Sue’s Note: Today’s post is the third segment of a story I wrote during the early 2000’s.
I hope you’ll enjoy this post, and that in reading about how God intersected my story, you will recognize ways in which God has intersected your story.
The last post ended:
Several months passed, and I decided I needed a partner to support my new spiritual journey. I asked my friend, Jackie, if I could routinely check in with her. We started meeting weekly. One week we discussed the short-term mission trip to Africa she would make with her husband, Duane, a surgeon.
While Duane spent long hours in a Cameroon mission hospital, Jackie experienced great joy conducting Bible studies for native women searching for truth that transcends time, ethnicity, age, race or gender. My friend updated me regularly via e-mail messages providing personal glimpses into rich African culture.
One of Jackie’s messages altered my life.
Now, I continue:
Jackie had been teaching a study on The Lord’s Prayer. As an aside, she told me, she shared the story about how her friend in the United States prayed according to exit markers while commuting to work. Afterward, Jackie said, a woman approached her excitedly, sharing she too prayed according to the markers along the road while she “trekked” one hour each day to and from work. The African woman told my American friend she didn’t think another person in the world prayed like her, and said my story encouraged her.
Tears welled, splashing down my cheeks as I re-read Jackie’s e-mail.
Coincidental? I think not.
I believe the God who knows everything and loves everyone miraculously linked the hearts of two ordinary working women living continents apart.
A plethora of emotions erupted as I pondered the woman in Africa with whom I shared this unusual bond. First, I felt humbled for all the time I spent complaining to God. While I commuted in a comfortable car, heated in winter and air conditioned in summer, the woman in Cameroon walked unprotected during dreadful summer heat and torrential monsoon rains.
Jackie’s story of the African woman reinforced a sense of God’s divine love for me. In turn, I felt greater love for God, and I also felt deep love for this woman, whose skin color was different than mine, whose culture was unfamiliar and whose name I had not yet learned.
I knew God understood when I added my “commuting friend from Cameroon” to my freeway prayer agenda.
Also dawning, was new awareness of a larger meaning for my existence. As I prayed for my friend in Cameroon, I felt a deep sense of global connectedness even though I had never traveled internationally.
The next year when Jackie and Duane made a second trip to Africa, I sent my friend a letter and bookmark with a poem I’d written. Jackie returned with a letter and family picture. I now knew my friend’s name was Pauline. She had a husband and three sons who were about the same ages as my grandchildren.
My prayers changed. I often prayed for Pauline and her family right after praying for my married daughter and her family. She became more than my commuting friend. She was my spiritual African daughter.
In the following years, Jackie and Duane took pictures of our family, gifts for each family member plus a check to help with the boys’ educational expenses. Pauline told me the little boys ask when they will see their “grandmom from America.”
I found it hard to imagine. The journey of prayer, begun in my car when I said, “Okay, God, I can do that,” had miraculously spanned the globe.
Several years have passed since my prayer journey began. My husband finally convinced me I needed to trade in my Toyota prayer closet with its 242,000 miles. Sadly, I bid farewell to the little green car that frequently felt as holy as a beautiful cathedral, a sacred sanctuary where my spirit joined with the God of the Universe.
I look in the mirror, confirming I remain an ordinary woman. But, I now realize I am intimately connected to an extraordinary God. He knows my name. He values me so much He whispered gently and convincingly, inviting me to join with Him on a journey—an exciting lifelong adventure—sure to be filled with many more extraordinary moments.
While I commuted in a comfortable car, heated in winter and air conditioned in summer, the woman in Cameroon trekked unprotected during dreadful summer heat and torrential monsoon rains. And, God was teaching each of us valuable lessons on our individual journeys.
Sue’s Note: As I conclude this trip down memory lane, thoughts have surfaced about the impact of this experience on my journey today. In a future post, I’ll review some of those insights. Until then, I’d like to ask you to consider:
- What experience (or experiences) from your past have impacted your faith journey?
Today, wherever you are on your journey, I’m asking God to bless you…
- In 2007, this story was published in Therese Marszalek’s book of short stories entitled, Extraordinary Miracles in the Lives of Ordinary People…Inspiring Stories of Divine Intervention. ↑