Friday, April 2, 2010

Where He Leads Us

I have to tell you about an experience I had a couple days ago, it took some time to write it down. I spent some time in the morning reading the Bible, and then came across a really beautiful testimony on someone’s blog I came across looking up a verse to put on a card for our neighbor. Later I read part of a book on my Kindle at the gym “Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus”, then said a prayer after leaving that I would follow God’s plan for whatever he had in mind for me today. My mind and heart were filled with the Word. My son William and I went down to Zilker Park and spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying the weather and noticing all the things God made, the rocks, grass etc.

We walked down a path that we’ve been on many times, and I noticed some stone steps below the path I’d never seen before, with a young man sitting working on a beautiful sketch of the bridge above us. It looked like a perfect spot to relax and as an artist the perfect way to spend an afternoon. I thought “That guy has either found the secret of life… or he’s looking for it.” I felt compelled to go down to take a closer look at his drawing and let him know I thought he was very talented, although at the same time I also thought I could be intruding on some private time he might be needing. I pushed it aside and decided I would be able to tell if he wanted us to go away, it wouldn’t hurt to pay him the compliment. We crept down and he took off his Ipod and said hello. I told him we didn’t want to interrupt his time, but that his drawing was wonderful and asked if he was an artist. “Well…I draw and play music...but ...I’ve been struggling a bit.” William asked for some paper from his sketch pad and the man gladly obliged him, and William set to work on his own drawing (this made it possible for the man and I to have a conversation!).

Since he’d opened up I told him I was an illustrator, and a little bit about the kind of art I did. He seemed very interested, we chatted a little about our work and styles, and then I asked what he had meant by “struggling”. He went on to say although he was commissioned from time to time to do portraits, he’d had a very rough past two years, having lots of problems in his personal life as well as not really sure what direction to go with his art. “Have you prayed about that?” I asked. “Well, it’s funny you should ask that. I actually started dating a girl about a month and half a go who’s very religious, and she’s been taking me to church. She bought me a Bible and I’ve been going. I grew up Catholic, but... kind of lost my faith a couple years ago.” I told him about how I’d grown up drawing but how I’d had trouble in my teens and 20’s , lost my confidence, and put aside my gift for a long time. I could tell from his comments and body language he was very engaged and probably related to a lot of what I’d gone through. Then I told him a few years ago I went to an art & faith class I’d been attending at my church, and realized what an important expression of our faith art was, and began earnestly praying that God would show me what he planned for me when he gave me that gift. Then, almost immediately after a door opened for me to start illustrating for Gina K Designs, an opportunity far better than I had imagined for myself. He seemed really encouraged by that! He went on to explain that he’d gotten kicked out of his parents house for not making all A’s in junior college, been staying with friends, totaled his car, and lost his job in the past year. But that things were starting to get back on track, with going to church, meeting this new girl, found a new job, new car, living at home again (although things were still tense). I asked him his name and after he told me, I told him I would pray for him. I also said his girlfriend sounded like a really nice woman. He said she’d actually just left for the UK and would be gone for 6 months, but they were going to try to keep things going between them. (He was clearly missing her already) I said that would go by in no time if it was meant to be, and that he had so many things in his life to focus on here in the mean time and he agreed.

After several more minutes of chatting about his church, art, and life, I felt it was time to go. Before I left, I told him I didn’t usually (well, really never) approach someone about their faith like I just did or offer to pray for them, and he laughed and said that he didn’t usually tell his life story to strangers either! I explained that the more focused I’ve been on God, when I feel the urge now to go somewhere or do something without really knowing why, it may be God wanting to reveal something to me or maybe use me for something, and when I saw him under the bridge I felt I was supposed to be there, and I was supposed to talk to him. “Well, I’m really glad you did", he said. “Keep drawing, I said with a smile. “Pray that God will lead you." “I will!” he replied with hope in his eyes. His energy was completely different from when we’d arrived ( He’d been very kind but seemed “at sea”, or in his own words, "struggling".) We thanked him for the paper he'd loaned William and turned to go.

