It was a Tuesday evening and we were sitting on the gymnasium floor after dinner and the boys were dribbling the basketballs again. It didn’t matter how many times I hid them when they were not around; teenage boys have a radar for this kind of thing and it was never long before the screeches of sneakers against the sleek resin of the hardwood floors and the bounce-bounce-bounce of the multiple games of one-on-one and the cheering and the shouting echoed the padded walls of this not-quite-large-enough gym that the lot of us called home for the week.
We sat next to one another in a small circle as far away from the ongoing game as we could. I had already showered but somehow still felt like the fields of central Oklahoma—covered in debris and scorched by the heat of a Midwestern July.
“It is a mystery to me how they still have the energy to play basketball after hours of physical labor in the hot sun,” I told her, laughing I said it. We had already been here for days, spending most of our waking hours removing debris from farm fields and rebuilding houses and neighborhoods destroyed by the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma in the spring of that year. The days were long. Somehow the boys kept playing.
She smoothed her hair and arranged a few of the belongings she had underneath her cot.
“It’s true.” The group she brought from northern Texas was almost entirely made up of middle school girls. They made duct tape flowers and willingly prayed over grieving mothers in hope tents. “Who knows?” she said smiling.
There are some people you meet in life that you know walk the talk everyone else spends their life just babbling about. They know they carry the Spirit in them and really believe in the power of God. They are genuinely more interested in his plans more then any other thing they could conjure up themselves. They carry his peace quite tangibly. They’re perfectly pleased with being mouthpieces and instruments in the greater orchestra of heaven’s heartbeat. Such people are rare gifts in this life.
She was such a person. A kind-hearted prophet if I’d ever met one.
Earlier, she asked if Robin had a moment so that she could pray over her about the next season of her life. Robin was preparing to move to a new missions base in Guatemala in September, and was figuring out those details as we led our team. I stood nearby and asked to join along.
So we laid hands and laid out concessions: for wisdom and discernment for Robin in this new season, for peace in the transition, for purpose to be found only in the Lord. And when we finished, we opened our eyes and the woman took a deep breath and said very pensively, “Does that missions base work with orphanages?” Robin said she didn’t know, but she didn’t think so. I took a sip of water.
“Well, I sense the Lord saying that you’re going to be working with orphanages down there.” I smiled big, Robin sighed undecidedly, and the woman laughed with a deep delight that mystified me entirely. I wondered about what she was saying, about the mechanics of it all. What might it look like? Secret hopes began to take root in my heart—if only, if only, if only. But I still had a semester of school to finish. Oh, this restless heart of mine. Perhaps another day.
We finished our chat and then gathered everyone for our evening worship session. I made sure to journal our conversation that night in the lit hallway to the bathroom, rapid scribbles in a dilapidated notebook, because I knew we were standing quite inexplicably on the borderlands of something holy.
(Check out part 2 here.)