Following our 10 day Iceland adventure of cramped quarters, on the go travel and a never ending diet of starches, I decided to take a little downtime to catch up with myself. Now that I am traveling solo, I set a goal to transition my mind set, get some sleep and straighten out some “rare-to-me” digestive issues before taking this trip head on. I also wanted to take some alone time with God.
I found Aisling Guesthouse in Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland which is located abut 20 minutes outside of Dublin where I could have a private room to reassemble and regroup.
After I arrived the afternoon of July 22, I walked the 2km to/from the small town of Ashbourne to pick up a few groceries at Aldi. Yep, they have them here too! Instead of going out to eat, groceries are going to become really important as I now have to watch my pennies, pence, cents or whatever other currency I come upon.
On Saturday, July 23, I didn’t leave my room. I slept, took a shower, dealt with my digestive issues (let’s face it, these things are part of life), did a little research on churches in Dublin, started a Bible study on Genesis and relaxed. What a great day to unwind and gear up for what is to come.
On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending All Nations Church in Dublin. What a fantastic experience. When I walked in the door, I instantly joined a crowd of people from all different walks of life, backgrounds and ethnicities praising Jesus to songs I already knew. The lead pastor asked who was visiting for the first time – As the only American I was in good company with a woman from Trinidad and a family from Brazil who also raised their hands. The small group of maybe 60 people all unified in song and worship was amazing. The lead pastor delivered a very passionate and energetic sermon about belief in Life, Love and the Lord, which received vocal agreements and encouragement from attendees. The end of the service however, is where my heart was touched the most. I believe this experience was meant for me specifically to observe because it is a church community aspect I have been longing for.
A woman who is a regularly involved in the All Nations Church congregation approached the pastor (DURING THE SERVICE mind you, gasp!) to see if she could share what has been happening in her life this past week. She appeared to be of more Middle Eastern descent and spoke very clear English with only a hint of an accent. She started by saying that she felt a pressing on her heart to share her story and speak to the glory of God in her circumstances from the previous week. She said, “to not share what He is in the middle of doing would rob him of His glory. It would not be right.”
She shared how she was called in to work on her off day to find out she was being let go due to not having visa papers yet. She said that she has been waiting on them for some time and has not been able to find out why they are held up. With fear and sadness of having to tell her children, she said that instead of picking up her phone, she went to the foot of the cross in prayer and song. A matter of days later, the same job called her back to say that they really want her to continue working for them and will try to extend her time as long as she gets her visa soon. She praised God for his faithfulness and spoke of the deep peace in the midst of her circumstance that only He can provide. Immediately following her story, the pastor and the church prayed over her situation asking for the visa to come through this week.
Here’s what I loved about this scenario: This woman is smack dab in the middle of her situation. It has not been figured out yet. She testified to her own choice to lay down her fear, frustration, anger, defeat and instead, look for God to work out the outcome of her circumstances. She still has to jump through the legal hoops but with much greater confidence and hope. Then, she was allowed to speak to her entire church congregation so they could be praying with her. What is that going to do? It’s going to let miracles happen for the entire church to see. Now, they are all on high alert to see what and how God is going to answer her prayer(s). How much more in the moment could this church be? If there are people sitting in the audience who are “on the fence” about God and His unfailing love, what an amazing way to let them be part of the miracle in their own community. I’m telling you what, there are people watching to see how her situation unfolds.
This thought has been coming back to me over and over in the past 4-6 month: If we continue to pray and ask for God to reveal signs, wonders and miracles but are not publicly acknowledging even the smallest of miracles He IS doing right in front of our faces, then why on earth are we bothering to continue asking?