The call came on an October afternoon about three years ago, an unfamiliar voice on my voice mail.
"Hi, my name is Julie and I'm from Missouri. I read your book, Because I Said Forever, and I wanted to say thank you. You've really helped me in my marriage, and I just wanted to let you know."
I was so touched by her call. It had been a discouraging day. I had recently resigned at my day-job, thinking I was going to another position, one I knew I'd love, but I had just gotten the word. They weren't ready for me--and didn't know when I'd be able to start.
"Gee, I don't know what to tell you, Deb." My prospective employer sounded nonchalant. Now I was officially unemployed, and in a small community like ours, employment opportunities are slim--especially on the verge of winter, the slow season in our tourist-oriented town.
Then I listened to my voice mail, and there was Julie's message. That someone had taken time to find me and make that phone call made me want to cry. It was as if the Lord were saying, "I know exactly where you are today and how you're feeling."
As writers, we pour our hearts and souls out onto the computer screen, never dreaming that God can do anything--far more than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams. In the solitude of our writing spaces, it's hard to fathom that God can cause our words to travel across the country or around the world. But every now and then, He pulls the veil aside and allows us to see. And that is a holy privilege!
Of course, I had to track Julie down. Thank the Lord that she told me her last name and it wasn't "Smith" or "Jones!" After some trial and error (how many different ways could you spell her last name?) I called Julie to let her know how much she had encouraged me. I was delighted to find a new friend in Missouri, someone I felt I had always known, a true sister in the Lord. Julie and I corresponded by phone and email over the next months that stretched into years.
"Deb, I would love to have you come to Missouri someday," Julie would say. I agreed that this would be an incredible blessing, but I wasn't sure how we could pull this off coming all the way from Seattle.
When I learned that our nephew planned to be married in Missouri in August, the wheels started turning. Maybe we could combine our trip for the wedding with an opportunity to meet Julie and her family.
Only three weeks ago, Randy and I traveled to Missouri, the first time either of us had ever set foot in the Show-Me state. When Julie introduced us at the church where Randy and I had the privilege of speaking, she told the story of that October afternoon three years ago. "This is a miracle," Julie said.
I smiled through tears, remembering how the Lord had turned an ordinary afternoon into something extraordinary--how He had encouraged me to keep writing. Don't give up, He seemed to be saying. You have no idea where I will send your words. And I chuckled to myself remembering how long I was unemployed-- maybe two weeks-- before God provided an even better job. O you of little faith...
The title of my message that night in Kirksville, Missouri was God can do Anything! Words I need to remember whether I'm facing unemployment or a file of rejection letters.