As with most of you, I enjoy having lunch with friends.
Last week, I decided to text a girlfriend of mine and invite her to lunch. The text read: “Hi Stacey! Would you like to go to lunch sometime soon? Do you have any time in the next week or two?” When I received her reply text, I stared at the screen.
I did not text who I thought I did.
I invited another Stacey to lunch!
I did not know this Stacey very well. In fact, I would say I did not know her at all! I guess I knew her only enough to know she and I seemed like – well – opposites. I liked her! Don’t get me wrong! I just did not see the two of us as buddies? So, I was taken back a little at the realization of who I was corresponding with, but recovered very quickly and my shock turned to gratitude.
I was a little surprised with her return text. Though we haven’t shared more than a dozen words with each other at one time, she said: “Yes! I would like that. Thank you!” I immediately said a prayer of gratitude for the “chance” to get to know her. I don’t think I would have offered to take her out to lunch had this “accident” not occurred and I was excited, and even honored, for the opportunity.
I replied: “Great! Are you free Friday?”
It was a date!
As the week progressed, I really wondered how this lunch date was going to go. As I said, I did not know her very well and it seemed we did not have much in common. I said prayers that she would feel comfortable with me, and I with her. I recognized that something “beyond my doing” might be at work here, and prayed that I could be an instrument in the Lord’s hands in her behalf. I really looked forward to getting to know her.
Friday came and I went to pick her up. She looked great and seemed happy to go to lunch with me. I was dumbfounded when she told me no one had ever invited her to lunch before.
I would soon learn why.
We went to a little cafe and I began the conversation by asking her a little about herself, especially what she most likes to do. Her answer….and the next 60 minutes….had me captivated, stunned and inspired.
She has given me permission to share her story with you.
Meet Stacy - My Hero.
Stacey was a prisoner in her own home for the first 20 years of her life. Her mother left her and her sister in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, who did not let the girls out to socialize. Ever. They were schooled at home. They stayed at home. Always. In fact….he locked every window in the house so they could not leave.
She and her sister were abused in every way. They were treated like, and told they were: DIRT. Stacey had no one. She had nothing. She did not even know about God.
She and her sister were adults before they found themselves free from his prison. But they were still in bondage. They were never taught what it was like to have a friend. They were never taught about love. They were never taught how to be parents. They were on their own with nothing – and no one.
Stacey told me how she would lie awake at night calling out to anyone. anything. She did not know who she was calling to, but she cried nightly, “Are you there!?” “Is anyone there?”
Then, someone answered.
Stacy discovered someone was there! She discovered someone had been there all along! She discovered Jesus Christ and His great love for her!
She was loved!
Stacey is now married and is a wonderful mother. Since her “discovery”, she spends hours and hours each day searching for more information about this man she now knows to be the true Son of God and Redeemer of the World. It is her life’s ambition to help others and be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
When I asked Stacey what she most liked to do, she described to me her urgent desire to serve and help others! She said she has felt so healed and loved by the Savior, that she feels compelled to share that with others who are suffering. She wants to help the homeless and helpless. She, too, wants to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.
Was this “accidental” lunch date – just chance?
I don’t think so.
This amazing woman, whom I thought I had nothing in common with, is my new hero, and it is an honor to now call her my friend. A friend whom I never would have met….had I not dialed a wrong number.
Truly, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
“Can you see how the Lord accomplishes His work? Our Heavenly Father knows His children. He is listening to their prayers. He knows who is seeking Him, and He will lead us to them.” (Neil L. Andersen, “A Spiritual Work”)
Feature photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/1hdvGYm