Divine Interruption

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Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV).

After dropping off my family at a lake near our home, I shifted our minivan into gear and headed to the library. While my husband and sons fished, I intended to get down to homeschool planning for the new school year.

I anticipated starting second grade with my son and had in mind some topics I wanted to cover. Now I needed resources. I would search for poetry and titles on science subjects, as well as jot down lesson plans. I wanted to faithfully steward this special season in my children’s lives. With just one vehicle in our family, I had limited time before needing to retrieve them from their fishing spot.

Summer afternoons in Florida swelter with unbearable heat and bring an almost daily rainstorm. So, books and papers in tow, I headed for an empty table in the air-conditioned library. That’s when I noticed a man wearing women’s boots and a long, red Little Mermaid-style wig. He wandered around the bookshelves until he caught my eye, then pointed to the dark clouds forming outside the windows. I smiled and responded to his comment about the weather. Then he shifted his attention back to the books, and I returned my focus to homeschool planning.

Moments later, the man began talking about hurricanes he’d lived through, something we had in common. He seemed nervous yet interested in having a conversation. Standing above me at my table, he then volunteered (without any questions from me) that he didn’t always dress in women’s clothes and that he didn’t fully consider himself a woman. He shared details about his young son too. I listened intently, surprised he would share with me — a stranger — so vulnerably.

I flipped my notebook closed. I guess You had a different plan for my afternoon, huh, Lord? In that moment, I decided to follow the opportunity the Lord had presented instead of following my own plans. I recognized that this chance might never show up in my life again. God also gave me the grace to understand that if He’d called me to teach and train my children through homeschooling, I could trust Him to provide time for me to accomplish necessary planning.

After I moved my books, the man sat down with me. He mentioned his ex-girlfriend, some mental health struggles, and difficulties with family members. Then spiritual matters entered our conversation. He shared about his faith background. Sensing this interaction to be a divine appointment, I asked the man if I could pray with him in Jesus’ name. He agreed. Laying my hand atop his, I prayed he would know God and understand God’s plans for his life.

Once our conversation finished, I hurried to retrieve my family. Packing up my barely used supplies, I recognized something much more vital than homeschool planning had taken place that day. By clearing my agenda (and my table), I’d accepted God’s invitation to offer hospitality to this stranger in a crimson wig. I thank God for entrusting me with a divinely orchestrated opportunity and equipping me to be faithful with it.

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Allison Wilson Lee has written for such publications as PRAY, Christian Living in the Mature Years, Purpose, Keys for Kids, and Primary Treasure. Her stories have also appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul editions. Allison served for over 20 years with Cru, an interdenominational ministry, on three different continents. She lives in Belle Isle, FL.