I had just finished a profound Bible study, “Experiencing God,” with Henry Blackaby for the second time. If you have taken the study, you recall that his first major point was that we should watch to see where God is working and join Him. Here is a story of how God spoke that to me again and what happened.
A friend from high school sends out a monthly newsletter to keep us updated on former classmates. One person that is sometimes mentioned is Mary Lou. I recalled knowing Mary Lou and enjoying her in high school. I did not know her married name but was told she now lived in South Bend, less than an hour from my home. Since I occasionally shop in that area, I obtained her email address and wrote asking if she would like to meet for coffee sometime.
Within a few weeks, we had a plan and I was excited to renew our friendship after fifty years. I am sure God must have been chuckling when we both got out of our cars at our agreed upon restaurant. You will see why. We parked next to each other and both rolled down our window. “Are you Betsy?” she asked. I nodded yes and said, “You must be Mary Lou.” She affirmed she was, but something seemed odd. She did not look remotely like the Mary Lou I remembered from high school. Granted, we all change with age and we hadn’t seen each other in fifty years. Yet, I was increasingly sure this was not the Mary Lou I knew.
I recalled that in one of our email exchanges she had asked me what my maiden name had been. I thought it was an odd question because I easily remembered her last name. Now, as we sat sipping our drinks, I felt led to ask what her maiden name had been. When she told me, I realized that indeed, this was not my Mary Lou. In fact, I had never met this Mary Lou. Yes, we were from the same home town and knew a lot of the same people but quickly she revealed that she had not even gone to my high school but had attended a private school. No wonder I didn’t recognize her.
By this time, I was completely flummoxed but as we sat and chatted, I found her to be a delightful new friend. I also realized God was up to something with this bazaar turn of events. Blackaby says, God always takes the initiative and His presence and work in our lives are practical. I was curious to see what God had planned. My antenna was up, waiting and watchful, listening for His voice. He had arranged this meeting for some reason. God was at work and I wanted to join Him.
After a couple hours, as we were preparing to go our separate ways, I felt led to tell Mary Lou I was an author of two books. I had brought them along thinking “my Mary Lou” would be interested. When she saw the book, “Mother Has Alzheimer’s,” her eyes lit up. It turned out her husband is on the board of an umbrella organization which includes Alzheimer issues. They were planning to attend an upcoming breakfast featuring lectures on Alzheimer’s and dementia. Would I like to join them? I immediately felt the Lord was right there and that it was He who had arranged this meeting. She also gave me some leads for possible speaking engagements when she told me the Brothers at Holy Cross College had recently started a new minor in elder care.
“Perhaps, they would enjoy hearing about your experience with a parent who had Alzheimer’s and who has written a book about it,” she said. Wow…I was amazed. God was making connections for me. He was initiating.
At this point, God prompted me to give her one of my books. She was delighted and took it home to her husband who has many connections and later said he would show it to his board.
To be continued tomorrow…..