Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just In Time

My best friend, T, sent me the link to this online bible study. Thanksgiving day seems like the perfect day to answer the first question to the first chapter of the study.

I am SO thankful for the Lord and the life he has blessed me with. I cannot express in words my thankfulness and gratefulness. It overflows my heart and swells my eyes to tears.



1. Are there any circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you?

This might not be the direction the author wants me to take with this question, but being "intentionally placed" brings up a huge chunk of my life.

The most important moment in my life took some planning... but not my planning. I had no idea where I was headed when this road started, but it certainly was a good road to follow and I'm so glad I did. This post is going to be long, but I really want to start at the beginning so my boys will have a record of the story.

Over 15 years ago, while in high school, I dated a guy that I (and many others) thought I would eventually marry. We dated for two years in high school and continued to date into college, about three more years. But now I am ahead of myself.

During my junior year of high school I was going through college brochures, trying to decide on the school and where I wanted to go. Because of no clear answer and financial restraints, I went to a local college for my first two years. I majored in mathematics. I love math and I knew that whatever I did I would need the math, so I started there.

During that time... and out of the blue, my Dad's brother, Jim, invited me up to Minnesota to take a tour of the 3M plant and talk to a man whom I was told, "His job is to know where the market is going and what jobs will be needed. He'll give you good advice for picking a major." Of course I went.

After answering some of his questions, I was directly pointed to the Georgia Institute of Technology for a degree in Chemical Engineering. I was also directly told to get involved with the Co-op program where I would get experience working with a company every other quarter. It all fit together perfectly. It was an in-state school. I had a full tuition grant for instate schools as long as I kept my grades up. The money I would earn as a co-op would pay for housing, books, food, etc. I applied when I got home for the next school year and was accepted.

When I got to GT, I went to the co-op office and would you believe that I only had one more quarter before I would be ineligible for the program? I don't remember why they have the time constraint, but I do remember feeling like I just made it in time.

Once I was accepted into the program, I still had to choose which companies to interview with. Now if that isn't a needle in a haystack! What companies don't want engineers from Georgia Tech? {grin} Somehow I chose my six. I interviewed and I was hired by one company because they said my computer skills out-weighed the other applicants.

My computer skills? What? I took one programming class at the local college and a high school class called "Intensive Office Procedures". It was designed for "future secretaries", and was the only computer class offered at the time in my school. (I'm showing my age here aren't I?) In that class I learned the basics of spreadsheets, documentation, the number keypad, and a few other things that we just take for granted these days. Glad I had the insight to take that class.

A quarter before I left to work for this company, my boyfriend and I decided to see other people. The long distance just wasn't working and neither was most everything else in our relationship. I felt terribly alone as we had been best friends for 5 years, but I knew it was time to move on. We remained friends, but of course it was never the same.

So, I moved out of my dorm room, loading down my Honda Civic hatchback with all of my belongings and headed to the unknown state of Alabama... alone. To work in a stinky paper mill. On computers... of which I had been trained on to be a secretary. Talk about scared and lonely, but excited all at the same time!

My first Monday was spent getting acquainted with my surroundings and meeting lots of new people, including the engineer that I was assigned to for the work quarter. He wore a horizontally striped polo type shirt, had broad shoulders, jet black hair and eyes, and a smile that lit up the room. Throw in a southern accent and let me just tell you, I was glad to be in Alabama. (It was later pointed out to me that he also "wore his Wranglers well"... and I agreed.) But wait... I'm talking about my boss for the quarter! By now I'm sure you've figured out that it was Jeff. :)

We hit it off immediately and he asked to show me around the town that Friday night. Since I had nothing better to do (haha), I accepted. It was never really said that it was a "date", but what a rush when he took my hand at the movies. And then when the movie was over, he stole a quick little kiss. I had no choice I tell ya. NO Choice. (I'm ok with that.)

The next week, was a whirlwind of flirting and smiles. There was one conversation we had that second week where we were talking about our families. It came out that my mom has aged well... very well. Anyway, after I told him that, there was a strange look on his face and he said, "Don't be surprised if I ask you to marry me one day." Ummm... ok. How 'bout now? :)

Turns out, as I learned sometime later, that about three months before I showed up in that stinky paper mill, Jeff gave careful thought and created a list of attributes he wanted in a wife. He took that list and he prayed. One of the (superficial) attributes he prayed for was that his wife would grow old gracefully (and you know that can be a hereditary thing). Apparently, there were other attributes that he had already recognized before he made the marriage statement.

