#176 Finding Safety in Vulnerability

 Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

Several years ago, one of my best friends died from cancer. I still go regularly to his family business and take care of the orchids in the reception area. A few weeks ago, I was there watering the orchids, and the receptionist asked me if I had enjoyed my vacation to Florida. I knew going down this road of conversation could be difficult, but I also knew that God would want me to be honest.

“We didn’t go on vacation,” I said. 

“Oh . . . why not?” she asked.

“We had a family tragedy.”

“I’m sorry. What happened?”

“My grandson . . . . We aren’t sure what happened, but we believe he committed suicide.”

The next Sunday I was teaching the young couple’s class in Sunday school. A new couple joined our class. I knew the man, as he had attended a Sunday school class I taught several years ago. He introduced me to his wife and said they had just recently gotten married. We began our lesson by talking about the scripture verse, and then I felt God leading me to share the conversation I had about my grandson. When I shared with the group what I had told the receptionist, the young bride of the new couple burst into tears. She finally composed herself and asked if she could speak. She shared with the group that she had attempted to kill herself three days ago. The other couples came to her, showing their concern and care. They prayed for her and encouraged her. It was very powerful . . . I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room.

God knew this young woman’s pain. He knew she needed healing and support from others. God led me to a moment of honesty and vulnerability with the class, and that opened the door for her to feel safe to share her own pain. Now she has been brought out of isolation and has a community of friends who can love and encourage her. It is amazing the way God works.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#151 Little Church by the Creek


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

In 1997, my sister was taken to the hospital because of a problem with her foot from diabetes. I had been to

visit her and for some reason that night when I came out of her room I decided to go to the bathroom before getting on the elevator. When I got out of bathroom and got on elevator to go home, a woman on the elevator with me was very upset. She told me her husband was very sick and she felt very alone. We got off the elevator and walked out to the parking lot together.

I am a caring person, but to ask a complete stranger if I could pray with her in a hospital parking lot … this was out of my comfort zone. But I felt God calling me to do this, so I asked if I could pray for her. I felt that God told me, “You have got to be Me to this person.” I vividly remember standing in the hospital parking lot at dusk, huddled with her in prayer, snow coming down around us.

I prayed for a sense of peace for her and healing and comfort for her husband. God has given me many opportunities in the past to do something similar, but this is the first time I said yes and I’m so glad I had the courage to do it. It only took a few minutes to share His love with someone else. I felt so blessed that God had given the woman a sense of peace and comfort and that I had a part in that.

I have learned to always be available for God to work through me and that when I do, God will show up and show me what to do. God is faithful. He will equip you. He equipped me and gave me the words to say to the woman in the hospital parking lot. I had that ability before that encounter but was afraid or embarrassed to do anything. But when I obeyed what I felt God calling me to do, He equipped me with the words to pray. Since that time, I have felt God urging me to pray for people and I now respond to those promptings. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#112 Life of Revision

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

God likes to do a little revision.  

This new jolt of confusion, however, was a long-laid plan. It was one that had begun years earlier, while working in garbage-dump living conditions in Peru. He’d fallen in love with those people. And, at that moment, he’d known his life was meant for people of Hispanic descent. To that end, as a young man, he’d pursued degrees in Spanish and international politics. To that end he’d begun teaching ESL. To that end he’d lived his life. It was the right career. It was the right path.

Everyone said this new change would be the worst mistake of his life. But that day, sitting across from a poster of himself as a debt-free college student who had planned to enter missions, he signed papers to pull out of his education. Re-education began—not an erasing of anything but the mysterious pulling of form out of void.

A few weeks earlier, prayer had led to this moment. A touch of intention. A moment of admitted fear. Tension began to grow. It was a decision that more than one person thought was foolish. At the beginning, even he’d thought it’d just been the regular fatigue of college hitting him with thoughts of escape. Quit school?

Who quits school when they have good grades and no debt? But that was the raging message beating in his heart. He didn’t really want to do it. He didn’t. It wasn’t him. He was scholastic; he was cut out for school. He was going to serve God with his degrees. He was. So, they wrestled. They wrestled to see if this unheard of and impractical change really was from God.

