Sunday, August 4, 2013

Divine Appointments and The Finish Line

"I run in the path of Your commands, 
for You have set my heart free."
Psalm 119:32

This is part three of three of a beautiful testimony of God's bountiful goodness to, in and through my sweet friend Nicole.
Part One: A Gift, A Marathon and A Calling
Part Two: A Marathon and Magnificent Blessings

Here's Nicole...

Ever been to a Divine appointment? Well, that Friday was most certainly marked on His calendar since the beginning of time. When we arrived, most people had already arrived and sat down inside. There was no room at a table to fit all 6 of us, so we sat on a small outer deck which fit about 12 people. We were not sitting there 5 minutes when this woman says to Hope. "Do you know how much I'd pay you right now for that (rubber, wide-band, "Made to Love") bracelet?"

We chuckle. 

She goes on.

{Paraphrasing} "No, I'm not kidding. I have looked through our 3 warehouses for one of those. They need a sample of that pink and I don't have any. They keep sending the wrong color. I just need to borrow it." Of course, we offer to give it to her. 

THEN, a man who’s  sitting with her gets up, walks over and places $20 on the table and says, "Find me after the Pasta Party. Make sure we get your address and we'll mail it back in about a month." Then he looks at Hope and says, "Use this at the merchandise table tonight. You are really going to be helping Mr. Toby out. Now, more kids will be able to have those bracelets because of you." (Deep breath) What?!?!?!?! 

Blessing #4. Thank You Lord that you can use a child for Your Glory if even through a bracelet. Oh, and did I mention that Hope bought that $5 bracelet with her own money at a concert we had recently attended? Talk about The Lord rewarding her 100 fold! She even said to me, "Mommy, I only paid $5 for that bracelet and he gave me $20 just to borrow it!"

The rest of the brunch was awesome! Shortly after the bracelet appointment, Amanda (Toby's wife) came out and sat with us. She is a gem! She is one of those people who when you’re talking, you feel like every word is sinking into her soul. She spent a lot of time talking to my kids. They loved her! Then, after a while, TobyMac came and sat with us. We ate together and he chatted with us like one of the family. 

Blessing #5. Yes, even a successful, accomplished artist, and his wife, are our brother and sister in Christ.

The New Hope Academy tour was very special. The work that school is doing to break racial and class lines is inspiring. We had the opportunity at the brunch to meet and speak with Paige, the founder of New Hope Academy. She is a treasure whose light for Christ shines brightly and was truly felt by our family. While attending the All School Chapel, there was a verse read. 

Blessing #6. Thank You Lord for the confirmation, through a verse, my theme verse, that
You called us to this journey. Isaiah 40:31 "For those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they shall soar like wings on Eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint."

The Pasta Party was a delightful time. Delicious food and great fellowship. We took a family picture with TobyMac on the stage at The Franklin Theater,the location of the private Concert that night. Now, the Concert... that wasso much fun! But the Lord was not done blessing my little family quite yet.

Before the concert began, one of the band members was giving away prizes for youngest, oldest etc. Wanna guess? Yep, Hope, at age 7, was the youngest Team Member! She won a (lovely) flat billed hat and drumsticks. 

Blessing #7. Thank Yyou Lord for working out every detail. You see, Mini-Marathoners actually needed to be 8. Way back when I heard The Lord's call to this, after being told "no waivers" on the phone by the Marathon Company, it wasn't 5 minutes later that I was told "yes" in an email.

Wait. I'm not done yet. Rather, The Lord was still not done. Remember I said we raised more than we thought we needed to qualify for the brunch. Well, that also put us into a "hat" for special prizes...a voice mail greeting on your phone by TobyMac, a private pre-concert dinner in the future with TobyMac, and...a marriage cruise. Can you guess? Yes, Bob and I won the
cruise! We were in tears. 

Blessing #8. A marriage cruise! How Lord, is it possible to bless us so exceedingly?

Saturday. Race Day. The weather was less than desirable. 55 degrees with a steady rain, sometimes downpour, windy, and occasional thunder strikes. But, when Ashley and I finally reached the start line, I was overwhelmed to tears. I thanked Him for His faithfulness to see me and my family through some bumps along our training. I thanked Him for every blessing and affirmation He'd given us since arriving (only some of which I've detailed here). I thanked Him for family and friends who joined us in prayer and finance for a greater purpose. I thanked I stepped on that Starting Line because I KNEW He called my little family to that race for reasons and purposes I will never fully comprehend. 

Blessings #9 and beyond. The Lord saw fit to use me and my family to be His hands and feet.

Now what? Well, The Doran Family 4.0 continues to set out for family training sessions and participate in local races. We gear up complete with our Doran 4.0 team t-shirts. Many look on, maybe curious about of uniformity. We smile and greet them as we, or they, pass. I don't know what The Lord has in store for us, but we feel strongly that we are to continue on this course. If you and your family want to join us, let us know. We will keep you posted on the days, times, and places we will train or race. ~ Nicole Doran

If you would like to join Nicole and her family in training and racing, please leave a comment below and she will be in touch with you! Thank you, Nicole, for sharing this amazing testimony of God's goodness! We can't wait to see what He has in store for you and your family!!!!

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

The Doran kids and the Macs