Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kisses from Heaven

It had been a wonderful weekend of ministry and I was on my way home. As I drove north on " Alligator Alley “from Fort Lauderdale back to St. Petersburg, my mind raced with all the wonderful things that had occurred that weekend. I was excited over the personal encounters and new opportunities for ministry.

Alone in the car, I began to sing and pray at the same time. My heart was full and there were no cars close by so I sang praises to the Lord as if He was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. My heart was overflowing with love and gratitude. Then in a split second I was reminded how often I let the Lord down. I cried out and asked Him how He could continue to forgive me and love me when time and time again I let Him down. In quietness, on that long road I could almost hear his voice assuring me his love for me is deeper than any ocean, higher than any mountain, wider than the East is from the West and longer than forever.

But with such hunger for more assurance as if his death on the cross was not enough, I cried out once again, "Lord I know you love me. I know you don't have to show me a sign. I know I shouldn't even ask you for a sign, and Lord you don't have to show me a sign but it would be so awesome if you could once in a while send me a special message that would be like a Kiss from Heaven. Something that would remind me when life gets hard or I get too distracted that you are still there and you want me to know that you love me so much that you are sending me a Kiss from Heaven." In my boldness, I even suggested, " You know, like if you show me a daffodil, I would be reminded that you are sending me a Kiss from Heaven". The minute I suggested the daffodil I tried to take it back, I thought no wait that is a seasonal flower. I need something else that is not seasonal, something that comes more often.  But in my battle with myself I thought no, this is perfect because when I see a daffodil whether it is a fresh flower, on a t-shirt, in a painting or in any other form I know it is a Kiss from Heaven."

In all my immaturity the Lord gave me peace over my choice of a daffodil.  Just as I arrived the rain began to come down. My time with the Lord had been such a blessing and I was not about to let the rain stop me. I had promised the Lord I would come home in time to go to the prayer vigil for Terri Schiavo.  I parked my car and grabbed my umbrella and I made my way to stand united in prayer for this young woman who was caught in a tug of war between life and death.

As I left the prayer vigil, I knew I would not have time to go home before going to the church for the Growth in Faith annual retreat.  As a volunteer leader for the retreat, I could not be late so I pulled one of my nice outfits out of my suitcase in the trunk of my car. My hair was obeying the call of the rain and I tried my best to put myself together in the Burger King bathroom before heading to the church. My hair and dress were not as put together as I would have liked but it was ok because my heart was full from the blessings of the day.  I entered the sanctuary and could not believe my eyes. The entire front of the church stage was filled with daffodils!  My heart could not contain it and my cheeks were suddenly overtaken with liquid joy flowing down.  My amazing Lord was sending me Kisses from Heaven.

For almost ten years I have been blessed with a surprise daffodil at just the right moment.

Today, as I sat in church, I witnessed a Kiss from Heaven but it was not a daffodil. It was not my Kiss from Heaven. It was an assurance from the Lord to me that he is sending Kisses from Heaven to my friend and prayer partner Jackie.  Just like Terri Schiavo, Jackie is under the care of Hospice. She too has been in a tug of war for her life.  She has proudly worn the color Teal in hopes of educating others of the importance of getting routine medical exams to detect ovarian cancer early.  Jackie’s faith has never waivered; in her last days she is at peace that she will soon join the Heavenly choir.  As she sleeps and waits for the Lord to take her home, her Kisses from Heaven came today hundreds of miles away from where she is. Make no mistake they were her Kisses from Heaven but the Lord sent them to me to remind me that His love for her is deeper than any ocean, higher than any mountain, wider than the East is from the West and longer than forever.

As I sat in church, I once again had liquid joy flowing down my cheeks as I heard the choir dressed in Teal sing, “ My faith has found a resting place”.  Did they plan this for Jackie?  No, they had no idea. This was all the Lord.