This gentleman arranged for me and two others to hear Beth speak at a lunchtime gathering at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer. I have to say: I felt some anxiety about showing up by myself, not knowing who would be there or who I would sit with, unsure of what to wear (and what not to wear), blah blah blah. The appeal of a chance to hear Beth Moore speak in person, however, outweighed my cowardice at a new social situation.
When I was thinking through the opportunity that Sunday, I thought two things, in this order:
1. Wow, God, You must really have something big and important to say to me for You to arrange for Beth Moore to say it to me in person.
2. I could take her some Moon Pies!
Why Moon Pies? you ask. To fully understand the Moon Pie importance, you have to read Beth's blog post from a couple of weeks ago (here). Go ahead. Stop reading this post and go read that one. Then come back and you'll understand.
Between the initial invitation to this shindig and this past Tuesday, God calmed all my social anxiety fears. The two other ladies that were invited to the Pentagon weren't strangers to me. They were two women that I really enjoy but seldom get the opportunity to pal around with. I went shopping for new clothes and found a spiffy outfit. As The Day approached, I had one task left: purchase the Moon Pies.
It just so happened that Moon Pies were on sale at Cracker Barrel. But they were out of chocolate. I bought vanilla- and banana-flavored Moon Pies and daydreamed about presenting them to Beth. I had it all pictured in my head: where I would be sitting, how I would approach her, what I would say to her. It occurred to me that the whole experience was becoming less about hearing from Jesus and more about Moon Pies. But the more I thought about it, the more I believed that his crazy idea wasn't mine at all.
I was so excited about seeing Beth that I couldn't sleep Wednesday night. I was like a little girl on Christmas Eve, trying to be good and stay in my bed and go to sleep but knowing that my most-favorite-thing-in-all-the-world-that-I-just-had-to-have-and-couldn't-live-without is wrapped in shiny paper, sitting under the Christmas tree in the living room. Yes, I was excited about seeing and hearing Beth Moore in person. Yes, I prayed that God would give me a word specific to my current situations. However, I was just as excited about the Moon Pies waiting in the Cracker Barrel bag with handles. I prayed that God would provide the perfect opportunity to deliver those Moon Pies safely. I mean, could I even make it through Pentagon security? Have you seen a box of Moon Pies? It isn't exactly small. And I had purchased two boxes.
My acquaintance escort to the Pentagon didn't have to go through security. He works there. He held the bag and waited by the door while the nice police officers x-rayed our purses and helped us pass through the metal detectors. We made it to the auditorium and got great seats. We chatted while we waited for everything to start. I had to sit very still because the Cracker Barrel bag crinkled loudly at the slightest nudge.
But we'd made it! I was in the Pentagon with Moon Pies to give to Beth Moore!
The service began several minutes late because Beth Moore's group was caught in D.C. traffic. She and several others had a morning engagement at a different location in the city. When she came in, she seemed sober and composed. No brilliant smile. I thought, "Wow, Lord. You knew she'd be late and feel (I assumed) flustered. What a great day for a Moon Pie!"
Beth is an amazing teacher of God's Word. With just as many men as women in the room, she spoke it, y'all. She rightly divided the truth for us, made us laugh and cry in the same thirty minutes. God spoke--and not just to me. Beth spoke from 2 Timothy where the apostle Paul says,
"I have fought the good [in the Greek, literally "beautiful"] fight."
There is a good fight. There are some things worth fighting for. My child is worth fighting for. My marriage is worth fighting for. We are in a battle, and our enemy is fierce. Take courage, Candi. Stand your ground.
"I have finished the race."
When Gabriel, who has a severe form of epilepsy, ran a race in the Special Olympics, he was the last runner to cross the finish line. But he won the gold medal. When his parents asked the officials why, the answer came: "He stayed in his own lane. That's all we asked him to do." Candi, stay in your lane and run with confidence the race that's been marked out for you.
"I have kept the faith."
Our faith is the only shield we have. If we put it down, we are decimated by the evil one's fiery darts. No one and nothing is worth laying down my faith.When Gabriel tries to write his name, he can only write three letters: G-A-B. And he writes it everywhere. If there's a surface available, he writes his name his way. He gets the G just fine. He leaves the stick off the lower-cased A. And he inverts the lower-cased B. And for some unknown reason, he puts a distinct and very large period at the end of those letters. In Gabriel, God has given those parents a child they can't "fix." It seems like a tragedy--an unfairness on God's part. ("Lord, why did You do that? Why did You give me this child? I'm so tired. I can't do this. Why, God?") Don't you know it's divine planning when now, everywhere Gabriel's parents look in their home, they see "G-o-d. Period." Candi, God has appointed YOU to love and homeschool your daughter. She doesn't need fixing, and neither do you. His grace is enough. He provides everything you need for life and godliness.
Beth spoke a sentence straight from heaven to my heart:
"May we lay down our arrogance without letting go of our confidence."
It was just a transition sentence from one point to the next. But it reverberated to my core. I've let go of my confidence. I need to take hold of it--of Jesus in me--again. That's where I'll find courage to fight the beautiful fight while running my race in my lane.
I kept waiting and watching for the right opportunity to approach Beth. She was seated three rows in front of me on the opposite aisle. So very close. I knew at the close of the service, she would be surrounded by people wanting her attention.
I still had the Moon Pies. In the bag.
The Deputy Pentagon Chaplain finished up the benediction, "In the name of" Jesus, I assume, because I didn't really hear the end. I heard those first four words and I stepped out into the aisle. I was the first person standing beside Beth when the chaplain said "Amen" and everyone opened their eyes. The Chief of Chaplains of the Army presented Beth with a commemorative coin--it looked really special--and she graciously accepted it and said something like, "I want you to know these gifts will be displayed because they are treasured and important." Her humility was palpable.
Then she turned to me and I said, "I brought gifts, too. They're Moon Pies."
Beth's eyes lit up.
I said, "They didn't have chocolate, but I brought vanilla and banana."
She said, "Vanilla? We can't get vanilla." Then she hollered over her shoulder at Keith, her husband, "Baby, she brought us Moon Pies!"
I wish you could have seen Keith's face. "You brought us Moon Pies?" Like I'd just brought them a most precious gift. "Can I hug your neck?" And he did.
Y'all, I promise you: I already believed that my God is a personal God. I've wrestled with His providence. I've banked on His provision. I've struggled with His sovereignty. But yesterday, I was privileged to be a messenger of God's playfulness, dare I say whimsy. If you know me, you know that I don't really know how to just play for fun's sake. Which is extremely inconvenient living with the husband and child that I have. They're all about the party and the fun. I tend to view myself as the party pooper and the fun police.
Not anymore. I heard, I believed, I obeyed, and I delivered the Moon Pies.
And I was the one who was blessed.