This is a true story of a very bizarre but purposeful 7 year experience I had along with my entire family 42 years ago. I have changed the name of the person and left out the children's names I interacted with to protect their privacy.
It was around 1:00 pm in the afternoon in 1977, I was married and living in St. Petersburg FL. Raising my two sons along with my now ex husband. My boys were 4 and 2 years old. We were all out on this particular beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon for a drive to see some friends in Largo, Florida. It's just a few cities north of St. Petersburg. We were taking our time just enjoying the light conversation and the great weather, really excited to have been invited up for a day at their pool.
We were heading north up 66th Street, we were taking a different route today for some reason. We were just passing the light at the corner of 38th Avenue North and 66th Street when all of a sudden I heard the powerful voice of a man speaking to me. You see this was common for me throughout my life. I had heard HIS voice all my life and it was second nature to me to suddenly hear HIM ask me a question or give me direction. HIS voice was firm and yet kind. The voice was always very comforting but extremely strong, unlike other men's voices. It always felt like a powerful vibrational force as HE said to me very matter of fact, "Teri, have your husband stop in the donut shop up ahead and you go in and stand at the counter". I said out loud, O.K.!
Then I said out loud immediately to my husband, Please pull the car over to that donut shop, there, (as I pointed) on the right, up ahead. My husband looked at me strangely and said "why"? Are we getting donuts now at this time in the afternoon? I said, "I don't really know yet why, just please, pull in, please just pull in now"! (My husband always fought me on spiritual issues like these) I was now raising my voice as again I firmly said "PULL in there NOW! He said "O.K." and turned the wheel into the parking lot.
I explained to my husband what was happening, I told him of this urgency, I was walking on blind faith here!
Then he said to me again as I waited to hear from the LORD, Teri, why are we here, I don't want a donut.
I said to him, neither do I but I believe the voice of the LORD has just instructed me to pull in here and go stand at the counter.
So having said that, I got out of the car and asked my husband to please just be patient and let me see where the next instruction I would receive would lead to.
I just wanted to do as I was asked by the LORD.
I pulled my shirt down tight swallowed hard and headed into the Coffee shop. I was thinking the whole time as I walked toward the door, What do I do now LORD?
I walked inside. And I just stood there, like I was told. There weren't that many people in the shop.
Maybe 8 or so total. I just Stood there near the front counter, waiting.
There was a man and women in front of me. I continued to wait. They ordered their donuts. Then as I heard the man giving his order to the waitress, I heard the voice of the LORD again clearly say to me, "Do you see the woman and the three children at the end of the counter", I whispered out loud, yes LORD. He then said to me, "Go to the woman and ask her if there is anything you can do for her, anything at all", I replied "O.K."
At the end of the counter was a young woman seated alone and her three children. All girls. The woman had long brown hair and the children were very young.
Now, the waitress was starting to speak to me as all this was happening, she said "excuse me ma'am", What can I get for you? I said, well, I'm not sure yet, just a moment please. ( I stood there waiting to see if the Lord was going to give me any further instruction, like exactly what to say to this stranger) She replied, sure, just let me know when you're ready. I then smiled at her and started to head down towards the woman with the long brown hair seated at the end of the counter with the three sweet little girls.
As I was walking toward them I said to the Lord, "what will I say, what do you want me to say here"?
He replied to me "say exactly as I have spoken to you". I said again, "O.K." Thinking to myself "here we go"!
So I extended my hand to a young pretty woman with long brown hair and big brown eyes, and introduced myself to her. Hi, I said, My name is Teri. She said her name was Debbie, She looked at me rather oddly, I said to her, I'm sure you will find this pretty strange Debbie, but is there anything I can do for you, you see I was asked to ask you this question?
She replied with, "excuse me, what"? Do I know you? Who asked you? I said no actually you don't know me, but I was driving up to Largo to see some friends with my family and as I got near this donut shop I heard the voice of the LORD say to me too pull in here and then, too come speak to you and ask you what I can do for you.
