New Year Here We Come – and Thanks for Angels

Welcome to 2020!

The cockatoo wall plaque is a gorgeous gift we received from one of our sons and daughters-in-law, evidently chosen by our littlest grandsons!

I really don’t know what happened to 2019, and I hope 2020 goes by just a tad slower. And you?

Christmas was its usual crazy time, but more hectic and dramatic in some ways. Fortunately, we didn’t know just how dramatic!

Prime Timers

For seven years, my husband and I have run a monthly meeting for the seniors in our suburb. Numbers have grown from 15 to around 75, and it’s been a truly blessed time—for us as well as those who attended. However, we knew the season had come to an end. So with mixed feelings, we had our final closing meeting on the 7th of December.

We combined our usual Christmas meeting with a celebration party. We celebrated seven years of Prime Timers. And we celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior, 2019 years ago.

Happy Echoes

Just before this, our choir director’s sister sadly passed away in the UK, and so Carol had to fly out to join her family. As second-in-command, I had to take over Happy Echoes—with all the Christmas activities pending. Coupled with the pending Prime Timers celebration, this gave us lots of opportunities for time-management and delegation. It’s amazing how, when faced with an unreal time crunch, we find that all things are possible! Just keep your cool and tackle one task at a time. With the Lord’s strength!

It's amazing how, when faced with an unreal time crunch, we find that all things are possible! Just keep your cool and tackle one task at a time. Click To Tweet

Five-Day Break . . . we thought

It was intense relief and a sense of anticipation that we left PE a few days before Christmas to spend a few days with a number of our family at my son and daughter-in-law’s beautiful home on the Garden Route.   

About half-an-hour into the trip, the car kept slipping out of 5th gear. Yikes!

Much prayer later, it settled down, and we seemed to be going well. Then suddenly, without warning, and with the most horrific grinding and screeching, all the gears jammed. Rob managed to steer the car into the side of the national road, but there we were, stranded on the busy pre-Christmas traffic on the national road, with dense bush on both sides. Not a good place to be in South Africa with its high crime rate!

Help, Lord! Send angels!

We needed to push the car totally off the road, but the vehicle would only move if the clutch was engaged. So Rob pushed behind, and I hopped on one foot with the other one on the clutch, pushing as I steered. We contacted our insurance who put us in touch with roadside assistance, and we let our son know what had happened.

It was so amazing to have both the insurance company and the roadside assistance staff keeping in contact during the entire ordeal. It helped to know people cared. They may not have been angels, but it sure felt like it.

Two Angels in Human Form 

At that point, we had one of our many miracles. We were sitting in the car, with me on the phone, when a young man arrived at the car door. We later discovered he and his wife were traveling in the opposite direction, going to his in-laws for Christmas. Talk about angels on assignment!

He must have seen us at the precise moment that we were pushing the car (which wasn’t long, as we only had to steer it off the road). Had he passed a few minutes earlier, we would have still been driving, or we would have been sitting in the car praying for guidance. A few minutes later, and we would have been back in the car phoning for help. Neither situation would have attracted his attention. The Lord’s timing is amazing. As are his angels!

The Lord's timing is amazing. Don't ever believe there are no angels today! And their timing is perfect. Click To Tweet

Cutting a long story short, he was like a son to us, and it turned out they were Christians. After a time of prayer for protection over our laden car, he and his wife took us, complete with Coco our cockatiel in his traveling cage, back to where they’d already passed some time ago. (Storm’s River if you know the area.)

As we deserted our poor packed car, we prayed that the Lord would surround it with angels until roadside assistance got there. I then remarked to our two rescuers how grateful I was that the Lord had sent us two of His angels. The guy responded, “He knew we’d be quicker than the roadside assist!”

Trusting the Angels back down the road

When we got to Storms River, he made sure we were safely seated at an outdoor restaurant with Coco, that the roadside assist had already despatched a flatbed truck, and that our son was on his way (two hours trip) to fetch us. Over the next couple of days, we received several text messages checking on how we were.

So there we sat, drinking coffee and answering questions from the many people who came to speak to us, mainly as a result of their children wanting to talk to the  “birdie” who was the center of attraction.

The flat-bed arrived within a few minutes of both our sons who had immediately set off to rescue us from George, two hours away. I can’t describe the relief when we saw them walking through the crowded parking of Storms River. (Our second son had just arrived from Gauteng the evening before.) We then followed the truck through to the nearest town with garages (Knysna) and incredibly loaded all our possessions from the car (which Heavenly angels had protected on the national road for a couple of hours) into our son’s car.

We have since had the car taken to Port Elizabeth, where we live, and mechanics are stripping the gears to find out exactly what is wrong and what parts are going to be needed. I would love your prayers as this is not going to be a quick (or free) fix! What a lovely start to the new year.

Christmas with Family

We had some good times with family and friends over Christmas, including a lovely Carols by Candlelight service, accompanied by a very professional amateur orchestra (is that a contradiction?) and led by an excellent local choir.

Adult family members. Kids were amusing themselves at a play park.

On Friday, Rob traveled back on a coach to P.E. so he could take the communion service for a local church. I couldn’t go with him, because of Coco. After the weekend, our son drove all the way to P.E. (four hours away) with me, and Coco resigned to yet another “Road-trip!”

I’m not sure if we can call our son an angel, but we were so grateful for all his amazing help and support over this difficult time. God has blessed us with a wonderful, supportive family. Angels? I never thought so when they were growing up—well maybe once or twice when they were asleep. But I’m so grateful for them.

Coco was so cute. After our son had left, we let the cockatiel out of his cage, and he ran around the lounge whistling and singing! He was so glad to be home. (He wasn’t the only one! But it would sure have been nice to have had our own car tucked up in the garage.)

And Now To the Future

And so now, we look to 2020. What will it hold? With no Prime Timers,  in theory, we should have more time, but I don’t expect that to happen. The Lord has ways of filling time-gaps very quickly.

I am looking forward to getting on with a series moving on from God in Africa which continues to sell at a steady rate. My plan is to commence writing Rise and Soar, 90 Days with God in the Cancer Valley, on 7th January.

Some of you will recognize the title as the Working Title for Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, my book of devotions published by Revell over seven years ago. (Available on Amazon.) Rise and Soar was also the title of a website I owned up until a few months ago.

I am unable to get copies of the book here in S.Africa, despite promises from Cum, the local distributors, so I’ve decided to write another book. There are unfortunately so many people needing this book, and it’s frustrating not to be able to help them. This book will obviously take a different approach but will follow the same format as God in Africa, 90 Days in the Land of Majesty & Mystery. (Available on Amazon or paperback direct from me.)

Writing plans

I heard an excellent sermon last Sunday. The preacher asked the question,

“How do you make God laugh?”

The reply?

“Tell Him your plans!”

I hear the man . . . but that doesn’t stop me from making plans. I just have to hold them loosely in my hands, knowing He could well change them! And that’s fine.

Next post, I should be able to tell you a bit about the book. I have an idea of how it’s going to work, but I need to get started first.

So how about you? Did you have a good Christmas? What is your key plan for 2020? Please share in the comments.

So let’s make God laugh. What are your plans for 2020?

 

 

 

 

 

4 comments on “New Year Here We Come – and Thanks for Angels

  1. Lovely blog Shirl. Humor. Courage under fire. A story with an edge. You should start writing thrillers. Keep it up.

  2. What a beautiful Christmas present. What was Coco’s reaction to it?
    So glad you are going to write another devotional book, I look forward to reading it.
    This year I plan to work on 2 WIPs- our cottage and my novel.
    My word for the year-BLESSED

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