaked into one box and saw stainless steel bowls, a plastic container of sugar and a big box of oatmeal.  A peak into the ice-chest brought our eyes across a package of bacon.  Nicole said, “Mom, I don’t think these things are for you.  A group may be going on a camping trip and they left their things here.”  A later encounter with Msgr Greg clarified that all the items donated were intended for us.  The cooked spaghetti still needed to be tossed with the meat sauce and the big tray of sliced cabbage still needed to be sauted among many other things.  My mind screamed, “Where would I find the time to sort the items out and where would we find the space to bring these additonal items downtown???”  Thankfully, God created tears as a stress releaser and the tears began to roll.

As always, God’s timing is meticulously perfect and while Nicole went to bring the items back, the Holy Spirit took over and He and the Father did some serious talking.  By the time the spaghetti needed tossing, we realized that the meat needed more sauce.  Nicole recalled the two bottles of red pasta sauce in the bin and out it came, being the very thing we needed to moisten the pasta.  Later, when the cabbage needed an extra-ordinary flavouring, a bottle of white pasta sauce out of the bin came to the rescue.  Although I was the mom and she was the daughter, each time I began to flounder, Nicole was there to encourage me on.

Later, “angel” Susan arrived to prep the potatoes.  Although her cat had been to the vet 4 times earlier that week and was scheduled for emergency surgery the following day, she came, offering two hours with the potatoes and sorting through donated items.  “Angel” Mariana then arrived with husband, Yanosh in tow, carrying the soup she had prepared.  Seeing for the first time the stack of items that were needed to be brought on site to serve our street meal, he commented, “You need a lot of help, especially from men.”  Together with Mariana, “Angel” Yanosh then took 6 folding tables out to the foyer to fasciliate their loading when the van arrived.  Mariana stayed behind, washing the gadgets used, wiping down the counters and sweeping and mopping the floor!

Four angels had come and gone, easing the burdens I was not able to handle.  But that was not all, three more angels came later on! Retired co-coordinator, “Angel” Mylene had learned that morning that our postponed meal was going to be served in the evening.  Not only did she have a turkey pot pie to donate, but she wrote, “I would like to serve, if that is okay.”  I could have cried a second time, when I realized God was sending another “veteran” to ensure that the meal would flow smoothly!

The final two angels came as a wandering couple.  They had stopped by on-site to enquire what was going on and I had pointed them to our poster.  They were touched and they thanked us for what we were doing.  As they walked away, another Nicole had mentioned that we were low on paper cups.  I beconed the couple back, mentioning our plight and I asked if they would walk the distance to purchase additonal cups, promising to repay them when they returned.  The couple walked 5 blocks away from the direction leading them home and they returned, donating the styrofoam cups that were needed.

Lord, there is no better way to glorify You than to testify to the miracles You brought our way.  Lord, You sent angels in the form of humans to assist when there was no other way!  In Your Word, You promised, ” and we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28  You also promised…”No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13  You knew I had reached my limit.  You knew You couldn’t squeeze one more drop out of me and so You provided the way out.  It was You who brought the perfect individuals, Your angels disguised as humans, to fulfill what I could no longer do!

Father, through Graham Cooke, You taught me that with every trial there are blessings tucked away with it.   Graham encouraged his listeners to look for the blessings.  I was too tired to look,  but my girl recognized every one of them.  She clearly saw how the contents of those bins had the very item we needed to complete our meal and she pointed them out to encourage me on!  Thank You so much Father God!  May You receive all the glory!

God bless us all!

Melissa

p.s. – As we continued to look through the last donations, God began to help me realize that what was donated were the belongings of Anne, my dear friend who had passed a few months earlier from cancer.  As that reality came to mind, it was as if God was reminding me that even she was “extending a hand” and interceding for us.

– Just as if she knew I was writing about angels, this is an e-mail I just received from Susan…

Angel Melissa,

It is always you who initiated the direction for us to follow and learn from you to live like a Christian.  You Are the One to be congratulated for your tireless, loving, caring, Christ-like supreme devotion to caring for our fellow man.  Your effort will glorify God and we could only do a little bit to assist.  I wish I could do much more for you.  I take pride in your daughter, Nicole who is ever supportive of her Mum.  You are blessed and comforted.  And thank-you very much to all for your prayers for my cat, Jasper.  He is still at the vet as of now.  My love to you and please have a short nap in between the day.  

God Bless,

Susan”

– please pray for a speedy recovery for Jasper, the cat.  Thanks!

 

 

REFLECTION: I see you….

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

I see you…

You see me?  Who are you?  Where are you?

Yes, I see you!  I am God.  I’m here, right beside you…

I  began this reflection two weeks ago, but I never found the words nor the direction on how to finish it.  I knew the message was clear, that God sees us at every moment of each day, but He had yet to give me the scripture verse and the story to bring the point across.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down;  you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  Psalm 139: 1-12

I had come across this scripture passage on Tuesday evening, in the midst of our RCIA (Adult Cathechesis) program.  I had yearned to share it with the enquirers, wanting them to realize how much God loved them and how closely He was with each.  Yesterday, I shared it again with two others, teaching them how to pray the scripture through, especially at times of desolation and despondency.

We have free and ready access to God’s Word, but many of us rarely use it.  We are taught repeatedly that God’s Word is our spiritual sword which will bring us victory during times of trial, but how many use it?

Last night, as I drove back home through the rain, my car hydroplaned while I drove around a curve off Lions Gate Bridge  Rather than moving forward, the car began moving sideways towards the left.  As in the movies, time slowed down and I was very aware of every move I made.  As I turned the wheel, the car spun 90 degrees sideways and I was moving forward towards the concrete barrier.  Thankfully, a few other turns got the car moving in the right direction.  I’m not sure how long the incident took, but it felt as if it lasted at least a couple of minutes.  To my surprise, I didn’t call out for God’s help, but I recall immediaely thanking Him profusely after the car moved in the proper direction,

I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow the steering wheel was going in the direction it had to turn.  I then wondered about the cars behind me and noticed only red lights (the rear lights of cars heading the opposite direction), Undoubtfully, God had kept all the cars away because a horrid accident was there in the making.

As I continued driving home, I told our Father that it felt as if it was merely a dream.  To my amazement, I was not alarmed but at peace.  I e-mailed my daughter to inform her I arrived safely and then I called up my dearest friend.  Even she was surprised of how calm I was.

Today, as I reflect, I write to testify of God’s presence and hand during that incident.. All those who know me personally know of my hyperactive response to just about everything.  But didn’t that scripture passage say that “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.?  In my heart, I know it was our Father who had held that steering wheel.  In my heart, I know it was God’s peace that continued to radiate onto me.”  Nevertheless, I do wonder how my guardian angel(s) was/ were coping after the fact, but I am amazed that the car survived without a single scratch or bump.  Thank You Lord!

Father God,  thank You for constantly watching over each of us.  Thank You for refusing to remain distant even if we choose to turn our backs on You.  Thank You for continuing to pursue us and for constantly desiring an intimate and personal relationship with each of us.

Lord, help us to recognize Your presence in our lives.  When we are afraid, help us recognize Your presence and help us be aware that Your right hand will hold us fast and guide us step by step along our way.  Thank You Lord Jesus.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!

God bless us all,

Melissa – October 14, 2016