Unexpected Refreshment for the Soul

Running on empty?

God knows exactly what you need even when you don’t.  He will replenish your soul, sometimes when you least expect it!

I’ve had a pretty packed schedule over the last few months, crisscrossing the country multiple times for work, family, and service obligations.  Mostly I don’t mind traveling or being busy, that’s just the way God made me.  But a “go-go-go” pace can be draining, even for people who were made for it.  Recently God intervened in the midst of my crazy schedule to refresh and replenish my soul in ways I didn’t see coming.

Isn’t it amazing how He takes care of us?

Just last year I was blessed to join the National Advisory Board for the Salvation Army.  Because I haven’t been with “The Army” long, I didn’t know what to expect when I headed to Florida at the end of April for the National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC).

Let me tell you, God is all over the Salvation Army.  Practically every time someone took the stage I was overwhelmed by God’s presence.

I cried more than once!

First we met Katie, a very special 6-year-old who’s Mom AND Dad served in the military.  When both of Katie’s parents were deployed to Iraq at the same time, Army members helped take care of her while she stayed with her grandparents.  Then, when Katie’s parents came home, the Army continued to support the family.  Katie’s Mom had served on the front lines, and yes, she shot people.  Her Dad had brain injuries from an explosion.  Her Mom couldn’t find a job after they returned and her Dad couldn’t work.  The Salvation Army took them “in” until they could get their feet on the ground.  Army volunteers did their best to treat Katie like a little princess and even sent her to Disney World to actually become one.  I was crying like a baby when Katie’s family appeared on stage and shared their story.  Without the Salvation Army their marriage may not have survived and Katie’s Mom may not have a job today.

Both Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager were attending the conference.  Jenna gave a wonderful keynote address about her life today and her book about serving those who need justice.  We all have to serve those around us in need.  It was fun to hear her describe her Mom and to see them to laugh together.  The former First Lady and her daughter seemed like many of my friends and their daughters, they love each other, they love others, and God is using them well.

That evening included an awards ceremony.  I was especially moved by two of the honorees, Mike Flewarty (founder of Walden Films- Charolott’s Web, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, etc.) and Glen Keane (creater of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladin, and more!).  Both men shared their testimonies and were so open about how God called them and worked in their lives, I was blubbering through their speeches!  When Keane spoke, he sketched on stage in front of 2000 attendees.  I thought that was the tops, but he went even further when he introduced Toni Benson, the voice of Ariel.  They shared God’s plan for them to work together and how they supported each other in ways that saved Toni’s life and marriage.

What a weekend!  It didn’t matter if the person was a part of a family almost ripped apart by the war in Iraq or was a famous movie producer, cartoonist, singer or the former First Lady.  It was so obvious by the end of the day that the God was the center of each person’s life and came into their lives when they were open to him and he was at their center.  Romans 8:11 came alive for me:

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”