To him, though, God was Friend. There was close trust there. But this was asking him to do something not only unconventional, but something seemingly unwise. The words, however, kept coming: “Listen, I have some really cool things for you, and you can have them if you want, but you’re going to have to obey me.”

Suddenly, it felt like a big, enjoyable surprise was waiting for him—like he was already holding it in his hands. He just didn’t know what it was yet. So, there he sat, expelling himself from college, from dreams, from future. Wide-eyed secretaries and advisors stared him down in an office meant to offer education—and there he sat, denying it all. And there God sat, right with him, condoning it all. Staring back at stunned office workers was the God of Future. Dwelling in unknown, the Knower began to rise.

And hope began to grow like a child—full of the not yet, but already present.

The next day, however, was frightening. Had this young man just given up the rest of his life for an unknown vision? Had he given in instead of giving up? And which one of those was really right? Known path was instantly traded for something intangible. Was it really God he’d trusted?  

He realized he’d been sharing his identity with the world’s view for a long time and giving that up made him feel about as tall as a mouse. Now, instead of “successful, debt-free student,” his label was “college dropout.” And it was for no tangible reason—only a prayer: conversation that gave direction from a persevering Friend.

And God was with. God was Best Friend. In that, there was calm trust and excited anticipation.  

He asked God for a small sign. His heart wanted to know again the faithfulness, to know the Carrying Power. He wanted to know he’d obeyed. On that day, however, there was a void of Presence. On that day, there was no sign. On that day, there was vast hope, but hope was not made real.

“Oh, my goodness, I am not prepared for this!” was his first thought on the following evening. And then, seconds later, he remembered the words of the Lord for him, “I have amazing things for you.”  

That night, instead of just a few teens arriving for the youth group he led, over 25 Hispanic youth arrived. Kids whose first language was Spanish. Kids who had absent fathers, not enough food, no sense of safety—they lived with a heartbreaking understanding that they were an afterthought to family and society. Kids who, without having broken any law themselves, were dragged into becoming the product of their parent’s huge and uncaring choices.

He had no degree, yet every class and every experience from Peru to that moment had been in preparation for this. But it hadn’t been him. Of course not. He hadn’t planned this. It was God’s bend in the road, carefully prepared years ago—in fact, eons ago.

Along with attending school and working full-time, he’d never have been able to love those teens the unconditional way they needed. So, quitting school paved the way for this God-given and miraculous ministry. God hadn’t stopped carrying him. God’s friendship had prepared him.

The story, even now, continues to become. Hearts are given to Jesus, baptisms take place, teens choose to drastically change their life’s trajectories. Just a few weeks ago, a youth walked 25 miles in the rain to come to a safe place. And in between the lives of youth and leaders, another Friend lives.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#90 Lifted Out of Darkness


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

In January of 2016, I was diagnosed with bipolar depression after being admitted to the Behavioral Health Unit at a local hospital for an almost-suicide attempt. After being diagnosed and put on medication, my moods started to level out and I began to feel “okay” again. 

Fast-forward to mid-June of last year: My moods suddenly shifted again, darkness surrounded my mind and heart, and I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts and had even planned my death and had begun to write a few letters that I was going to mail before I killed myself. I didn’t tell anyone that I was struggling again (though I’m sure my mood change might have been obvious to some friends) because I had been doing so well and was ashamed that I had fallen again. 

One day before I had planned to commit suicide, I was texting a friend. Almost out of nowhere, she responds to a text that I sent and says, “Look, I JUST got back from a funeral and I really don’t want to have to go to yours.” I hadn’t even hinted to her (at least I don’t think I did) that I was planning on taking my life the next day; and needless to say, I didn’t. 

Several weeks later, I asked her why she said what she did and her response was that God had told her to say it right then. She doesn’t know it, nor does anyone else for that matter, but her obedience to God in that moment saved my life. God used her words to break through deepest darkness that I had ever found myself trapped in and set me free. It’s clear as day that God placed her in my life for that moment so that He could bring glory to Himself through her obedience to Him and faithfulness to me as a friend. If He hadn’t shown Himself in that moment, I wouldn’t be alive to tell you how high, deep, wide, and strong His love is for us. 

