Its a great chapter with 4 short stories revealing how God always comes through for His kids, in HIS PERFECT WAY and TIMING! I pray you are encouraged and get “Goosey-bumps’ just as I did. ENJOY! God bless you and look for chapter 43 soon! Susan
P.S. Here are a few clues to the 4 short stories within!
” But when the FULLNESS OF TIME had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” ” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Galatians 4:4, Issiah 9:6
Have you ever arrived early to a family gathering? Not only are you embarrassed and feeling a bit awkward as the hostess is so polite and tells you; “Oh no, your fine, would you like something to drink ,” (as one of the curlers in her hair begins to fall out.) It feels as if time has stood still as you sit for what seems like hours before the rest of your clan arrives? Perhaps you’ve experienced showing up late? As you walk in , (ravenously awaiting the delicious prime rib you had heard was being served as the entree,) you give a half way smile as everyone is sitting around the fireplace, with their cup of coffee and half eaten fudge brownie.
Because we are human as well as spiritual beings, it is possible , for some reason or another, to be late or early… But with God, who is perfect in all of His ways as well as all knowing, He is always right on time.
One of the most frustrating passages in the bible that I still find extremely hard to grasp, (but I am learning,) is that a thousand years to the lord is as a day and a day is as thousand years...What does that even mean? How can it be? What finally gives me peace in trying to fathom this truth is to rest in knowing, God will always fulfill what He says. Sometimes for us, it will seem as if He is voluminously late or entirely to early, but He is perfect, never bound by what we think of as time. The Lord is so loving and gracious , teaching us as we continue walking with Him, to learn and understand more about His timing and depend upon His wisdom and revelations instead of our own time and ways of thinking.
When I was asking the Lord about my next “Rabbit Trails ” story, I believe He placed it on my heart to share a few short testimonies, (all precious to my heart,) of how within my life, or in the lives of those dear to me, He has always arrived not a second to early or a moment to late…. I chose 4 of my prized stories as the number 4 is a number derived from CREATION!
Colossians 1:16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
My hope is that at least one of these stories will bless your soul and give you a new hope, if you are by chance, going through a time of “waiting upon the Lord.” The outcomes of these anecdotes were beyond anything I could have imagined, filled with such wonderful, lasting blessings, all because of Gods timing.
LET THE STORIES BEGIN!
“Sometimes its not what the JOB is that God gives us , ( within itself,) that matters, but instead, WHAT GOD’S PURPOSE IS to have us IN THAT SPECIFIC PLACE at His distinct timing to fulfill His plans for our lives. ”
Man sees you where you are now.
God sees you where HE PLANSfor you to be.
While in the adventurous years of my mid twenties, my dear friend, com-padre, protector and older brother Jim , who happened to enter this world 18 months before me, became my new roomie. Now he was a distinguished lawyer, quite the comedian , footloose and fancy free and though a little bit on the wild side, loved the Lord, was a wonderful influence in my life and we got a long great! I was working my way up in the Property Management field , was noteworthy in my position and was unattached as well. (Desperately wanting to be married!) (Now, this is where I would be giving you a second a clue to this occurrence, besides the first one in the opening of this story with the two fluffy, eminently intelligent and charming, English sheepdogs. ( That is IF I was giving clues.) Our years as room mates were filled with both felicity and excitement, we enjoyed entertaining, watching movies, cooking out on the grill and loved to sit out on our balcony with endless cups of coffee or a glass of wine , reveling in California’s gorgeous sunsets. God blessed us with a charming 2 bedroom apartment in Southern California that we both loved . Our life was fulfilling, blessed and very happy for a few years.
Surprisingly and totally unexpected, things within my life suddenly began to change. I don’t know how you are, but I am not a person who is drawn to change. (On a scale of 1 -10 on inviting change into my life, ( unless I am in a crisis,) I am barely a 2!) My job switched from working at our Corporate office to applying my skills at one of our Project sites and… (this is a huge AND) Jim decided he wanted to live alone. Alone in the home we shared together, meaning I had to move. I kept telling myself, repeatedly; ” OK Lord! I can do this through YOU.” I believe I polished off an entire bag of Orville Redenbacher’s buttered popcorn that evening. (You know , the kind with movie theater (Extra butter. ?) For the next month, I continued to work full time and pack up my room and belongings on my weekends or evenings. I was startled , (yet a bit comforted,) to get a call from another brother, Alex, who asked if I wanted to come and live at his house. (Just a quick reminder here…I have 5 brothers!) He lived in Laguna Niguel and was renting out his master bedroom and bath, with a balcony for a price I could easily afford. I felt God said yes so it was a go. My mom and I had a mission to make Al’s master bedroom transform from masculine to more of a Shabby Chic, feminine dwelling place. The two of us had more fun shopping together to fix up my new room , buying a new bedspread, pictures for the wall, pillows, etc… I was actually getting really excited about my new place of abode. I loved living closer to my mom, (we were best friends and did so much together,) residing closer to the beach at Dana Point, (the alluring harbor coffee shop was everyone’s (at least the people I knew,) stomping ground and Al and I got a long very well. It was all coming along wonderfully except for one aspect…the long drive to work each day was beginning to become entirely to toilsome, thus, it was time to begin looking for a new job!
