When we last heard from our heroine, her car had been stolen and people amazed her in a great hour of need.
Well, I never had another problem with my car again. In fact, a year later I sold “Subee Honey” and used the money from the sale to buy an airline ticket to Florida to attend college.
My first year was pretty uneventful, aside from plunging into the scholastic world and making bonds with people that are still strong today.
My second year I met and married my husband, Lance. That, is a story for another day.
Our third year is where our next installment to the story picks up. After we said “I Do”, we spent six months living in Panama City Beach in the parsonage of First Baptist Church where Lance was now the Youth Minister. That, too, is a story for another day.
We moved back to campus housing after six months because we were killing ourselves driving and taking full time classes. In an effort to catch up with Lance, I began the daunting task of taking as many hours as I could. I made it to 24 hours my final semester. And people wonder why I have a twitch.
Well, after a semester of commuting back and forth and lots and lots of other reasons, we resigned from the church (do you like how I say “we” like my name was on the paycheck?) and said our goodbyes to the awesome teenagers we had built our youth group with.
The semester was just ending and we were approaching our 1st anniversary. We had no job, no money and no prospects. Our kitchen looked like Old Mother Hubbard. We had a series of bills that came in and to make matters all the more stressful, Lance got a speeding ticket. What were we going to do? Despair began to trickle through the cracks of our drafty apartment.
Two years prior, I had spent a summer in St. George Island as a youth intern at one of the two churches on the island. I was scheduled to return and give a report of how I was doing, what our plans for the future were and just hang out at the pastor’s house. The church was about 2 1/2 hours from our college and after one glance at the pile of bills and the ticket, we knew there was no way we could go. So I called the pastor’s house and left a message on the answering machine saying, very discretley, that there were some things that had come up that would prevent us from coming down that weekend, could we please reschedule?
Lance’s best friend came over and we sat commiserating about money, or the lack thereof. We decided there was only one way to handle it, so we got on our knees on the hard linoleum floor and began to pray. A few minutes into our praying, the phone rang. Stupid phone! It must be the devil trying to distract us or something… I got up and answered the phone and it was Chuck, the pastor I had called earlier. He had been out on a walk and missed my call. He asked me why we couldn’t come down. I have SOME couthe about me, not much, but enough, so I just said, “Some things have come up, could we reschedule?” He kept pressing me, “Kearsie, WHY aren’t you coming?” After several minutes, couthe died out and I blurted out, mortified, “Because we can’t afford to!”
What followed next was something we still talk about, and if you’ve hung around me long enough, it’s one of my favorite stories to share.
Chuck proceeded to tell me that he had been praying during his walk and he believed God wanted us to come down there. So I told him, truthfully, we could drive down, but we wouldn’t have enough to drive back. And as the casual fare in luxurious St. George is steak and shrimp, we couldn’t afford to feed ourselves. He promised he would take care of us, and after much cajoling, I agreed to come. I walked back into the living room and interrupted the prayer session to tell Lance what was said.
So we packed up our trusty Buick and headed down to the beach. I don’t think we ever ate so well–steak, shrimp, all the goodies that are usually out of reach for poor college students. Sunday morning, standing in front of the forty-plus crowd in the tiny church, we shared about our fledgling ministry, our last year in college and what we would be doing after graduation. Then we politely excused ourselves and walked back to Chuck’s house. Twenty minutes later, church was dismissed and Chuck met us at his house, armed with a fat envelope.
We opened the envelope and found $450. It was just enough to pay all of our bills AND the stupid speeding ticket that we were SO SURE God wouldn’t help us with, because we were nasty sinners and broke the law.
But the story isn’t over.
Chuck and his wife had been grocery shopping in Tallahassee at the Sam’s Club there. I knew from experience that was just about their only option as the one tiny store on the island charged ludicrous amounts to take advantage of all the tourists. As Chuck had three children, I knew this was common as well.
Chuck asked us to open our car trunk, and after we did, he and his wife began pulling out those white styrofoam coolers and placing them in the trunk. He explained that he knew we were in need, and he wanted to help meet that need. Opening the tops of the coolers, we saw frozen shrimp, chicken cordon-blue, pop tarts…all kinds of expensive goodies that we normally avoided because of the cost. He shared that he and his wife had spent $200 on groceries just for us, not to brag, but to show that God takes care of us all.
We wept. What else could we do?
That one act of kindness has been such an encourager for us. Several times that summer we would come home and find groceries on our door step, left by some good Samaritan. Sometimes it was very strange stuff, like hamhocks and beans. (I had to call around for help on that one) But we never once starved. Our bills were always paid. We were taken care of, even when we thought it couldn’t happen.
There’s more, so stick around.