Life has not been easy since then and, admittedly, I’ve still occasionally had suicidal thoughts. Instead of allowing the darkness to consume me, I think back to that moment and remember that there are people here on earth that love me deeply and that I have a Father that loves me immeasurably more than that. Thanks to a friend who showed friendship and obedience to that same Father, that moment, those words, that feeling of the deepest love has made all the difference in my life. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#60. Bible Study Friends

Photo by Ashley Brown, Shining Light Photography 

Some people have a large group of close friends. I had one girlfriend. One. She had been my best friend for my entire adult life, which was no easy task. Being a wife, mother, teacher, and volunteering in my community and church—all while suffering from a chronic illness—had taken a toll on “girlfriend time.” Catherine had been my friend for 25 years, and while we often went months at a time without seeing each other, we spent hours on the phone at every opportunity. She knew my struggles and health issues, and she loved me anyway.

Although I had been a Christian since I was 10, I had spent little time on my own in the Word. I was busy and exhausted, but I suddenly had a strong desire to read the entire Bible. My mother encouraged me to do so by buying me a special Bible that was marked with a passage to read each day, starting at the beginning. Halfway through Leviticus, I was ready to quit. The book of Numbers sealed the deal, but God wasn’t finished drawing me closer to Him. I was invited to a Bible study during lunch at work. The leader, Faith, used a Bible reading plan called Life Journal, which included passages from both Old and New Testaments in the daily reading. The plan included journaling. I was to write down one verse each day, make an observation, and record how I would apply it to my life, and end with a prayer. By the end of the year, I had read the entire Bible once and the New Testament twice. God had begun to weave his Word into my heart, and I still continue to use that method daily.

Oh, how my relationship with the Lord changed from that time spent daily with Him! I felt Him speak to me through the passage each day. The reading was so closely related to my situation or needs each day—it was like He wrote it just for me. I felt like I finally grasped His love for me, and appreciated what a wonderful God He is! I wanted to be more like Him. I wanted everyone to know Him better. Why had I gone so long without caring to read this wonderful book and spend time with Him?! I wanted everyone to read it!

I felt God nudging me to start a Bible study in my home using this plan. “Lord, are you serious? You know how tired I am. I don’t have room for company. Why didn’t you want me to do this last year before we moved and downsized? I haven’t even painted here yet. What do I even really know about the Bible? I just started reading it.”

But quickly, my shock turned to submission. “Okay, Lord. Today, I will lay down my pride and be obedient. I am going to call my friend Catherine and get on Facebook and invite all my Facebook friends to come to my house to a Bible study. Please blind their eyes to the dog fur tumbleweeds in the corners. Please give me the strength to clean the toilet.”

I began to pray and prepare, and I invited everyone I knew to Bible study. A few weeks prior, a group of high school classmates was planning to get together for dinner and a movie. The morning of our outing, I was so convicted about the movie choice, I decided I would leave after dinner and not see the movie. Sabrina had made the same decision, and during dinner we bonded over not seeing the movie. A horrible storm knocked out the power to the mall, and no one else was able to see the movie either, which still to this day gives us the giggles. When I posted the Bible study invitation on Facebook, Sabrina heard God tell her, “You need to do this.” After some protest of her own about going to a Bible study at my house, where there would probably be “a bunch of cheerleaders from high school,” she obediently messaged me for details. Isn’t it funny how the devil constantly whispers insecurities into our ears?

At about this same time, I was feeling led to invite another former classmate, Kathy, through private message. She had just moved back to town and her girls and mine were very close in age. I could tell by her posts on Facebook that she loved the Lord. Her husband is a pastor, so I invited her with a few insecurities of my own. Who am I to ask the pastor’s wife to a Bible study? Will she be offended by that? I hadn’t seen or talked to her in years, but she came also, as did my friend Catherine.

