Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Unexpected Connection

The day before the 3 1/2 day retreat I was feeling restless, anxious over trivial things, distracted...I decided to cancel class, fast and spend the better part of the day with the Lord. He graciously restored peace and a restful dependence on the Spirit. I prayed for the retreat, but I don't think I prayed much in regards to me and the retreat. Since the retreat would all be in Spanish, I didn't have much expectation in regards to its impact on me. But God....

At tea time the first morning, I sat with a group of women, mostly listening. I was impressed with an especially vibrant and attractive mother of two pre-teen girls. Eventually, she moved closer to me and patiently engaged me in conversation. A few hours later, I told Cara about Katia, and Cara told me her story.

Seven years ago, Katia and her husband, Tito, with their three and five year old girls joined the church family on this same weekend retreat. Tito was a pastoral intern at the church, a sharp young leader with energy and vision. While crossing the bridge to the camp, one of their pieces of luggage fell into the river. He was a strong swimmer, so he went down to the bank and swam around a bend to retrieve it. He never returned. His body was found six days later.

As Cara relayed the story, I suddenly realized that I had prayed for this young mother and her two little girls seven years ago when the news came to the SIM International office where I worked. We grieved the tragic loss of this young family and the church family as well. I would never have guessed that one day God would intersect my life with hers.

That night and early the next morning I wrestled, churning emotionally and begging God to bring sense and order to my racing thoughts. Again and again he brought scripture to mind that addressed the issues over which was I struggling. I knew I needed to talk to Katia, but it was a few days before I was ready.

Cara joined us to help translate, but only a few times was it necessary. Katia teaches in French, and she does quite well in English too! It was a precious heart to heart time. All three of us were a red-eyed, balling mess before we concluded, but it was a Spirit-directed, edifying time. Katia is the close-up photo of 2 Corinthians 1. The comfort and strength that God has given her is now overflowing  to comfort me in my time of grief. God had this in the works seven years ago.

Katia is leading a women's group called "Women Alone" for women who are single (for whatever reason). Cara tells me that in this city of one million people, she doesn't know of any church that has a group like it. Katia's daughters are maturing in the Lord, and Katia assured me that she is not just surviving, but thoroughly thriving, even as she still grieves Tito's absence.

I had a tiny part in lifting up this young widow seven years ago, and now God brings us together and uses her to encourage and minister to me in my grief as a widow. God's timing and his design of the Body of Christ once again amazes me.


  1. Go GOD! What a blessing to read this today Marcia. Sounds like you are in the right place for such a time as this....... Love to you!

  2. What an encouragement to read of God's faithfulness in your life, Marcia. Keeping you in my prayers . . .

  3. Thanks, Chris, for your continued prayers. I'm grateful.