The Links in the Chain
Many years ago........ sounds like the beginning of a story and so I guess it is. It is a story about my walk with God. It is the story of my walk with a personal, loving, caring, Holy, involved God. Many of you know that I grew up in a Christian home where both of my parents loved God and where both of my parents prayed for me and where they both tried to teach me about what God was like. They taught me from a very young age that God was involved in my life, that He cared about me and that He would be my guide all through life if I followed Him closely. To that end I remember as a young adult in college that I received an article from my mother in the mail. The article was torn out of a Christian magazine that she received each month. The title of the article was "The Links in the Chain" and at the top of the article she had written to me "I thought this was really good". I still have the article because I thought it was really good too. The pages are getting yellow and the creases where she had folded the article into an envelop are getting very worn and yet I keep this precious article because 46 years later it is still an encouragement to me. It reminds me that the things my parents taught me about God are absolutely true and it encourages me to trust God when things look like they don't make a bit of sense.
The article that my mother sent me was about the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, and how Joseph's life looked completely out of control. It looked as if God had completely abandoned Joseph, when in reality, God was guiding and caring for Jacob and his family. Joseph went through some horrible experiences, none of which were any fault of his own. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused of attempting to rape the wife of an Egyptian official and because of this accusation Joseph, an innocent man, was thrown into prison. In all these horrible experiences of injustice, "The Lord was with Joseph" (Genesis 39:2) and God was putting the links of chain together. These links would ultimately build a strong fence of protection and blessing around Joseph and his entire family. The bottom line of the article my mother sent me back in 1971 and the bottom line in the Bible story about Joseph which occurred in 1898 BC is that God is in control and we can trust Him in all things.
So fast forward from 1898 BC and 1971 to 2015 in Wellington, Colorado. Back in January of this year Ed, Meredith and I participated in a "count" to count the number of homeless people in Fort Collins, Colorado. The count required us to interview as many homeless people as we could during a given period of time. It was my participation in this count which led me to cross paths with a homeless single mother with three children. My interaction with this amazing woman was the subject of one of my blogs called "What I Saw Standing In Line With Homeless People" written on January 30, 2015. Soon after I wrote this blog, I received an email from a woman who was letting me know that she had read my blog and that she was very interested in the work we were doing here at Soaring Wings Ministries. She asked how she could pray for us and if there was anything she and her daughter could do to help with Soaring Wings Ministries to let her know. I had never met this woman but I did write back to her and gave her ways that she could be praying for Soaring Wings Ministries. One of our prayer requests at that time was for a professional architect to draw up some plans for an addition. This addition would be used to house a homeless family or several single young adults. We needed these professionally developed plans to submit to the county for a building permit. We did not know how to draw up these plans ourselves, we did not have the money to pay a professional architect and we did not know any architects in the area who were willing to donate their time for this project. I received an email back from this woman and she let me know that her daughter was studying architecture as part of her high school curriculum and her daughter would be glad to take on our building plans as a project. We were grateful for the help and we were willing to let her take on this project. We met together, shared our ideas with her and she drew up several drawings. The project was more than she had time or training to develop any further and so she arranged for us to meet with an architectural firm where she was serving as an intern down in Golden, Colorado. Ed and Meredith went down to meet with two architects from this firm in Golden. They sat down together and discussed our plans for the addition here at Soaring Wings Ministries, These two architects were Christian men who believed in reaching out to serve those in need and so they offered to donate their time and talents to draw up these plans for our addition at no cost to Soaring Wings Ministries. A few weeks later we received in the mail professionally developed building plans which we submitted to Larimer County for their approval and in August we received our building permit for the addition.
The links in the chain.......needing an architect, participating in a count of homeless people, meeting an amazing homeless single Mom, writing about this in a blog, the blog being read by a stranger, the stranger reaching out to us, the daughter who had an interest in architecture, the daughter who was willing to offer her time and beginning talents, the internship of the daughter at an architectural firm, the architectural firm employing two Christian architects, the two Christian architects willing to meet with two people from Soaring Wings Ministries, the two Christian architects offering their services to Soaring Wings Ministries free of charge, the completion of professionally developed building plans, the submission of the building plans to Larimer County for approval, the approval of the building plans with no problems whatsoever, and an official building permit obtained from Larimer County for the addition to house to help the homeless. No matter how hard we tried we never would have been able to plan out these "links in the chain" through our own efforts. All these links. which ultimately led to Soaring Wings Ministries receiving professional done building plans and our receiving our building permit, are the result of a loving, caring God who hears our prayers and who is involved in our lives to bring about His will.
God truly is involved in our lives. God truly is in control when everything seems out of control. God truly is working all things together for our good and for His glory. If you have never read the Bible story of Joseph, you have missed out on an amazing story and I would encourage you to take the time to read it. You can find it in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis. The story of Joseph begins in Chapter 37 and continues through the end of Genesis in Chapter 50. It is a story of evil, hatred, injustice and also of love, faithfulness, forgiveness,blessing and guidance. After you have read the story I hope that you will take the time to evaluate your life, to think about God and your relationship with Him and if you have never given your life over to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ I encourage you to do so and then wait and watch for God to work in your life. It may take time. The links in the chain took over 22 years to hook together in Joseph's life and for us it took almost a year but during the time of waiting God is not sleeping. God is actively putting together the links of the chain and is actively involved in the lives of His people here on earth. So in the waiting, trust that God is working and in the watching look for the "links in the chain" and remember that God is the same yesterday in 1898 BC in 1971, in 2015 and in 2016 and in the years to come.
