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Just When You Least Expect It

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, and Relationships

The past is often spoken of as a part of our lives to leave behind.  However, sometimes what once was points to what will be again. Is there a reconnection you are hoping to make?  If your attempts have been unsuccessful, I know the feeling.

While in undergrad at the University of Michigan, I was greatly impacted by the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru).  But at the height of my growth and enthusiasm, my finances were at an all-time low.  I had to dis-enroll and I was devastated. Not only was my education interrupted, it felt like my spiritual growth support system was snatched from under me.

A few years later, I completed my bachelor’s degree elsewhere.  Amazed by God’s faithfulness and grateful to achieve the goal, the wounds of disruption began to heal.  And yet, I often thought of the Cru staff member who mentored me at Michigan.

everything beautiful in its time2Her name is Andrea and I wanted to tell her, “Thank you.” At times, I was a resistant learner.  But God used her to form many of my spiritual disciplines.  Experiencing Him through daily quiet times, small group bible study and sharing my Christian faith with others remain central to my life.

I wanted Andrea to know her patience and prayers paid off.  I attempted to locate her by calling the Cru national headquarters several years ago. To my surprise, they had no record of Andrea.

Another time, I met a Cru staff member through a friend. The staff member said he knew her. But he didn’t feel comfortable passing along my contact information or giving Andrea a message.

I began to feel like my beloved mentor was under a witness protection program.  Eventually, I released my desire to reconnect with Andrea to the Lord.  Surely, if He wanted our paths to cross again they would.

Reconnections with our past can be wonderful.  But they can also take a while — a long while.  

And yet, the reconnection often happens just when we least expect it.

Last Friday night, I attended a forum to discuss the racial divide in the U.S. church. The conversation was informative and thought-provoking.  Out of a panel of four people there was one woman.  Her bio mentioned she was on staff with Cru. Her name is Margaret.

When the forum concluded, I waited to speak with her off stage. To be honest, I felt the least hopeful in my search for my college mentor.  After all, it has been over thirty years.  But grace gave me the courage to inquire one more time.

As I explained my Cru experience to Margaret, she said, “Andrea mentored me too!”  We both began to cry as we realized we were on the same campus impacted by the same ministry at the same time.

She said there was someone else I had to meet that night. When Margaret introduced me to Lisa, it was not the first time we met. It was an unexpected friendship reconnection. Lisa and I lived in the same dorm at Michigan and we knew each other well. There were more tears and elation. Lisa immediately called Andrea and through the wonders of voice mail I was able to say “thank you.”  Hopefully, Andrea and I will speak by phone soon.

If you’ve grown hesitant about a hope, here’s some good news:  God has made everything beautiful in its time — His time.  Much of the beauty lies in His working in and around us.  As we draw closer to the reality of His faithfulness and love, we see the beauty of His plan bring hope for the heart and joy to the soul.

“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.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

10 Comments

  1. Raynette
    Raynette

    Beautiful story Joy. Thanks for sharing.

    October 27, 2015
    • Joy
      Joy

      You’re welcome Raynette.:-) Thanks for stopping by!

      October 27, 2015
  2. Gail Burke
    Gail Burke

    Heartwarming and full of hope.

    October 27, 2015
    • Joy
      Joy

      Thanks Gail. I am continually amazed by the gracious (and unexpected) ways the plan of God unfolds.

      October 27, 2015
  3. Elizabeth Grant
    Elizabeth Grant

    Great story sounds like Part 1. Looking forward to Part 2.

    October 27, 2015
    • Joy
      Joy

      Thanks Liz. Definitely, a possible Part 2!

      October 27, 2015
  4. God Bless You Joy, Encouraging and Empowering Message. But I thought your brother Michael was your mentor.

    October 27, 2015
    • Joy
      Joy

      Hahaha – please don’t let him know about this post! Thanks Michael!

      October 27, 2015
  5. Andrea
    Andrea

    Wow Joy! Well written story of reconnection and hope… Even our hope in Jesus that does not disappoint. As I read, I can’t believe I am the “Andrea” you are speaking of!! We will speak soon…and begin part 2. Andrea

    November 1, 2015
    • Joy
      Joy

      Thanks Andrea! This is quite a moment for me. I am glad you enjoyed reading the story of our reconnection…and yes, you “are” that Andrea:-). Talk to you soon!

      November 2, 2015

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