In my mind, I presumed, (when will I ever learn about that natural instinct verb that gets me into trouble?) that because the Lord had given me years of experience in Property Management and I had been given several promotions, that He would open the doors for me in that line of work. I began working less hours and continuously looking for employment closer to home. In bumping into my brother Rob at my folks home for a cup of coffee one afternoon, he shared with me about a company that had just broken ground to build a new housing community in Laguna Niguel and were looking to hire someone with my experience, encouraging me to go and apply. Did I dare believe this was it? I put on my nicest outfit, did my hair and makeup , (trying to look my very best with that special touch of “Professionalism” ) and I drove to the site, (very hopeful,) filled out the application, interviewed with a few of the guys who headed up this new assignment and they said they would get back to me in a few days when they made their decision. I felt positive and at peace. Several days passed and Rob called me and said; “Sus, (my brothers nickname for me,) I am not suppose to tell you this, but I know a few of the guys in the office and I heard that you got the job sis!” My heart was beating so fast…I felt as if I was now entering Beulah land and could hear the angels singing … I thanked God and began to make plans with the extra money I’d be making…Life was feeling sensational and amazing!
Well, I quit my job at the project entirely… So I was in what one would call a “holding pattern,” awaiting a call back any dayfrom this new company. I kept waiting… enjoying a little time off, going to the Harbor for coffee with a friend, visiting my mom and dad, going up and having dinner with Jim, (he loved his new single life living alone now, with no little sister hindering his posh, highfalutin bachelordom,) but deep down I know he missed me…) Then, I heard from Rob, (not the guys at the office,) that they hired another lady. HMMM! Lets see what word to use as “let down” does not begin to cut it. How about dismay , mixed with a little disillusionment, and a huge amount of disquietude. Knowing God, I had to accept that this just was not His will for me,but that did not make it any easier…and though I made each move with prayer and faith, I did that presuming thing I always do and I set myself up with a hope in a particular job, where my hope should have only been in God and His will.
Alex was very understanding and sympathetic , but he also reminded me that I needed to find a job soon as I had made a commitment to him for the room. When he said the words to me; “Perhaps you just need to take any job right nowand while your working, continue looking in the field you would like to grow in.” ANY JOB?” I extremely disliked those two words.
My time of being unemployed was now over. I was in a quandary of where else to look for work… I was also carrying around with me, a new little friend called “The Blues.” I remember sitting at the quaint coffee pub in the harbor, mesmerized by all the boats tied up at the docks, bobbing up and down as the soothing winds were blowing. Beyond all the boats was an alluringly rustic, yet classy, (and altogether popular , as I witnessed the multitude of cars filling their parking lot everyday,) seafood eatery…I remember staring at it, thinking how beautiful it was nestled next to the intriguing and beckoning jetty. I loved the harbor as it set my spirit free...It was my thinking place. As I was enjoying my coffee drink, I remember asking God; “I am at such a loss right now, where is it that You would like me to work? ” Later I would be surprised at what He was trying to tell me that day…
One night, my older sister Gin, trying so desperately to uplift my spirits suggested we get out and go for a drive. She and I had started out together at the same time, working for the Irvine company years before and she truly understood where my heart was at. We sat in my car for hours… parked in front of a fast food restaurant . I had no appetite but Gin was hungry. (And there was no way I was going to go inside as my non-waterproof mascara had already began its descent upon my face.) I know we were there for awhile as we had started out talking and praying in the late afternoon sunlight, then suddenly, without keeping track of the time, dusk had arrived. I’ve always loved that in-between hour before the dark of night descends where every thing is softly muted. The twilight always seems to encompass HOPE, yet when the darkness of the evening arrives, hope seems to fade as we try to defeat our doubts and fears. In realizing we had been there for several hours, I was surprised the owner of the eatery had not walked out and asked us to leave. Gin tried so very hard to encourage me with every scripture she knew as well as her own faith experiences. When that did not seem to reach that deep place of despair within, she started talking like big sisters do, telling me all the great qualities I possessed and my God given talents… (Still, I could not shake it all off. ) Have you ever been there before? Its a place you are in that the only relief you are going to find or receive is from the Lord… I could not stop feeling that I could no longer see my future…Would God send me to flip burgers at McDonald’s to teach me something I could only learn there. (Not that there is anything wrong with that job, I just did not desire it.) Maybe He would have me go back to retail in the mall, or being a receptionist again… Both jobs that were never my heart. It felt as if God was being awfully quiet… I could not help but to start wondering where the Godly husband He had promised me 8 years earlier when I lived in South Carolina was. He had told me earlier this particular year that He was going to launch and bring forth that promise by the ending of the year… September had arrived and I think I was beginning to doubt my hearing Him on that as well. (But in my heart that is all I really desired from God was a Godly husband and to be a mom and homemaker. (And of course I would work if my husband or God asked me to. )
Gin and I both were exhausted and I knew she had poured her heart out to help me. I so appreciated my one and only sister that evening… Today, as I am writing in hindsight, I truly don’t remember my pain as much as I remember her and her love, concern and care for me. We got home safely and after some sleep, I felt better the next day, deciding to place my focus on living each day, trusting God, (even if I was not in a “feel good” place…) One passage that always helps when we can’t seem to find any understanding whatsoever in what is happening within our lives;
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:12-13.
I needed to get out of myself and stalwart feelings that did not want to fall under Gods authority and remind myself that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from HIM OR HIS LOVE! (And rest in that!)
