I think my most recent moment like that was December 31, 2012. It’s funny, because I sent in the IRS 501(3)c application for The Torch October 14, 2012, after 80+ hours of preparation. Those forms are long and meticulous to fill out. Right after I dropped that thick envelope in the mail - I started to pray for a decision. Somebody told Sarah a story of waiting three years for an IRS exemption to go through for a non-profit. We were prepared for whatever God had planned. I understand why the IRS is so careful about handing out that designation - I can see how it could easily be abused by people who might use a cause simply to line their pockets.
On December 30 I received a survey from an organization designed to help the IRS improve its services (hee hee). The survey began with something like, “You recently received a decision from the IRS. This survey is to give you an opportunity to rate the IRS service you received...” I stopped reading at that first sentence, because I had NOT heard anything from the IRS since October, when they sent me a letter acknowledging receipt of my application.
Now, according to the introduction to the survey, we had received a decision? I thought there must be a mistake and decided to show the letter to Sarah the next time I saw her to see what she thought. The next time I saw her happened to be the next day - December 31. She didn't understand either, so I dug out the letter of acknowledgement I had received in October and found a phone number I could call for assistance.
It was in the early afternoon and the woman I talked to was very pleasant and helpful. I told her I had received a survey which made me think a decision had been made for my organization, but I had never received a letter of determination or denial. She took my information and put me on hold. Those were a long few minutes of waiting. When she came back and told me we had received tax exempt status on NOVEMBER 22, 2012 - it took my breath away! I cannot hardly describe how it felt to know we had crossed one of the largest obstacles in our path - in a shorter time-frame than I would have hoped for or imagined. This was the IRS we are talking about! The moment felt surreal and she continued talking, giving me some instructions for how to get a copy of the letter, which apparently disappeared somewhere in the mail. It’s a good thing I wrote it all down, because I really wasn't hearing anything she said. All I could think was - “We GOT it!” As soon as I hung up the phone Sarah and I stared at each other in a daze for a few minutes, then exploded in celebration! We could hardly talk, it was so hard to take in. We were prepared to wait up to three years and suddenly everything we had been envisioning and dreaming about was within our reach and the moment felt utterly unreal.
If that isn't exciting, I don’t know what is.
Have you had an AWE-SOME moment lately? What takes your breath away? What do you dream about? Hope for? Have you helped anyone lately? Reached out in kindness to a stranger - for no reason at all besides it is the right thing to do? Forgiven somebody who you never would have believed you could forgive? Surprised someone with coffee? Tea? Smiled at every stranger you saw?
I wonder - have you experienced life lately? Looked and hoped for the unexpected? Pursued a vision or a goal? Found a vision or goal to follow? (I know where there is a Torch just waiting for people to follow).
I feel like we are created for the AWE-SOME but often we settle for mere existence - and life is too short for that. We need to be looking and searching and hoping for those AWE-SOME opportunities. I believe The Torch is one of them - people’s lives are going to be changed and hopefully they will see God is really there, really cares, really real. It doesn't get more AWE-SOME than that.