Some friends of ours, Brian and Tandy Coatney, open their home once in a while to spend a day apart from the world to focus on Jesus. We have such a good time, nobody wants to leave. This time was no different. The crowd was slim, but the stands were full. I invited two friends of mine to join me, Annastaja and Shanda and Shanda’s step-son, Antwan, who were all too eager to come. We start around ten in the morning, break for lunch and wind things down from there.
Tandy started us off by sharing with us with how she grew up in this house and since her mom and dad went to be with Jesus, the house became theirs to live in, and they wanted to carry on the tradition of having guests come to their house and share Jesus with others, which is something Mimi (Tandy’s mom) had always done.
Brian spoke next of how he came to know who he was in Christ and when his eyes were opened to being a real Christian. The verse that came alive for him was “I go to prepare a place for you, if it were not true, I would have told you.” After returning to college that summer, he was a changed man and his class mates knew this was not the same Brian they had known the year before.
Brian talked of Galatians 2:20 and being the vessel in which Jesus expresses His love to others. For me, my eyes were opened when he spoke of being changed from glory to glory through our mess-ups. Jesus uses them to show His glory. We get to do this over and over again throughout our life because it never ends. We could all relate to this because the enemy is always at work to drag us down.
Annastaja shared with us how she had to change the way she did things because she was going down the path of drugs and her siblings were following her. She is so worried that there are bad influences in her younger siblings’ lives and now wants to rescue them. Annastaja is doing things differently because she doesn’t want to go back to jail and wants good things in her life. I am really proud of her because there was a time she would not have called me after she got out and certainly would not have come to an all day Jesus party.
I just have to say the same thing about Shanda because in the past she would run from Jesus. When I invited Shanda to come to this day apart, she said yes; but then she couldn’t find a sitter to stay with Antwan. I called her early that morning, and she asked Antwan if he wanted to go, and after explaining that it might get boring, he still said yes. Later I asked him why he wanted to come and he said, “I might learn something and to hear more about Jesus.” This is coming from an eleven year old boy. I think that he has seen a change in Shanda and wants to know more about what is making this change in her.
On the way over to the Coatney’s, I asked the Annastaja and Shanda if they smoked cigarettes, and they both answered yes. Shanda brought hers with her, but Annastaja left hers at home. I said, “You should have brought them, not to smoke in my car, but you know what I mean.” They laughed but were shocked that I would say that. Some people may not agree with the logic but see, when you fall in love with Jesus, He takes that desire away. It is yet another sign of grace and mercy God shows us.
After Brian talked, we took a little break for lunch. Tandy made us Quinoa with vegetables, copper pennies, which were really carrots, hummus with crackers, fruit, bread, and I made some peanut butter fudge. We all sat together in the dinning room like many meals before. Ide and Starr, Joseph, Brian and Tandy, Shanda, Antwan and Annastaja all had good conversation and later were met by Raymond.
Before our meal, Brian had asked if I could say a little something once we got back from lunch, which I was happy to do. The last couple of days I have been nursing a sore throat and wasn’t sure if things could be heard clearly. After starting in prayer, my voice seemed strong and I quoted Galatians 2:20 again because that verse means so much to me. I told of a recent experience in jail of how the enemy was throwing accusation and confusion into the room by way of an inmate. I recognized the tactics as one by the devil and am not blaming the person whom the devil used. This person was laughing at one of the ministers when she saw the karaoke machine with the microphone plugged in. Once the minister came up front to pick up the mic, the inmate asked if she was going to sing a song and then turned to the lady sitting next to her and they both began to laugh at her. The incident reminded all of us why we continue to go the jail to minister. There may only be one chance from them to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to waste any of those opportunities. We come there in love to minister love and show them that God is love. If they receive Jesus into their life, He will transform you into a new creature. He will reconcile relationships in their life and restore what the sin has eaten.
God uses even our mess ups to bring glory to Himself. What the enemy means for harm, God will use for His glory. He not only helps you get through, it’s really Jesus doing it because when you come out the other side, you give God the glory for doing it. It looks like you did it, but it’s really Him. We agree with God that I would doing that very sin, if it’s wasn’t for Christ in me, and I thank Him that He is keeping me.
For me, having Shanda and Annastaja there with me at the day apart meant more to me than anything. I love to see their hunger for Jesus and His righteousness. They both exclaimed their passion to have their men come next time we have one of these things. Although we wanted to stay longer, I had to take Annastaja home early. After we dropped her off, Shanda and Antwan and I continued to talk about the Lord and His goodness in our life. She continues to ask questions and seek the Lord in her life.
The day a part was so much fun and I never want to leave; always looking forward to the next one. Thank you, Jesus for this time together.