“Thank you!” he called after me as William and I walked back up the path. :)

I felt overjoyed on the way home that what I shared might have been exactly what he needed to hear, and very blessed, that talking with him that day was exactly what I needed too! Giving me the courage to put myself out there more, showing me that He will speak through me, and healing the tiny places in my heart from trials I suffered long ago, in many ways it was like sharing hope with a younger version of myself. Later I thought of many other things I could have told him about, more parallels I could have drawn between our experiences that could have helped (as well as realizing a sort of strange siginificance about his drawing of a bridge, that's he trying to go somewhere!! but anyway! LOL) but, I trust that feeling I had that it was time to leave. I'll just continue to pray for him. And I pray that reading this will touch your spirit today and believe that God has SO many plans to use your life, the blessings you receive for letting Him work are beyond measure! God is good!

Have a blessed Easter weeekend!

53 comments:

Teri said...

What a beautiful account of how God led you! I love when He does that!

Linda Peterson said...

Wow, what a valuable lesson you provided to us today. Thank you.

Christine Pethers said...

thank you
I think I really needed to read that aswell.
Had that floundering feeling for ages
love Chris

Marian said...

How inspiring! Thank you for sharing your experience. I truly believe that there is far more good in the world than the opposite, and I think that you WERE led to speak with that young man. You will never know just how much you helped him at that very moment in his life.
Marian

cindy ziliak said...

Your message definetly encouraged me to do what God tells me to do. It's a very hard thing to make ourselves do! But as you found out, it usually works out wonderfully! We need to have more faith that it will. Have a blessed Easter!

Misti said...

What a great testimony!! Isn't it great how God works!!! :D

Sandy Knecht said...

That was beautiful! Have a wonderful Easter.

Donna said...

What an amazing story! God touches us all and during the special Easter time I hope he touches you and your family specially. Haooy Easter!

Holly aka Toy said...

My eyes are so full of tears right now, I find it hard to type. Your willingness to step out in your faith is a testimony of courage...just like Jesus taught! The great part is, you never know how far reaching the seeds of that conversation will grow. If we just plant the seeds, Jesus comes behind does the harvesting. I really needed to read this today and it was no accident that I was pointed to your blog. Bless you abundantly!

msfreida said...

OH GOD IS SOOO GOOD! Thank you for sharing your experience! Yes, God put you there at that particular time for a reason. What a difference you made in that young man's life!
Hope you have a very blessed Easter! :)

Hugs~

Rosie said...

Sometimes when I see long posts...I just don't want to read. But yours, I did. What a great story. It's inspiring how easy it is for you to talk about God. Last year, My family and I started attending church more...and anyway, it has definitely been a lot better now. And, I just started telling people..."I'll pray for you" So, thank you for your story, it's very inspiring. Oh...right when you said Zilker park...I knew where you were. I live in round rock. take care.

StampnInkLady said...

Thank you so much for sharing this Melanie, as I have been a floundering Christian soul lately and I honestly feel that God has touched me through your post. I believe that he has answered some things that have weighed heavily on me lately. Thank you again. Hugs Lori Reinholz

Nancy said...

OMG, What a great story so glad you shared it with us! You were a blessing to that man!! What a pefect day to read it as well!!!

Jennie said...

Melanie, this is a beautiful post! It is such a blessing to see the Lord work and He most certainly led you to the park and specifically to that young man. What a blessing you were to him and I pray he dwells on the truths that you shared. The Lord certainly uses us if we are willing and sensitive to His leading. I pray you have a wonderful weekend reflecting on His greatest gift to us... Blessings to you Mel!

Lori said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, Melanie. You are very brave, it is so hard to listen to that little voice most of the time. Something I have been trying to do. Bless you and yours this Easter weekend. Hugs, Lori

Teresa said...

Hello Melanie, what an awesome post! I found myself needing to read every word of your post twice today. I must say that it fed my heart in so many ways and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for stepping out of your faith comfort zone. This encounter now becomes an important part of your own testimony. I am 100% convinced that the Lord put the two of you together that day. He took care of every detail. He is so faithful in that department. Then you sharing this with us added to the thread. Amazing! Great is His faithfulness.
Blessings to you and your family this Easter. He is risen...He is risen indeed!
Terri

Kathleen Picon said...

