Sometimes I have trouble sleeping, so I’m careful to practise good sleep hygiene. I close the blinds and curtains on my bedroom window, and turn the clock face away from my sightline. My bladder insists I get up to void it at least once a night; that means I need to close the vertical blinds on the glass wall of my living room. I even cover the clocks on my stove and microwave, and the peephole in my front door. All precautions are taken to ensure the possibility of good sleep. I control what I can and leave the rest to God’s good graces.
Leading the tiny band of faithful women on Manitoulin was a joy. But there was one day that it was a real challenge for me. My friend and co-facilitator suffers from migraines and our second day there, she was blindsided. Prayer and desperate pleading under my breath changed nothing. She had to stay behind and sleep it off.
There I was, in that lovely nursery playroom where our little group met, spreading out on three comfy couches and 2 armchairs. We had a laptop and projector and displayed the visuals on the wall. I had watched my friend do it, she told me the steps to follow, and I trusted the Lord to help me. OK. I plugged in and turned on the laptop, which politely requested a password which – surprise, surprise – I did not have. I phoned my sick sleeping sister and got no response, left a voice mail message. Then tried to think of what to do.
God is good. If He gives you a job to do He helps you to do it. I decided honesty was the best policy and explained the situation to the ladies. Then I confessed my fear of public speaking and said how nervous I was. Over the past 2 days, I had come across a passage from Exodus in my quiet time and devotional readings – about the 12 spies who returned from the promised land, with 10 saying no way could they go in and take it, and 2 saying, let’s go, God will help us!. One of study notes in my Bible said the 10 were afraid of failure so they didn’t even want to try. If you don’t try, you can’t fail. I confessed I often struggled with those kinds of feelings.
This led to some good conversation and sharing; each of the women admitting that they, too, felt the same way! So we encouraged one another. I decided to play the CD of the Father’s Love Letter. We had printed out the words and I gave each woman a copy, suggesting that they underline or check any lines that stood out to them. After listening to the rich masculine tones of the narrator, lovingly describing God’s love for us, His children, we sat silently for a moment or two. Then we shared the responses of our hearts.
One of the ladies was moved by the last line of the poem and we turned in our Bibles to the story of the prodigal son, as told in the gospel of Luke. After she read it, I pointed at each of the women and myself and said, “We are each a prodigal”.
We ended with prayer, some chat and laugh, as we went downstairs to join the children’s group for lunch. Thank you Lord, I said, for your flickering flame today!