“Sometimes, we can become to full of ‘ourselves,’ depending upon the very gifts God has bestowed upon us forgetting what our real identity is. A child of the one true God, His beloved. “
The day came where I let go of my own thoughts and avouchments of a future in property management . God had begun to deal with my pride. Yes, that one sin that we do not often times recognize as it disguises itself in very subtle forms. In the course of my going through this trial, a friend of mine said to me; “Susan, you have an abundance of experience waitressing so why don’t you go and apply at some places down by the water. You would make great tips and could bring in income for your living costs. Do it just for now.” You see, I had believed that God had brought me out of waitressing , (though to be honest with you, I loved the jobs at all the eateries I worked at. I had so much fun serving people, enjoyed making new friends and actually was so excited to go to work everyday.) I guess I had come to believe , now that I was not as young as I had been, nearing 30, part of my identity was a career that was more prestigious as it made me feel more praiseworthy and astral, but that is not at all how God sees things, that is purely the world. In God changing my heart and my repentance of my over sized view of what I thought I should be doing, I heard that Delaney’s by the Sea was hiring. ( Do you remember the eatery across from the coffee pub I was sitting at, asking God what I was supposed to be doing?) I dressed up again in my one and only business suit, ( still desiring to appear professional,) and interviewed with the manager and was hired on the spot. I felt relieved, Alex was over-the-moon ecstatic. My start date was October 19th and I would be working the day shift while being trained and could switch to nights when I had learned all the ropes of this charming, maritime eatery upon the water.
Upon walking into my new place of employment on that chilly October day, my boss Jean greeted me and said; ” Susan, I want to introduce you to the young man who is going to be training you for the next week, His name is Kit. ”
AND THE REST IS HISTORY
To sum up this short novella, (as I am smiling even now, as it all brings such joy to my heart,) God, in His infinite wisdom and the plans of His heart for Kit and I before we even knew the other existed….changed Jim’s heart to live alone and ask me to move, had me leave my job with Regis Company, move to Laguna Niguel , (the same city Kit lived in,) blocked me from getting a job I thought I wanted as He knew all along, it was not a job move for me...it was a dream come true for me, forever changing my life. The desire of my heart that I had I longed for, prayed for, waited 8 years for…He was bringing Kit into my life, my husband and my dream. All in His perfect timing not a minute to late or early. I always laugh when Kit said to me one day, (because his past was a little on the wild side before knowing Jesus;) “Susan, if God would have brought you into my life any earlier, I would not have been ready for you.”
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
*** To read a very short version of what happened after meeting at Delaney’s, you can scroll upon the sequence of 5 photographs of Kit and I, above.
PS There were an abundance of “UNTIL’S” in this story, but in the end, they were all met by God in the natural….and He got me through them all in the spirit, in the years before I saw , what I hoped and believed for, come into fruition.
STORY # 2
The Lord will always come through, right on time…sometimes through His mighty ANGELS!
Do you believe in Angels? The bible tells us of many incidences where Angels have been used by God to intervene, enter into spiritual battle with evil as well as bring Gods children to safety. One of my favorite Angel stories of all times comes from Youth with a Mission, AKA YWAM. Their motto is “TO KNOW GOD and MAKE HIM KNOWN.” This particular YWAM base, located in the junoesque state of Hawaii is where three of my family members attended over many years. This organization has a tremendously successful three month Discipleship training setup, followed by a three month outreach program, implementing all the teaching the students have learned as they serve in the nearby communities or wherever God chooses to send them. The first 2 to attend were my older brothers Donnie and Alex, both at the time in their mid to late twenties. Donnie and Alex stayed on after their 6 month commitment in faith, serving God through YWAM for years and Don actually became a teacher who traveled back and forth to Hawaii to teach new students each year. Both of them were very much loved and the stories they told me are still fresh in my mind today as the Lord did some awesome works on that island as well as on their outreach trips. I was in my teens at the time and believe me, I heard from the two of them OFTEN, both of them trying big-time to get me to come to the school that had greatly changed their lives.
Later on , when I was just beginning the new decade of the “20’s,” staying with my folks in the Carolinas, I too was truly considering going to the Hawaii based YWAM, but instead the Lord led me to my job at the YMCA where I worked with children for over 3 years. My mom felt called to go to the program in Hawaii as well. She however, just stayed for the Discipleship training school and flew home after three months. Arriving home with her face aglow, (partly because she loved her family and home terribly and was so glad to be back, but also because God had healed her in many areas of her life as she was away in Hawaii , things she had batted with for years and God had set her free.) She looked 10 years younger! Needless to say, I have had 3 major fans of this organization within my family.
Donnie Alex My beautiful mom
Now, I can not tell you FOR SURE which of these 3 shared this story with me, but I know that they all came home with a sundry of stories that would give us all the chills. The good kind of chills, the ones you get when you have a witness inside your spirit of something truly miraculous that the Lord had done. I believe when people serve as missionaries, especially in countries where Jesus is not welcomed, they see more of the supernatural as Christians in those countries who are persecuted, truly have to depend on the Lord 100% to survive, thus they see Him work in ways we may not see as frequently here in the United states.
Back in time, (and not sure of present day) while visiting a few of the islands in the Pacific, it is not uncommon to find a sundry of the locals who reside there to be diverse in their spiritual and cultural beliefs. Upon one of those Islands, a group of dynamic , vivacious and well trained Missionaries would face something they would never forget.
In arriving to the island, they were cordially greeted and stayed with the longtime inhabitants that were convivial and friendly. Many of these locals had already accepted Jesus Christ and were converted , the remaining were open to hearing about the gospel and desiring to know truth. On the contrary, there was a goodly amount of natives who were an indigenous people, militant, hostile and rejectors of the gospel of our Lord. They fought fiercely to maintain there own cultures and beliefs. We, as Christians were considered “white elephants” and outcasts to these tribal aboriginals.
While enjoying an evening with the amicable and collegian natives in their camp, they all began to hear in the distance the sound of drums beating. It was not something that alarmed these missionaries as they were unaware of its meaning. As the evening continued on, the rhythmic pulse of the beating upon the drums had quickened and no longer was the sound in the far distance. It was NOW resonant, intensified and much closer.
