A Cemetery Encounter

IMG_7906Growing up in Michigan as the youngest of four was fine and good but at age 20, Carol decided a change of pace was in order. A friend previously transplanted to California beckoned and before she knew it, Carol was heading west.

Immediately the job hunt began and being adventurous, Carol applied to be a limo driver. As a female in a mostly male world of drivers, she became an immediate hit and established herself well. Carol raked in the tips, met celebrities, saw the sights and had loads of fun along the way!

Eventually Carol met and married Bill and his job took them clear across the country first to Boston where their daughter was born and then, after six years, it was back to California with a job change. And their son was born.  It turned out to be an unhappy, bad fit of a job so seven years later the family landed mid-country this time, in St. Louis, Missouri.

It was so much a better fit job-wise and location-wise for a young family of four and they began to put down roots, becoming involved in the schools and communities. Carol felt, however, that something was missing. Something Big! She thought back to her childhood, her own family life. Carol came from a parochial background – church and school, although church wasn’t exactly attended as much as her parents thought.

Carol tells of her and her brother riding their bikes around the parking lot during church until they could hear the service almost ending. Her brother would run in, grab a church bulletin, and they both would head for home, delivering the precious bulletin to the parents as proof of their church attendance.

Being in a parochial school at least established in Carol’s mind and heart that God was real.

As she sought to establish those roots in the family’s new community, Carol decided that maybe they needed a church – for the kids. She looked in the yellow pages; she looked in the white pages. Actually Carol had no idea what she was looking for. It became just one of those nagging ideas in the back of her mind that she hoped to act on one day. And life went on.

When her daughter was in 5th grade and on a swim team, Carol and Bill befriended other parents of those on the team. One day, one of the dad’s committed suicide. Just like that! No warning. Obviously shock and sadness took over Carol along with everyone else close to the situation.

Carol went to the funeral. Before the service, as Carol arrived early, the attendant insisted three times that Carol join the family in a room set aside. They were praying. Carol slipped in and stood in the back of the room. Pastor Kevin was praying. Carol had never heard anything like it: so personal, so real, so relational. It touched her heart and awakened her soul. Following the service, Carol accompanied the family and guests to the cemetery.

After hanging on to Pastor Kevin’s prayer prior, then hearing his message at the funeral itself about how one can be assured of Eternal Life by simply believing that God’s Son Jesus died for our sins and asking Him for forgiveness, then final sealing words at the grave site, Carol knew. At that exact point in time, surrounded by death, in her heart she had just met Jesus. She accepted. She repented. She believed. She was born again!

This was nine years ago. With Carol’s obvious change and her positive influence on her entire family, they immediately began attending that church together where Pastor Kevin was employed. Carol found, not only a place for the children, but one for her and Bill! They both observed and marveled how the church “family” came alongside the bereaved family and met just about their every need. Bill and Carol both had found a home and God. One day early on, Carol confided to a friend at church of a particular problem, and the friend responded, “I’ll pray for you.” Carol thought to herself, “So that’s how they do it!” She understood then that there is a direct connection with God. It brought joy to her heart!

Carol immediately was discipled by others as she yearned to learn more about Jesus and desired to grow in her personal walk with Him, and became involved in many  Bible Studies since then, hungry for and gleaning from the Word of God. Life evolves and brings many challenges and changes. Carol knows it’s not a journey she is taking alone. She is grateful.

Barely two months ago, Carol’s dad passed away. Through her grief, knowing that he too had a personal relationship with the Lord, she is comforted by the fact that she will see him again.

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

 

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One thought on “A Cemetery Encounter

  1. I love learning about encounters with Jesus. He custom-designs each encounter specifically for every individual He calls. What a God we serve! He knows us soooo perfectly! Thanx, Phyllis, for this delightful blog! The Lord uses you in this!

    Liked by 1 person

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