Fresh Water Part 14 - Fulfilled Promise
The move to Texas went smoothly for Tom. At every step he knew where he should live, work, and what he should do. While settling into his apartment, he decided one of the first things he would do was find a church. One stood out to him immediately that was just a few blocks up the street. Ironically, it was called Grace.
On his first Sunday, he decided to visit. While on the way into the lobby, he noticed a bulletin board with a flier inviting anyone interested to attend their Divorce Care class. Tom thought to himself, ‘I’ve been there and done that. I’m fine…’ Within seconds, that still, small voice spoke to his heart saying, ‘GO!’. He knew he couldn’t argue with that voice, so he did.
He certainly wasn’t looking to find companionship in the class, but Tom couldn’t help but notice one of the women who was attending; Mary. She had been to the class before, but for some reason, felt she needed to attend again. Her marriage ended over a year prior, so she thought perhaps she could be of help to others.
After the first month of class, on a whim, Tom decided to ask Mary out for a cup of coffee. Mary agreed to go and what was meant to be a brief, casual time together, turned into something much more.
After getting a spontaneous dinner that turned out to be unintentionally fun and romantic, they headed to grab a coffee. While the conversation progressed, Tom knew he was falling fast. Suddenly, out of the blue, Mary told him that, while she was on the way into the coffee shop, God had spoken to her saying, ‘He’s innocent’.
She asked Tom what that meant. Surprised by her question, Tom knew it was God speaking to her. Beginning to cry, he told Mary everything he’d been through in California. With a confident smile, Mary looked at him and felt nothing but compassion and grace. Their conversation lasted until closing and then for another three hours after that. It was a night neither of them would forget and Tom knew then that his life would never be the same.
Mary was remarkable. Her heart, her personality, her family, and, of course, her looks, floored him. The only catch; she had two children and Tom wasn’t sure if they would accept him into their lives too. Over the next several months, Tom and Mary saw and talked with each other nearly every day. The fears Tom had about her kids accepting him nearly all washed away the more they spent time together.
That June, Mary was attending her annual family reunion in Canada. Her grandfather, known for having a word from the Lord for each of his children, and grandchildren, as he prayed God's blessing over them, had a word for Mary this time around.
He hadn’t heard about Tom before speaking to Mary, but he felt strongly to say to her, ‘He’s OK. He’s innocent. You have God's blessing’. Floored by her grandfather's word for her who hadn't been told about Tom, Mary came back from the reunion feeling at peace and thankful for God’s confirmation that it was alright to pursue the relationship with Tom further. Unknown to her, while she was gone, Tom settled in his heart that Mary was the one for him and had made plans to ask her hand in marriage soon.
Within a few days of her getting back from the reunion, Tom took her to dinner and, afterward, for a romantic walk around a nearby lake. They stopped and sat on a bench enjoying the warm summer's evening listening to the wind blow across the water. Tom knew that it was the time to ask. He took her hands in his, looked her in the eyes, and proposed her hand in marriage. She smiled knowing what he was up to and jumped into his arms saying, ‘YES!’…
That night was over eighteen years ago now. Sitting by the lake, nearby where he and Mary now lived, to catch a breath of fresh air and enjoy the view of the water, Tom’s mind came back to the present.
The memories of college, the ten years in California, followed by so many blessed years with Mary and her kids who had become like Tom's own, seemed to all flow together into that single moment. It was as though he could see God's hand at work throughout his life and now understood His purposes in ways he never would have when he was younger.
It was just then, after recalling all the memories, failures, heartbreaks, and blessings in his life, that Tom heard that still, small voice speak to his heart once again saying, ‘I restored your family in a way you never expected…’ Tom smiled and knew that the promise God made to him over eighteen years earlier on the shores of the bay in California, had more than come true through Mary and her children.
But, the voice in his heart had one more thing to say to him. Within a few seconds, he heard the voice say, ‘I will complete my work and bring your children home…’ All grown now with children of their own, Tom’s heart raced and knew what that meant; one day, he didn’t know when, his girls, Grace and Gabbie, who had been separated from him for so many years, would one day be back in right relationship with him.
He knew, without any doubt, that God would complete his work in their lives as well; all in His time and His way. Tom knew that all he needed to do was wait and obey. No matter what the challenge, he knew all things would work together for the good just as they had with Mary and her children. He knew that the old, stale water of the past pain and heartbreak with his own girls, would be replaced by fresh water from above washing away the brokenness and completing the promises of God in his life…
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