Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Providential Meeting

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 6:30 a.m.- Wednesday, June 11 3:45

There was no supernatural help packing yesterday. Just me, up to my old travel tricks...running around scattered and hysterical trying to cram one more unnecessary, extraneous object into the seam-busted suitcase. I left out the only truly critical items, so they will have to be overnighted. Guess I shouldn’t get cocky about being so coolly bi-coastal.

My dear friend Betty had gamely volunteered to attempt the airport run. Off we sped, 30 or 40 minutes past alleged departure time, my husband urging haste and concentration as we laughed and started gabbing away to make up for lost time. When we hit Loganville, Betty asked if Conyers was on down the road a bit. We had blabbed our way right past the turn-off to 1-20. Thelma and Louise had a blast following “Mrs. Garmin’s” directions through rural Georgia...“Turn left in 0.6 miles at Hog Wallow Road onto Skunk Creek Trail.” We commented about how charming the scenery was, and noted that we’d have missed it if we hadn’t detoured. I was thinking about how I’d wile the time away at the airport waiting for the evening flight, when it finally looked like God was doing one of his time-warp things and we’d make it. But, Hartsfield within tantalizing sight, we were stopped in our tracks by a farm tractor slowly moving construction debris out of the lane to the North Terminal. Betty and I looked at each other. She doesn’t get as hysterical as I do. I remembered some of our Three Stooges road trips to Mississippi. Suddenly, I didn’t care if I missed the flight or not....we’ve had first-hand experience that everything always works out in the end. It is true that God takes care of drunks and fools.

Against all (human) odds, I made it to the gate a little before departure time. Although there was a long line waiting to confer with the airline representatives, I decided to take my husband’s advice and try to upgrade. Seconds before boarding time, I made it almost to the front of the line, just to hear the rep tell the man in front of me that there was one upgrade left on the plane. When she told him the price, he hesitated. I prayed. He said, “Never mind” and stomped off. I flashed that Visa out in about 2 seconds flat.

Now I need to tell you that I love to change locations, but I despise the process. Traveling stinks. I hate airports, airplanes, 2 oz. fluids in Ziplocs, strip searches, crowds, and germs. I get nauseated taking off and landing. My ears pop, my head hurts, my neck hurts, my back hurts. I am not a fun traveling companion. And I really don’t like to talk to whatever unlucky soul happens to get the seat next to me.

In the days prior to leaving for California, I had been fighting off all thoughts about what it would be like when I got here. I’m better than Katie Scarlett in thinking about unpleasant realities ‘tomorrow’.... I can sometimes postpone it indefinitely. I had made a date with myself to think about it on the trip, since I’d probably be miserable anyway. I was relieved to find a serious-looking Asian man working on his laptop in the seat next to mine. Probably working on a presentation for some million-dollar meeting, I thought. This was confirmed in my mind when we later exchanged initial pleasantries and he told me he was flying to LA from Raleigh for a two-hour meeting, and then flying back again. Then he started asking about me. When I gave him an abbreviated version of why I was flying to LA, he looked deeply concerned. “Do you mind if I pray for you?” he asked. (Do I mind???) Then we finally introduced ourselves, and he handed me his card. It said: GRACE MISSION MINISTRIES, Rev. Joshua Moon. I think it must have shocked him a little when I started laughing. (I’m sorry, but anyone who doesn’t think God has a sense of humor must not know him that well.)

Josh asked me many questions about Katherine’s situation. He asked me about how the other family members were being affected. He wanted details about the AVM rupture. He wrote down her caringbridge site. He took notes. He explained that praying is his gift. He told me that it is not uncommon for Korean churches to have prayer groups that meet at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. They take it that seriously. He would get the word out to pray immediately. You see, the meeting he was going to was not a powerhouse of slick business executives, but a convergence of 15 Asian pastors from all over the country who are board members of a mission in Mongolia. He told me they would begin their meeting with intercessory prayers for Katherine, and then these pastors would fly home to their own congregations and pass it on...and on and on. All around the world! I believe him. This man’s got credentials when it comes to persevering in prayer: He and his wife prayed for children for fourteen years....and God gave them triplets at age forty! Their pictures were adorable.

He asked if I had a picture of Katherine. I rarely carry pictures in my purse, but I’d thrown a stack in that morning in an effort to clean off the mantel. I gave him one, which he clipped to his notes. Something came up about the blogs. He said he would like to read them. The first time I have ever printed any out was that morning. (I wanted to read one to Katherine without taking the whole laptop in.) I gave him those as well. He read them then and there and asked if he could keep them to share with others. Then my new brother and I held hands in that First Class cabin and prayed. We kept right on praying as the flight attendant delivered my Cape Cod. We prayed over the loudspeaker and the loud passengers, oblivious to the looks that must have been shooting our way. When we finished, Rev. Moon told me that he wasn’t even supposed to be sitting in that seat. He had upgraded just before I did because of a disk problem, too.

Obviously, I am finishing this the day after I started it. When I went into Katherine’s room yesterday afternoon, she was very sad. I told her this story to cheer her up, and then showed her Rev. Moon’s card. I read the scriptures printed on the back. The second one was 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” I told her that was what she was going to do.

She lifted her arm up into the air and made a strong fist.

***************

Providence: a:divine guidance or care b:God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny. (Webster’s)

Providence: literally foresight, but is generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes. (Easton’s)

19 comments:

plilr said...

Wow. Everything really does happen for a reason. Thank you for being so forthright and honest with your feelings about what you are going through. Although I don't know you personally, but I continually check all the websites for any news on Katherine, it really does make me feel more connected to the situation and makes me want to pray even harder than I already am. I am continually amazed at how her situation has brought so many people from around the world together and I am so grateful that she is recovering. Every little accomplishment is so precious. You and your family and Jay and James are always in my prayers too.