Over the next few months, I was hit with several incredibly difficult challenges and life changes. I became more ill and had to take a medical leave of absence from my job. Then, tragically, Catherine was killed in a horrible accident. She was only 42 years old. I can’t tell you how many ways God worked tangibly in my life during this difficult time. I feel like I could write a million God stories of my own if only I could recall the many details. The most profound way He worked was providing through that Bible study, two godly, precious girlfriends that bless my life in countless ways. I often think about what I would be missing had I not put away my pride and fully relied on God to give me the strength to have the Bible study. What He asked me to do to “serve Him” was really for MY benefit!

During the dark times that followed the beginning of that Bible study, I was blessed with friends who would hold me up and pray with me and for me even when I was unable to pray for myself. He blessed me with the responsibility of a group meeting in my house that kept me committed to spending that precious time with Him. God provided every need I didn’t even know I had, and He continues to bless my life with the friendship of these beautiful, God-fearing women. While He brought one friend Home to be with Him (praise the Lord, hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!), He already had worked a plan to bring two friends into my home to minister to my broken heart. What an awesome God He is!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#54 Should I Ride?

 Photo by Lang Thomas Photography

I was training for a three-day bike ride with lots of hills. The trek to Shakertown covers 100 miles and ends in Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. From over-training, I ended up with a bulging disc in my back. It didn’t look as if I would be able to ride.

In my disappointment, I kept begging God to make me well. After several days of praying, I realized I had been telling God what I wanted, rather than asking for His will to be done. I confessed and prayed that my desire was to bring Him glory. If He wanted me to stay home that was fine. But if He wanted me to go, I needed it to be abundantly clear. It was down to the wire. Would my back be well enough, and should I ride?

I prayed these prayers with tears of confession and submission to His will. A few minutes later, I opened my morning devotional to my bookmarked place. To my astonishment, in Liz Curtis Higgs’s book, Rise and Shine, I read these words, “Welcome to Simplicity. Come with me to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.” Blown away by God’s direct answer to my prayer, I went. I rode pain-free each day and was able to share the story many times with my fellow riders. To this day, I always marvel how personal God is and how He is involved in every detail of our lives.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#53 Listening Taking A Leap Of Faith

Photo by L. Smyth Photography

I have recently been praying and asking that the Holy Spirit would move in me by revealing opportunities to love others, and that when those times come, to give me the boldness and conviction of heart to act.

I am a freshman in college and over winter break I had the privilege of being able to go on a winter retreat offered by one of the campus ministries. I knew that this was a chance to have open ears for different things the Lord might want to show me through worship, fellowship, and messages, and to refocus to keep my eyes on Christ as I headed into the second semester. I was tempted to think it was a chance to get rest that was much needed, but I have been on retreats before with friends, and I knew that there would most likely be very late nights and little sleep.

During one of these late nights, I sought out one of my friends who is a staff member at this campus ministry to pray over me before I returned back to school in the spring. She pulled in another staff member to pray over me as well. Right when we were about to start, three girls whom I had never seen before approached us to talk to one of the staff members they knew. Due to the fact that we were about to start praying, the staff member asked if the three girls would like to join us in prayer. Initially I did not know how I felt about this, but it was not a huge deal. If they wanted to join, why not? There was no harm in it.

The two staff members began to pray over my life. These two have prayed over me before and when they did, I could hear the Lord’s voice and His direction over my life because of their incredible gift to hear from the Lord and speak His truth. Once again, God blew me away with the things He wanted to reveal to me through the prayer of these two.

But the Lord was not finished working in that moment. After the group had finished praying over me, one of the staff members began to speak directly to one of the three girls who had joined us. He said he felt that the Lord was telling him specific ways in which He viewed her and how she was going to serve Him in the future. She replied that he was spot on and that she had been working through these same things he had mentioned.

He then asked if we could pray over her, and she agreed. This is where I witnessed God move and work the most. People in the group begin to pray different things over her including the identity that God has given her. As we prayed, I recalled how I had been asking the Holy Spirit to move in me. I did not know this girl at all and was content to listen and not pray out loud over her. As people continued praying over her, they were saying various things that had to do with the Lord being pleased with her. I kept waiting for someone to actually say this phrase—that the Lord was pleased with her just how she is. No one ever did.