To him, it seemed pretty clear that I was the one he prayed for.

Now, when I started this story, I mention the most important moment in my life. As much as I love Jeff, he was not the most important moment in my life, so let me continue the story...

Jeff was an established Christian and I was pretty much a blank slate. I believed there was a God, but had no foundation and no real knowledge. To be truthful, the Bible scared me because I thought I wouldn't be able to understand it and would be ridiculed for my lack of knowledge. Jeff set a good example and always left the door open for questions. There was always an open invitation to attend worship services with him, too.

One Sunday morning I finally took him up on it. I was amazed in the Bible class. It was a fantastic starting point for me. They were just beginning a study of the book of Matthew and the class was being taught by an elder of the congregation. During the class, someone mentioned how they thought that Matthew is one of the best books of the gospels. I don't remember their reasoning, but I remembered the name of the book and went home and read the book of Matthew (which isn't a short book). Matthew is a very good place to start because it's at the beginning of the New Testament.

About a year later, I finally decided that the Lord's church is something I wanted to faithfully be a part of. I had heard the word of truth and I believed it. I made confession that I believe Jesus to be the Son of God and repented of my sins. I was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins. I came up out of the water a new creature and continue on the walk daily. Sometimes I deviate as I am not perfect, but I know I'm forgiven.

A couple of years later, Jeff did ask me to marry him (obviously). We were married in the same church building where I learned about my Savior. We were married by the elder that taught my first bible class. And now we're back living in the same town where Jeff stole our first kiss.

So, if you made it this far, you see that there were A LOT of "Just In Time" circumstances that not only brought me to Jeff, but more importantly to Christ.

Had I decided not to take the secretarial class

or

had I said "no" to the offer of a trip to 3M

or

not shown up in the GT co-op office soon enough

or

not chosen the right company to interview with

or

decided to stay with my high school boyfriend because it was expected

or

not taken the journey to Alabama

or

not agreed to join Jeff for services one Sunday morning


then I probably would not be where I am today.

AT ALL.

I can't forget prayer. Had Jeff not prayed for me, it may not have been so obvious that I was the one for him. There were A LOT of spiritual and emotional walls he had to get through to find the real me and I am so thankful he had the patience and understanding to do it... so that I could find Christ.

God had a plan for me to come to Him. It took me years to find Him. It wasn't an overnight find. It was a series of choices and circumstances laid out before me. I'm so thankful that I chose the path he set before me. I pray that I will continue to choose the narrow path and bring my family with me through the small gate that few will find.


******************************************

I will finish the remaining questions another day... :)
Part 2 of Question 1: What do you perceive may be at stake if you do or do not speak out for Him?


2. Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a 'yes' in her spirit? If not, what keeps you from this?


3. Do you recognize any circumstances in your life which could be described as an 'unrecurring event'? Have you ever said 'no' to one and watched God use someone else instead?

4. Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place? If yes, how are you using this freedom to minister to others? If no, what do you feel is holding you in your Egypt?

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8 comments:

Amy said...

God always knows what we need!

Happy Thanksgiving to you guys!

Beth said...

What a wonderful God-filled story, Becky! Thanks for sharing it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Daveda said...

As I read through your posting, and so many others I see a common thread...grace--God's unearned, undeserved favor and His ability to work in our lives. Isn't it amazing how God gets us where we need to be, when we need to be there? So awesome, thanks for sharing. you have a great testimony.

Happy Thanksgiving

Super B's Mom said...

OK - I want to take more time to read this again - maybe even twice more b/c this is GOOD STUFF!! It's so amazing how God has worked such a masterpiece in your life.

THIS IS AN AMAZING TESTIMONY!!!

I'm so glad we are doing this study! I'm going to start over tonight so we can be at the same place! Cause I'm co-dependant like that...haha

Love you!

Denise said...

May you be sweetly blessed.

Geryl said...

God is good!!!

Tricia said...

Loved your testimony of faith!!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Wow. And I do mean Wow!

Isn't it amazing how our 'ifs?' were never questions at all to God! I love that He isn't reacting to our decisions but orchestrates them..

Good stuff. I'm so glad you are working through this study !:))