In March of 2018, after an insane week at the office, I desperately needed some time alone with God. When Saturday rolled around, I felt the need to hike to one of my favorite God-spots, a bluff overlooking a river valley. There, I unburdened myself to God. After we’d spent about an hour together, I began to feel rejuvenated and joyful. Then, suddenly, it was just like He said, “Child, it’s time to go.” I resisted. I sat there for a few minutes until I realized His Spirit was walking up the hill away from me. My inward rebel girl finally said, “Fine, I’m coming,” and I reluctantly followed Him up to the trail. I knew if He was leaving, there was not really any point in staying. It was a decision which broke the dam for a waterfall of unexpected blessings.
Now, before I tell you about the blessings, let me tell you about the the trail to my God-spot. It’s not on a map. In the ten years I’ve hiked on it—I’ve seen only one other person. So, you can imagine my surprise, when, as I was hiking back, I suddenly felt a presence behind me. I whirled around, and not far behind me was a woman. I said, “Oh wow, you scared me!” She walked up to me, introduced herself, and we began hiking together. She told me her name was Julia and she was a music teacher from Connecticut but she was currently stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood because her National Guard unit had been activated. Because we shared a common faith in Christ, within the hour—we were friends. We talked about music and Julia told me that she really enjoyed singing harmony. I laughed and said, I could barely sing harmony at all, but I loved to sing melody. I told her about the music God had been writing through me over the past four years. She seemed genuinely interested. I was intrigued. I wondered if God wasn’t doing something really special by bringing us together.
At the end of the trail, we exchanged phone numbers and parted ways. Later that evening, I told my brother, Thomas, about the meeting and he said, “It sounds like the story from the Bible about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.” I agreed—I knew I had heard God tell me to go up that trail at just the right time. Also, the things we had in common were absolutely crazy—for example, her hometown is not far from where I was born in Connecticut. We also both love making music and were seeking to know God better. What I didn’t know was how much we were going to help each other with both. The next weekend we got together and hiked about eight miles. During the hike, she told me that she doesn’t hear God like the ways I’d shared with her that I hear Him. I told her that for many years I didn’t hear God either–until I fell in love with Him and started taking the time to listen. This snippet of conversation led to an interesting series of events for Julia.
We had hiked out to my God-spot where I’d been right before I met her. As we were sitting out on the bluff talking, suddenly, we heard a terrible argument break out across the river. We couldn’t see it, but it sounded like it was about to get really violent. As we listened, God prompted my heart to begin singing. But, I hesitated and didn’t say anything (which is highly unusual for me). A few moments later, Julia said, “We should sing.” I said, “I thought you said God doesn’t speak to you?” Then I told her that He told me the same thing! God was clearly speaking to both of us. We began singing “How Great Thou Art” and as her harmony blended with my melody and rang out across the river valley—the arguing suddenly stopped. It was an amazing experience. And as we were singing together, God was giving me a small glimpse of His big plans.
Later that evening we got together to make dinner and we did some more singing. It was amazing to hear how our voices were so different but complemented each other so well. During the course of the evening, I told her what my brother Thomas had said about our meeting being like Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch and we laughed about it. But I really think God wanted us to know that HE was the one who had arranged our meeting. That became more evident the next morning in church. Julia had asked if she could attend with me and that morning, the pastor read Acts 8:26-40, which is the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch! As he began reading, Julia looked at me and said, “No way!” I said, “Don’t tell me God doesn’t speak to you!” We were both pretty stunned. God was making it pretty clear that He had plans for us in ways we would have never imagined.
About a month later, we got a peek at God’s plans. We began recording music together. Julia’s harmony adds a beautiful dynamic to the music. She has also been a huge spiritual encouragement to me! She also introduced me to a sermon by Tim Keller, which led to me reading his book on prayer. It is revolutionizing my prayer life. Wow, what a stack of miracles God planned! I shudder to think I could have missed out on this if I had stayed on the bluff that day instead of following God when He said, “Go!”
Our first song together, a unique rendition of “Sweet By And By,” will be released on 25 June. We hope you are blessed by it. I hope this story encourages others to listen to God. When He writes our story, it’s full of unexpected miracles!