I felt my heart begin to pound and my chest get tight. I really felt like this needed to be said, but did not know if I had the place to say this over someone I had never seen until 30 minutes ago. That was it—I made up my mind that this was placed on my heart for a reason and that I needed to say it. I spoke up and said, “I know I don’t know you very well at all, but I feel like the Lord wants me to tell you that He is completely and fully pleased with you. You can stop striving. He loves you for exactly who you are and where you are at.”

As soon as I said it, the girl burst into tears. She had heard exactly what she needed to hear from the Lord in that moment. I had never experienced anything like this, where God used me so directly to influence another’s life to reveal His truth in their life. I was stunned and filled with joy. Not only did God answer my prayer to fill me with the Holy Spirit so I may be led by Him more, but He showed me that if I would just be willing to be aware of His voice, listen, and take more leaps of faith, He would show up in big ways.

I am extremely encouraged and thankful for a faithful, attentive Father. I am grateful for the prayers of the staff members who spoke truth over my life and convicted my heart. God was certainly glorified in that. But God had even bigger plans that night. He orchestrated every person in that group to be brought together for a specific purpose so that His will would be done and His Holy Spirit would move, calling His children back to Him in love. It was not I, but He that moved in hearts that night and was faithful to my initial request to be moved by the Holy Spirit to act. He is worthy of our trust, faith, and praise.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#44 Giving It All Away And Trusting Him

Photo by Trevor Rapp

Working for a nonprofit organization was never my plan after spending thousands of dollars going to college. I expected to go right into grad school and spend more money to get a great job and make lots of money. That’s most Americans’ plan, right?

Well, my plan quickly ended when I asked the Lord what His plans were for my life. I accepted a position at a campus ministry on the University of Kentucky campus. I learned that I would need to fundraise my salary. Before this, I had never asked anyone but my parents for money, so asking friends and strangers for money wasn’t something I was comfortable with. I found myself in prayer begging the Lord for boldness and wisdom on how to fundraise.

My fears were quickly shattered when the Lord led me to read a story in the Old Testament of a woman whose husband died and left her and her sons with debt. In biblical times, if someone had debt, their children would be taken away to serve and pay off the debt. This mother went to a prophet to ask what she should do. The prophet instructed her to give all of what she had in her possession to her neighbors.

When reading this story, I was confused and afraid for this widow. Give what little she had away? What was this prophet thinking? I imagine the widow didn’t understand either, but she trusted God. She went to fill all her neighbors’ jars of oil up with the one jar she had. Incredibly, she had enough not only to fill her neighbors’ jars, but had enough oil left to live off of for the rest of her life and pay off the debt!

This is what the Lord did for an obedient widow. I clearly heard the Lord tell me to give what little money I had away and to trust Him with fundraising and with all my finances. I obeyed. Two days later, I looked in my mailbox and there was $900! I was shocked, overwhelmed,  and grateful—and I believed. It’s true; the Lord provides. He still provides. If we sacrifice, trust, and wait, He provides. God is a provider!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#35 Obedience to Speak Love

Photo by Erin E. Photography

It has been the cry of my heart lately for this joy the Lord has instilled within me to spill over to His people. How sweet is this place—the place where we can stand before the Lord as the broken beings that we are and feel overwhelmed by the love He lavishes upon us when we feel so far from worthy. It is here in this place that we see that this love can’t just stay captive within us, but is meant to spread like wildfire among us. With this revelation, I have asked God to reveal my spiritual gifts to me and allow them to bless others. Being the faithful and sweet God that He is, He has done just that.

I was home in Cincinnati for the weekend and attended church with my mother one Sunday morning. We found a seat in the crowded room and began to worship. I am very observant and absolutely LOVE watching people worship Jesus, so sometimes I feel like the Lord wants me to worship by watching. When I do this, I see glimpses of heaven around the room, hearts surrendered, weights lifted, and expressions that long to see His face.

This particular morning there was a woman two seats from me that I could not seem to pull my eyes away from. She was PUMPED to be at the service. You know those people that you see at church that are about to just lose it because they are completely sold out on the love of Jesus that they may just fall out of their chair or burst through the ceiling? Yeah, well, she was one of those. It was awesome.

