Yesterday, my sister drove nearly 4 hours to see me speak for the women of Blacksburg Christian Fellowship. It wasn’t until after the event that she realized the full significance of the weekend and told me her thoughts.
You see, during my college years–with my sister a student at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) and me at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville)–I struggled to walk with the Lord.
I was a mess!
I would cry all the time. I made terrible choices in order to fit in and feel loved. And I kept walking away from the Lord.
But my sister who was so strong in the Lord would make that 2 1/2 hour drive from Blacksburg to Charlottesville to take me back to Blacksburg with her for the weekend. She’d let me hang out with her Young Life and Campus Crusade for Christ friends. I would cry at Mill Mountain coffee shop and talk about wanting to return to the Lord as my sister taught me about Jesus’ love for me. Melissa would then drive me home to Charlottesville for Monday classes equipped with a new student study Bible and an Oswald Chambers devotional. Then she’d return to Blacksburg.
Back and forth. Back and forth. That Charlottesville exit off the highway most likely seared itself in her memory.
And why all that driving? She made all those trips in order to help me walk with God. She would play Hold Me Jesus by Rich Mullins, and I would cry in the car. She would take me away just so I might grow in the Lord in Blacksburg.
My sister made so many trips between 1993 and 1997, and every time she reached that Charlottesville exit, she was either dropping me back off at school or picking me up to take me to Blacksburg.
But on this trip 25 years later, Melissa drove by that Charlottesville exit and realized she wasn’t dropping me off or picking me up. She had left me with the Blacksburg women, and this time, I was teaching and encouraging them. I wasn’t that lost girl anymore. I wasn’t there to heal or to escape anything. I was there to teach women about God’s extraordinary love for them. I taught about being seated with Christ, about His guarding peace, and how He invites us to live as royal priests from 1 Peter 2:9.
The Lord settled my sister’s heart as she passed the exit for that last time yesterday. I imagine Jesus cheering over my sister, “Well done! Our work here is finished!” All those trips, all those letters of encouragement with Bible verses and stickers, all those prayers for me, all those moments with a big sister taking care of a little sister–they bore fruit. God used my sister then to carry me all the way till now.
And today, I’m grown up in the Lord. And she came and heard me speak healing words in a place that was once where I went for healing.
Sometimes in life, God grants those full-circle moments of clarity, of grace, and of insight. My sister drove by that Charlottesville exit without stopping. There was no more work to be done.
I was finally OK.