Holy Interruptions, Divine Delays & Amen Living

NOTE: Tomorrow we kick off the new year of Weight Loss Wednesdays. Now, if you haven’t joined our little cyber group of girlfriends, don’t fret! Newcomers are always welcome. You can get caught up by clicking on Weight Loss Wednesdays in the side bar. Just leave a comment on the last post listed there. You can read the others, if you’d like, but it isn’t imperative. Just hop over each Wednesday to join us and check in with how you are doing. You don’t have to tell us what you weigh. You can tell us how much or little the scale moved, if you want. The point is accountability and encouragement for each other. We’d love to have you!

I stopped at one of my all-time favorite resale shops on the way home yesterday from taking my 18 year-old daughter to the airport for her trip back to her home in Charlotte, NC. She is living now with my Proverbs 31 speaking team sister Melanie and her family while she continues her cosmetology training there.

I glanced at my watch and figured she would be in the middle of her 1 hour lay-over at the Detroit airport, just enough time to use the bathroom, change gates and grab a Starbucks with the $$ I tucked in her hand as I hugged her good-bye at security. Then she would be off on the last leg of her trip and home by mid-afternoon.

I sent a quick text to see how her connection was going. She called me right back. “Ughh…. Our plane left Flint late and we just landed. I’m still on the plane. I hope I don’t miss my connection!”

The digital numbers on my cell phone told me she had 27 minutes to catch her flight. I assured her that I had connected in Metro before in only 20 minutes. (picture a middle-aged momma attempting to pull an OJ Simpson, 1970’s style, sprinting– okay jogging–through the airport, leaping over suitcases and passengers seated on the floor with their laptops. A sweet elderly gentleman driving one of those golf carts for the physically challenged took pity on me and drove me the rest of the way to my gate!)

However, that 20-minute, miracle connection was once I was OFF of the plane. She was still stuck on hers.

“Take the people-moving belt thingy, keep checking your gate number on the monitor and I’ll pray. Don’t be too shy to flag down a golf-cart guy if you need to!”

“Yes ma’am” she replied, however she probably was also rolling her eyes at my instructions since she often has flown alone, is a full-grown adult and knows the routine. It just makes my momma heart feel better to give instructions to my girl.

After her own OJ attempt, she reached her gate just seconds after the door had closed on the Charlotte-bound plane. She then was re-booked on the last flight out that night, on the very last seat available.

That plane was scheduled to leave 6 hours later at nearly 8:00 pm.

Bummer.

Here she was, stuck in Metro, which is only 1 1/2 hours from home, for the next 6 hours!

Oh, and with no book to read. (She’d switched one she was reading to her checked luggage in a last minute re-pack.) No free wireless Internet, although she had her laptop with her. No Bible in her carry-on. No paper to write on. Nothing.

Just 6 hours ahead of her to choose one of three things. Browse the shops. People watch. Or pray.

Interruptions. Delays. Inconveniences. Bummer days.

We all have them.

What matters is how we respond to them.

It is funny, I thought I would have a day such as hers this week. God has been pressing on my heart a concept I am learning, and have such a long way to go to finally solidify in my life. I call it “Amen living”

On-line dictionaries will assert, and correctly so, that the use of “Amen” has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns and to express strong agreements. My kids would tell you it was the favorite word of an elderly gentleman who used to make a running ‘Amen commentary’ during our pastor’s sermon each week. Some of the church youth kept themselves entertained by counting the grand total of ‘Amens’ he said each week!

If you asked anyone on the street its meaning, they probably would tell you it is a way to end a prayer or a word to say when you agree with a statement someone makes. Like, “Well, Amen to that one sister!” But this year, for me, I want that word to be so much more.

The word has its roots in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament. At its core, it means “So be it”.

Now, you can take the phrase “So be it” two ways. One, in an “I sure hope that comes to pass!” way when someone says something you like.

Or two, in the way I was challenged to take it a few years back when I borrowed a tape series from my dear friend Suzy. I don’t remember the speaker, I can’t recall the title, but his message was a challenge to me then and I tried to implement it; in a weak, half-hearted way.

In 2010, I want it to be in a strong, whole-hearted sort of way.

But it is a bit scary. He challenged his listeners to Amen living by asserting that, whatever God sent your way—an interruption, delay, inconvenience…..a sick child, a life disappointment, a lost job, …..even cancer…..yes, even death–you said, “Okay Lord. Amen. So be it. Now, what do you want me to learn?”

That is Amen living.

It doesn’t mean we don’t ask for solutions; that we don’t pray for healing; that we take no action.

No! We do all these things…..

