A Trail of Breadcrumbs

A Trail of Breadcrumbs

We sit on high stools in my parents’ kitchen, a quick visit snatched out of a busy Thanksgiving weekend with our respective families.

She hands me a little book – burgundy and tan.

“I’m not sure why I’m giving you this,” she confesses. “I just grabbed it on my way out the door.”

We’re catching up, childhood friends who’ve spent our entire adult lives more than half a continent away from each other.  We rarely get to talk. Tonight, we converse hungrily with hushed voices and bright eyes, tentatively giving voice to those things both hard and beautiful in our lives.

Later, I read the little book’s beginning.  A woman gives her cherished personal Bible to a stranger on an airplane, and watches as a lovely story of redemption and blessing unfolds. I find it difficult to grasp this radical obedience to a God-nudge.

The book ultimately ends up on my sofa table shelf, stacked in the dark with a pile of other spiritual growth/Bible study books I’ve yet to read, or have half-read.

Every now and then I wonder why God prompted my friend to give me this book. I certainly don’t see it making any impact in my life, especially since I can’t even manage to read it.

In July, I head to a Christian women’s conference. The author of that little burgundy-and-tan book happens to run the organization that puts on the conference, and she keynotes twice over the weekend. I buy one of her books that last night – a pink-and-white book sprinkled with Gerbera daisies.

shespeaks breadcrumbs

women say yes

Because I hightail it out of the ballroom, few women stand in front of me in the book signing line. They’re all getting photos taken and telling Lysa stories of how her words have changed their lives.

But me? I’m getting this book signed for a good friend who’s a fan, and I have not read a single book by Lysa, nor heard her speak before yesterday. {You see, I’m not in the Christian know. I’ve spent nearly all my adult life going through the religious motions, but never earnestly seeking the heart of God, so I’m out of touch with popular Christian authors, speakers, musicians, and the like.}

When I reach the front of the line, she asks me, What is the best thing you learned from the conference? For a quiet moment, I freeze. And, then I say I’ve learned it’s not about me; I need to lay down pride and see how God calls me to serve.

She nods in agreement.

The next morning on the plane ride home, I flip through the pink daisy book. I’m surprised to discover it’s a revision of the little burgundy-and-tan book, expanded, updated, and made into a Bible study.

My heart begins its usual longing for the non-existent women’s group within my church.

And, I think: But, of course — service.

****

My favorite part of Wednesday nights comes at the end when we share prayer requests. We learn what is on each other’s hearts and minds, and I jot down names and details in my lined yellow notebook for the week ahead.

We get to see firsthand, week after week, how God works through our prayers, as personal dramas, illnesses, and various challenges develop, deepen, and, in some cases, work toward resolution.

Last week, we finished our ladies bible study of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. For nine weeks we met at my home, each week reading a chapter on our own and then convening to pray, laugh, cry, and struggle through our own personal calls to obedience.

Sometimes, there were fresh-baked goodies, sometimes there weren’t. Sometimes we had to clear metal choo-choos from the floor to get to our seats — and almost always, at least one child or the other ran through, or announced a bathroom visit loudly {usually mine}.

Robin sent me scrambling for the tissue box each week, and her mom Connie was the brave one to pray out loud one night when I asked for volunteers. Cheryl’s love for Jesus radiated, and we always welcomed Karen’s smile and quiet confidence in God’s plan. Sandy made us laugh and stood in as an awesome prayer warrior in crisis. Staci joined me in mom-moment solidarity, since we both still have littles and often can’t keep all our to-dos straight.

And, me?

At the end of prayer request time, the ladies ask: What about you, Beth? How can we pray for you?

And, usually, I can’t begin to think. My mind has become a perfect blank, wiped clean.  For this hour or so each week, it has turned solely on God and the five or six women surrounding me.

Their needs, His words.

breadcrumbs

And, I…  I have followed God’s trail of breadcrumbs to this place. I see these morsels now, as I turn back, how they’ve slowly led me, fed me, sustained and gently guided me to this day.

When I turn to find my way home – like the brother-sister duo in the fairy tale – I see they are gone.

And, I am beautifully lost.

This laying down self and taking up service has brought a feast of joy. I recognize it now – obedience brings abundant blessing. It’s the blessing of growing closer to Him.

I know now that the place the breadcrumb trail led from– the home I lived in last November – no longer exists.

I live in a new place now.



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Comments

  1. Goosebumps Beth, it’s that good:) And my path is exactly the same- RADICALLY doing (good) for God. So glad to be in this with you:):)

  2. Beth,

    And as I read this, yep… I’m searching for a tissue… 🙂 We are so blessed to have you and your courage to take on this Wed. night bible study! Looking forward to our next round!

    Robin

  3. Beautiful beautiful post!!
    Kristin Smith recently posted..Impact Opportunity – Sponsor a Family!!My Profile

  4. Elizabeth,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart – but more than that, thank you for being obedient to what the Lord was asking you to do! Your obedience has blessed others – and yourself!

    I loved reading what God has done through your obedience. When I shared a short van ride with you after the conference, I remember asking you if you were a speaker or a writer (the common question of the weekend.) You kind of floundered with your answer (as many of us did.) Then you shared about feeling lead to start a Bible study but didn’t know how to go about doing that. And look at you now – blessing others and being blessed!

    Thank you for saying “Yes” to God!
    Shelly

  5. This is such a beautiful post. Your obedience is encouraging too.
    Kristin Taylor recently posted..8 Things I Learned in NovemberMy Profile

  6. Love your heart for obedience, Elizabeth!! : ) Lysa should read this.

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