Monday, November 24, 2008

The Opryland Hotel and a Little Miracle - Sentimental Journey Part 10


The Christmas lights were beautiful at this hotel in Nashville, TN. It's a cool place. The Grand Ole Opry is right next door and country music plays 24 hours a day. We went to lunch before leaving and met Chelie, our good-natured waitress. When Joe asked her how she was doing today, she replied: "I'm good and I'm blessed." Joe was having a rough day, missing Joey a lot, and feeling really discouraged. He asked her how she was blessed, because he needed to hear that. She was a little taken aback, and stammered out a response to the effect that no matter what happens in her life she is blessed.

A few minutes later, she returned to our table with the water and explained herself further. She said she always says the same thing--"I am good and I am blessed" when people ask her how she is, because she feels God takes good care of her thru good and bad, and she wants to honor Him no matter what is going on in her life. She said Joe was the first person who had ever asked her how she was blessed.

She went on to say that she had her problems and that even today she had no home to go to when her work day ended. She was a single mom of five, and had given notice on their place because it was not a safe place to raise her kids. She didn't have enough money for her first and last month's rent in a new place, but she knew she had to get her kids out and was just trusting that God knew and would take care of them. She said miracles happen every day.

Joe told her about losing our son 6 months ago and his deep grief over that. She listened compassionately and then told him she had lost her own mother not long ago and understood the feelings of loss.

She told us about her children, and that she was really proud of them because they live very simply, but never complain about it. They don't even have a car, choosing instead to walk to the market, and hitch a ride to work with friends to save that expense. Her oldest daughter had just finished boot camp with the Air Force. She was very content with her life...all she needed was a home for her kids. She knew God was going to meet that need for them and she didn't know how but she was just going to trust Him for it.

Her peace was contagious, and her faith was encouraging. The more she talked about her faith and trust despite her circumstances, the more encouraged we got. As she walked away, Joe and I looked at each other and instantly knew what we were going to do....and we did exactly what you would do if you were given the opportunity!

Her joy spread to us, and we left with smiles on our faces, having received our own little miracle for the day.

6 comments:

lorensaved77 said...

You Guys are so Awesome! You even Bless others threw your own struggles and Grief! Your obedience to the call of ministering is very inspiring and for that I am honored to call you Friends!
You guy's ROCK!
love you and miss you,
nancy

Anonymous said...

How exciting to see you touching lives that you never would have had circumstances been different. I feel you are entering that new phase, the life God has planned for you from here on. You are going to meet new people and learn new things every day. You are going to share your story and change lives every step of the way, even if your not aware of it. You are where you are, and God is there with you! As are we, those who love and miss you! Love, Steve

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord for allowing Joe and Karen to be blessed and encouraged by this woman and her family.

Thank you that she looks to you to be her joy, blessing and provider.

Thank you that Joe and Karen are walking with you and hear your voice...in all things.

Thank you for this special miracle to encourage us all.

I was teaching about the miracles that Jesus had done to my AWANA class the other night...feeding of the 5,000; Peter walking on water; calming the winds and the seas.

I asked them if they believed in miracles today...they all said yes!

Thanks for sharing this...I have another miracle to share with them when I get back next week.

Love you guys - see you soon.

Missing and loving Joey always,

Viv

Mele said...

Dear Karen & Joe,

That is just like a Christmas story. Thank you for allowing us the privilege to share in your lives. It not only removes us from our own stuff it keeps us focused on others and Him. We love you and our prayers are with you and Gunther.

The Strickland

Jeri said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it and for always being such a wonderful example.

Much love & prayers,
Cliff & Jeri

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

we were searching for images of Opryland Hotel at Christmas and found your blog. We pray that the HS will comfort you at this difficult time. Your actions toward your server reminds me of Rom 8:28. Be blessed today. Merry Christmas :)