And we leave the results up to God.

Whatever His final answer is, we say a hearty “Amen”

I prayed that yesterday for my sweet, stuck-in-the-airport, adult daughter. In fact, I did encourage her to take a bit of action; to march her cute little self up to the NWA counter and make a small fuss—in a sweet, southern-girl and totally Christian sort of way, of course ;-) asking if they could switch her to another airline on a flight leaving sooner.

The answer was no.

They did, however, give her $15 to eat supper with and a $100 dollar voucher for a future flight.

Well, “Amen sister!” (In the first sort of way we say Amen.)

But “Amen sister” in the second way too.

Well, what about you? Had any holy interruptions, divine delays, or changes of plans you cannot control?

Well, Amen sister….

Gotten some bad news, big or small….. slightly schedule-changing….or completely life-altering?

Well, Amen sister….

Will you join me in making 2010 the year you stop struggling to change your circumstances all the time and, instead, embrace your lot in life, welcoming all God is trying to teach you through it?

I’m game, if you are….

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Elisabeth Elliot, incredible author and widowed wife of famed missionary Jim Elliot.

“The difference….is Christ in me; not me is a different set of circumstances.”

Are you in? If so, then “Amen, sister!”

So be it Blessings,

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  • Wow! Karen, I am overwhelmed and humbled by your sweet words. It was truly my blessing that I was able to rescue your sweet girl from the airport and I will be honored to drag the royal charriot out of the carriage house at any time at any hour to fetch said princess in the future! That’s what family is all about.

    Love you both!

  • I really need to learn this. Given that often when things don’t go the way I planned, they turn out better or I find a God-moment in them, one would think I would have learned it already. But thank you for the reminder.

  • What a great post! Yes I want to join you in making this year the year I stop struggling to change my circumstances all the time and, instead, embrace what God is allowing in my life. I love the emphasis on learning all God is trying to teach me through it.Thank you so much for this encouragement.

  • Amen Sister! As I wait here for the windshield replacement guy to show up (he’s missed the 2 hour window time I was given) I thank you for this post.

    This is the year for me to say, “Amen! So be it! What do you want me to learn from this God?” I also ask for His wisdom in our parenting our two “adult aged kids” (22 and 19), and His wisdom to shower down on them!

    (By the way, in the middle of my typing, the windshield guy called to say that he won’t be here until around 4:30). Amen! So be it! I am learning patience!

  • Karen, amen to this sister! I was going to wait until the end of March to quit my job. God had a different plan. In November things had gotten worse with my boss’ disrespectful ways towards me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I gave her my resignation letter and told her two weeks from that day would be my last day. She made that day my last day and told me to take all my things with me at the end of the day. I was very hurt at first but you know something, amen to it. I now believe it was God who had it planned that way.Because I’m not consumed withthe the stress and frustration with work and my boss I have more time for God. I have more time to pray for others without being tired. I’ve had time to read the blogs from you all at Proverbs 31 and find encouragement and email friends.

  • Yes, Karen! I’m in!!! Amen and Amen! :)

    I need to accept what God allows and then say ‘ok, God, so be it. My twin sis, brother and I are all diagnosed with cancer with in a 4 mo. period? So be it. My beloved grandma dies 2 DAYS after I tell her I’m diagnosed-so be it. Then more family problems….so be it.”

    AHHHH! 2008 was had A LOT of personal struggles and anguish for me and my family….but, you know, I truly believe that God has brought me out a stronger person. As cliche as that sounds, it’s the truth. We’ve worked through it and, as much as I miss my grandma, I’m not grieving like I was. I know I will celebrate with her again one day.

    Thank you so much Karen, for you blog. I really needed to read that today. I think that this also goes along with what you’re saying….to remember that as I live each day with ‘Amen Living’ that each person I come across may be struggling with their own situations. I can choose to be short and snappy….or I can choose the “so be it’ response and be loving and compassionate.

  • Perfect timing on this post! Just had the propane truck here. We are freezing and the bill is still high. Trying to do school with a grumpy 8 yo and I accidently got $32 charged to my bank account because of a dumb mistake.
    Thanks for your post! Instead of crying inside, I’m going to kneel and cry out to God and say Amen!

  • Karen-

    Yesterday I had my 2nd kidney stone surgery/procedure to rid my body of the very large and hard stones that it likes to create. I don’t know if it was successful. I have been having a bit of a pity party about the fact that I may need more surgery in the coming months if it wasn’t a success.

    Thank you so much for your post today…I have a new attitude that I will cling to…regardless of what happens…Amen, so be it.

    Blesssings-
    Wendy in CA