After graduating from college, I was up for an adventure. Little did I know that this adventure would land me in Austin, Texas, for the next four years. I had joined the staff of Campus Crusade and agreed to go wherever they sent me. I had been to Texas a few times but never south of Dallas. It was exciting and daunting as I packed my tiny, green Gremlin in Lake Butler, Fla., to drive the two day trip all by myself. Yes, a Gremlin was a car and these cars were not cool even back then!
Forty years have passed since that drive to Texas, but a flood of memories has come back since arriving in Austin last week. I have felt such a need to reconnect. First, I wanted to see the three places where I had lived. With 102 degree temperature I wasn’t thinking about a long walk or hike to these places. To my surprise, the apartment and the houses are still standing. Driving by these places, Bill was patient to stop the car (with the air conditioning running) to let me have my moment of reflection and then to take a picture. Memories came back like it was yesterday: roommates; late night talks; laughter; Bible studies; fun meals; parties.
There have been a couple of people I wanted to see while I was here. When I arrived at The University of Texas, Bob and Carol Sims were my campus directors with Campus Crusade. In so many ways they touched my life during those four years. I will share the most important one. They encouraged me in living life and having a ministry with students with freedom. By nature, I am a very duty-bound rule follower and tend to follow the book. Bob and Carol put relationships with people first and foremost and modeled this principle in their lives. As a result, they saw individual lives encouraged and changed. Their influence was a release from my need to please. The freedom to helping people without the pressure to perform became the groundwork for what the Lord was going to have for me to do in the coming years. It also helped when I married a man that also had these same strengths and burden for people.
The visit with the Sims this week was short because it was at a hospital. Bob recently had a stroke coming back from a family vacation. In his hospital bed, Bob was still his witty, chatty self. Life has changed for them with this unexpected development. Thankfully he is doing remarkably well.
My second visit was with my friend, Suzanne, and her husband, Larry. For 38 years, Suzanne and I have had a friendship but only once had met face to face a few months ago. Bill and I finally had a long evening with this remarkable couple. Years ago when I lived in Austin, Suzanne had written a letter to our staff that she would love for someone to contact her sister, who was a student at the University of Texas. I followed through with this request and began a correspondence with Suzanne using snail mail as it is called today. To tell or recreate Suzanne and Larry’s story would take a book, which I hope they will write one day. Through their story I have learned new lessons about forgiveness, love, the sovereignty of God, reconciliation, faith, joy amidst suffering and hard times, redemption, and the providence of God. These are only a few of their big life lessons which have encouraged me. Theirs is a remarkable story and continues to be.
The places we go, the people we meet, the conversations and introductions we encounter can lead to life changing events. Even though we don’t recognize them when they are happening, God does. My life is not a chess board where God is playing a game with me. He is not moving all His pieces around after I move mine. He’s leading every moment according to providence. He sees the big picture and knows exactly what He is doing. In past times of uncertainty I now realize God was leading. My visit to Austin has allowed me to connect with that truth. Even so, I’m glad the Gremlin is gone as the journey continues.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
Isaiah 42:16 NIV
10 thoughts on “People, Places and Providence”
Love this story and God’s promise at the end. I’m so glad that you had this opportunity to revisit this place and also be able to reconnect with friends from the past. What a sweet experience and blessing. I’m sure you are glad to not still be driving that Gremlin.😘
Thank you Sharon. You are always encouraging to me and I am grateful!
The chess analogy really hit home with me!
Thank you April. I’m thankful that the Lord put you in my life.
Lindy, I love your blogs!!!! And yes, I remember the Gremlin cars – am surprised your Dad doesn’t have it stored in the barn somewhere.
Thanks Tooter. He would have had to move the 1959 station wagon out if he had held onto the Gremlin!
I loved reading about life-long friends and the memories you share with them. I have no such relationships from my school years, but the “best friend” from early in our marriage will always be in my heart. She taught me to appreciate all the moments that deserved hearty laughter and take lightly the moments that were not so funny.
Thanks for all of you wonderful messages.
Thank you Nadeen. You have taught me a lot about laughter and I love you for that!
Oh dear Lindy,
You will never know how much our Lord has used & continues to use you & Bill in my life. What good memories and connections you are sharing these days. I am so sorry to learn of Bob’s stroke. I’ll pray…
When I first met Bill (at Texas Tech before y’all had started dating) he used the word ‘dear’ way too much, even for a southerner from Alabama! I asked him what ‘dear’ meant and he said very nonchalantly, it’s the polite form of idiot! Jeff & I have often used it & laughed about it over the years. I want you to know that is NOT my definition. Thanks so much for nurturing me and teaching me how to trust God day to day, through whatever He allows in my life.
blessings with love to you,
susie fischer hardin
Dearest Susie, you have made my day! Bill and I laugh about the funny Lubbock incident too. We think of you with fondness and so much love. I wish we could have a long long visit. There are so many thoughts and questions. Much much love. Lindy