Chicago, Aqueelah, and Black Panther

Today's devotion is written by Liz Sabath.  Liz wears many hats in our church, and most of them have to do with ministry to children and youth.  Please take a moment to read what Liz would like to share with us about last weekeend.


Running around, trying to get myself and everything together for Youth weekend in Wildwood, I was stopped dead in my tracks in my backyard Friday afternoon.  I had let the dogs out, grands are climbing in their cars to head home, and I walk around the house to feed the animals.  There, standing smack in the middle of the yard, is Chicago, my oldest sheep.

I texted Brian Dunn saying I just had a sheep escape, setting me back 10 minutes.  (I laugh at that time frame now, how many other leaders headed to Ignite got that message!!)  Brian responded he’d be there by 5:30 (at church) and let him know what I needed.  

I yell “Alicia! Get the dogs!”  Rowen yells at the top of her lungs, what I’m not even sure anymore and Maddy screams “THIS IS GONNA BE FUN!”  I had to think fast, but I really didn’t.  Chicago came walking up to me, I scratched the top of her head and said “Come on, follow me!”  She did, first to the lean-to to get grain.  She didn’t startle when I opened the grain bin, she didn’t startle when the metal bowl scraped the metal food bucket.  I turned around, told the grandgirls to stay behind her, looked at Chicago and said  “Come on old girl, follow me.”  We walked to her pen, I opened the gate and she looked up at me.  I said “It’s ok, come with me.”  She walked in, the girls closed the gate behind us.  I poured the grain in the trough yet she stayed by my side.  I walked the perimeter, becoming angry because I was wasting precious time.  I needed to get to Shoprite to get lunch for the kids for Saturday.  I had to get paper products from the old kitchen at church for the house we stayed at.  Here I am, climbing in the dirt, fixing the fence 45 minutes before I’m supposed to be at the church.

While her sisters were munching away, Chicago stayed with me, walking from panel to panel.  She seemed to be saying “I’ll help you find the places and fix them.”  I fixed two potential escape spots but she started to walk towards the section I hadn’t been to yet.  Rowen yelled, “check the whole thing.”  I walk, checking panels, getting more frustrated.  Couldn’t she pick another time to play escape artist!?  Chicago stopped, I look down and here is a large panel completely unhinged.  How all 4 ewes didn’t get out is beyond me.  I fixed the panels.  Chicago walked up and bowed her head so I could scratch the top of her head.  I said “Its ok, I got you old girl.”  She went over to the grain trough, looking back like “Ok, you can feed me now.”  I cleaned up my supplies and closed the gate behind me.  Maddy said “Wayla, she helped you.”

I was forced to slow down because Chicago found a portal to freedom but realized she needed help getting back home.  Fast forward, I picked up lunch, grabbed the supplies from church and forgot the trash bags and toilet paper, of course!  I prayed while driving, for God to be with us every step of the way, to speak to the kids and for an amazing weekend.  I thanked him for my little helpers who kept me somewhat calm during our fence escape and for amazing co-leaders, holding down the fort while I gathered myself back up.  10 teens, 3 adults and lots of memories and emotions were headed on our way.

Sunday morning, we are all sitting in the convention center, listening to the most amazing speaker I’ve ever heard.  She changed my life the night before as well as a couple of our kids.  (That’s another devotional for another day.)  Aqueelah referenced one of my favorite movies, Avengers: End Game.  She talked about the scene where Captain America is just about toast.  Thanos has the upper hand and was about to squash the world.  All of a sudden, a portal opens up, Cap hears Sam say “on your left” and Black Panther comes walking out, followed by all the Avengers who had disappeared the movie before (that’s another devotional, too).  They had each other’s back, they helped each other overcome something that looked like would crush them again.  They conquered Thanos together.

What do you need to conquer?  Who can help?  Are you letting God in and following his lead?

A broken sheep pen is small potatoes considering all life throws at us.  Chicago found an opening but needed help getting back to safety.  Life can bring Ant Man-sized or Thanos-sized problems.  Our church family is filled with Avengers, ready to pick you up and fight with you and help you anytime.  But remember, you have the portal on your left, and our Savior is standing there, waiting for you to let him help you conquer your Thanos.

- Liz Sabath

Isaiah 58:11
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring who’s water never fail.

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