As I was saying this to her a very odd thing happened to me. I felt a surge of power come over me, cloak me actually, it was an unbelievable feeling! I had amazing compassion pour over me for this stranger and her three children.
I pointed out the window to my car and my husband and children who were just sitting there waiting patiently on me, waved a hello and a smile to Debbie.
Her face went as white as a sheet. She said, What? Really? Who are you? Are you kidding me here? Oh my God! That's hard to believe.
I said, perhaps it is Debbie, but I am to ask you a question. So I'm wondering, what is it that you need, what can I do for you right now? I was asked to ask you that specifically, what can I do for you! She looked at me as if I were completely nuts and as if she were going to scream! Then she blurted out, sit down please. Please, just sit down here a minute. So I sat on the stool next to her. She was shaking visibly. Her hands were just shaking so hard she was holding them to try to stop them from shaking. I had never seen anyone shake that much before. I put my hand on her shoulder and said, whatever it is you're going through the LORD has heard your prayer, and HE has sent me to help you. What can I do for you? With that she calmed down and stopped shaking.
Her big brown eye's were full of tears. She sat there for a long moment with her head in her hands and sobbing she said "I want to show you something", I said "O.K." She then pulled a piece of paper from her purse unwrapped it quickly and handed it to me. She said, "this is just so crazy,
I can't believe what you're saying to me here"!
I smiled but did not respond.
I unfolded the paper and said, "do you want me to read this"? She replied, "first promise me you will not tell anybody what you are about to read"! I said, O.K., I won't tell anybody. She replied then go ahead and read it.
To my absolute shock and amazement, (which I tried to conceal) because what I read was so horrifying, I could hardly believe it myself was all the reasons why Debbie was going to kill herself!Contained in this note was Debbie's suicide letter.
She had planned on taking her life that very day!
Just moments from my fateful visit! GODs instructions to me were purposeful to save her and possibly her children's lives!
She had stopped to get coffee at the donut shop with the girls so she could figure out her details, and how she was going to do this to herself and maybe her children! She wanted to spend her last moments alive with her children, here at the donut shop!
She just couldn't figure out what to do with her daughters at the moment she would commit her crime!
She explained to me she had serious problems at home. She was recently disfellowshipped from her church and was being divorced. Her family had turned their backs on her, her husband was awarded the children in the decree. She now was going to be all alone after 10 years of marriage. He was getting the children. She explained it was because her husband had fallen in love with a younger girl at the church and had gotten the young girl pregnant.
Her husband, an elder in the church, was to marry the young pregnant lady in his congregation and replace his wife (Debbie) with this younger woman. They then they would raise Debbie's girls and raise their family as one new happy family.
It all sounded very strange to me.
Debbie was so distraught to say the least. Her husband had accused her of being an unfit mother to justify their divorce and move on with his new plans. There was nothing she could do.
As odd as the story was, I did not question her further.
This young woman at the donut counter was so discouraged and broken she could hardly speak as she told me her side of her sad and hurtful story. I just listened. My heart just broke for her.
After about 20 minutes, I walked outside and let my husband know what was happening. He asked me what I thought we were to do for her? I said I feel as if I'm going to leave it up to her. I'm going to let her direct the outcome of this visit, as I hadn't heard anything else from the LORD since I started talking with her! HE asked me to ask her what I could do for her, so I would wait for her to tell me what to do.
It was decided then by Debbie, that I would take her children and keep them safe while she spent some time alone, and she would call me in a day or two after she thought things through. I agreed to do this only if she agreed to do nothing foolish. She agreed, she said she was so overwhelmed with what I had told her from GOD that she wasn't going to go through with her suicide plan now. Even though I knew I couldn't really depend on that promise she made to me, I just had to trust GOD! I hoped I would see her again in just a few day's.