As Gods messengers who were sent to this heterogeneous Isle, in hearing the change in the beating of the drums, as well as observing their hosts faces, filled with concern and angst, asked their friends what was happening.
They were then told what their Islander companions already knew, surely dreaded and did not want to speak out loud . ” The sound of these drums are a “cry for war.” It is coming from the natives upon our island who are rejectors of the gospel. This tribe is adversarial and malevolent, making a decree for battle. ” He went on to say that they themselves were not prepared to fight this battle and it would be a war unto death.
Needless to say, undoubtedly filled with a mixture of many emotions, but also the Lords presence as He was the one who called them there, these servants of the Lord went into battle in the spirit and I am sure were joined with those who knew Jesus within the camp , and perhaps even those who were not yet believers. (Under these extreme circumstances, I think if I was an unbeliever, I would choose to believe in the Lord and call upon His name.)
“ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ” Ephesians 6:12
Their prayers continued as the beating of the drums came closer. I cant even imagine , save the power of the Holy spirit and His presence, what was going on in all of their minds. Suddenly and delightfully unexpected, the sounds of the drums discontinued. Still, with heads bowed, they prayed unceasingly, slowly being able to receive the calming lull that canopied over their dwelling, through both circumstance and the power of the the Lord within them as well as without.
The beating of the drums had incontrovertibly, stopped completely!
In the morning, these Christian islanders sent out a messenger to find out what was going on. I am sure this man about fainted when he heard the response of the unfriendly native;
“Last night when our tribe came to your camp, declaring war, we saw your great army of warriors surrounding your camp. We knew there was no way we could win the battle for they were great in number, and mighty in stature, thus we fled.”
I know I would have felt a little unsteady, dizzy and weak in the knees.
These beautiful and eager servants of God, as well as the native believers, had but one night of “UNTIL’S” (At least in this story.) Though their waiting upon God was for a night, a very long, difficult night, they still had an abundance of emotions, fears and doubts they had to contend with and either believe God or not. Can you imagine their thoughts of : Will God take us home tonight to be with Jesus? Will He deliver us all from this horrific adversity? Could we be taken as captives? These are all things missionaries have to think upon when they answer the call of God upon their lives… But still within their humanness, they had to face every thought and feeling with the Lord. In living out the ending God had planned for them in the Islands, it has got to be the most amazing story of their lives to beat all other stories to come. Their mighty warrior delivered them... He sent His ministering angels, their outward appearance, a cultural threat to the strong warriors of the Island… It was not noted that they looked like warriors beyond their time, so it is probable to surmise they looked like powerful, native legionaries of that day. It always amazes me how God arrives on the scene and brings His deliverance. He always comes in ways we could never imagine…
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Now this is a story that will live on forever, each time shared , all the glory will go to the Lord, the one who fights for us not only in the spirit, but in many cases before all eyes to see! Goosie- bumps, chills, the willies…whatever you want to to call them…this miraculous story gives them all!
STORY # 3
The Lord arrived at the perfect moment, this time, His ministering angels disguised in a much more peaceful attire.
OUR 20 YEAR High school Reunion
Twenty years afterthe timethat this story occurred , here we all are, once known as the “five inseparable upstanding girls” while attending our southern California High school.) ( So, now you know that we all lived through this suspenseful , ( with at least a PG-13 rating) story I am about to share with you.
I love Puerto Vallarta and want to stay here forever!
Not even having a clue where all the time had gone, our 20 year high school reunion had arrived! My four ‘ 9th through 12th grade BFF’s’ were able to attend this once in a life time fete, as they all still lived in the Golden state. I however, living in Arizona had already made plans to take a much needed vacation with Kit to Puerto Vallarta Mexico, thus I did not fly back to join them. (BUT they did send me a picture!) YEAH! So, I keep my photo taken while in Mexico, next to the picture of my four comrades enjoying the reunion, not so much to remind me that I was the only one who did not attend, but to have our pictures together. Photos that share that we were all 20 years older, married and that our lives had completely changed, yet we were still close and in touch! You cant beat that! Funny thing about age… we may all look a little older than we did as graduating seniors, BUT, we still felt as if we had just championed our drivers license tests and were a mere 17 years old!
OK, now the Angel story that took place 20 YEARS BEFORE OUR 20 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
It was already after five o’clock…the June California sun was beating down upon us as we looked through the glare at each person that was lined up to speak about the future, the opportunities that lie ahead of us all, the announcement of the valedictorians and special honor students accompanied by more chatting about decisions that we would all need to make and the big choices that lie ahead…I think a few of my fellow students were passed out beside me , either from heatstroke or perhaps having a swig or two of alcohol. Finally, our names were being called and before we knew it, it was after 6:00 PM , cooler and we got to throw our graduation hats in the air all at once, saying our yahoos and hallelujahs...our days of school being mandatory were OVER!We were now free. Boy did that freedom feel wonderful!
Summertime was a hoot… Its true what the Beach boys sing about in their infamous song about a California summer…there is nothing else like it! We continued to get together often as we had been so much a part of one another’s lives through 4 years of school and we still found so much comfort , joy and FUN in being together. As I told you, throughout High school, we were known as “the inseparable 5 upstanding girls.” I know that sounds funny and it was quite comical, but true. We were always together, having the time of our lives, at times, getting into mischief, (felicitous shenanigans not the kind that involved the police…That was more what my brothers Jim and Rob did.) We avoided drugs, alcohol and seriously, kept each other on a good path, but always had the very best of times. By summer, we were all still single, a few of us had a boyfriend, but so far, no one had put a ring on our fingers.
