of grace and upgrades

September 25, 2007

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So I’ll be honest. I saw that anonymous comment on my last blog entry and my heart skipped a beat…and then I beat down my heart.

“Wow, they’re good at spam these days.”

Amazing how quickly I shut down my heart that it might actually be true: that God might have moved someone to be His hands in providing for me.

When people would ask I’d say, “I guess I’ll see Tuesday,” wanting to believe but being scared of a big letdown.

So at various times today I felt like a cowboy approaching a showdown at high noon in the dusty street.

I came home from work at 8 and drove up to the mailbox to find only letters — no mailbox key indicating a package.

Then, driving up to my house, the lights were on, signifying Jodi or Deb had been home. But I hadn’t received a frantically-excited voice mail from either.

No package outside the front door.

I schleped all my bags and sundries from the garage into the house. I passed by our kitchen island long enough to allow my lunch bag to fall on the counter. Walking to my bedroom, I kicked off my shoes…

And then I saw it.

Oh my word.

The box that brings joy: the brown cardboard with “Amazon” stamped on it.

My new iPod.

I LOVE that it’s green. It’s the big sister to my little green friend — this one has double the space for Jazzercise songs! (8MB!) It even has video so that I can watch the DVDs of Jazzercise routines and can learn them when I’m away from home.

Wow.

Thank You, Jesus, for this incredible lesson about grace. It’s not only amazing because it’s wonderful and a gift, but — I think this is the most flabbergasting thing — if anything, I didn’t deserve it with how I’d lost the other one. And in this case, God even lavished me with an upgrade.

If I was God I’d say, “Angie, I provided one for you. You’ll have to suffer the consequences of being unwise in losing it. Bummer to be you.”

But He doesn’t.

And that’s grace. That’s the gospel — the very good news that it’s never been about what I bring to the table; what I earn. It’s about God. Period.

Thank you, God. And thank you, dear anonymous friend, for playing a key role in this life lesson I’ll never forget.

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of iPods, Plan Bs & Intentionally Resting (September newsletter)

September 21, 2007

Settling into my seat in 12D, I looked across the aisle and noticed a well-dressed woman my age, listening to her iPod.

My stomach turned like I’d just plummeted a rollercoaster drop. And suddenly I knew.

I’d lost my iPod 4 GB Nano.

My last recollection of it was on the flight into Omaha, 5 days prior, when I came on vacation to see my boyfriend, Scott.

I had a coat draped over my lap. Overtop that was a pillow. And, somewhere in the mix had been my iPod; I’d been listening to an inspiring sermon from NewSpring Church before we were told to turn off all electronics.

A vision of my tiny green friend falling silently and helplessly to the floor flew to my mind. Ugh.

That little iPod was more than just an electronic toy—it’s a key component to each free Jazzercise class I teach for our missionary women at headquarters. And my heart hurt, too, remembering how my girlfriends pooled their money and bought it for my last birthday.

I felt so irresponsible. My brain automatically spun with Plan B options. I’d already tried to call the airlines to document the loss. Scott had even driven to the airport in Omaha to talk with Northwest Airlines in person and came back with empty hands.

What would I do? I thought, I teach again in a few days. I’ve got to bite the bullet and just go buy another one. I don’t know how I’ll pay for it, I guess I’ll dig into savings. What else can I do?

Then, I felt God nudge my heart: Angie, rest. Don’t be so quick to self-provide. Wait. Let Me be your hero in this.

Sigh. Will this be my life-long lesson? To fight against the constant temptation to make life work for myself? I think it just might. But then, it sure keeps me humble and coming up against the truth that Jesus has a better plan than my Plan Bs. (Although they keep me hanging until the 11th hour, more often than not.)

I may not be seeing growth in how I still default to making my own plans, but I’m grateful to say that I have a quicker turn-around time than in the past as I turn and choose to intentionally rest. And I learn to talk to God and others about my needs, my shortcomings.

Taking a nervous breath, I vulnerably confessed the debacle to my friend, Sadee, Thursday when I got back to the office. I told her about the loss and how I was fighting to rest.

“I have an iPod that I just use to listen to talks,” Sadee said. “You can borrow it to teach class until you figure out what to do next.”

Wow. A sweet, small gesture that had “Jesus is Your Hero” written all over it.


gerber daisies make me happy (thanks, Scott!)

September 21, 2007

Check out these beautiful flowers that greeted me when I arrived into Omaha. I think I mentioned just once to Scott how much I love gerber daisies–amazing memory!


my Lord Bentley

September 7, 2007

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With a last name like Bentley and — being an Englishman — how can Scott Bentley not get this nickname? You might remember Scott from the picture back in May that I posted of us at the Omaha Zoo.

Last month, Scott came to Orlando for his first voyage to Florida. My friend and coworker, Ted Wilcox, offered to take some pictures of Scott and I. (Ted’s a photographer for Worldwide Challenge. See some of Mr. Photographer’s recent work.)

I should say it’s convenient that Ted is my dear friend Jennifer’s boyfriend and Ted had let Scott stay with him during the trip.

More photos to come, but I really like this one, above. Oh, here are a few pictures from Scott’s visit to Orlando.


a why-i-live-in-orlando sunset

September 2, 2007

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I looked out our backyard and was stunned when I saw this. Sadly, I think this sunset is courtesy of Hurricane Felix.