Unexpected Encounters & Autumn’s New Starts
“You’re from Living Faith Church, right?”
She asks me, this woman in a public bathroom.
“I saw your bus.”
In a cement multi-stalled bathroom at Valley Fair amusement park, with chlorine-scented puddles on the floor, we stand in a corner of the hallway. Her warm smile draws my attention and I stop and recognize her.
“Hi!” and we talk. Aditi’s family had moved away from church two years ago, relocating to another part of the city, and it had been years since we had seen each other. We speak of kids, and spouses, and churches, and jobs. Her small son joins us, his hands still wet from washing, his dark hair swept off a bright smiling face. He grins shyly as we talk. His mom and I chat some more before my phone dings with a notification about our youth group kids who are at the park with us and I have to leave.
Droughted purple coneflowers stand shriveled and small in a patch before my front door. Tiny tinted maple leaves hint red and hide in the grass, their mottled colors speaking of the autumn to come. Conversations everywhere yell of school time coming, and I waver, torn. Here we are smack in the middle of summer’s last heat waves, last swim days, last play dates with friends, while autumn sidles in quiet from the rear. This morning’s cool air at 8 am coffee-brewing seeps in through the deck, and I’m astonished, accustomed to cordoning off the heat from outside. Surprised and unsettled, I leave the deck door open. Cool air flows in all morning, autumn’s accent slipping in.
New starts, new classes, and new schedules loom just a week or two away. You too? I’m writing and crossing off To Do lists, hoping not to drop anything. Daniel starts 7th grade on September 7th and I’m finishing up his school schedule. History field trips will trace foragers, loggers, explorers, and First Nations Native American tribes from the 1700s and 1800s. I map out fire towers from the 1800s and am struck by the number of wildfires tearing throughout the world right now too.
In between planning his schedule, I drag out notebooks and papers for my own upcoming classes. Working with Village Schools of the Bible, I’ll be teaching two classes of the fabulous Cover to Cover Bible Survey classes: Monday nights starting August 30th at Living Faith Church in Blaine/Circle Pines, and Tuesday nights starting Sept. 7th at the New Hope YMCA. Registrations are open for a few more days, and I’m praying already for these classes and the community we’ll build as we read through the whole Bible together. I’m excited to see God’s word transform people’s lives, and eager to read anew about God’s amazing love as we study the history, archaeology, and culture of the peoples and nations in the Bible, seeing God step into the lives of individuals and nations from all people groups, showing his huge, sacrificial love. (Want to join me? Learn more here.)
Some homeschooling families and adults asked me to teach a French class this year. That’s new for me. I’ve been immersing myself in French videos and lessons this summer to prepare for that, and am excited to teach those on Friday afternoons in the school year. (You’re welcome to join us too, if you’d like. Email me before registration closes.) You’d laugh to see my family and I walking through a kitchen full of loud French videos playing this summer.
And I mull over it today, how Aditi in the bathroom had seen our bus in the parking lot and it had primed her to look for familiar faces from a former church.
I want that in my life this school year. I want the expectation that I will see God’s people and God’s hand at work this year. Prime me, God? Prepare my heart to be alert to ways you are working, the creative things that you are doing. Like two women randomly running into each other in a restroom at a park of thousands of people, will you prepare our hearts and minds to see you at work in other parts of our lives this year?
I’d love to pray for you, my friend. How can I pray for you this coming month?
I’d love your prayer too. Pray with me for this new Bible study at the New Hope YMCA and the continuing studies in Blaine. I’m praying that people will see God and his love for them in brand new ways, and that they are amazed as they learn the big picture of the whole Bible, and see it all pointing to Jesus and his rescuing, redemptive work in history and our lives too. Merci, mon ami.
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Jennifer speaks often at MOPS/MomsNext groups, at conferences, churches, retreats, camps, home school co-ops and more. She loves getting to know people and making new friends.