It is remarkable at how often we don’t see the importance of something in our life, until we have God in control of it. For almost 40 years, I was oblivious to the fact that He has a master plan for us, and that He will place people in our life for the purpose of using them to fulfill that master plan. In my case, one of the most important individuals so far in my life has been my sister’s first husband. He was an incredible blessing in my life, at a time when I would desperately need it the most.
When we have God in control, it is so clear to see all the blessings that He bestows on us. I see them clearly now, but when I was a teenager, I didn’t have a clue. My father passed away from cancer when I was 15 years old. About two years before he died, my sister met a guy named Joe, who she would eventually marry. He was not like every other guy. He was such a humble, confident, loving and encouraging soul. He had such a great sense of humor and calm personality. After meeting him, he quickly became a strong influence and role model in my life. I loved being around him, even though I am sure I annoyed him to no end. He was very calm, cool and collected with me and I would usually know when he finally had enough. He didn’t yell, say nasty/hurtful things or even curse at me. He just had a very firm voice and stern look that provided the indicator that enough was enough. By the time my father passed away, I had grown very close to Joe. I didn’t look at him like a dad, but as a big brother. He was such a huge rock that I leaned on for support and guidance in the days, weeks, months and years after my father’s death. He did not press me hard about my future, but he did get me to eventually start thinking about it. I had no solid direction or goals for my life. I was just focused on doing whatever I could to have fun and stay distracted from thinking about dad. Over the course of my final two years of high school, Joe did something that no one had really done for me before. He believed that I could do more than just get by and live life. He lifted me up, he challenged me to push for more and to believe in myself. How he spoke to me and how he treated me, I now know was God working in him and through him.
When Joe and my sister got married, they moved out west, to Arizona. For me, growing up in the rural outskirts of a small town in Pennsylvania, it was only natural that I would always live there. That all changed after my father died. My mom and I went to visit my sister and Joe a few times and loved the experiences we had. We ended up doing something that I never thought of, or dreamed of. We decided that after I graduated from high school, we would relocate out to Phoenix to be close to Joe and my sister. So that is what we did. I truly am amazed at how one man, used by God, changed the course of not only my life, but my mom’s as well. By the time we moved, Joe had convinced me that I should give college a try. He must have saw something in me because he believed in me. I scraped my way through high school, but he believed I had more in me. He was right. Not only did I receive a B.S. in Global Business, but I did it by graduating with honors, accomplishing a 3.74 GPA. Thank you Joe for being you, and thank you God for doing what only you can do!
I can’t say that life was good after that, because it would prove otherwise. A few years after graduating college, Joe would no longer be in my life, but the time I had with him was amazing. God placed him in my life to show me the positive impact and good that comes from the Fruits of the Spirit. He showed me a way of living that was totally different from anything I had known before. Whether he knew it or not, he allowed God to use him to fulfill a “must chapter” in my master plan of life. Even though my life would take a lot of nasty twists and turns for many years, without that chapter of life with Joe, I know my life would have been much worse. To a point where I may not have had the opportunity to be sitting in front of my computer right now, to write about this amazing man, simply named Joe.