My Encounter with an Angel

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HEBREWS 13:2

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Not all angels reside in Heaven. Some walk the earth just like YOU.

I know this because…..

As I was on my way back up from the lowest point in my life two years ago, I slowly began to notice that something “different” was happening to me. As I fought my way through some very dark days (and still do sometimes), I began to receive help from people I did not know. I mean like people on the phone with the electric company, people in Hobby Lobby, people at HEB, people on social media, friends of friends of friends….and the list goes on forever.

I would like to share the most recent encounters with you today. This just happened to me a few days ago.

My husband was headed out of town on a business trip. But due to car trouble with HIS car, he ended up taking MY car at the last minute, as so not to miss his flight. He kindly scheduled a driver to pick me up later that day to go pick up my car at the airport. This was NOT my ideal scenario by any means.

You see, since my son died tragically and so publicly 2 years ago, I have become very untrusting (and, ok, scared) of people I do not know sometimes. I get no warning usually; it just happens.

I was trying to be brave that I was about to drive an hour away with a perfect stranger in an unfamiliar vehicle. I was overcome with anxiety. “Should I bring my puppy? Should I not bring my puppy? I really hope this isn’t going to be a bad experience.” I really needed some kind of hand holding, but there was no hand to hold.

As the Lord would have it, I ‘couldn’t’ bring my puppy because I wanted to go by the hospital out by the airport to see a dear friend.

I could feel the anxiety creeping in as my heart beat faster and faster. “I can do this. I can do this. It will be ok.” I saw a nice shiny black car drive up. I took a deep breath, and I walked outside.

I want you to know that standing there beside the car stood the sweetest looking little elderly man. He was dressed so nice in a white long sleeved shirt with a tie, nice dress pants and shoes. I took one look at him and I was completely at ease.

The drive started out with the usual formalities, and directions of course. I told the driver where I needed to go, and he made it clear several times that he was not allowed to go into the parking garage. But, he said, “I’ll drop you where you can take an elevator to the garage.” I was fine with that, and we drove on toward the airport.

I pulled out my phone because I thought, “I don’t know this man. Good thing I brought my phone! I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.” I had NO plans of a conversation – at all. I was just relieved that the driver was dressed nice and seemed harmless.  🙂

I can see now that God must have been smiling and saying, “Ha! She thinks she’s going to play on her phone!”

Looking back, I don’t remember my phone AT ALL. Heck, I don’t even remember the trip! I don’t remember the sound of traffic, sounds from the car, or anything around us. All I remember was the conversation, and more importantly, the kindness and compassion of the sweet elderly driver, and how his eyes welled up with tears every now and then. I have no idea how the conversation even began; but it did.

As things go with “God moments” it’s so powerful at the time, then when I try to recall it, it’s kind of like a dream.

Suddenly, I felt my guard come down completely. One of us started a conversation. I remember telling a few funny stories about the kids, and us laughing. The driver seemed like a serious guy at first, but the next thing you know, HE was laughing. In fact, it was the kind of laugh where you lean toward the steering wheel laughing and then sit back again. I remember being surprised by such a serious looking man laughing like that.

Keep in mind that we have 4 children, but I must have only told the driver stories about Bobby from when he was little. Bobby was quite a little character. He kept me on my toes more than our girls ever did.

The driver seemed very interested and invested in the conversation and the stories. I remember being surprised by that. He would respond sometimes and sometimes remain quiet. One time, after a really good laugh out of the both of us, the driver said, “What is Bobby doing now?” My heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know what to say. The mood in the car had been so light, fun, and lively. How could I talk about death now? How could I?

I don’t stutter, but I sort of stuttered and said, “He-ee he died. The driver slumped in his seat a little. I distinctly saw pain in his face and tears well up in his eyes. He said that he was so sorry to hear that (several times). I asked him if he remembered the fire where 4 of the firefighters died, and he said that he did. He said he watched the whole thing on TV.

I told him that I too watched the whole thing on TV, but I never knew that it was my son dying in that fire as I watched. I told the driver that I found out when Bobby’s face flashed up on the TV screen with the word “deceased” next to his picture. As I spoke, I was not upset, just very calm. I remember thinking, “This is good, I’m not feeling bad, I’m ok, this is good that I’m still ok.”

I noticed that the driver was still tearing up. He was sad and pained, but, surprisingly, I was not. I was good. I told him that I had been down a very dark road where I found myself not wanting to live either, but I’m ok now. I told him calmly that I still have a meltdown or two every once in a while (which is to be expected), but I’m much better now.