We prayed with her in the parking lot, hugged her and assured her we would do as GOD instructed us. I gave her my phone number and address. Introduced her to my husband, who verified to her what GOD had told me and how HE instructed me to pull into the donut shop. She was just flabbergasted about it all!
We invited her to come home with us. We pleaded with her telling her we would say nothing about what she was dealing with. She hesitated and said "no", thank you, I think I need to be alone for awhile. she said she just had to sort things out in her mind. She needed time. She convinced me she would be in touch in a few days. I had no choice but to believe her.
I guess she just needed time to understand how all this had come to be. After all, it isn't every day this sort of thing happens in this manner.
I assured her I would care for her sweet young girls as if they were my own until she returned. I told her not to worry at all, I was as far away as a phone call. I gave her the tag number on my car just to give her more peace. I asked her if she needed any money? She said , No.
So, I loaded the little darlings into the car in the back seat with my boy's and I drove off with her three precious daughters, safe now, in the back seat of our car. They were instantly all so happy to be with us. I was surprised, as if they had known us all their little lives. I think they were emotionally drained from the stress of being with their seriously distraught mother. They actually seemed excited and immediately started chatting with my boy's.
It would be three weeks before I heard from or saw Debbie again.
I must say, I was starting to wonder if I would ever see her again! Talk about stressful, I had no idea if she had gone through with her plan or not. There were no cell phones back in that day, so there was no way of communicating with each other. Something inside me had assured me however that everything was going to be fine, but I must agree the waiting is never easy!
She came to the front door alone one afternoon and the girls and I were elated to see her. Such joy was in my heart, she was alive and now safe!
I was so grateful she was still alive! She looked me right in the eyes and one of the first things she said to me was she would be converting from her religion to mine! She was so impressed with how GOD had come through for her in her absolute deepest darkest hour, literally. She said she never felt so loved like this in all her life.
This began a 7 year friendship with Debbie and our family. She did convert to become a Christian. She lived with us, her and the girls, for over a year from that first day until we could help her get on her feet and into her own home.
I never questioned the limits of service I was asked of GOD. Miracles and blessing continued over the next 7 years, everyone at church and in my family witnessed them all. I never tried to change the flow of helping this woman.
I understood I was to do what ever it took to help her find her way.
But the story would continue to have it's twists and turns.
For some of us to be given such love and kindness, dedication and service it would have been more than enough. Others, will walk away, ignore and forget what a HOLY GOD and a good friend had done for them.
It wasn't my place to judge her, it was my place to help her.
I was to be open, available and kind, understanding and helpful.
I realized what the LORD was doing in my life by having me become the servant.
It clarified for me how HE while here alive on this planet as a man himself, HE had done the same thing constantly. I identified personally with HIS ministry, and the lessons I learned which were very hard and painful at times, so difficult as seven people crammed into a small 2 bedroom home lived out their lives. The goal was peace, and that is exactly what I found.
I look back often at those days and smile.
I left my home one beautiful sunny Sunday morning to visit friends in a neighboring city, took a different longer route for some odd reason and then heard the voice of GOD himself redirect my plans for that day, and my life to save a woman and her three children.
My world instantly and forever would change. This miracle in the making would challenge my faith and teach me how to love others, truly love with the love of Christs ministry here on earth.
I highly advise this for all readers. Jump in, abandon your own plans and let the love of GOD guide you, there is no better high, no better satisfaction known to man in this life than to lay down his life (or plans) for his friends!
Miracles like these are all around us. Waiting for us to obey and tap into them. We have to listen for them, recognize them, and truly just obey the signs and the LORDS calling, to see what lessons for this life can come of it all. I might add that not questioning, once you know HIS voice is always beneficial as well.
It is all about learning, growing and coming to feel and understand GODS love and HIS human life here among us!
Everything HE does with us is purposeful!
It never ceases to amaze me what can happen when we don't question and just simply obey!
To obey is better than sacrifice, (1 Samuel 15:22)