#TellHisStory Storytellers Series
Story has the power to change the world, one paragraph at a time. I share this space, once a week, with some great storytellers I've met during my years of writing. This week's featured storyteller is Lucille Zimmerman, author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World.
Be sure to come back Wednesday to link your own stories or photos with us in the #TellHisStory community.
A STORY FROM LUCILLE ZIMMERMAN
I felt giddy and excited as I heard the announcement at church that Sunday morning. Our congregation was organizing a trip to Israel and, although I had no idea how we could afford such a trip, I told my husband that I wanted to go.
We were a single-income family with two young children and bills to pay. I felt boxed in. Even if a “miracle check” arrived in our mailbox, the money would surely be spent on more appropriate things. Yet I continued to pray.
A few weeks later, while doing my Bible study, I came across Ezekiel 36:37, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them.” I immediately sensed that this was a personal word for me. I continued reading and felt God telling me that my prayers would be answered and I would be going to Israel – for his name’s sake. I penciled, “January 14, 1999” along with the word “Israel” next to the passage in my Bible.
Although most of my fellow church members were aware that I didn’t have the money to pay for the trip, whenever the subject came up, I couldn’t hide my excitement. When people asked if I was going, I responded, “I hope to.”
But as the weeks and months flew by, it did not look like I would be going to the Middle East. The itinerary was set and all those who would be traveling received their tickets. Sadly, my name was not on the roster. As ridiculous as it seemed, I couldn’t shake the sense that I was supposed to be on that plane.
Then it happened. Three days before the scheduled trip, I received a call from my pastor. He said, “Lucille, someone paid for your trip. You are going to Israel!” Even he was incredulous. He said that someone bought my ticket and he was not allowed to reveal the donor’s identity. I hung up the phone and sobbed. To this day I don’t know who paid for that ticket.
Three days into our stay, we awoke early in the morning and made our way to the Mount of Beatitudes that overlooks the Sea of Galilee. The air was foggy, dew dripped on the flowers and trees, and the shrill chirp of birds danced through the air. I could picture Jesus walking and talking to his followers as we sat down in a huddle on the steps of the old church that had been built in that location.
Our Israeli guide began reading from Ezekiel 36. He began talking about thefact that God answers our prayers for ”the sake of my holy name” (Ezek. 36:22), not for ours. My mouth dropped open and my eyes pooled with tears as God once again confirmed the words I’d read months earlier. I was sitting on the steps of that church so that others would know who God is. God had answered my plea and provided the trip.
Rarely do life events happen so powerfully or mystically. But they do happen. I am convinced that most people have at least one event that caused them to ponder spiritual events.
"The spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says, ‘You are the beloved and on you my favor rests.’ It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice.”
Lucille Zimmerman is a counselor and an affiliate faculty member at Colorado Christian University. She has a passion for helping hurting people. Her book Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World helps women understand the need to put themselves on “the list.” Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions —and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice.” On a typical day you may find her walking her son’s dog Chipotle, reading, writing, grading, and seeing clients. She loves good coffee, fly-fishing, Honey Nut Cheerios, and belly laughter. She invites you to connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
We are giving away a copy of Lucille's book Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. To enter, simply tell us you'd like the book! It's that easy. (Feel free to also tell us a story about a time when you knew that God was speaking directly to you. We'd love to hear your stories!) We'll contact the winner by late Friday.