I asked him where he was from. He said, “Iran.” I thought, “Oh no! I just told him how Bobby had made 2 tours of duty in Iraq!” I was hoping that it was ok that I had shared that.

I asked the driver about his job. Then, he opened up to me that he’s been driving for 30 years. He shared with me that his wife is very sick and disabled, and his insurance is very bad. He said that the insurance has them going in circles, and he can hardly afford to live on just one income. He told me (with tears in his eyes) that this was very hard on him because there is nothing he can do for her. I felt so bad for him. He was very sad. He was so sincere about his pain. I asked her name and told him that I would pray for her. He thanked me. And I did.

After all this while of talking back and forth, I guess he could not get Bobby (and what happened to him) off of his mind. He began to tell me another story of his. This one was about a young boy (the same age as his children) who was best friends with his kids. Over the years, the young boy had become a familiar face at their home. He was quite fond of the young boy.

The driver became very upset and visibly angry when he mentioned the young boy’s father. It turns out that the young man’s father had a lot of guns and knives and none of them were locked up. So my driver always warned his children to be careful when they were over there because the guns were not in a safe place.

One day, the young boy and his family moved away. My driver’s daughter kept up with the young man for years, as they were best friends. One day his daughter called and said that something terrible happened. She said the young boy ended up being shot to death by one of his friends while they were playing with the father’s guns. I told him how sorry I was to hear of this. It was very sad, and I could really feel his pain – just the shock of it all.

Then my driver got unusually animated and said how angry he was still “to this day about it”. He still had tears in his eyes. I understood. I shared with him about how I often have to practice Radical Acceptance, and about how I have dealt with those feelings of hatred and anger. I told him that now I know that holding on to hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. At that moment, it looked as if he had had a “lightbulb moment.” I noticed that his intense anger quickly dissipated.

I told him that I seriously blamed God at first for Bobby’s death, but I don’t blame Him or anymore. I told him about my realizing that I don’t know why it happened, and I don’t need to know why anymore. I know I will see him again because I am saved and so was Bobby. While I was saying that about being saved, the Holy Spirit told me, “That’s a seed. It’s ok just to leave it there.”

My driver, once again, apologized for Bobby’s death, and he said, “You have your girls?” I thought “sheesh!” I didn’t want to have to tell him that too because it only gets worse. “The girls haven’t spoken to me since Bobby’s death” I said, “and I don’t know why. I have asked each one, and they each said that they “don’t want to discuss it.” Although it pains me greatly, I have realized that I have to leave it there until they are ready to talk about it”.

I told him that I’m in a better place with it all now. It still hurts, but there is nothing I can do but accept it – It is what it is. I told him that I pray for them every day that God would soften their hearts towards me and mine towards them.

He looked in his rear view mirror (as he had been doing from time to time) and said, “That’s good. You have very strong faith – very strong.” Then he said, “Your children will COME back – 100% – 100%”. He said it several times throughout the conversation, as if to make sure it stuck with me.

It was at that moment, that I realized I was in a car with an angel. His conviction was so strong. I thought to myself, “I’m in a car with an angel!” “No wonder there is so much honesty, compassion, encouragement, tears that don’t hurt, talk of forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and on and on.” And on top of that, it went both ways. Somehow we were both able to encourage each other!

Sometimes in my life, looking back, I can see where I had experienced a God moment, or an encounter with an angel. But this time was different. I KNEW I was IN THE MIDDLE OF A GOD MOMENT! It was very surreal.

I didn’t remember feeling the pain I usually feel in my body on a daily basis now. I felt no anxiety, no hurt, no depression, no tears, no heartache, nothing bad at all. Truly, I felt like we were the only two “people” on the freeway. Were we even ON a freeway??

Even right now, as I type, I’m having a hard time just putting it all into words; but something very special was happening, and I was just soaking up every moment of it. Blessings were happening so much and so many, I can’t even write them all down, or this story would go on forever.

When we got to the airport, I gave him my credit card to get into the garage, and and asked him if his company was paying for him to leave the parking garage. He said, “No, but I may not need it.” So I told him that I would give him money in case he did. He tried to refuse. But I insisted one last time and he took it.

He said again, “But I might not need it.” So I finally said, “Well if you do, you’ll have it, and if you don’t, just buy your wife a treat!” He looked at me like “what”? We (actually) hugged good-bye. He said, “I’ll wait till you get in your car and start it before I leave”.

