It was one of those days I have come to expectantly treasure. My devotional time with the Lord had been especially meaningful earlier that morning. God had ministered to me about the condition of my heart and I was still basking in the goodness of His attentive love. The trail my husband and I were walking was lined with trees and flowers in spring’s full bloom and pleasant fragrances delighted my sense of smell. We were immersed in conversation when my cell phone rang. On the line was a friend I have known for 20 years.
Evita is an internationally known and published visual collage artist. She also is a self taught gourmet raw food chef whose call to ministry is to promote optimal physical health through the consumption of nutrient dense raw foods.
Evita had called that particular morning in a stressful quandary over a choice she was being pressed to make over the next 24 hours. She had recently taken in Sandy, a homeless young woman from her church who was struggling to make positive changes in her life. Sandy’s life had been a hard one. She had become pregnant at the age of 15 and 4 years later suffered the loss of her young child. Evita had determined to impact her life in a positive meaningful way. “I love her like a daughter and just want to see her do well” was the sentiment she expressed.
One week after taking in this young woman, Evita’s life had been turned on edge. The high end condominium she had occupied for the past 3 years had been sold and the new owner had served an eviction notice that she was to vacate in two weeks. This was particularly stressful because this condominium had been a foreclosure property when she moved in. The bank had allowed her to occupy the property by simply covering the Home Owners Association fees – a small sum of $300 per month. Normally, this 2100 square foot condominium in Uptown would rent for $2400/mo.
At the same time she was being served eviction she was trying to pull together enough money to go on the Tom Joyner Cruise. This elaborate star-studded event is hosted by celebrity Tom Joyner to raised scholarship funds for students attending historic black colleges and universities. Mr Joyner will lease an entire cruise ship and then sell cabins to celebrities who will cruise with him for a week. Aboard ship are specially selected artists with booths displaying their art. This year Evita was invited to occupy one of those coveted booths where an artist is known to easily make as much as $40,000 in art sales. Having just suffered from a slow year due to the economic down-turn, she was excited with the prospect of selling some of her pieces. An added benefit was that she would celebrate her 50th birthday aboard ship.
The complication of an eviction notice meant that in the middle of preparing for the cruise she would have to either find a new place to live and get moved in prior to leaving or pack her belongings and store them until she returned. The probability of quickly finding another affordable place to live was looking increasingly more remote as she scanned the newspaper and saw figures like $1200/mo for small neglected properties in rough neighborhoods.
“I was led to call you this morning because you are a business-woman and I need to make a decision related to my business” she finally said. Knowing immediately that this conversation was a divine appointment I sent up one of those quick pray-as-you-go prayers, “Lord, what do you want me to tell her?” Not even a minute passed when the reply came. “Ask her what’s in her heart”. When I posed this question about the desire of her heart Evita began to talk about Sandy and her desire to help her get grounded spiritually and financially. She was concerned that if she went on the cruise this young woman would again be left homeless and this would give the enemy a chance to cause doubt and despondency in her life. “I don’t want my decision to be based in selfishness” she said for the third time. At this point it became clear to me the answer for her was to forgo the cruise and to do what was in the best interest of Sandy. Knowing that this situation for Evita was one of those forks in the road where we prove to God that we would rather work His program than our own and that we are ready to go to the next level in walking with Him, I felt confident that He would show up and show out for her in finding her a place to live and in any other way he was looking to move her forward in life.
A few days after deciding to stay home and minister to Sandy, Evita called to say she had found a new home for herself and Sandy. It is a 3 bedroom, 3000 square foot condominium with a very large gourmet kitchen in the “old money” section of the city in which she lives – not far from the residence of a former US president. This condominium would normally rent for $3000 a month, but because it had set empty for the past 2 years Evita was able to rent it for $1500 a month. Also, a large corporation has agreed to purchase 6 of her works of art for a new construction slated to open in a month. Lastly, her raw foods ministry has become so busy she will need to hire more help to keep up.
God is waiting to take each of us to the next level of walking with Him. He often arranges circumstances that place us in a position where we can see with clarity those things that call our attention away from His divine purpose for us. It is our responsibility to see the place he has brought us to and to choose that which he reveals to be his will for our lives. When the choice we make is based in love, God will honor our choice blessing the works of our hands and take us to the next level in terms of the true work he has for us in the master’s vineyard. Praise be to God for His relentless desire to develop us to our full potential.