Worship ended and our pastor delivered his message. To be honest, I have no idea what it was about, because the whole service I heard the Lord telling me something about this girl that He wanted me to share with her. Me being the sometimes doubtful person that I am, thought to myself, No, this isn’t from the Lord; I’m making this up. I kept going back and forth in my head the entire service, and by the end of our pastor’s message I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything to her. Usually when I feel the Lord is wanting me to speak or deliver a message to someone, my heart is beating out of my chest, but it wasn’t in this particular case, so that’s what further supported my reasoning to not say anything. Shortly after thinking this, my heart began to beat really fast and I could hardly stand keeping the words in any longer. I was still dead-set on not saying anything though. But as we all know, God is persistent, strong, and fierce with his love, so He was not content with stopping there.

Before our pastor got off stage, he said, “I feel like there’s someone in the room that has a gambling problem and I want to tell you that he wants to deliver you from that. I just had to say that; I couldn’t be disobedient to the Lord.”

I then thought to myself, You’re funny God. Fine, I’ll tell her; I can’t be disobedient either. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “The Lord has been speaking to me about you this whole service, and I’m not sure what this means to you but I feel like the Lord wants you to know that He is so proud of you and is holding the weight that you surrendered to Him.”

The woman began to weep. She reached out and hugged me for quite some time, crying in my arms while I whispered, “You’re beautiful” in her ear, and I just held her for a minute. I looked at her one last time, smiled, and went on my way.

I don’t know the story behind it all or what this meant to her, but I do know on that very day the Lord used the cry of my heart to speak love and life into hers, and for that I will be forever grateful. He hears our cries, he puts courage in our bones, and he uses His children to speak the language that only He could create—love. To Him alone be the glory.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#34 “Give Her Your Bible”

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

There’s something about a Bible that’s been worn down over the years that speaks to my heart. Church bulletins stuck between the pages, corners folded down to keep your place, notes scribbled in the margins—it’s all beautiful to me. A lovingly worn Bible is, to me, a visual representation of an intimate history with God.

As you can imagine, I was very attached to my own Bible. It was a thick, leather Bible that was a light purple color. I never would have picked purple for myself, but my mom had chosen it for me, and I learned to love it. I often scribbled prayers and commentary in the margins of my Bible, and sometimes I stuck pictures of people I wanted to pray for between the pages.

I carried my Bible with me everywhere my first semester of college, which was an intense season of growth in my life. To me, that Bible represented a new intimacy with the Lord that I had never experienced before. Meanwhile, I was becoming friends with a very sweet, quiet girl in one of my classes. Neither of us missed class often, and we would talk every class period as we worked on projects.

Around Thanksgiving, she stopped coming to class. Two whole weeks went by, and she was never there. I became concerned, and so I asked the teacher if she had heard anything. She hadn’t. I didn’t have any way to contact her, so I just prayed for her. And, the next week, there she was when I entered the classroom. She told me about some personal things that had been going on, but there was no reason she should’ve been in class that day. Due to some health issues, she missed so much of her classwork that she could no longer get credit for her classes. So, there was no benefit to her even showing up for class that day.

I know that God is the reason she was there. That day, through the courage and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I invited her to coffee. A few days later, at the end of finals week, we met for coffee. We talked for a few hours about our lives, and although she was not an active Christian, God told me it was okay to talk to her about Him. He made it clear to me that her heart was ready to receive what He had to give through me. So, I talked to her like I would any other friend. I told her stories of God’s handiwork in my life, and dreams He was putting in my heart. She was eager to listen and share her own ideas and opinions.

As our conversation wrapped up, God made it clear to me that I was to give her my Bible—my beautiful, worn-in Bible that I loved so dearly. Surprisingly, it wasn’t at all hard to give it away. God whispered to me that seeing all my notes and underlines and pictures would help make her eager to dig into His Word. Rather than being sad that I had to part with my memento of a special season of intimacy with God, I prayed that God would impart that same season onto her.

Giving her this gift was one of the most joyful experiences of my life, and I know that God had planned it far in advance. When I handed her the Bible across the table, her eyes lit up as she said, “Purple is my favorite color!”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.