Crossed paths for a purpose

Have you ever tried to sit down and think about the people who have come into your life over the years? I think my brain would explode, if I actually tried. Even last night, at our church’s revival service, a woman came up to me and asked the question I always dread: “Do you remember my name?”

I knew the face. I knew I was supposed to know her. Everything after that was blank.

I smiled and told her that I was very sorry, but I could not. After a quick look of disappointment she said it was alright and thankfully told me her name. I tried hard to make a mental note, but these days, that doesn’t mean much.

When we lived overseas, I kept a small notebook in each country that had the name of those who visited us. I included a bit about their background and the topic of our discussion. There’s no way to describe how much this saved us over the years, when we’d receive an email or phone call and be expected to remember a person we’d seen months or years before.

When you read the story from the book of Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, it’s easy to see how that encounter was orchestrated by God. An angel was sent to tell Philip, very specifically, to start down the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Their paths were meant to cross.

Do you think about that, when you reflect on the people who have come in and out of your own life? I have come to realize that nothing is by chance in this life…even a brief encounter with another person.

These past two years, after the fog of grief was lifted, I asked the Lord in my prayer time to help me to meet with people who would give me direction, insight and encouragement in my writing ministry. I found some wonderful guidance in conversations with old friends at a retreat for retired missionaries. I took to heart what they told me over coffee and tea or a meal.

Those conversations led me to join an online writers group and then be brave enough to sign up for a writers conference.

Recently, the Lord has used a hodgepodge group of seven young women, who have crossed my path in a variety of ways over the last ten years, to speak into my life and provide amazing inspiration. They don’t even know each other, but now that I’ve connected them on a Facebook message, they might just eventually meet…or at least be a virtual blessing to each other.

Why would an old woman want to ask the opinion of these twenty-somethings? Because they are the next generation that will carry on the work of the Kingdom. I need them in my life, and not just to like their Facebook posts, but to pray for them and encourage them in their journey. They inspire me to write for a purpose, and I’m so glad the Lord brought them to mind.

What relationships are worth pursuing in your life? I encourage you to seek out three kinds:

  • Those that build you up in your spiritual life and will pray for and encourage you.
  • Those you can encourage, minister to, disciple in the faith.
  • Those that bring out the best of you in witness and ministry.

The woman whose name I forgot — she sought me out last night, because the Lord brought me to mind as someone who could help with a difficult issue a friend was facing. I was glad to be able to help and pleased she obeyed the Lord’s prompting.

Have you crossed paths with someone recently that the Lord keeps bringing to mind? Pursue them for a purpose. There’s a blessing there to be found!

Grace and Peace


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