Thanks for sharing something so personal. God does put us in the right place at the right time.

Juli Smith, SU! Demo said...

Amen Christian Sister! And what a beautiful experience especially during this , the holiest week and days of our Christian life! It seems as if God accepted your gift of openness to His Word and will, and the Holy spirit spoke through the talents He gave you to be a bridge for this young man helping him to walk from death into new life in Christ. It is, I believe, a perfect example of the Lenten journey! God Bless you and your family! May these next 50 days of Easter be glorious and joyful! :)

Ida P. Krause said...

Melanie what an inspiring account. It was just what I needed to hear this morning. I've been going through some personal "struggles" of my own lately and it's good to know that God is using you and your art and that if we just seek His guidance He'll show us the way we are to go.
God Bless and have a wonderful easter.

Marcia said...

Melanie, what a wonderful testimony of God's leading. He will do things like that every day of our lives, if we allow Him to work through us and not against us. What a great testimony for your readers, especially this Easter weekend! Have a Blessed Easter!

Anonymous said...

We are so blessed also when we allow Him to use us. Thanks for the reminder to let go and trust the nudges He gives us. Not always easy to go out of the comfort zone and trust. Have a wonderful Easter.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful experience. Thank you for taking the time to share it with the rest of us.You didn't just tell the story but you documented your feelings, your hesitation to intrude on his quiet time and your hesitation to make a move.The Holy Spirit speaks to us all day every day but we are too busy to let him in. The Bible says "be still and know that I am God". How can we hear him if we are in constant motion? You reminded all of us that we need to get into the word and be still so that he can lead each of us to experiences like this. He wants so badly for us to be his ray of light in this world that is so dark for so many. I have been practicing this for a long time and it just gets better and better.
Happy Easter
Ann

Tina Gilliland said...

Beautiful, my friend. You are so inspiring and wonderful in so many ways. I could read this over and over again and it would always lift me up and give me hope with my "small" trials. Thank you for doing this... taking the time to share such a personal and yet, faith inspiring, moment with us. I am honored to all you my friend. Happy Easter to you and your family!! *smile & HUGS*

Holly said...

I loved reading your story. More people should follow their hearts. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Seongsook Duncan said...

Melanie, thanks very much for sharing your spiritual experience. I am so grateful for God's guidance in our lives.

Deb said...

oooo! God-bumps, girlie! Praying that my heart will be sensitive to his urging and that I won't miss my God-appointments! {{hugs}}, blessings, and Happy Easter!

Diana Q said...

Gosh Melanie...Thanks for sharing ...I can't quite put my feelings in words just now..but I have tears in my eyes and can really relate to this right now in my own life! Again, thanks for sharing. Hugs, Diana Q

Susie W. said...

Melanie,
As a christian, your story touched me SO much! At times I've had the feeling that God lead me to someone at just the right time. So that either I or the other person could hear what we were supposed to hear at that time. It's just wonderful what God will do for us...when we listen to him.
I hope you have a blessed Easter.
God's Peace Be With You...

Paula said...

As I type thru tears in my eyes from this emotional message I have to tell you I checked the email and from you and when I scrolled down and did't see a new creation I was ready to delete and then stopped myself for some unknown reason and thought I would read what you had posted. I am so thankful I did. What a blessing you shared and just what I needed for today. As I read on I could hear a voice telling me that I pass up opportunities daily with strangers that need to hear a word of encouragement, a friendly hello or just a warm inviting smile. I get so wrapped up in my busy life that I don't see the world atound me who need that same encouragement that you gave that young man in the park. I believe your sharing of this meeting will touch more lives than you may ever know. God Bless and Happy Easter to you and your family. Thanks for sharing

Elaine M said...

Aren't divine appointments wonderful?!! If we're open, God will use us to touch so many. God bless you for listening AND doing.
Have a terrific Easter.

Leslie C said...

Thanks so much for sharing your God led encounter! Have a very blessed Easter!

Donna said...

wow, that leading was so God-inspired! I have tears just imagining it, just a perfect plan from start to finish (I smiled about William asking him to borrow a sheet of paper) I have been on both the giving and receiving end of this kind of ministry; I have no doubt you were BOTH blessed by it. Thanks for sharing!!

