Gwynn Alcorn shared her story with the folks at MountainWings.com and they used it to minister to their subscribers. I asked her if I could share an excerpt here since I found it so powerful and she said yes. You can read the full version here: http://www.mountainwings.com/cgi-bin/hse/MountainWingsSearchEngine.exe?url=http://www.mountainwings.com/past/8.htm;geturl=d+highlightmatches+gotofirstmatch;terms=of+arms+love;enc=of%20arms%20love;utf8=off;noparts#firstmatch
Gwynn began her story telling how she lost her husband to another woman and eventually lost her cattle ranch as well. This is what happened next:
I could have moved in with my parents, but I wanted solitude to try to sort out my life. I made a deal with the trustees of an abandoned Baptist church that I would paint the outside of the church in lieu of paying rent. The building had no water or heat or plumbing, but it was a good place for me to reach out to God in my agony over my losses. I slept in the upstairs balcony and at night the moonlight shone through the six arched windows and I lay in my bed and wept.
One night I cried out to God, "It's not enough to just believe You love me. I need You to put Your arms around me and tell me that You love me." Of course, there was no response, no miracle. The moon was soon hidden by clouds and I was in darkness.
Shortly thereafter, the church I attended announced a women's retreat would be held soon. My mother encouraged me to go. I angrily retorted that I had nothing in common with women who could talk about nothing but scrubbing floors and raising babies. But I was desperate and I went to that Retreat. As the weekend wore on, I realized there was depth in the 72 women attending, and that they also did soul searching.
Towards the end of the Retreat, I walked up to the front of the room and leaned against the piano and started to talk. I told the women how tough I was, how I could carry 100-lb. calves in my arms, cut pulpwood like a man and castrate bulls. But that my husband had left me, I had lost my beloved farm, and now I needed their prayers to help me work out a new life. As I finished speaking, all 72 women stood as one and lined up to get to me. Not only did they all say that they would pray for me, but each and every one of them put their arms around me and said that they loved me. And the sunlight streamed in the windows of that Retreat hall - like the Holy Spirit was hovering there.
Later that night, as I lay in my bed in the abandoned church that was my home, I thanked God for that tremendous outpouring of love that been given to me by women, whom I normally avoided. And then it hit me! I hadn't asked those women to tell me that they loved and put their arms around me. I had asked that of God weeks previous. And God had answered my prayer - 72-fold, and from a source I would never have expected. That response, which did not fit my criteria, made an impression on me that will last my whole life.
The lesson is to let the giver give what he has to give. It maybe much less than you want, but it also may be a great deal more than you expect.