… It’s a bit of a crazy world & what does brave faith look like in the middle of hard, unexpected realities? So I’ve been sitting with this book, The Gentle Art of Discipling Women, and Dana Yeakley explains that being an authentic disciple of Jesus springs from grasping four foundational realities: forgiveness received and offered to others; confidence that we are safe throughout our days; our ability to access our heavenly Father and hear His voice; and the assurance that we are becoming all that God has designed for us. It’s a grateful grace to welcome Dana to the farm’s front porch today…
This day was not like other days.
The sun was ablaze.
We had been experiencing overwhelming heat in the midst of a long-term drought.
Our one-month-old garden and landscape was greening up and flourishing thanks to our vast sprinkler systems, but on this day as I prepared to go spend some time with our two grandsons I noticed an orange twinge in the air outside. The smell of smoke and an incandescent haze seem to come from the west of us.
I did not hear sirens.
I thought, something is burning somewhere.
As I drove to our son’s home to pick up the boys, I caught sight of the problem. Just over the ridge of the foothills, massive flames were spewing up and out of the canyon.
No sirens yet.
When I picked up the boys from their neighbors, they went ballistic at the sight of the blaze shooting up. We huddled close in the driveway, and I prayed that God would take care of us, their parents, their neighbors, and their friends.
“Jesus, keep us all safe.”
Still feeling somewhat stunned we went back into their neighbors’ home and sat with them, viewing the “live” report: “Not under control. Not sure how it started. Firefighters are having a difficult time getting to this fire.”
Still no sirens?
Two days and nights passed. The fire, still not contained, began to spread to areas around the canyon. Fire commanders and their teams were working night and day to keep the surrounding communities safe. But an uncanny sense of doom filled the conversations and posture of those of us who lived there.
Three days after this fire started it went out of control. It blew up and out of the canyon and over the foothills toward our homes.
At last we heard sirens.
We evacuated. The scene was apocalyptic. The billowing clouds of smoke were stained a luminescent blood orange as they descended over our neighborhoods.
I am grateful that my husband was out of the country. Normally, I would count on Tom during moments like these.
But instead, as the fire made its way toward our home, Christ’s inner presence gave an ability to move in quiet strength as I faced multiple decisions and interactions.
I was bolstered with a strong sense of courage.
We were now members of a broad community given orders to evacuate. After a several decisive discussions via cell phone with my husband, I packed a few precious items, closed up our home, and headed out of town with my son and his family.
As our three cars caravanned south on the interstate, I took one last look in the direction of the descending inferno.
Though the impending destruction was falling upon homes of neighbors and friends, Christ calmed my spirit. I heard Him say almost audibly, “Don’t look back. I will keep you safe.”
I turned away from a scene that wanted to hold my gaze and create fear in my heart.
And then, much to my surprise, I began to sing some of my favorite songs that I learned as a child.
I am not a musical person, nor do I normally express myself through song.
But there I was, singing, of all things. A wave of calm came over me as my own voice serenaded me on my way:
“Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. . .every day with Jesus I love Him more and more. . .Jesus saves and keeps me. . .and He’s the one I’m living for. . .every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” (Robert Loveless, “Every Day with Jesus,” 1936).
Why was I singing?
Why was I relaxed?
Why was there a deep rolling joy flowing throughout my body?
Because in Christ I was safe!
I knew that no matter what happened, Jesus would take care of us.
Jesus had a plan to reach the world. He entrusted the gospel to eleven men and sent them out to tell others about Him. He was present with them, training them to live and disciple among the lost after His exit from earth into heaven.
We have also been entrusted with the sacred story of Jesus’ life and purposes. He desires for all to know Him and have eternal life. Eternal life is not a future posture. . .it starts today. And we can help other women in the come-and-go, daily experiences of life so that they are strong in Christ, ready to cope, confront, and walk through every rift or breach that comes their way in their life with Jesus.
The Gentle Art of Discipling Women is a simple yet detailed look at our need for authentic faith; the responsibility we have to pass that faith on through one-on-one discipleship; and practical, intentional ways we can disciple the women God places in our lives.
Called to mentor women, daughters? Start here. A must read for women leaders, mothers, and every woman who seeks to mentor.
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]