|Posted on September 27, 2014 at 12:15 AM|
Hey all, this is not a part of the regular 1 Corinthians thing that I’m doing (and that should be up sometime today, if not then look for it on Sunday when I come back from a retreat I’m going to in Montreal). This is going into a whole new category because this is something new that He has done that just needs to be shared with everyone – and I have a feeling that it will only be the beginning.
So, what happened? Why the deviation? And who is this “Melanie” in the title of the post?
As my psychology professor said this morning: “Hold your horses”. I’m getting there! You guys need to receive a bit of background information first or the significance of what He did will not be properly understood.
Let’s begin with this irrefutable fact: I, Sana’ Keren Cynthia Noelle Richards, am not a morning person. I never have been. I remember as a little girl, not wanting to get up from bed to go to school – not because I didn’t like it; I love(d) learning – but because the sun was still sleeping so I should be as well. I remember being in third or fourth grade and going to bed between 10 pm and 1 am at night. I was put to bed at an earlier time, but I’d stay up reading or playing with my Gameboy or playing with my Tamagotchi (90s kids know what I’m talking about and sorry to my parents for the deception).
This was all to say that I’ve always been a night owl. I study better at night, I tend to write most of my poems/songs at night, I do little projects (like redesigning my swimsuit by adding more material) in the night hours. I even prefer cleaning at night, just ask my mother. She’d wake up to the bathroom being spotless courtesy of yours truly.
It is for all those reasons that I’ve always scorned the idea of waking up early in the morning to pray or read my Bible.
God made me like this, I’d reason, He knows I’m not a morning person. So, I’d spend time with Him in prayer or read His Word at midnight – when I could either be super alert or super exhausted – and sometimes I would even slack on that and then try to squeeze Him in sometime in the afternoon in between school, tutoring kids and my volunteering.
Suffice it to say, my prayer life and Word life have not been what they should over the years. More so my prayer time than anything else. I could always read His Word on the bus or at school or in the library and it would feel natural to me. But praying in those places? I don’t think so. My prayer life has been a struggle for a long time between my flesh and His Holy Spirit living in me. If in my posts, I ever sound like I have it all together or have always been perfect or some other lie that would negate His grace please dispose of those immediately. Everything remotely good about me stems from the roots of His love, grace and peace. Not by my own doing.
So, going back to the point of this post, I was recently challenged by the book: Set Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy (it’s excellent, every young woman of God needs to read that book and for my brothers, check out the books by her husband, Eric Ludy) lent to me by a sister in Christ that God has blessed me with on campus. The book challenged me in so many ways, guys, but the main one was in prayer. We’ve already gone over the struggle of that. She said to choose a time in the day and stick with it. Make an appointment with God and keep it every day regardless of how you’re feeling.
I am a university student (shoutout to all my Gaels out there) and my schedule is all over the place. Lectures, seminars, tutorials, time assigned to my readings or pre-class work and time to get in three meals a day all come together to give me a ridiculously busy week. The only time that I could consistently spend time with Him every day would be before 8 o’clock. In the morning.
When I realised this, a part of me cried out: NO! I’m not a morning person. I can’t do this, Lord.
And it was a defining moment for me: do I move into a deeper stage of my relationship with Him by taking this step or do I just continue on with how I was living, being in a relationship with Him but not being committed to Him?
I chose to be committed and picked the time 6:19 because it’s my birthday on a clock; June (6) 19th (19). And every day for almost two weeks now (it will be two weeks on this coming Tuesday) I’ve been doing this. Getting up and being quiet so that I don’t wake up my roommate, putting on sweats and walking down to the lake for worship and prayer (I go to the lake because it has captivated me since day one and it is a less than 5 minute walk from my residence). The first half an hour is usually just me singing in an awful and loud morning voice to Him (most people awake at this time are joggers and have music in so I don’t worry about volume) and then the second half is me praying to Him (I have a list on my IPod with things to pray for so that I won’t forget anything important). Then I head back in to my residence and spending time in the Word with Him and I finish all of this approximately by 8-8:30 so that I can begin my full-time job as a student.
Y’all, it’s been amazing. It’s – dare I say it – better than sleeping in. I could have gotten 2 hours of sleep or 8 hours of sleep (HA) the night before and I am still rejuvenated when I’m with Him.
I really must say that there’s no better way to start the day or spend your time than with Him.
And that’s not to sound spiritual or superior, I just have not felt His peace and joy in such abundance before committing to Him like this. But, I’m not going to lie, there have been mornings when I would lie on my very comfortable dorm bed and think to God : Lord, I’m really tired. I don’t really want to get up right now. And He’ll urge me to get up and I will and then we have such a great time together that I see how silly it would have been to miss out on that – until the next morning or the morning after that when suddenly I’m too tired and don’t want to get up again.