The beautiful season of autumn arrived and in ending the wondrous , endless days of sunshine and reverie, we all decided it would be great to get a way on a “girls weekend” together. We had several thoughts on ‘where to go,’ but it was answered speedily as my precious and thoughtful mom came up with the idea that we drive up to our cabin in Big Bear. We could have it all to ourselves, enjoy a fresh new ambiance, plus see the gorgeous fall foliage in action as Big Bear lake was known for its scenic turning of the leaves! It was an absolute “yes” for all 5 of us and very hard for us all to wait for the weekend to arrive as we were so excited. There would be no grown ups around..except us. Yes, it was going to take some time to sink in that we, the inseparable five-some, were adults now, no longer high-schoolers.
I picked everyone up on Friday afternoon. My little yellow Honda, (once labeled by someone I will not mention by name,) a pregnant roller skate, was filled to the max with overnight luggage bags and the 5 of us …Normally, driving up the mountain was a bit daunting for me, but for some reason, because I was the driver, (not my dad, AKA “The speedster,” and we were all talking non stop, I thoroughly enjoyed our two hour ride up the steep, mountainous roads and had no anxious butterflies stirring within my stomach at all. We arrived safely and were all very enthusiastic about our weekend getaway in the gorgeous Big Bear Mountains.
In the first photo, (where Jen is the photographer,) I am the first in line from left to right. Second is Sharon. Now you may not have picked up on it yet, but Sharon is the identical twin, (and I mean 100% mirror image,) to the beautiful Susan, sitting beside her. In high school no one could tell them a part…they use to play jokes on me all the time confusing me as to which one they really were. Lastly is Lisa…now I could write an entire chapter just on her..she truly was my partner in crime…the acceptable outlawry kind of consort! And last, but not least, my dear friend Jen is the first precious, beautiful lady in the second photo above, this time, Lisa was the designated photographer as we all began our precious time together.
These 4 girls, their fabulous sense of humors, deep convictions in the Lord, kindness, faithfulness and felicitous camaraderie truly redefined the very word “sister.” We all loved each other with all our hearts and had developed a blessed an extraordinaire bond.
To give you a little more info on what my 4 High school BFF’s were like, I want to share five words that best describe the characters of these beautiful friends!
Susan,(one of the twins,) artistic, sympathetic, humorous, dependable and warmhearted!
Sharon, quick witted, classy, intelligent, outgoing, and soothingly calm!
Lisa,(her boyfriend was my brother, (Jim’s) best friend throughout High school,) Passionate, creative, convivial, courageous, and was blessed with a spirit larger than life.
Jen... Sweet, intuitive, great listener, affectionate and 100% loyal!
After bringing in our weekend bags and taking a quick tour of our cabin , turning the heat on and starting a fire in the hearth, (as autumns arrival in Big Bear had brought with it, invigorating, almost wintry temperatures,) our next decision was to decide what we would order for dinner…we were all starving! Whoever had stayed last at the cabin, left a few nonperishable items to snack on, but nothing to match our desires for a hearty, hot meal. We decided on the ” All American favorite,” PIZZA! I am not sure if it was because of the wait on the delivery guy or our empty stomachs rumbling, but we began to create a very large grocery list for first thing in the morning, with all the items we could think of that we wanted during our stay together on this exciting, chilly and adventurous weekend. As we sat together, eating our pizza and watching the movie, Brian’s song by the cozy kindling flames of the warming fire, even though there were a few loud yawns every now and then, no one wanted to be the first to say Goodnight!
Our night of sleep was more advantageous for some than others…a few of us, myself included, could not stop talking as we went to sleep on our bunk beds… Being that so many people, (as well as their friends and family,) came to Big Bear for all of its out door amenities, I am sure every cabin in town had at least one, if not two, bedrooms filled with as many of these double-decker beds that could fit between the four walls. After our trip to the grocery store, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and were ready for our first event of the day…It was unanimous! The Lord had created an absolutely gorgeous day with blue skies, white billowing clouds, a cool breeze and temps in the high 60’s to low 70’s. PERFECT HIKING WEATHER! There were so many engaging paths to take… We had heard that every autumn season, “mother nature” transposes the lake into a sea of pomegranate reds, sunflower yellows, rich golds and fiery oranges. While hiking on the mountain trails, it was enchanting, almost fairytale -like, being amongst the luminance of all the alluring fall colors accompanied by their long time partners, the aspens, cottonwoods and mighty oak trees.
Our pace upon the mountain’s trodden pathway in the midst of the sylvan woods, where a multitude of travelers, entirely to large to count, had created over many, many years, was between what I would call a “saunter” and a “power-walk.” It was one of those “aha moments,” where the atmosphere around us with its alluring beauty, coincided with the brisk and breezy air, smelling of a mixture of pine, pristine blossoms and the fragrance of fresh kindling wood, (perhaps other weekend visitors burning newly cut firewood in their cabins hearth ,) was indeed sublime. We had endless hours ahead of us to talk, laugh and explore as we walked together.
I do not remember who came up with the idea or why we all agreed to it, but Sharon and Lisa decided to take another trail going up the mountain side . Susan, Jen and I looked at the steep hill they pointed to and decided we’d continue on our reposeful path and meet back at the cabin in two hours.
