An unexpected lunch date, listening to God, and an old tree

Last week God gave me an unexpected gift.  A few hours with a friend I have known for several years but have not seen in months. I woke up that morning with the idea that I should give her a gift.  But I was running short on time.  Our newest Caroline's Promise t-shirt immediately popped into my mind.  "That's crazy!"  I thought.  "I'm not giving her a t-shirt."  As I continued getting ready I could not get away from the idea that I should give her the shirt.  As the thought got stronger I began to sense that it was God leading me.  While drying my hair I heard "Share Isaiah 61 with her."  It didn't make sense to me but I grabbed a random card on the way out and wrote a note inside expressing how much I loved her and telling her to read the scripture on the shirt.

The moment I picked her up she began sharing her heart.  It was like old times.  I was still not sure about giving her the t-shirt so I left it in the car.  Over lunch she talked and talked and I could see that she was different.  God had healed her on so many levels.  I was beyond proud of her.  She shared how she wanted to be healed completely and when I asked her what else she needed God to do for her she talked about how she had always been drawn to darkness.  As we brainstormed some things she could work on  I saw an image of her bound by chains.   I encouraged her to draw a picture of herself and ask God what each of those chains were.  Those were the things she still needed to work on.  She talked of wanting to be healed so she could help others, of how she wanted to live life differently, of how the past few months had been hard but what she needed.

And then I thought of the oak tree.  If you've been around me at all in the past six months you know that I've been stuck on trees.  Weird, I know.  Until you hear how God gave me a vision for our ministry in Guatemala and then confirmed it with Isaiah 61.  (You can read that story here).
Our whole theme for our ministry in Guatemala this past summer was based on this scripture and how God wanted to be Isaiah 61 for our kids there and make them Oaks of Righeousness  (Isaiah 61:3). That's where the idea for the t-shirt came.

I knew that I needed to read Isaiah 61 to her, but I didn't take a Bible to lunch with me.  As I started talking about the verse she said "I have my Bible in my purse - do you just want to read it to me?  I don't usually carry my Bible but I guess God knew I would need it."  As I read the verses I explained the vision God had given me and how one morning while I was in Guatemala He told me that He wanted to be Isaiah 61 for the kids there but that He wanted to do the same for our team members and for other people in my life.  In that moment it hit me! Because I did not have phone service in Guatemala that day I had no way of knowing that my friend was going through a horrible crisis.  A crisis that God used to put her on the right path.  The morning that He spoke to me about being Isaiah 61 in the lives of those I love was the morning after this life changing event in her life.  As I was praying Isaiah 61 over the kids in Guatemala, and our team members, I was also crying out to God on behalf of people at home that I love........never knowing that she was one of those people.

As I shared, my friend and I both started crying and then I saw this verse as if for the first time.

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted
To proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners. "
Isaiah 61:1

Have you ever read a scripture over and over and then one day one tiny part of it comes to life?  Hebrews 4:12 says that God's word is "alive and active".  In that moment we both knew that God was saying that He wanted to release her from the tie to darkness that she had always felt.  She got it.  I got it.  Thank you Jesus.

I told her about the gift.  Of how God told me to give it to her but it didn't make sense.  Of how He told me to share Isaiah 61 with her and then how I left the gift in the car because I still thought that giving her a t-shirt was stupid.  On the way to the car she shared how she wanted God to use her to help kids and asked if I thought she would one day be able to go to Guatemala with me.  I'm claiming that for her.  What redemption that would be for God to use her brokenness to heal others - on the anniversary of when the enemy tried to destroy her.  He's growing her into an oak of righteousness - planted by God to display his glory.  As she opened the gift we both were in awe of what had just transpired.  Why had I doubted that God was up to something?!

A few days later I stood outside Charleston, SC, beneath the Angel Oak.  I thought of my friend and all God continues to do in her life.  I thought of Caroline's Promise and the lives that this ministry touches.  

The kids in Guyana, South America who barely have a roof over their heads and how God is using our partner church and missionary, Angie to help grow them into Oaks of Righteousness.  I thought of the kids in the orphanage in Guyana that Angie ministers to on a weekly basis.  How God is a father to the fatherless.  
"For, I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.   In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them."  Isaiah 61:8

I thought of the orphans who came home to their forever families this year and how Caroline's Promise was a part of that through our adoptive family grants.  "Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples.  All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed."  Isaiah 61:9

And I thought of our kids in Guatemala and how they are growing physically, emotionally, and spiritually through our partnership with the church there, Iglesia Adonai.

"For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."  Isaiah 61:11

None of this would be possible without you - praying, giving, volunteering, going.  Thank you for being a part of Caroline's Promise.  Our prayer is that you will experience Isaiah 61 personally.

We realize that there are many worthy ministries that you could give to at the end of the year.  We encourage you to ask God where He would have you invest your time and resources.  If you choose to support Caroline's Promise  you can mail a check to 1950 Beeson Road, Kernersville, NC 27284 or give online. 
You can choose to give to:
Adoptive Family Grants for a family in South Carolina   - Choose South Carolina CP
Our partner missionary, Angie and the work in Guyana - Choose Guyana Orphan Projects
The Hope Grows Campaign to build a school in Guatemala - - Choose Guatemala Orphan Projects
General gift to CP - Choose Wherever Most Needed

All gifts are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.  Whether you give to Caroline's Promise or another ministry we encourage you to get involved in 2013 and experience the joy of God using you to make a difference for others!

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