It was like a dad speaking to his daughter, and I was that daughter. Then it donned on me, “I DID have someone holding my hand.” Through this man that I did not even know, God sent the Holy Spirit to hold my hand.

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I had (have) a comforter. The Holy Spirit was in that car too. He gave me comfort, and He gave my driver comfort too. In one hour’s time, I could literally see the transformation in him happen.

John 14:26 – “But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

comfort

The next time you “need some hand holding”, trust that God will send you too a Comforter as well.

But be alert always! You don’t know in what form it will come to you. Live each day with expectancy.

Rest assured – it WILL come.

Let Your Light Shine

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Today, I just want to encourage you to let  your light shine. I don’t care where you are or who you are with at the time. If you have a light (the Spirit of God within you), don’t dim your light just to be liked by someone else, or out of fear of repercussion from someone else, or for ANY reason whatsoever. This is the main point that I want to make here, and, if you would like to hear my story in its entirety, feel free to keep reading.

let your light shine

I am not afraid to share my faith or the fact that I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I can speak about how much He does for me and how grateful I am to Him. I can say the name of Jesus and I am happy that he is my Daddy in Heaven. I can talk about how He healed me. I can talk about how He has brought me back from near suicide. I can and do talk about Him all the time. This is about me, and I always feel free to share that part of me especially if it has to do with ME! He is a big part of my life and my story.

At the same time, I never push my beliefs ‘down the throats’ of others. ‘Around some people’, I can discern that it would be better for me to just let them see the Jesus in me instead of “telling” them about Jesus. Sometimes I feel it’s best to just let my light shine and cause others to want to know what that light is all about.  It just can’t help but come out of me because of “Who’s” I am. I am happy to be me, and I love what God is doing in my life. However, there are some people who are “offended” or bothered by people like me.

I go to a place of healing 4 times a week to promote healing within myself for all of the trauma that I have been through in my life, (especially the last year and a half). At this healing place, for whatever reason, I have been under “attack” by another person (let’s just call her Sally, and if your name is Sally, please forgive me). This has been going on all morning, 4 days a week, for at least the last 6 weeks – and sometimes multiple times in one morning!

If I had a choice in the matter, I would absolutely not surround myself by people like Sally, whom I believe to be extremely “toxic”. But in this particular situation, I needed to be there for myself, and it was not my choice as to whoever else was at this healing place as well.

The first time I met Sally, her spirit felt very dark to me. I didn’t like it, but I knew that the darkness I was feeling was about her, not about me. I didn’t know what this was about, and I don’t judge, so I just let it be. I just made sure that I sat as far away from Sally as I could at this huge conference table. Every single day, for no apparent reason, I got dirty looks from Sally. I got snide remarks. I got murmurs under her breath, and peppered with questions. I received tons of unsolicited advice, I was invalidated, and I frequently got my boundaries trampled by Sally. Sally was large in stature and extremely opinionated. Honestly, I was quite intimidated by and scared of Sally, and I did not like it.

When Sally (for whatever reason) got upset with me (usually because of something I shared about myself), her eyes literally bulged out of her head like they were drilling a hole through me.  Each day I became more and more miserable, and even began to skip sessions because of it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was pretty much being bullied by her. It didn’t seem to matter what I said; Sally was sure to be angry at me.

Sally was new to me. I had not yet figured out what Sally was all about, and again, I don’t judge. My dilemma was that, although it upset me very much, I did not know how to respond to her with love and compassion, in a kind Christian way. I’ll just be honest. I was too busy thinking about how I really just wanted to…..well, let’s just say, I was NOT thinking good thoughts about Sally. At all. I was having trouble standing up for myself while I was feeling hurt and sniped at by her.

I’m still dealing with trauma, grief, anxiety, and PTSD. I am vulnerable – some days more than others. This made it even more difficult for me to deal with this situation.

As I “privately” worked through my issues with Sally, I became stronger, and I learned how to set boundaries with folks like Sally. Even still, when I was about ready to stand up to Sally, those scary eyeballs came out, and I’d go right back into my shell. I was getting SO tired of being too fearful of standing up to her. I would ask myself, “What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I just tell her to stop! This hurts!”

Here’s the thing. Pain is good sometimes because “pain” can be a GREAT motivator. Day in and day out, I just became more and more motivated to conquer this beast of a problem, which was, not letting Sally keep me from letting my light shine. But, I just didn’t feel strong enough quite yet.

I kept practicing learning about boundaries, setting boundaries (first with safe people), and just letting other people be who they are without making it about me.