As the three of us continued on our journey, feeling like we had unquestionably traveled a far distance from the cabin at this time, decided we’d hike about 30 minutes more and then turn around and go back. Suddenly, we heard the sound of an engine running and as we looked behind us, we observed a rather large, open bed truck driving up our trail at a lingering pace. We kept walking and heard the engine turn off and the sound of car doors closing. Two men, in their mid to late twenties began walking toward us. The trusting, friendly and polite young ladies that we were, smiled and said hello. Their reactions to our gestures were not at all what we had expected. They did not speak in return, nor were they smiling. The closer they walked towards us, we all felt a sense of impending harm. As we began to walk faster, so did they. Besides beginning to pray to the Lord, sharing our concerns, we felt the closest chance of safety we had was to leave the path and begin walking down the side of the mountain. None of us were sure exactly what was at the bottom of the Brobdingnagian hill side, but felt for sure there would be homes and people, definitely a safer place to be than our current location.
We started off walking down the untrodden mountainside and as we looked in back of us, our unwanted followers had also began their descent continuing their pursuit, thus we speeded up our pace . With all the wild brush, rocks, and loose dirt, we began slipping , then sliding ending up on our derrières. (It sounds kind of comical, but it was not at the time.) All we knew was to keep moving forward as uncomfortable as it felt. Soon the moment of “what ifs” began to enter our minds. (I hate when that happens.) We were all hoping it was one of those rare moments where you find out someone is playing a joke on you and a camera will pop out and someone would loudly declare; “Smile, your on candid camera.” Or in later days, Ashton Kusher’s TV show; “You’ve been punked.” Again, a show that plays practical jokes on people and after he has baffled their minds, (thinking the joke is reality,) he reveals to them that it is all a prank. Unfortunately, that was not the case… Susan, Jen and I just kept focusing on getting to the bottom of the mountain, not paying attention to the few scratches and bruises we knew we had already acquired. In looking back over this uninvited adventure, I could identify , (just a little bit,) with the renowned professional skier Ian McIntosh in his story about falling down a mountain while skiing. His words; “It felt like I was getting hit by linebackers the whole way down the mountain over and over again, full-sprinting linebackers.” Again saying; “It felt like an eternity. It really did.” To be honest with you, I believe when our bodies go into a fear mode, often times we don’t feel the pain of whats happening to us at the moment of impact. I do know that later on, the three of us, even though we were young, healthy 18 years olds, definitely felt the stress, (as well as the scrapes and bruises) while making our way down the steep slope amongst all the undomesticated foliage.
Jen looked in back of us once again and her words brought the three of us a phenomenal, (much needed,) solace and relief; “Hey guys, they are gone.” Could it really be that they had stopped their pursuit? Feeling the soreness in our bodies, as well as a lessening of the tension and anxiety, we finally got to the end of the mountain and our feet were actually standing on cement. (Thank you Jesus!) We never would have guessed it lead right to downtown Big Bear. We must have looked like a couple of grown Ragamuffins with our clothes dirty and hair tousled as we walked into the Safeway grocery store. The first place we headed was to the restroom to wash up. It felt so good to be safe, the cool water on our skin and to be amongst people.
Between the three of us, we did not have what everyone has today…a cell phone, thus we had no way to communicate with Lisa and Sharon. We walked out of the store and stood under the archway. As we looked through the parking lot as well as to the adjoining streets , we could not believe our eyes as there, parked on the street were our two chasers, sitting in their truck, ignition off, staring at us. We did what most people would do…began stopping everyone we could find going in and out of the store, that looked stable, somewhat normal and safe, asking for help, sharing our frightening and anxiety ridden tale. Now if ever there was a time my heart became dismayed by the ‘reactions ‘ of others, it was that Saturday afternoon . It was as if no one believed us, did not care or were saying “No thank you,” (like we were three sales people trying to sell them a deal on Safeways’ special that day.) We all prayed that by this time, Lisa and Sharon would be worried about us and drive into town looking, but then again, how would they know we were even there?
It was then, I noticed in the front row of the parking lot, next to the store a very unusual car. It was a beautiful classic from the 50’s or 60’s, a soft alabaster white , very clean looking and for some reason it gave me a great peace inside. Without even telling Jen or Susan, I walked over to the car. Sitting in the front passenger seat was an adorable little boy, at least 3 years old with a little look of mischievousness but his eyes and sweet smile showed otherwise. In the back seat was a strikingly beautiful little girl, also very young, her eyes so entrancing and smile inviting. I said hello and the man sitting in the drivers seat said hello back as he smiled and introduced his children to me.
It was then I began sharing our story as I pointed to Susan and Jen still under the archway , (probably wondering who on earth I was talking to.) All I can tell you about this man is that once again, (and they say the eyes are a window to our souls,) his eyes were a piercing blue, kind, gentle and full of compassion. I could tell he was intently listening to my every word. He smiled once again and said, “Yes, I will help you.” I ran over to Jen and Susan and they had a hope in their faces I had not seen for hours. They, like myself , were feeling unburdened and the ability to feel safe again.
As he began to drive us home, we enjoyed hearing the children talking and finally feeling at rest, no longer enveloped by the tremendous angst and turmoil we had been feeling for so many hours. Compared to how long it took us to get down that mountain slope, the drive home was very short. I just remember feeling so much peaceand so secure in their presence. As he dropped us off at our cabin, I turned and looked at him to thank him for helping us and how much it meant to us and before I could even finish my sentence, he spoke; “I KNOW.”
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers , for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
I truly believe with all my heart, we were amongst angles, Gods ministering spirits that day!
When we walked into the cabin, (locking both locks on the door behind us,) Lisa and Sharon jumped up off the couch, hugging us as they had been so worried. They had such a wonderful afternoon and upon hearing our story, felt so badly that we all split up. It just felt so GOOD to be home and all together, safe within our weekend abode. I will tell you though, that when we compared our Hikes, ours won in the category of suspense and Drama.
