There are some parts of our stories we’re all reluctant to tell. For years I’ve wanted to share this, but I was hesitant because of possible negative reactions. Some of you will believe God would never do what I claim He did for me, and some of you will think it’s just a tall tale. But some of you will be encouraged and blessed, some of you will feel hope in the midst of despair, and for those people, I continue to tell my story.
In late January 2007, I knew something had to change. There was no way to fix it on my own. I had given it all I had. Only God could tell me what to do next and I wasn’t about to take matters into my own hands. I was at the end of my rope. All strength was gone. I couldn’t hold on any longer.
I stayed up all night crying out to the Lord. Before the sun came up, I prayed this final prayer:
Lord, I have nowhere to turn. I have no money. Please provide me and my children a place to go. Maybe there is an older lady with a big house who would let us live with her for free until I can get on my feet.
And with that, I got up, took a shower and went to work. I didn’t tell one soul on the planet what I prayed — not my children, not my friends, not my sister, not even my Mama. Only Jesus knew today was the day. I didn’t know what was going to happen or how. All I knew was I needed a miracle.
When I sat down at my desk and opened my email, there was only one. Even though I hadn’t talked to her or seen her in months and had never told her what was going on, my friend Carolyn had it on her heart to check in on me. Her email was one paragraph and in it she said, (this is an exact copy and paste):
As I am typing this to you, the Lord put a thought in my head… I have a large house with only me in it. Would you like to stay here for awhile? I would love to spend some time with you. Pray about it and let me know what you think.
Pray about it?!? I certainly had that box checked off! I picked up the phone immediately and called her, asking if she was serious. She sounded a bit afraid and who wouldn’t be?!?! Opening your home to a woman and her three teenagers!?!? No one would willingly do that!! She assured me God told her to ask if the kids and I wanted to move in with her. No doubt her head was spinning when I took her up on that offer!
She had a 5-bedroom, 3-story house just a few miles away. We packed our clothes and moved in that night. We stayed with her for most of that year until I could get on my feet. I cooked and cleaned and did my best to bless her back for how she’d blessed us. Looking back, it still seems so hard to believe. I can only pray God will repay her 100 fold for allowing Him to use her in such a powerful way.
Please don’t get distracted here. This post isn’t about the rights and wrongs of separation and divorce. We can all agree that divorce is painful and it leaves lasting scars. This post is encouragement that God will make a way when there seems to be no way.
This post is about RESCUE.
All throughout Scripture, God is about setting people free when all hope was gone. He rescued His Chosen people enslaved in Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den, the four Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, the woman caught in adultery. He rescued me and He will rescue you when you need it most — not because we deserve it. God rescues because He loves us. We are His beloved.
That cold and dreary winter day so many years ago didn’t look like I had hoped and prayed it would, and neither have several of the other situations God has seen fit to remove me from since then. God sees what I don’t see and He knows when something simply isn’t going to get better and it’s time to move on.
I don’t know what your situation is, but I do know there is someone reading this who needed to hear it today. Maybe you’re the reason I felt it was finally time to tell this part of my story. Maybe you need rescue from an unhealthy relationship, or a dead-end job, or from addiction, depression or despair. Whatever situation you’re in, God hasn’t forgotten you. He doesn’t show favoritism. If He rescued me, He will do the same for you.
Or how about this?!?! Maybe you’re the one the Lord wants to use to rescue someone else! Are you willing to be a “Carolyn” to some other family in need? Can you open your heart and home? Can you donate your time and resources, and risk getting nothing in return? Remember that God uses us to bless each other. Sometimes we’re the rescu-ee, and sometimes we’re the rescu-er. I don’t know where I’d be today if Carolyn hadn’t done it for me!
One day our final rescue will come from bodies that no longer serve us and He will take us Home. Until then, He will show us the way if we continue to wait on His perfect timing. It might not look the way you want it to, and not everyone will understand, but He is faithful to speak if we are faithful to listen. May His promise in Psalm 91:14-15 bring us comfort:
Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
Trust and believe, my friend. God is still in the rescuing business. Let go of what you think your rescue should look like. God knows better than we do. Hang on to that rope until you hear Him say, “Let go.” Let Him catch you . . . then let Him use you as someone’s “Carolyn”. We get by with a little help from our friends.