With all praise and glory to our Lord and Savior,
499 Trinity Lane
On my journey as a Christian, I have always wanted to be part of something that was BIG. I wanted to be part of something that was so BIG that it would require me to be completely dependent on God. I wanted to hold God's hand as I walked through a BIG journey and I wanted to see God intervene in ways that could only be considered BIG and miraculous. I think that Soaring Wings Ministries is the answer to my prayer for something BIG. Soaring Wings Ministries is a BIG journey that has caused me to hold on very tightly to God's hand for guidance, strength and courage. Soaring Wings Ministries has caused me to be completely dependent on God and I have seen God work in amazing and miraculous ways.
Recently Meredith, Ed and I took time during one of our staff meetings to reflect on this past summer and all the blessings that were bestowed on Soaring Wings Ministries. We verbally listed all the ways that God has blessed and guided Soaring Wings Ministries over the last couple of months in amazing and miraculous ways. After we listed everything we bowed our heads and thanked Him for His provision and care. Honestly, we were overcome with emotion when we looked back and remembered how God has blessed and guided us so faithfully. It was not easy to get through our prayer time without tears of joy, gratitude and amazement.
First, we thanked God for each one of our summer volunteers that came out to Soaring Wings Ministries this summer. We had over 40 volunteers here working to make improvements and the place looks amazing!!!! We praised God for keeping each volunteer safe while they worked as we had not one accident or illness with all the volunteers here. We also praised Him for sending out these volunteers to help us. What they accomplished over 6 weeks would have taken us years to accomplish. We prayed and asked God for help and He answered our prayer with a flood of summer volunteers!
Second, we thanked God for blessing us financially over the last month. We are a small non-profit and we do not have any wealthy contributors to keep us going. We operate solely with donations made by individuals who care about Soaring Wings Ministries and the homeless. Most of these financial donations are between $25.00 and $100.00 but they are what keep us going. There was a time during June and July when our donations dipped way down. We'd check our mail box and there would be days when there was not one thing in our mail box...not even junk mail....and there were no donations coming through Pay Pal. Our expenses for operating Soaring Wings Ministries continue even when donations are low. During June and July our expenses were even greater with the volunteers that were here and with money that needed to be paid to Larimer County for our building permit application. We pressed forward with a dwindling checking account and trusted God for an improved financial situation. Our trust in God was not in vain as our financial picture has improved and with help from our faithful donors we are now able to look at our checking account and not panic.
Third, we thanked our Heavenly Father for providing us with items to fill the Blessing Bags that we distribute to the homeless. Each week we would have the volunteers put together Blessing Bags and personally give them to a homeless person down in Fort Collins. Over the summer more than 100 Blessing Bags were filled and handed out to homeless individuals. That meant that over 100 pairs of socks were purchased along with over 100 water bottles, 100 granola bars, 100 bars of soap, 100 Bible tracts, 100 toothbrushes and 100 tubes of toothpaste. There was a time during the summer when our stock pile of items to put in the Blessing Bags was looking very sparse and with a dwindling checking account we knew a Walmart run to purchase items was out of the question. God's provision came through an individual who recognized our need and mailed us a generous supply of items for the Blessing Bags. God's provision for the Blessing Bags also came through one of our volunteer groups who showed up one morning with bags of socks, water bottles and cans of tuna fish. With these two acts of kindness and generosity we were back in the business of filling Blessing Bags to distribute to the homeless.
Four, we thanked God that we received our building permit from Larimer County to begin the addition for a homeless family. The story of of how we obtained professionally done building plans at no cost to Soaring Wings Ministries is a story in and of itself and I will save that for another blog at another time. The bottom line is that we were completely dependent on God to guide us in the process of obtaining a building permit....and He did!
Last, we thanked our Heavenly Father for many friends who traveled out here to Colorado to visit us this summer. Some traveled by plane others drove out west for a vacation and stopped in to say hi. Some stayed for a week, others for an afternoon, and others for a few hours. Each visit was a HUGE BLESSING as we miss our friends from back east so very much. Each visit brought joy, laughter, remembrances of the past and glimpses of the future. Our spirits were lifted with each visit and we praise God for the blessing and gift of friendships.
As I reflect back on the list of praises that I have just written about I realize these blessings came about because God intervened, God guided and it was Him alone that blessed Soaring Wings Ministries. That needs repeating. We, the staff at Soaring Wings Ministries, were not responsible for not one of these blessings. EVERYTHINNG that we have been blessed with over the summer months is all because we worship, believe in and trust a loving, caring God. God knows our needs. God hears our prayers. God provides according to His will and out of HIS abundant goodness Soaring Wings Ministries is the recipient of His blessing and provision. Now the task ahead of us is to take these blessings and use them for His honor and glory.
We are involved in a BIG journey here at Soaring Wings Ministries but God is BIGGER. Without Him, I wouldn't have the courage to be on this journey, but with Him I look forward to the days ahead with confidence and excitement. We are excited that fall is coming. I have pumpkins growing on a vine and I can't wait until they turn orange so I can pick them. We have a building permit and we can't wait until the building process begins. We are making plans for some fun fall fundraisers and looking forward to starting up "Donuts With Friends" again in a few weeks. In all that we do we know that God walks with us and provides for us here at Soaring Wings Ministries. We know that He is trustworthy and we thank Him and praise Him for all of His care and provision. I encourage you to trust Him as well. I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that you will not be disappointed. All that is required of you is that you give your life completely over to Him and acknowledge Him in all your ways.
Soaring Wings Ministries
499 Trinity Lane
Anita Rennells is writer of this blog. She, along with her husband Ed, founded Soaring Wings Ministries to serve the homeless. The purpose of the blog is to tell the story of Soaring Wings Ministries and to give glory to God.
Soaring Wings Ministries