As I looked up the names of his children, as he never told me his, I was taken a back by their origins and meanings.
His sons name “Shepherd” means; ‘He who herds sheep, an imagery of Jesus.” His daughters name was Moriah or Mariah, not sure of the exact spelling, but as I looked up these two beautiful names , their meanings are; “Seen by Yahweh, seen by God, the Lord is my teacher, pure and deep love and are also a variant of the name Mary, the mother of Jesus.
These photos are the closest I could come up with as to how these people, (In whom I believe were angels in disguise,) looked like.
Our “UNTILS” lasted but a few hours…at the most 4, but it seemed a lot longer! Its one thing to read a newspaper article or listen to the evening news and learn of people who were harmed or attacked and to ask God to keep you safe every day as you go to school, a job or are a stay at home mom, or dad. It is another to encounter it and truly have to trust God for His intervention and hearts will. His choice and heart for us that day was to bring us to safety and He did. He sent His help through angels of our day… (just as I believe he did the same for the missionaries in the islands… those angels fit the description of what warriors would look like in that day…just to show us that they can appear in any form!) NO they do not have wings or fly around us in the sky, but they are spiritual vessels used by God at times that He deems so. I will always feel so tremendously blessed by His deliverance and help to us that October day!
The rest of our weekend? It was perfect. We all decided to make the time we had left together in our mountain cabin creative, fun and exciting doing INDOOR activities! We had a scrumptious homemade meal that night, (listening to Christmas carols on my dads stereo,) lit festive candles, delighting in an abundance of comfort foods and our favorite chick flicks, built a fire, and once again, as we settled in our bunk beds, began to chat back and forth but we were all so tired, we fell asleep quickly and slept like babies.
We all slept in on Sunday morning and felt like our planned departure time of 12:00 noon, (to miss the weekend traffic driving home,) was way to early as we did not want our time together to end. As we ventured outdoors on the upper balcony, the sun was shining, the skies blue and it was another gorgeous day. We all looked down upon the trail we had all started off together on the day before…each with our separate thoughts! Breakfast was ready…fresh pastries, eggs and bacon….their fragrances mixed with the smell of the firewood burning in our our last fire of the weekend was comforting. The only hike we took that day was one of loading up the car with our baggages and a final walk through of the now emptied out cabin, to make sure we had all our belongings. As we headed home, passing through downtown Big Bear, I smiled as I had only good memories, because of what God had done for us. (OK, 90 % of only good memories….it was going to take a few days to get over the reminders of the fear we had all felt .)
One of our last sites leaving Big Bear was its renowned lake. As we all waved goodbye to the mountains mascot, until next time, we agreed the lake was assuredly as beautiful as promised in this wondrous season of Autumn. We were all a little bit quieter this time as we drove back to southern California. We enjoyed listening to the radio, ( singing a long with our our favorite songs,) “Tin Man,” by America, “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphy and “I’d really love to see you tonight” by England Dan and John Ford Coley, (you gotta love those old tunes, )
each of us thinking about what we would be doing the next day, but all so thankful for our weekend get-a-way! As I dropped off each of my dear friends, I thanked God for them and then found myself imagining what my sweet southern mom’s reaction was going to be when I told her about our Saturday…. I know it would begin with ; “Good LORD Susan, bless ya’lls hearts…
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
STORY # 4
The Lords perfect timing regarding “The Lost Wedding Ring.”
OK, I know this is not a headline breaker or a story that would ever be on the five o’clock news, but it was a MIRACLE to me and it was only in hindsight that I could actually understand why God waited as He did to bring forth His incredible marvel. 🙂 (And before I experienced this miracle and had shared with others my loss, I was surprised to hear so many “miraculous” accounts from friends and family regarding their cherished , misplaced wedding rings being found against all odds.) 🙂 The Lord is so good to us, full of grace and He cares so deeply about every little and big thingwithin our lives. We are so blessed to belong to Him.
Why is it , especially for all of us ladies, that our wedding rings hold such a unique and cherished place within our hearts? There are an abundance of stories behind the varied meanings of the wedding ring, coming from Egypt , Rome and many ancient religions and customs, but I always like to think we cherish our rings for two important reasons. One being that it is the ring our husband chose for us. Knowing us and what we like, he ventures off to choose a lifelong gift that symbolizes his heart of love to us. He could choose anyone in the world to spend his life with , but he chose us. Secondly, the ring with its circular structure, where there is no beginning or ending is a symbol of his vow (and ours) to love, honor and trust one another through every mountain top and valley, ‘for our entire lives. You see in movies frequently how when a man proposes to his finance, or when he is actually at the altar, and cant find the ring (for some crazy reason or another,) he then asks the crowd for help or finds something he can use as a substitute; ( so that the ceremony at hand can continue;) a cigar band, a wooden , resin or silicone band, just anything to finish the ritual, knowing later, it will be replaced with the real ring… (Or , if at the time of your wedding, you are unable financially to purchase the wedding rings you desire, again, a makeshift ring can be used.) You cant tell me that there is not an emotional tie to that temporary and alternative ring that was used on their wedding day … For it is what the RING REPRESENTS and EXEMPLIFIES that truly matters. If it were myself, I would keep it forever in a secret place, just for the memory and its symbolization. (Just sayin.)