Jessica Billings said...

Wow, wow, WOW! Reading your blog is like a spiritual breath of fresh air for me. It's like God confirming His presence to me - that He really is here with me and that He still performs miracles today. It's like you hear of these things, but I never think of it as happening to me...maybe if I slowed down and paid attention though. I'm so thankful for your blog and thankful for Katherine's sweet life... she seems like someone so special and if anyone can make it through this, it's her. I'm praying that her spirit be lifted and that she remembers to "keep fighting the good fight". She really is a champ! Thanks for the encouragement tonight :)

3girlsmom said...

God rocks. This was awesome.
Praise Him!

Carine said...

Kim - thank you for sharing your thoughts and prayers. My mom was in room 8 of the ICU (right across from Katherine's). Jay reached out to us that first day in the waiting room and we have been so thankful for your family's warmth, compassion and faith ever since. It has helped us to open our hearts at a devastating time for us. We will be forever grateful. You have given me words of encouragement and love and for this I thank you. I will keep praying for strength for Jay, Katherine, James and your family. Wishing you continued strength and courage - Love, Carine

JourneytoFamily said...

That was inspiring, and beautiful and amazing. Our God is an awesome God.

Michael Pham aka G-baby said...

Dear Sister,

Thank you for sharing your story.

I am a part of Grace Mission Ministry and Pastor Moon shared his meeting with you at our prayer meeting this morning and we prayed and will definitely continue to pray for you and your family.

God Bless and let us truly rest in the hands of Christ Jesus!

In Christ,
Michael

I Think You Should said...

What an amazing story. Rest assured that Rev. Moon is not the only one spreading the word to pray for Katherine.

seasonal_learner said...

That is such a beautiful story about God's goodness. I'm really enjoying reading your blog. Please let Katherine know that even people that she was merely acquainted with are praying for her.

suzirockett said...

WOW WOW I had to stop reading about three times because I could not read through the tears.Just when you needed it most...perhaps God gives you a shot in the arm of His grace is care and how much he wants you to know He is in the heart of this with all of you.
Again thank you for sharing so honestly what you are going through.
You said once just skip your words and read the comments of course I could never do that as I am so blessed by your thoughts but what an out pouring of love that contiunes to suround you all. May you feel its full measure covering you today. So much love and prayers.

Bear said...

There is no such thing as coincidence with God. This is truly awesome. I have 'glory bumps' all over my arms. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this story. I am praying for Katherine here in Indiana. I found a prayer request for Katherine (by coincidence...HA)on another blog, this person didn't know Katherine either, she had found the prayer request on someone else's blog. We are truly united in prayer for your princess. I love you, Kim...keep pressing on. Genah
email: thebeargirl at gmail dot com

The Yartym's said...

God is so good. You have inspired me today. I am always in prayer for sweet Katherine and your entire family.

Erika said...

Kim,

Your posts always move me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing. Katherine is in my prayers every day, as are you, Jay, and James. I agree with Rev. Moon- it is an honor and privilege to pray for you.

-Erika Finn

Abby said...

Kim-

What a powerful story! I'm a friend/acquaintance of Katherine's from college (a good friend of Catherine Cilker) and have been praying for your dear Katherine. Please tell her that I think about her multiple times a day and pray for her throughout my days. I have a little girl a few weeks older than James and Jesus has really put her on my heart. I sometimes physically feel what emotional pain she must be going through right now being separated from her sweet baby so much.
My love and prayers are with you, your precious Katherine and of course Jay and James.

-Abigail (Price) Mullins

JMoseley said...

We have never met- I only briefly met Katherine while a member of FBC Montgomery a few years ago, but I had to share with you what God is doing in my life through you. I have three daughters of my own (ages 6, 3 and 6 months) and after reading your blogs I want to be that kind of mother for them. I want to be a prayer warrior on their behalf, interceding for them in areas they don't even know exist yet. Thank you for being real and for your godly wisdom. You encourage me to be a better person.

Allison said...

You overwhelm me, Mrs. Kim. Every blog I read restores my faith and brings forth a sense of God's compassion.
Part of my devotion this morning reminded me of Katherine and I wanted to share it with you:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isiah 43: 2-3

Kim Arnold said...

WOW is right! Your comments make ME cry! Thank each and every one of you for the amazing encouragement. I'd hate to go through this experience without the daily bread and water of your life-restoring words.

Carine, vous et votre famille restent dans mes prieres. Dieu vous benit.

Michael, you have a wonderful pastor! My deepest gratitude to your church for praying. Thank you for calling me sister...it's reminds me that we are one big beautiful family!

Allison, that is one of my favorite passages...I'll read it to Katherine this morning when she gets back from PT. She'll need it.

Thank you all, faithful friends! I'd love to meet you one day!

AS said...

i just....it's just incredible. it's almost too much to comprehend. i'm just so in awe of the Lord. so in awe. and yet not surprised. i love being a child of the Lord. What an exciting Lord we have. Thank you for sharing Kim. The stories within stories within stories....
love,
ab

Kristen said...

Your blog encourages me deeply. I am recovering quite well from an aneurysm rupture but have good days and bad days. Thank you for your example to me. I pray for you and Katherine especially.

Linda Tracy said...

Kim,
As a member of Faith I get the prayer requests for Katherine. I had brain surgry in 1999 and spent 9 months in hospitals, rehab centers and nursing homes. I had to relearn how to do everything. But my family and friends never gave up on me. They encouraged me to get better and I did. But the prayer support from so many people was what helped me the most. Please let Katherine know that God has a plan for her life. She is here for a reason and in time she'll know what the reason is.