I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving with lots of food and family – a winning holiday combination! I have to confess that, quite possibly, the thing I am most thankful for is getting to meet Beth Moore. Okay, maybe not the thing I am mostest thankful for, but at least the most excited about.
I had dinner with Beth Moore last week! Can you believe it? I’m telling you, I was more excited about this meeting than going to the Presidential Inauguration, shooting hoops with George Clooney, singing on The Emmys, or having Tom Cruise show up in “The Facts of Life” rehearsal hall.
From the time I found out the meeting was really going to happen I would randomly offer to anybody and everybody who would listen, “I’m having dinner with Beth Moore on Thursday.” I was downright obnoxious all day Thursday. From about 9:30 in the morning I would end every conversation with, “I’m sorry, but I have to run. I must get ready for my dinner with Beth Moore tonight.”
I was supposed to have dinner with her last year before the Houston MomTime Get-A-Way but our family was offered the chance for an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World and I was afraid my children would just not understand if I tried to convince them that Beth Moore was mightier than the Mouse.
That’s okay; this past year has only made our eventual meeting last week that much sweeter and deeper. I can’t believe that I am finishing up the last of the Bible studies she has written. What am I going to do now? I know there are many other wonderful Bible teachers but this will be like having the friend you met for coffee or a jog every morning move out of town. Sure, you’ll find a new exercise partner or donut cohort but it just won’t be the same.
Let me back up for just a minute. There may be a few of you who don’t know who or what I’m talking about. This may sound mind-boggling to anyone living in the South but coming from California I can attest to the unthinkable fact that not every church-going woman on this planet has heard of Beth Moore or her remarkable Bible studies.
I was one of these unfortunate unenlightened until our family took the motorhome trip around America. Over and over again I heard the name “Beth Moore” when speaking in various churches. While on the trip I also discovered “LifeWay Christian Bookstores” which is where I purchased my first Bible Study of Beth’s. It was the one on the life of David, “A Man After God’s Heart.”
Way back then I wrote a journal entry about “meeting” Beth through her Bible Studies and for the first time really understanding what women meant when they would write to me and say, “I feel like you’re my best friend and we’ve never even met.” I felt that way through reading Beth’s books and opening the Bible with her every morning through her studies. That is why I was so excited about really getting to meet her in person.
Let me tell you all about the big night. Well, we were in Houston at a MomTime Get-A-Way again. The weekend retreat was held at the Westin Galleria– a beautiful hotel and an extraordinary mall. Beth’s assistant sent me an email and suggested that I meet Beth at “The Cheesecake Factory” in the mall at 6:00 on Thursday night.
Before I walked out of the hotel room I took the things I thought I might need out of my purse and put them in my camera bag. (I thought it would look too fan-atical to carry my purse AND my camera.) I put my room key, some lip gloss and the business credit card in with my camera. (I meant to bring her one of my books but I forgot.)
I arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early and waited near the hostess stand. Beth showed up just a few minutes late and walked into the restaurant apologizing profusely, gesticulating wildly, hugging liberally, while passionately drawling, “I’m just HORRIFIED that I’m late. I so wanted to be here early to welcome you. There was an accident on the freeway. If I hadn’t left early I still wouldn’t be here. I’m horrified!”
So much for the awkward reserve of a first meeting. She made me feel relaxed and special from the very first hug. I was so grateful that she had agreed to meet with me that it had not crossed my mind that she might also be looking forward to our dinner. She quickly informed me that her husband, Keith, was out of town setting up his deer land and she was hungry for some good cheesecake and female companionship. Wow!
Let me just talk “girlfriend” with you for a minute. She wore a hot pink sweater that was adorable. Her hair was pulled back and it showed off her big, bright eyes and beautiful laughing smile. She looks younger, prettier, and even tinier than she looks in her videos. (If I didn’t love her so much I would hate her.)
We enjoyed a delightful conversation, a delicious meal, and split a piece of sugar-free cheesecake. We mostly talked about our families, a little about ministry, and wee bit of business. Many times throughout the dinner I would have an “out of body” experience and continue carrying on a dialogue while thinking in my head, “I’m sitting across the table from Beth Moore.”
You are not going to believe how the dinner ended. We fought over the bill but I won. We stopped talking mid-sentence long enough for me to hand the waiter my credit card and then continued squeezing in as much conversation over one meal as possible. Guess what happened next. Are you sitting down? My credit card was declined! Is that just the worst thing, or what!? God certainly knows how to humble the proud, doesn’t He?
The waiter was very sweet. He said, “Ma’am, it appears your credit card is expired. Do you want to try another one?” Everything suddenly got very fuzzy. I remember looking at the card and seeing the expiration date as “06” just as plain as day. But I couldn’t reconcile that with the fact that the waiter said it was expired. I thought, “Oh no, Steve didn’t give me the renewed card.” I later realized that the waiter was simply being a thoughtful gentleman and giving me a gracious out.
Later that evening I finally found out what was the real problem. I thought I was being Miss Smarty-pants business woman by paying with the MomTime credit card. Steve gave it to me a long time ago but I had only used it, maybe one other time, at the office supply store. What I didn’t know was that Steve closed that account a while ago and forgot to tell me.
Once Beth realized what was happening she cleverly jumped in, “I think this is God saying that I’m supposed to treat you to dinner.” I fought back, “No, I think this is God saying you are supposed to meet my husband, Steve.” I was already dialing his number on my cell phone so I asked him to grab a credit card and my friend, Melanie, and come downstairs to the restaurant.
Now, Melanie is even crazier about Beth than I am. She is a Bible teacher herself and whereas, I enjoy Beth’s Bible studies, Melanie really knows how to appreciate all the hours she pours into their preparation. The two of them immediately started talking about Bible software, translations, and original languages. It was all Greek to me. (And, a little bit of Hebrew.)
All in all, it was a fabulous evening (notwithstanding the brief humiliation.) I must confess that I did struggle for the next couple of days wishing I was more like Beth Moore. As I was walking around the ballroom the next day praying for the conference, I told God, “I want to be that deep into Bible study. Better yet, I want to be that deep, period.” Next to the obvious intensity of her relationship with God I felt downright shallow.
Over the next couple of days, God gently chastised me by reminding me that we are all individually called, unique parts of one body. I also realized that sometimes we need a “separating bone from marrow” touch and sometimes we need a “soft stroke with the back of the Hand on a teary, weary cheek” kind of touch.
Friend, I hope you never wish you were me, because then we would lose you, and the world doesn’t need another me, or even another Beth Moore. This exact moment in this specific generation God created you for a job that nobody else can fill. I can’t love on your neighbor, or forgive your husband, or adore your children. There are people that God has chosen to touch through you alone. It may be a touch that ultimately reaches millions or it may be a single touch that no one else can reach but you.
Now listen, if you have not “met” Beth Moore then you must immediately surf over to www.LivingProof.org or www.LifeWay.com and purchase one of her Bible studies. Come next Thanksgiving, when it is your turn around the table, it will be one of the things for which you are most thankful!
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