Never being a jewelry box kind of girl, I took my rings off when I would get ready for bed. I always put them in Kits bathroom drawer, (as ladies you’ll understand this,) my drawer had so much “stuff” in it, my rings could easily get lost. Kits drawer is always almost empty, seriously organized, (so much so that you could easily see a threading needle upon opening!) One morning, when I went to put my rings on, I noticed my wedding ring was not in the drawer… I was a little jolted, but felt assured, it was somewhere in the house…thus for the next week, and ample uncounted hours, I tore our house a part to find it. My frustration and sadness grew daily as truly, there was no place left to look within our home, the vacuum cleaner, trashes, car etc… I asked friends and family to pray for me and received a medley of helpful thoughts on where it could be, but when I looked , it was to no avail as my ring was just not there. After about a month, I began looking all over again...I was determined to find it , believing it had not left our home. I looked in new places feeling hope… under all my plates , cup and saucers and Doyle’s on our hutch, in my decorative water pitcher and bowl, under every glass, napkin , plate and centerpiece on our dining room table, through all our Autumn decor and upon the papers and books on my desk. Still unproductive and wanting as I never found my ring.
By the third month, my heart was truly broken as I did not realize how deeply I treasured this specific ring. I kept hearing in my head Joni Mitchell’s song, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got Till it’s gone,” as it was so very true in my pain of loss. Kit use to tease me over the years after we were married saying ; “One day honey, I will buy you a real wedding ring.” You know the typical kind we as little girls dream of…silver with a shiny , sparkling diamond? I would always tell him that I loved my ring, but in the back of my mind, I thought, I wouldn’t mind having a diamond ring, but never would I replace the one hehad chosen for me. I began to feel and believe I would never see my wedding ring again… Every time I thought about it or looked at my ring finger, it just broke my heart. I prayed so many times it would just show up, but it didn’t…I asked the Lord if it was gone for ever..in my emotion, I believe I blocked Him as I could not hear His voice in my supplication before Him.
My ring was not your normal, store bought wedding ring. The jewels in my ring had a story to tell that was another gift within itself . Kits mother Gerry , along with her siblings and parents were captured during the Japanese war and placed in a concentration camp in the Philippines. They carried with them precious family jewels and the only way they secured them, until they were released, was to hide them in the curtain linings in the rooms of their encampment. Kits dad Allan, a pilot a the time, is the one who rescued them all and wouldn’t you know, ended up marrying Gerry when they were back in the states. (One beautiful story from this Island in the western Pacific ocean.) Another wonderful story that was birthed out of this resplendent islet occurring at a later time, was when Kits dad Allan with his own private airline, was making a trip back to the Philippines. Allan’s mom, Gammie, came to him and told him that she desired to travel with him this time as she wanted to purchase some diamonds and sapphire stones. The officials of the Island let Allan know that women passengers were not allowed to sojourn to their islet unless they came as part of a business and were employed. It just so happened that Gammie was an airline attendant, thus her visit was approved. It was there, she chose the stones that she would end up giving to Kit to have a ring made for his bride, when he decided to marry. (Thus, my special wedding ring was in its beginning stages!)
GERRY ALLAN Gammies quest while in the Philippines
Kit held on to those stones for many years. When he asked me to marry him, he did not have an engagement ring to give me, which was completely fine in my heart…I was just so excited we were setting a date! I did not see the ring he had made for me with the stones from Gammie and a jeweler he had sought out in Dana Point California until our wedding day when he placed the ring on my finger. I could not stop crying as it was so beautiful, and articulately unique. All the more reason I longed to have my ring back!
I remember a friend of mine saying, “Susan, I bet it will show up one day in a place that you have already looked..” The thought comforted me as I truly do believe in miracles.
Weeks later, while preparing for a birthday dinner that Kit was cooking in my honor, I went to our dining room hutch to get my beloved (inherited from my mom,) wisteria crystal sugar and creamer. As I took the sugar bowl from the shelf, there in the bottom of the crystal bowl was my wedding ring. I was absolutely ecstatic and began yelling out to Kit “Oh my gosh…you’ll never believe it, I found my ring.” (He too had given up hope.) OK, the answer to the question you’re thinking? Yes, I had looked in the sugar and creamer months before, several times …and NO IT WAS NOT THERE. I truly believe it was a birthday gift from the Lord, AN OUT AND OUT MIRACLE, and that He gave me back my wedding ring.I never take it off anymore, not even when I sleep. 🙂
James 1 ; 2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The UNTIL’S in this story? I believe the Lord did not answer my request immediately because He wanted me to truly know in my heart what my wedding ring meant to me. AGAIN, He showed up right on time. I now know that I never want another ring to replace this one EVER!!! I am so appreciative and careful to take care of this ring and keep it safe, appreciating it everyday of my life. I always knew, as I believe this about Gods character, that His will and desire for us is perfect. If I never got my ring back, I would place my faith in His perfectness… but the fact He did give it back, (and I mean personally put it there in the crystal sugar dish, as only He and I know he did , it was not there before in all the months I looked,) made it all the more special to me…and of course Kit too.
At times, I truly believe that the Lord allows us to loose something so that we can, upon His return of the bestowal, whether it be a wedding ring, a special friend, a home of our own, a pet, job or even times where we do not feel as intimate with Him, will be able to TRULY PRAISE HIM and APPRECIATE HIS GIFT, with such an intensity and that we never lose that gratitude and thankfulness again. Once again, proving He has a perfect timing for EVERYTHING, even within the lessons He Himself teaches us.
In closing this Rabbits Trail Treatise, I hope you enjoy this beautiful song by Mark Harris on all of our “UNTIL’S” with Jesus as we wait upon Him until the mountains move and His voice is the only one we can hear…. until we trust His grace…We will be be still and wait!
PHOTOGRAPHS : In scrolling upon each photo and graphic, it will be revealed to you where the pictures have originated from.