Friday, September 20, 2013

Outside the Box

Okay, I would like to share with you today the story of a 21-year-old girl named Arielle. In June 2013, she left the safety and comfort of her parents' home (much like a prodigal but needing to make a new start as well) and traveled three thousand miles away to an unknown city that promised employment opportunities and a better life.

What she found was not as shining and sparkly as she had dreamed. She stayed in touch with her parents the whole time, through texting and sometimes calling. This was a lifeline for her, a way to stay connected.

For a while, she and her friend (NOT boyfriend) and his mother were living at the mom's ex's place. That is, until he got drunk and broke his son's nose and ordered the two young people out of his house. They got out and never looked back. They did find a job at a store, making barely enough to pay rent; their boss took pity on them and let them stay with her, for the amount they would have paid for an apartment. It was not a good idea; living in the boss' house made it so that she was privy to family secrets. She hated secrets. Pressure built at work as a co-worker made life a living hell for her. In spite of advice from her parents not to quit until she had another job lined up - she couldn't take it any more and quit her job, thinking she would be able to find another one soon enough. 

That didn't happen. Her money started running out. Her landlady (now her former boss) started looking for ways to kick her out.

In the middle of all of this, she met a wonderful young man named Tanner. This guy was fun, caring, and treated her with respect. They got to be very close, spending more and more time together. 

This past Tuesday (September 17) she picked him up from work and he said, "Let's go for a drive. I need to tell you something after we get outside the city and the traffic." He got her something to eat... and they went for a little drive. That's when he told her his story.

A guy at his work - Roy - had been speaking to him for quite some time. This fellow is a Christian ... but unlike any you'd ever expect to see - as if Christians have to always wear 3-piece suits or something (LOL - another topic for another time!) He looked like a biker dude, simply put. But he got Tanner's attention and started talking to him about God, sharing his own experience without any of the "you should" stuff. (That stuff turns people off like the PLAGUE). Tanner was listening. He was fascinated. He'd go to Roy's place and listen to him tell stories of what he'd experienced, hours upon hours sometimes.

And last Monday night, he'd been at Roy's place and suddenly, the atmosphere in the room seemed to change. There was an almost electric presence in the room; neither man spoke about it, but Tanner could feel gooseflesh rising on his skin, and he started to "get all emotional" but didn't break down or anything. And Roy reached over and touched him. "Do you feel that?" he asked. Tanner nodded. "That's God." 

Right then and there, Tanner had an experience with the Almighty One. He was shaking, crying, felt warm all over his body, and the two men just shared this amazing experience for ... well they didn't know how long.

The next day, at quitting time, Tanner's girlfriend Arielle (remember her?) picked him up from work because his car was in the shop. "I have to tell you something," he said. "But not here, let's get out of the city." He bought her some taquitos and a pop - and they set out for the countryside. He told her his story once they reached the outskirts ... as she drove. She felt goosebumps as well, hearing him tell about it. And a warmth spread over her shoulders and through her torso. 

There was a break in the conversation; they had been talking for over two hours. Tanner asked her to pull over - they were in the country so the area was pretty unpopulated - so he could take a leak. When he got out of the car and she locked the doors... she said to herself - or was it to God? - "I don't know if what I am feeling is me, whether I'm feeling Tanner's emotions or what this is... but if it's not, if it's something more, I need a sign."

IMMEDIATELY she began to sob, uncontrollably. She felt that same Presence that Tanner had told her about!! 

Photo "The Cross And The Hand" courtesy of |
njaj at
In those moments, she KNEW it was real. She knew GOD was real. She knew that everything she'd ever been taught was REAL. God reached down into her life and pulled her out of her darkness and into His marvelous Light. 

When Tanner got into the car, he caught her (in her words) "bawling" her eyes out. He first checked to see if she was okay. When he had convinced himself that she was - he grinned and said, "It felt just like that for me too." 

They spent all night talking about God. And talking TO Him. Tanner shared his gospel of John with her; they started reading it together. 

Since that time, life has been transformed. They pray together. They read the book of John together because it's all they have of the Bible. She wants to get a Bible. They both want so badly to know Him more. And they want to grow in this new friendship with Jesus.

Arielle couldn't wait to call her mom and tell her that whole story, so she called this past Wednesday afternoon - saying this was too important to put in a text. "I used to be lonely all the time, Mom," she told her mother. "Now I'm not lonely any more. He saved me. It's like I have this friend with me who never leaves me." 

"Mom" has been praying for a good 10 years for her daughter to know that the gospel is true, ever since her daughter started to reject the god she had been brought up with at church. You know, the judgmental one, the one that is about rules and regulations. The one whose people are more concerned with how many swear words are in a film rather than the message it might contain to touch someone. 

"Mom" was literally dancing in happiness and gratitude, and she still is inside.

As you can probably tell, Mom's done a lot of growing in the last ten years too. 

I can vouch for that. Because that mother ... is me. And Arielle is my little girl. :'D


  1. That's just like God. We rejoice with you Judy and Neil.

  2. Judy, what a treasured piece of writing for you to have right now. Read it every day, every single day. Rejoice. Imagine her with her friend, in his arms, in a perfect and wonderful peace, waiting for you to join her one day.