Preparing the way...

It absolutely amazes me the way GOD guides and directs us and HE does it so that we can accomplish HIS will. Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." Every day that we get up we make choices, and while we may feel in control, there's only some truth to that. If you're a believer, every decision you make should be weighted by GOD's WORD, and sometimes hearing that WORD can be beyond difficult. We'll pray about this or that and still wonder, "Is that my answer?" That's why this verse is so important to know, because even when we feel we've made a wrong decision, the LORD is there to make sure everything turns out just right. And sometimes those choices are just preparing the way for what HIS final goal is.

Summer was upon us and as classes were winding down, my roommate Shawnta was preparing to leave for camp. She'd signed up to be a counselor for the next three months, which meant I was going to be left alone in our small rental house.

Neither of us are from Knoxville so it never occurred to us why the rent was so cheap when we first found the house. We were just excited to be in a cute 2 bedroom house 10 minutes from campus. Our first sign should have been the bars on the windows of other homes around us, but being small town girls, we were a bit oblivious to say the least. We'd lived there (on Woodbine Ave. for those of you from Knoxville...and for those of you who don't, it's ghetto type area) for almost a year when she was packing up to leave and never had a single problem.

So when Earl's parents invited me to live with them for the summer while Shawnta was gone, I at first declined. However, they were quite adament that I didn't need to live alone in that area of town. For me, I didn't see any danger in it. I did see that me moving in with them could create problems and look as though I was just trying to get closer to Earl because I had feelings for him. So when they asked again, I just told them that I'd pray about it. And I did, but I felt confused on what to do. I already knew I was supposed to marry Earl but I didn't want to jeopardize what GOD was trying to do and it worried me that I would if I took them up on their offer. I began discussing it with my parents and asking for advice. They were as adamant as Earl's parents that this was much better than me living alone in that part of town. After a great deatl of coercion, I finally agreed and prepared to move for the summer.

The night before Shwanta was to leave, Earl and few other boys came to the house, loaded my stuff into a moving van and took it to his parents home. I was supposed to take Shawnta to catch a bus early the next morning so I was staying in the house with her for one final night. I was laying in the floor of my room, trying to sleep while she was packing some last minute things. All of the sudden there was a knock at the door. Shawnta came to my room and whispered, "Someone's knocking." I told her to go see who it was and as she turned around the knock became frantic pounding. She crouched in my floor and I ran for the phone. As I dialed 911, the pounding suddenly became kicks. The door broke in half, but not all the way through. I was screaming, "What do you want?" Gunshots rang out and as quickly as it all began, it stopped. The person at the door disappeared and everything was quiet.

Within minutes the police arrived. They had to cut our door in half to get in because the deadbolt had caused it to become lodged in a way that it wouldn't open. They never caught anyone and to this day we really have no idea why it all happened (or at least beyond the spiritual insight I later gained).

You may be wondering what does this have to to do with the rest of the story...why tell you all this...but you see, without this incident, I would have had a place to go when Shawnta come home from camp. We would've just moved back into our house and never thought twice about it. Instead, I began to form an incredible bond with Earl's parents that summer and when Shawnta did return, Earl's mom Jerrie, asked me not to go. Her and Big Earl had opened their home to me, but GOD began to open their hearts. That summer stay turned into two years and they became just like parents to me. And while I thought me being at Earl's parents home would have caused me to be in GOD's way, it was actually the opposite. It put me exactly where GOD wanted me to HIS WILL.


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