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Dear Joe – the stranger in the park

Dear Joe,

I’ve thought about you many times since we met you in the park. With your hood over your ball cap and ear buds blocking out the world, you allowed us a glimpse of your heart. My husband approached with small talk, which involved fishing. Then we asked if we could pray for you.

Dear Joe

When we told you a group from church walked the park to pray for people, your eyes lit up just enough for us to relax. Your words changed to “church speak” and we knew you had a background enough to know the right words. I wonder if you know how much your face and voice changed when you started talking about God. Even the sound of your voice lightened. It felt like your mind realized you know the answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, but your heart doesn’t yet. Even through your church speak, you let in enough real words for us to see your heart.

Your hurting heart.

A heart closer to rebellion than to relationship.

A heart that hurts others.

Just like any heart has the capacity to do.

You welcomed, invited, and encouraged us to pray for you. We did.

We prayed for your heart. To seek God and end rebellion. We prayed for your marriage. For you to go back to church and develop a strong desire for God.

We are still praying.

And we will continue to pray.

Because, Joe, your hoodie, hat, and ear buds might close out those around you, but they won’t close out God. He loves you and wants a close relationship with you.

Thanks for letting us pray with you, it reminded me just how much we all need Him, and that we already know the answer to the questions we ask. (it’s Jesus!) It also reminded me how easy it is to bless others – even strangers in the park.

If our paths never cross again, I’ll be searching heaven for you one day.

Sincerely,

The Vogels

**Please note – This is the hardest thing I’ve done in way too long – walking up to a stranger and asking to pray with him (even though my husband lead that part while I silently prayed). Having my husband as support, with prayers of others helped. It put feet to my faith and challenged me to think about the question, Am I ashamed of the gospel? My eyes were once again opened to see those around me as hurting and needing God. We are not so different after all.**

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One New Thing – What I Want to Do… What I WILL Do

Last week I took the week off. I cancelled things and we took a few half days with schoolwork. I rested. The kids rested.

This week I have to re-enter the fast pace of this society.

I don’t want to. Not everyone is back to complete health.

But I have to.

What I want to do is take a week off of schoolwork. What I will do –  keep our schedule.

What I want to do is cancel more appointments. What I will do – evaluate each event and see if we really can make it.

What I want to do is sleep in. What I will do – get up at my regular time and start my day with prayer.

What I want to do is skip my Bible studies I’m not prepared for. What I will do – become prepared and when I’m not, just be honest about it.

I feel the anxiety clinging to me like early morning fog. I missed so many things last week. How will I ever catch up? It’s the week before a holiday and filled with doctors, orthodontist, family events, as well as the normal everyday activities. There. Is. So. Much. To. Do. Normally, I get overwhelmed. I yell at the kids. I skip on my daily Bible reading in order to have more time for catching up on other things. I cause stress in my household. Part of it is due to the fact that next week is a holiday. I am known for freaking out before holidays. During them too.

Not this year. Come on Sun (SON) and lift this fog of anxiety!

What I want to do is stress out and freak. What I will do is stay calm and pray.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

That’s my One New Thing. What’s yours?

One New Thing – October 1st

In a quest to greater health, I am doing One New Thing every week.

This might just be the hardest yet…

In anticipation of a doctor’s visit later this week, every time I start to get nervous or worried about it, I am going to stop and pray instead.

Sound simple?

It’s probably the hardest thing I could have possibly picked.

But the most important for keeping my sanity.

You see, I had a tough weekend. I was grouchy and stressed. I took that grouchiness out on those around me. A week of that will be a great endangerment to my health – and theirs.

So this week, my One New Thing is to pray when I feel worried or stressed. Ok, go ahead and add “whenever my mind starts to diagnose or make things up about the appointment.”

Looks like I’ll be on my knees quite a bit this week.

What about you? What’s your One New Thing?

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