[My friend and ministry partner of 18 years, Donna Bowles, is guest-blogging today. I know you will love the sweet story she is sharing – be blessed!]
Sandy was not just any bus driver. Her joy and her smile are something I looked forward to every afternoon as I put my student on her bus. Even though we hadn’t had any long conversations, the Jesus in me definitely saw the Jesus in her each time we spoke.
On a particular winter day a few years ago all of that changed for both of us. It was a few days after one of those snows when everyone is told school is on, but then shortly after all the drivers are at the depot, it changes to a snow day.
I asked Sandy that afternoon if she’d driven to the depot on that particular day, and where she had driven from to get there. She told me she had driven from the same town where I live. I told her I lived there as well and she asked me where. As I was describing exactly which house was mine (she was out of her seat by then), she exclaimed,
“That was my grandparent’s house!”
Come to find out, it was her uncle who sold us the house 17 years ago. We were both so excited to make the connection! She then told me of times spent in my home with her family, and of the constant smell of the homemade bread, and big dinners in my kitchen.
After our time of sharing and pure amazement at what God had done, I asked Sandy if she’d like to bring her mom and her sisters over to see the house.
We set a date, and that morning, as soon as Sandy’s mother Hazel walked in, she began to cry. She went from room to room, crying, more in some rooms than others, as she recalled times spent with her parents in my house.
It was the last place she had seen her parents on this earth.
After we went through the house, we sat down and had some homemade rolls (the house smelled wonderful) and lemonade, and talked awhile.
We finished our visit with pictures of all of us together on the front porch. We all knew the Lord had brought us together.
This week I had an unexpected visit from Sandy. She came to tell me that her mom Hazel had died a few days earlier. She was 94 and died in the same house in which she was born.
Sandy sat on my sofa where she’d sat with her mom before, and told me about Hazel’s life, and what a wonderful mother she was to her children. She had also raised two of her grandchildren after her daughter died.
My heart was full as I listened to her.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed,” Prov. 31:28, was what came to my mind as she spoke. Sandy said that was the very verse she used in the obituary to describe her mom. As I listened, I couldn’t help but think she was telling me all of this in a place that was so special to her mom.
I went to Hazel’s celebration of life at her church. I learned of her long legacy of faith that she passed on not only to her family, but to everyone she met. It was clear that it was she who taught my friend Sandy and the rest of her family about Jesus by the way she lived her life all those years. We sang Victory in Jesus and I’ll Fly Away in celebration of a life well done.
This is truly not my story, it’s God’s. He is the only one who could have orchestrated Sandy’s and my conversation that winter day.
He knew where I lived, and was waiting for just the right time to let us know that was why He had brought us together. I am so grateful for His plan and purpose.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11-12
Donna Bowles has been leading women to stand on God’s Word, really understand it and apply it to their lives, for over 30 years. Her deepest desire is for women to apply God’s Word to their everyday circumstances and be victorious over the struggles and trials that come their way.
She is the co-founder of Sisters in Faith Ministries which includes the Manorwood Café, a Bible study for women in her community; Sisters in Faith, a bi-annual day retreat; and Step Up Coaching for Women in Ministry.
Donna has been a widow for 11 years. She is a mother of two grown children, grandmother to two very active boys, and a lifelong Maryland resident. She works full time in Elementary Special Education and really enjoys having the summers off!