Monday, October 14, 2013

It's A God Thing

Billy, an unknown friend of his, Steve,
Sis and me- 1978
I began writing this blog in 2009, and in the 4+ years since its beginning there have been many moments when I knew that this entire enterprise was not really my idea. It was God's. That may sound presumptuous of me, but I believe it with all my heart. You have to remember my state of mind in 2009. I was two years removed from a huge failure in my personal life, and I had basically spent those 3 years completely "off the grid."  It seemed so unlikely to me that people could forgive me, much less be interested in rekindling our relationships. And then people began to discover my writing here- and God changed my life. My immediate family had always shown me grace, but now I was experiencing God's love in a whole new way.  I began to tell stories that helped me reconnect with literally hundreds of former students and adults from my days in youth ministry. I began to write about faith, grace and the love of God whose name is Jesus on a regular basis. I saw God using me to once again be in ministry, although in a very different way than I had imagined. I shared my story of how I had disappointed so many and brought shame upon myself and my family, expecting condemnation and instead receiving support and prayer. I developed a whole new family of readers through Twitter, and my new friends have touched me with a grace and love that could only come from God. I have found peace and comfort in the "pages" of this blog because God has blessed me every step of the way.  And just when I thought that nothing that happens here could surprise me...

Late Friday night I received notice that I had a new comment on a post that was several weeks old. Generally, that means it is SPAM. I clicked on the comment and didn't recognize the blog name of the nameless person who left the comment, but I saw a name I recognized., so I read on before deleting.  After a moment, my heart began to race. I knew the author. As I read on, I discovered that someone from my high school days had read one of my earliest posts. Old Friendsand wanted to share it with her old Western Guilford High School friend Sabrina Perry. Even though she never gave her name in the comment, I recognized the writer as Sabrina immediately when she wrote, "I am now the mother of six sons and have told all of them about you and Steve, Brother 1 and Brother 2 (though I can never remember which is which)!"  Steve Semmler and I only had one "sister" in our high school years. This was my Sis, who I hadn't spoken to in over 20 years. And I could not have been more excited! 

We exchanged comments and I gave her my phone number. On Saturday, I texted Steve to tell him that "she who had been lost had been found!" And then Saturday night, my Sis and I spent 2 glorious hours talking on the phone. I learned about her boys. I learned about her life these past 20 years- the highs and the lows. I shared with her my story, and she showed me amazing grace. We both spoke of the wondrous presence of God in our lives, and how despite our struggles we were both blessed beyond measure.  I discovered an old friend who has a deeper, more personal relationship with Jesus than most anyone I have ever known. And in those 2 hours we rediscovered why, along with Steve, we had been so close all those years ago - we simply love each other like family.  Steve and I were in her home so often that her parents were Ma & Pa Perry to us. Her little brother Billy was our little brother too. We ate enough peanut brittle, blonde brownies and tacos there to feed us for the rest of our lives.  We shared so many highs- and our share of lows. But we never quit loving each other. And suddenly, here she was- back in my life because of this very blog. Don't try to tell me it's not a God Thing.

The picture at the top was taken when Steve and I drove down on our spring break from college in 1978 to visit the Perry family at their new home in Jacksonville. We had an amazing week (including my first ever visit to Walt Disney World). We were all so young, and so connected.  None of us really know how we drifted apart, or why it has been so long. But one thing I do know for sure- it will not happen again. God has given us a second chance- through the wonders of technology that didn't even exist the last time we talked- to be the kind of friends and the kind of family we were meant to be.  She told me Saturday night how good it felt to be called Sis again. It felt good to be Brother 1 again. And make no mistake Steve...I AM Brother One!  :) We will go forward together, a family once again.  And I will not stop smiling anytime soon...

Because of Jesus,

8 comments:

  1. This is such an awesome story! Love when God brings dear friends back into our life!

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    1. Yes Amy, so true! But it's also a blessing when God brings new friends into our lives just when we need them. Friends like you. :)

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  2. Anonymous10/14/2013

    Great post. God is great, isn't He? And btw- nice hair, Carl! ~ Chris Cooper

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    1. You are so kind to notice, Chris! LOL

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  3. This warmed the cockles of my heart! I am also smiling from ear to ear....:)

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    1. I am so glad you saw this, and that your heart feels like mine! Nothing like a "God thing" to get the blood pumping and the smiles flashing! Much love, Sis!

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  4. Anonymous10/14/2013

    Your story is touching, and your belief that God is so involved in your life is encouraging. Perhaps there is hope for us all if we only have faith. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    David Hudson, NYC

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    1. Thanks for reading, David. Hope is not always easy to come by, which was something Sis and I discussed the other night. For me, my only hope is found in Jesus. Can't imagine trying to live without him!

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Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!