Have you ever had someone show up at just the right moment? I have. My life felt like a suspense movie - the struggle was coming to a climax and I didn't think I was going to survive, when someone came in, shed some light into my darkness, helped throw the life preserver and told me I was going to be o.k.. God sent her into my life when I needed her most. She didn't preach at me. She talked to me and shared her story. She didn't scold me for being discouraged. She prayed with me and spoke encouragement. She didn't care that I had loads of laundry and dishes setting around. She turned her ears and eyes to my heart and befriended me, right where I was. My life was changed because of the love and grace she showed me when I was at my lowest. Those first months we got to know each other was like a healing balm to my dry, cracked heart. Thanks Janine Teske!
One hot July afternoon, Janine called and asked if she and her Aunt Maryann could come over. My house looked like a bomb had gone off and I was exhausted, but even though my home was less than welcoming, I felt compelled to agree. If I hadn't known that Maryann was an actual blood relative to my friend, I would have thought the Lord sent an angel!
Stories were shared all afternoon while the kids played in the pool. Maryann talked about her recent move to Australia and her struggles with loneliness and the surprise blessings as she trusted the Lord with some tough decisions. It didn't take long to connect with this lovely lady. It was as if God just filled her mouth with words my ears needed to hear. Then she began to speak about the loss of hope she saw in my life. She said, "Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick..." and I felt the light go on! That was it! My heart had grown sick. That's why I felt like an empty shell of the remains of the Candi I once had been. I had grown hopeless. I had gotten so focused on my circumstances that I acted as though life had become a dead end.
I would have to write a novel to explain all that transpired that afternoon, but ultimately what happened was that I understood I wasn't meant to just scratch out an existence and barely survive my days. I was made to thrive! The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11-13, "For I know that plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." This is what it meant to put my hope in the Lord - To trust Him with my life, my days, my family, my future. My hope couldn't rest in Daryl, my friends, my location, finances or circumstances. And with a God that held my future in his hands, what did I have to worry about? Have I felt happy-go-lucky everyday since I've discovered this truth? Nope. Still, I understand that I never want my hope to be banked on my circumstances, because they will change, but my God will not!
I had tried pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I had tried to "just think positive." I had tried just sleeping my pain away. I needed a Rock to set my feet on. My circumstances were shifting sand and I was sick of sinking! But honestly, sometimes we don't know what that is suppose to look like until someone comes along and shows us how. Maryann and Janine are just ordinary women that God put in my path at just the right time. I'm sure neither of these women would say they did anything spectacular that day. God did though. And he used them to do it! Never under estimate the power of an ordinary person in the hands of an extraordinary God!