|Toccoa Falls, GA|
Monday, March 4, 2013
Just-Happened to Events
This is another excerpt from the "book" I've been wanting to write about our life in ministry..."Giant Leaps of Faith and Other Crazy Moves". It's been put on hold for now, but I see no reason not to share some of these stories with you in the meantime. I would like to add this to the Random Journal Day entries for this month. (Check out other Random Journal Day entries here.)
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
When we were newlyweds we moved to our first little apartment in Orlando, Florida. It was a charming upstairs “garage apartment”, but underneath in what I guess used to be a garage was another apartment. Mrs. Bell lived downstairs, a sweet elderly widow who just loved to talk to us “youngsters”. The funniest thing I remember about that place was that every night when we would go to bed, Mrs. Bell would start to play an electric organ rather loudly. Our bedroom happened to be directly over her living room, which was where the organ happened to be. It seemed as though she was attempting to “serenade” us to sleep…or maybe she was drowning out our “snoring”? Anyway, she was funny and always chattered away at us every time we’d come downstairs, as if she was trying to keep from laughing about something. I guess we probably had embarrassed grins on our faces, being “newlyweds”. It is a funny memory to this day.
My husband John was in his senior year of college, and I was working full time in the accounting department of an insurance company. The first major decision we faced was where to attend church. Coming from two different denominational backgrounds, we began our search by attending different churches each week, looking for one that would help us both to grow and worship the Lord together in harmony. After several weeks of "church-shopping", my husband “just happened to” run in to a distant relative of his who “just happened to” live nearby, (which we did not know about before-hand, and whom he had not seen in many years) and she suggested we try the "First … Church", which “just happened to be” down the street from us. So we did...and we knew that our search had ended! This church had everything we both needed and longed for in a good church. We joyfully entered into the fellowship of that loving church family.
Not long after we started attending this church, we noticed each Sunday that the older lady who lived across the street from us was going to and from church at the same time we were. Then, lo and behold! We noticed that she “just happened to be” going to the same church! So we introduced ourselves to her, and our friendship with Esther P. began.
Now, Esther was no ordinary neighbor and friend...she soon became like one of our family! Her quick and intelligent mind found kinship with my like-minded husband rather rapidly. Esther would come over to our house, and I would sit amazed as I listened to the two of them sharing Bible stories back and forth and discussing spiritual issues that I was only beginning to understand. I came from a more liberal church background, and my spiritual growth was just beginning to mature since we started attending this church. So I mostly sat and listened, and learned. Esther was a gifted teacher and a godly example to me.
During that first year of our marriage, Esther became more and more dear to us. We looked to her for guidance in many matters, primarily...what to do with our lives. My husband was graduating from college with a degree in education. Esther “just happened to” know Dr. Julian Bandy, who was then the President of Toccoa Falls College, in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. She told us that “it just so happened” that he would be in town later that week speaking at the "Youth for Christ" meeting, and that she was aware that there “just happened to be” a teaching position open at the High School Boarding Academy at Toccoa Falls...so to make a long story short, her kind introduction paved the way for us to begin our career in service to the Lord at a Christian school in the beautiful foothills of northeastern Georgia.
Thank You; Lord, for “just happening to” send Esther to us so early in our journey with You. Had it not been for her faithful witness, pointing us to You from the very beginning, we may have gotten off on the wrong track. Help us to always be watching for the messengers and signposts that You “just happened to” have placed in our path throughout the rest of our life’s journey. By the way, Lord, We know there are no “just happened to” coincidences with You! Looking back, we can see Your Divine Plan in every “chance” meeting! Thank you.