By: Marla Aycock
More exciting news surged into our lives the first week of December when Keith received a call from our son-in-law Paul, PJ’s father. He proceeded to tell Keith the events of the previous day concerning Cassidy our granddaughter and her husband, Coleson.
“Yesterday, on Sunday, Cassidy had to work, but Coleson, baby Jaxon, and his best friend Erik, attended a nearby church they’d been invited to.”
Keith said, ”You’re kidding, right?”
Paul’s voice intensified, ”Just wait, you’re not going to believe this. These two strapping twenty-one-year-olds walked down an aisle and prayed to receive Christ!”
“No way!” Keith whooped.
Later, as Keith told me the story, I think my brows almost brushed my hair line as I shouted, “What?”
Cassidy and Coleson met with the pastor the next day for lunch and he answered their many questions. Cassidy prayed to dedicate her life to the Lord. When I talked to her later in the week, her animated voice exclaimed, ”Grammy, I loved the way Pastor Scott clearly explained spiritual things to me. By the way, guess what else? Christmas Eve, Erik, Coleson and I will be baptized!”
Our family rearranged our Christmas trip to Florida so we could all attend the baptism. No way would we miss this celebration.
Dazed by all the events, I realized none of these people were the influential family member I thought God would work through. This was all His doing – out-of-the-box, a bit zany, and unexpected. My soul exulted in God’s unique pathway to bring about His purposes and answered prayers.
The name River Church gave no hint of the church’s denomination or beliefs, so besides the baptism, Keith and I anticipated Pastor Scotts Christmas Eve message. His sound technology and great sermon created a wonderful sense of peace. Our hearts soared as we worshipped together and witnessed the baptisms. Then God added a special revelation.
After the service Keith and I went to introduce ourselves to Pastor Scott and explained our connection to Cassidy and Coleson. During our conversation he mentioned people he knew from our church. My breath caught sharp when I asked him his full name. ”Scott Beasley,” he replied.
My knees buckled and I had to sit down. I’d heard this man’s name for over ten years. He founded the church we attended: I’d just never met him before. What were the chances God would orchestrate such a connection to Cassidy and her family? Another county and at least thirty miles away, yet so connected to people we worshipped with.
Our family, wandering migrants in the foreign land of grief, were thirsty desert-dwellers longing for a drop of moisture to restore life. Jesus, who always goes above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine, immersed us in the joy of living water!
…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38-39 KJV)
Link: How I Learned to Pray for the Lost.
Marla Lloyd Aycock
Author – Mentor – Friend
Marla spent most of her life in music education and ministry while raising three daughters in Marietta, Georgia. Married to her husband, Keith, for 52 years, they raised a complex trio of girls which has inspired her to write Grief is Not My Future based on the experiences of their third daughter, Esther.
As a shy and quiet child, Marla watched the chatterboxes of her world with awe. Words flowed like an unending supply of water over Niagara Falls. She wondered, where do their words come from? How do they know what to say and when? Do they rehearse?
Simply put, words scared her. What if she said the wrong thing? What if she sounded stupid or hurt someone’s feelings?
So, no one could be more surprised than her when she entered her seventh decade sitting among published and aspiring authors. Unlike many scribes who knew from an early age they were supposed to write, she had no such inclination.
But this story became a burgeoning landscape of words she knew must be put on paper as it would inspire and encourage others in their times of grief. Her inspiration to forge ahead with this book, Grief is Not My Future, was born by experiencing God’s tender presence amidst intense anguish. An experience which taught her intimacy with God in suffering is more valuable than the temporary blessings we pursue.
Marla has been a member of Georgia Writers Association, Calhoun Area Writers, and the Christian Authors Guild with several stories published in Calhoun’s three yearly anthologies, Telling Stories 1, 2, and 3.
Marla would love to hear from you. Questions, comments, or how Esther’s story has impacted your life.
Contact information: HTTPS://www.facebook.com/GriefisNotMyFuture