Janice M said...

Very Inspirational, Thanks Melanie.

Jennifer said...

Melanie, Thank you for being bold enough to talk to this young man, to listen to God, and to share with us. Continue to listen to God's lead, and have a blessed Easter weekend.

MaxineD said...

All I can say Melanie is that God is so good!! Bless you for sharing with that young man, and bless you for sharing that here today!
Maxine

buggin2stamp said...

Wow, Melanie! What a great story to share. God is always nudging us, we just usually aren't listening. LOL! I feel like I miss way too many opportunities myself. I have no doubt in your case God has used you to touch that man's life in such an amazing way.
The other fascniating thing I found about your post is how you mentioned a class on faith and art. I am getting ready to teach my Wednesday night Stars class at church on that very subject. I don't know much about art, other than stamping and papercrafting, but I know God will use me to teach these girls. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Not only have you helped that man, I am sure your readers have been inspired as well. I know I have.
I pray God continues to lead you and you that you follow Him every step of the way. Hugs!
Melissa

Louise fox said...

You are so correct! Thank you. Louise

Daphne said...

Praise the Living God!!! Only A LIVING God can give us direction like the one He gave you to minister to that eager soul! Your obedience is an fine example of what we can do in Christ! Happy Easter to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing!! For the young man, who heard words of affirmation and encouragement; and for you, who by obeying the soft voice of the Holy Spirit was rewarded as your message was received well!! You are fulfillling the great commission to "go and tell!" Happy Easter! Christ is risen indeed! --Kim

Tanya said...

I agree, God will lead you where you are needed, especially when you ask him to.
Happy Easter!

Giovana said...

Oh Melanie, this story is very touching, it made me cry. I know how wonderful is God, I have struggled many hings in my life, bit knowing now I am His child makes me a better person in His name.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
God bless.
Giovana

Janet S said...

I,too, have had some similar God encounters that I would have missed if I hadn't been paying attention to His still small voice nudging me. I pray that the young man you met finds what he is seeking and that he develops a personal relationship with Christ. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Have a glorious Easter!

cowbelleru said...

Melanie -
Thanks for sharing your testimony. As I see it you stepped out in faith twice, once with the young man and secondly with us your readers. You have inspired, encouraged, blessed and ministered to so many. Thank You! You made my day. God Bless You and keep listening. Prayers for you.

Mististamps4Fun (tmryal-SCS) said...

Melanie- I love hearing how God uses each and every one of us in His plan! I commend you also for posting this for everyone to see. So many people think that they need to keep their career, personal life and spiritual life all separate. This is who God has made us to be and thank you for following His leading and being willing to share that with us! I LOVE to hear how God has knocked your socks off and everyone elses too! Thanks for running the race with integrity and boldness!

LOVE YA! I'm happy to call you one of my sisters in Christ!

Misti

Deanna said...

wow, what an inspiring story. Way to go. Hope you keep having such wonderful experiences and thanks for being an inspiration.

joy said...

How beautiful! It is a blessing to my soul to her how you obeyed God -- and what a wonderful testimony to your son.

Stampin' Pam said...

Beautiful Melanie - I love this story - I have done something similar and just feel it is God's voice speaking through me. I'm so glad you followed GOd's voice in your head and spoke with the young man. Blessings to you and yours on this Easter Sunday.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing it! It was a wonderful reminder that God is always there - we just need to open our hearts and our minds.

Nancy said...

What a great story. I love it when we listen to the promptings and allow God to do His work through us. It sounds like you were exactly where you were supposed to be and saying exactly what you were supposed to. I'm sure you blessed this young man's life and he blessed yours.

(((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Being in HIS time makes the day! Speaking of which, I need to head into Bible Study - Esther. Blessings!

Sisspam said...

Mel,
I'm so proud of you and glad that He is showing you ways to use all your gifts. I find that God opens us to us the more obedient we are to his direction. I treasure your friendship.
Suzy

Miesje said...

Incredible! Thanks for sharing!

Carolyn King said...

beautiful........