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Mar14ThuWhy would someone I barely knew want to see me about some misdirected letters? March 14, 2013 by Diane Stark
"Cassie gave me some of our mail on the bus today,” my 13-year-old daughter, Lea, announced as she handed me an envelope.
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- Faith & Friends
“Thank you, Honey,” I replied. “And tell Cassie and her mom I said thanks.”
“Why do they keep getting our mail?” Lea went on. “I know we have the same house number, but doesn't the mailman see the actual street name is different?”
We'd had this conversation many times over the last few months as this little mail mix-up had become a common occurrence. “We all make mistakes,” I said.
The following week, Lea brought home yet another envelope. “Cassie's mom accidentally opened this one,” Lea explained. “She didn't realize it wasn't theirs until it was too late.”
“That's no problem,” I said.
“Cassie said she felt really bad about it. She wants to stop by to apologize.”
I waved my hand. “She doesn't need to do that.”
But Lea was insistent. “Cassie said she really wants to talk to you.”
“OK, then, but she doesn't need to worry about accidentally opening this.…” I glanced down at the envelope and smiled when I saw the return address. The package was from The Salvation Army and it contained several copies of Faith & Friends. “Actually, I'm glad she opened this. I hope she read one.”
“I think that's why she wants to talk to you.”
Now I was curious. I didn't know Megan well. We'd spoken briefly a few times when she'd brought Cassie to our house to play. I knew she was recently divorced and was struggling to adjust to being on her own.
“Diane, I'm so sorry I opened your mail,” Megan began when I opened the door.
“It's fine,” I assured her. “Don't worry about it.”
“I didn't know you were a writer,” she continued.
I chuckled. “So you did read it. I'm glad. Faith & Friends is a wonderful, uplifting magazine.”
“Yeah, I liked it.” She was quiet for a moment and then she said, “And so, you're a Christian, too, eh?”
“Yes, I am,” I confirmed. When she remained quiet, I continued, “Megan, is that the real reason for this visit? To ask me about my faith?”
“I think so,” she said. “I grew up going to church, but I haven't gone in a really long time.”
“It's never too late to start again.”
“I think it might be,” she said. “I've really messed up my life.”
“God can forgive us anything,” I assured her.
Then, tearfully, she told me her story. She was raised in a Christian home, but during college, she met Cassie's dad. He wasn't a Christian and he didn't really like that she was. “I hid my faith until I didn't have to anymore,” she said. “It was amazing how quickly that part of my life faded away until all I cared about was him. We got married and tried to make it work for a while, but he walked out last year.”
An Invitation Accepted
I swallowed the lump in my throat. Her story was so much like my own that I knew this mix-up with the mail was no coincidence. I murmured a prayer and then said, “Megan, I've been exactly where you are. I made some bad choices when I was younger and I wish I could change some things about my past. But we can't go back. We can only move forward, and God wants to walk through life with us.”
“But I've ignored God for years,” she said. “Why should He care about me now?”
“I was away from my faith for more than a decade,” I admitted. “But God forgives us for that. He's just so glad when we come back.”
Megan wiped her eyes and shrugged. “I don't know, Diane.”
“Come to church with our family on Sunday,” I suggested. “You'll see that God is waiting for you.”
To my surprise, she agreed. She and Cassie attended church with our family and—divinely—our pastor preached on the story of the Prodigal Son.
Megan cried quietly throughout the sermon. When our pastor gave the call to come forward in prayer, Megan nudged me and whispered, “Are you sure it's not too late?”
“It's never too late,” I whispered back. “And I'll go with you, if you want.”
We made our way to the front of the church where Megan knelt down and rededicated her life to the Lord. In the weeks since, she's telephoned me almost daily with questions concerning what she's read in the Bible. Cassie has started attending our church's youth group, and Megan says she seems close to making her own decision to become a Christian.
This experience taught me that God is all-powerful, but He chooses to use us in His plans. And we need to be ever-mindful of opportunities to be used.
God can use even a mail mix-up for good.