I’d tell myself, “Today is the day. Today, you are going to speak your truth no matter WHAT Sally says or thinks about it. “You CAN do this.” I kept praying, practicing (on safe people), and learning.

Then one day, Sally completely invalidated me one last time, and I had just HAD IT. I opened my mouth, and a boundary came out!  I spoke my truth and there was nothing Sally could do about it. She looked down fuming. If smoke had a color, I likely would have been able to see it coming out of her ears. My palms were sweating like nobody’s business. My knees were knocking together. My thoughts were racing. And then…..nothing. Nothing bad happened. I was ok! I survived! I set a boundary and I didn’t die.

In fact, something very very good happened. I had now learned how to stand up and not shy away. My light was shining again! “SUCCESS! I stated my boundaries! I put it out there! I did it! This is awesome!” “NOW Sally will have a whole new respect for me!” I was SO happy with myself and all the hard work I had done.

As it turns out, just because you set a boundary, it doesn’t mean that people will respect them. Little did I know the real TEST was coming. Sally continued to push my boundaries over and over and over. AND she seemed to take pleasure in doing it! I mean she would literally smile when she delivered the next blow!

But you know what, I got better and better and better at taking care of myself. Sally had now become (of all things) my teacher. I was shocked that I was now actually very grateful for Sally. I was grateful because as hurtful as Sally’s behavior was, it caused me to dig deep – real deep. I had it in me all the while, I just didn’t know it. God was letting me learn a lesson that would serve me well for the rest of my life. So, never shy away from a challenge because God has your back. He just might be trying to teach you something.

Not long after having several “successful moments” with Sally, I started getting this feeling that I should stop talking about God in my life. What was this about? No one ever told me that it was a problem in this particular forum, but I just felt it in the room. It was palpable. You see, my spirit (the Jesus in me) was picking up on the darkness, and that is why I was feeling a little uneasy about including Jesus in my story. Again, fear had reared it’s ugly head.

Soon thereafter, Sally demanded that her “need” from “the group” (me) was to “stop telling stories!” As you can imagine, internally, I was in a tailspin. What did she just say? Oh no she di-int! This time, I stayed the course and told my “stories” anyway. That was part of the process. We were ALL there to tell our story. It was obvious that Sally did NOT like this one bit. She pitched all kinds of fits and went into the most passive aggressive behavior I had ever seen. I stayed the course.

I guess Sally finally had enough and announced to the group that she was not comfortable with “people” (me) using the word “God”. She said, “I feel bullied! I am the minority in this group and in the world! I feel like an outcast! This isn’t right, and it should NOT be allowed in this group!” Sally burst out with, “I’m an atheist! I don’t like having God shoved down my throat! I don’t believe in God. For me, there IS no God! I don’t have a God! I don’t know why I should have to sit here and listen to all of this talk about God!”  (Really there was not that much talk about God). Keep in mind that Sally was constantly suicidal and without hope, (her words) miserable on a daily basis (her words). She said over and over, “I have no reason to live.” Then she found out that she had an abdominal aneurysm (her third), and was now afraid to die!

I told Sally that I didn’t judge her for being an atheist. I told her that even if a door knob was her higher power, I still would not judge her. I told her my story about having practiced Catholicism, then practicing nothing, then making God a woman because it wasn’t safe for me to think of Him as a man (past issues). I told her that I even tried to become a Buddhist at one point, simply looking for serenity in my life. I explained to her that for me, God knew that I would eventually find him, and Jesus is my God in my life now. I told Sally that I didn’t want to be judged for my beliefs anymore than she did for hers. FINALLY Sally backed off. Finally.

Today was Sally’s last day in the group. I wished her well and told her to just keep doing what she’s doing toward her healing (practicing what we have learned). She looked at me and said, “Cydnee you are the funniest person I know, and your girls are really missing out on something special.” Then she smiled at me. I thanked her so much and, I promise you, I almost cried. I then made a quick exit because I was so overwhelmed with the goodness of God, I was afraid the “ugly cry” might be coming and I was ready to go!

If you ever find yourself in a situation similar to mine, I encourage you to use it to practice becoming stronger, learn how to set boundaries for yourself, and work toward becoming strong at “being a light in a dark place”. You never know what God can do when you plant a seed – even the tiniest tiniest seed. Never, never, never be ashamed to let your light shine no matter WHO doesn’t like it. Be kind to others and just let it shine.

Stay the course, pray, listen, then act in a way that is pleasing to God.

God has your back and He loves seeing you try your best.

Let your light shine!