This morning was one of those mornings. I had been up until 3 a.m. doing my introduction to psychology work and when my alarm woke me at just after 6, I was very tempted to just sleep in. I was so ready, but it’s like … He was sitting on the edge of my bed, patting my knee and gently nudging me to get out of bed because we were going to spend some time together. So, I got up and we did.
And now we get to the purpose of this post, what happened this morning.
I witnessed a gorgeous sunrise and was woken up completely as if I had gotten 3 times the amount of sleep I’d really received. And as I’m worshipping, I’m just going all out. You know what I mean, hands up in the air, eyes closed. I’m just gone. I did struggle about whether that would look too weird to people passing by, but then I realised they have no clue who I am and I cannot allow worry about what a random jogger might think of me stop me from being completely unashamed in worshipping my God.
So, confident in my decision, I go back to worshipping. And during my less than stellar rendition of Rooftops by Jesus Culture, I happen to open my eyes and see a woman jogging by. She smiles at me and I start to wonder if I know her from somewhere but my memory doesn’t produce anything and she just continues on so I decide to let the experience go and get back to focusing on Him. It’s great, of course because it’s with Him, and as the song is dwindling down I open my eyes to see that same woman coming back and coming towards me to where I’m sitting on my rock.
This, if you haven’t already been able to guess, is Melanie.
She’s from Vancouver, she tells me.
She’s a believer, she tells me.
She heard me singing worship songs and wants to join me in one, she tells me.
I’m just completely stunned as this is taking place. I’m still stunned and I don’t think that I will ever not be completely in awe of how God worked in my life through Melanie on September 26, 2014.
So (after we introduce ourselves), we sing Oceans together. Oceans is by Hillsongs United and is one of my favourite songs of all time, it is my university life song. Suffice it to say: look up the song if you haven’t already heard it.
Back to the point, we sing Oceans together and we’re just worshipping and it doesn’t matter how we sound or how we look, it’s about the fact that God has connected two of His daughters at this point and time to bring Him glory and that’s wonderful. After the song is done, Melanie asks me if she can pray for me.
Like, I’m really going to say no. Come on now.
That was amazing in itself. I aspire to pray the way she does, not to imitate her or use her language or anything but to pray so completely submitted to the Spirit. There were times when Melanie would pause and I just knew that she was listening to the Holy Spirit tell her what to pray for because then she’d pray about something personal going on within me that she would have no way of knowing otherwise. It was incredible.
I’m going to mention one of the things she said in prayer, only because it actually relates to this post. She said (to paraphrase): “Thank you, Lord, that Sana’ is so diligent in spending time in the morning with you in prayer.”
Y’all, what did I say before? I’m not a morning person.
What had happened just that morning? I wasn’t going to get up.
And here was a clear message from my Father saying “Good job, daughter. I’m proud of you.” Like getting ice cream or a cinnamon bun from my earthly father when I would come home with good grades on my report card; but a million times better.
It was a spiritual cinnabon.
The whole morning was a Miracle Moment.
And I could’ve easily missed it. There are so many “ifs” that could’ve taken place for me not to have such a phenomenal experience with my Heavenly Father this morning. And I was this close guys, this close to cuddling back with Terra (my teddy bear since infancy) and going back to sleep.
If I hadn’t been obedient to Him, this post wouldn’t even be happening – and that’s the truth. I received such a grace-filled gift and blessing from Him this morning because I was obedient.
It makes me think, how many blessings or gifts have we forfeited because we haven’t been obedient? How many missed “Melanie Moments” have we accumulated because we did what we wanted, because we listened to our flesh, because we wanted to satisfy our desires?
And how many “Melanie Moments” does He have in store for us? It’s literally mind-blowing and humbling to think that He would not only just save us and adopt us into His family, but that He would also bless us like this. It’s just so Him.
So, I encourage you to be obedient to Him. Be committed to Him. Live your life outpoured for Him.
Amazing things take place. Supernatural events occur.
Comment if you’ve ever had a “Miracle/Melanie Moment” and reach out to me whenever they come. With your permission, I can post them up here for people to see that God didn’t just work in amazing, miraculous, supernatural ways in Bible times.
He works like that every day and He has tons of “Miracle/Melanie Moments” in store for each of us.
*** and just in case you're wondering, we did exchange info and intend to keep in touch. #GodIsGood #FamilyOfChrist