Last December, in the week before Christmas, our job got enough rain on it to rain us out for the week. I stayed around my job in Seadrift until all the traffic control and barricades appeared satisfactory for the weekend. Byron Wilkinson, my former boss, and Betty LeMaster kept coming to mind all week. On Thursday morning we got another shower on the job, but I didn’t know that information until I had gotten to work. The job was obviously shut down for the week now, so I went on back to the hotel to pack my bags and go home.
On the way to the hotel I sensed God really wanting me to go to one of these two places. Byron lived around Kerrville west of San Antonio and David and Betty Le Master and their two girls lived in Port Neches, close to Beaumont… two totally different directions from Seadrift. Personally, I wanted to see them both, but since I couldn’t I asked God, “Which way do I go, God? You choose.”
As I sat in the truck ready to start the engine I said, “God, this is time you have given me, I want to use it the way you would choose, and now it’s time for me to go.”
“Jefferson” came up on the inside of me just as clear as clear could be. In my excitement I grabbed a Texas map thinking, “Jefferson must point the direction for me to go.”
I looked frantically for Jefferson County somewhere around Kerrville, but there were no surrounding counties by that name, nor were any of the counties along the way. Even though I desired so much to see the two little girls in Beaumont, my belief was that God would rather I went to Kerrville.
Since the county wasn’t out there, I began to search the list of cities for Jefferson. When I found Jefferson, it was so far up in east Texas that I began to laugh.
“God, I’m not going to Jefferson unless you give me a vision,” I said with a laugh.
I bowed my head and began to pray, “God, I want so much to see Betty’s girls. It’s been a long time. I’ve tried to understand what you want, but I’ve missed it. Please bless this trip anyway in Jesus name.”
I called them Thursday night from the house and talked to Betty for a while. It had been years, but the invitation was open for me to come see them, just as it always was. When they say “yes” they know they have accepted me for at least one overnight stay, if not several. But she said, “We’d be glad to have you.”
The drive from Houston to Beaumont gave me an opportunity to reflect on my life now, and also the past. I was in the middle of divorce proceedings with my wife; and my daughter, Diana, showed very few signs that she cared for me at all. I had made some mistakes in the past. I had hoped that someone besides God might forgive me, and that my family might love me for who I was now, instead of who I used to be.
Thinking of who I used to be, it occurred to me that David and Betty and these kids might not understand me either. Being born again, I mean. How could this be explained to them? They’ll probably have a keg of beer waiting for me when I get there. After hundreds of things had gone through my mind and I had thought of everything and had an answer for nothing, I pulled up into their driveway.
As I got out of the car, this little girl, Casey, was now 18 years old and a beautiful young woman. As I straightened up from the long trip, she was already hugging my neck. She hugged me like she loved me. God, thank you. I needed this so badly. Jana had grown up too. She’s beautiful and learned how to hug from the same teacher. Surely they would let me live here for a couple of months.
Dave was in and out all day. The “kids” stayed around the house most of the day and Betty and I talked and talked and talked. It turns out that they were wondering how to respond to me when I dragged all my multi-packs of beer in the house because this was now an alcohol free – drug free home. How about that! We laughed at each other for wondering how we were going to explain the unexplainable and then found that we didn’t have to explain anything. My world seemed to be a little surer, as if maybe it wasn’t caving in on me anymore. A divorce must be the hardest thing in life… and nobody but Jesus can help.
I felt as though I were wrapped in love in the presence of this family. About 8:30 that night as we continued to talk about everything, Betty said, “That may be the way you do things where you live, but here in Jefferson County we do things a little differently.”
“What county did you say we were in,” I asked.
She said, “Jefferson” as my eyes welled up with water. “Is it O.K. with you if we live in Jefferson County,” she said as a joke.
I began to laugh, but nobody understood. God is so generous that He took the time to show me I was in His perfect will. He knew my world was falling apart and sent me to a place where there was healing and I give Him praise. To God be all the glory.
2Samuel 22:31 MSG What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it.