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Coffee and Conversation #109 – The Story of the Beads




Good morning and welcome to Coffee and Conversation #109 – hosted by PatAndCandy.com!

C&C_109

Today I have a story for you…

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A while back our family was visiting dear friends who had moved far away. Both families had spent years living near each other when we moved “down South” and had become super close. Even now, whenever I get together with Ginny, despite the distance and time,  we always quickly and effortlessly pick up our conversation as if we’d only gotten started yesterday….

So we were all in the kitchen, and I stepped out to “powder my nose” in the nearest restroom, which was on the other side of her bedroom. As I walked back into the kitchen, I noticed a set of beads hanging from the lamp on her nightstand. The strand was long and looped around the shade, and the beads were a colorful and cheerful decoration. I innocently asked her about them, and she told me the story I’m about to share here:

beads-1About 2 years ago, a friend of mine had given me a pair of earrings made up of beads exactly like the ones on that string. Each earring had 2 simple beads, but they were handmade and exactly to my taste, and I loved the colors. I wore them to church and often when I went out, and always got the sweetest comments about them.

A few months later, we lost the house in the tornado. (Backstory here: they lived in the direct path of a horribly destructive tornado that swept through their community one night, totally flattening out most of the homes around theirs, as well as most of the flora and fauna in the community. Mercifully, they were not home at the time, but they lost e v e r y t h i n g. Years later, I still have a hard time recognizing their neighborhood.) It was devastating. Returning to the house in the middle of the night, yet unawares of the extent of our loss, all we could see and sense of our home was, well, piles of rubble. The shock lasted for days.

The next few months were spent in a daze. Finding shelter in friends’ homes for a while, until we were fortunate enough to find a rental (also in short supply due to the extent of the destruction), the rebuilding process was slow and hard. Daily it seemed that we discovered a new loss: a favorite book (especially hard for the bibliophile that she is!), pieces of furniture from a relative, treasures from the kids’ baby years…the list goes on.

At some point, it occurred to me that I had lost the earrings that I liked so much! Of course, by that time, there had been so much other loss that it didn’t really sink in how much I missed them.

A full year later, however, we were able to rejoice in God’s goodness and mercy when we moved back to our property. It was a totally different home, however, re-built from the ground up, almost twice the size, beautiful and filled with light, and enabling us to welcome friends and family with warm hospitality, something the old house didn’t quite allow due to size and design constraints.

However, it really hit home for me just how much God had redeemed what I had perceived as loss when I saw the friend who had given me the earrings a few weeks later. She was wearing a necklace: a long, gorgeous strand of the exact same beads that were in my earrings, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it, even across the room. When the opportunity arose, we greeted each other warmly and she asked how I’d been. We caught up on old news, and then all of a sudden she began to remove the necklace she was wearing and reached out for my hand.

“God loves you, Ginny, and through all of the trial and hardship you lived through this past year, through all of the loss you experienced, and pain you lived through and helped your neighbors walk through, He wants you to know that He had a plan. He was with you through it all, and He worked through your experiences to reach out to those around you in ways you may never know. He took the little you had, and He is returning so much more… Well done!”

With that, she placed the necklace in my hand, hugged me, and walked away.

I keep those beads right where I can see them first thing each morning to remember those lessons: He has a plan; His best is so much bigger and better than my good;  whatever I walk through, I am not alone; and He alone is the redeemer. The redeemer of our pains and losses, our disappointments and failings.

I sat stunned. So very grateful that God had blessed me with a friend who had and has a heart so open to His love and lessons for her life. So very convicted that even in my worst days, I really have nothing to complain about, and everything to be thankful for. So very blessed that God would use my friend to remind me of His love for me, too…

So I share that with you this week in the hopes that this story blesses you, too. No matter where you are with God right now, you can rest assured that He is right there with you.

beads-2


I have no features this week. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve done more than my fair share of grumbling about it, too: troubles with technology and time constraints on my part are the cause, but in the end, I guess I can’t really complain.

God brought this story to my mind, and He gave me just the right window of opportunity to get it out in time to share with you.

I still hope my blogger friends will be generous with sharing their content, and I still hope you, dear readers, will be coming back time and again, allowing us to share with you and grow together…

And above it all, God is still good all the time, so let’s continue on to the party…

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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17 Responses to Coffee and Conversation #109 – The Story of the Beads

  1. nicki September 6, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    That story made me cry. It reminds me of when I lost a baby at 17 weeks. I was newly remarried and we were excited to have our first child together.

    I also had THREE friends who were pregnant, and their pregnancies were a constant reminder of my loss. Our mutual triple baby shower for those three — on the due date I was supposed to have. (None of them knew this, but it was painfully ironic.) However, I received the best gift of all that day: a positive pregnancy test!

    We went on to have three children after that loss. God does restore! Great post.

    • Pat September 6, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

      Oh, Nicki, I’m so sorry it made you cry…and to hear of your pain. But I am glad to hear how God redeemed your loss, too! What dark days those must have been…
      I’m sure your children are a daily reminder of His infinite mercy and goodness <3 <3
      Thank you so much for sharing your story here...praying that He continues to rain down blessings in your life...

  2. Edye August 31, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

    Thanks for hosting 🙂
    Edye recently posted…Scriptures For When You’re Anxious.My Profile

  3. Marilyn August 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    Thank you for hosting. Please have a safe and fun week!
    Marilyn recently posted…Sweet Potato Crusted FlounderMy Profile

  4. Ruthie Gray August 31, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Such a beautiful story, friend! Ahhh, I love this so much. Can’t even imagine what that would be like, to lose everything. Just like Job. Beauty from ashes.

    Can you believe I made it over here?! That’s like a miracle or something.

    I love your heart, dear friend. You make me smile!
    Ruthie Gray recently posted…One Breakthrough Strategy that will revive your War Room todayMy Profile

    • Pat August 31, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

      Yay, Ruthie, you made it!! LOVE your WarRoom post…signed up for the challenge already!!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Happy to hear I make you smile – backatcha! Looking forward to C2K this month…
      Pat recently posted…Coffee and Conversation #109 – The Story of the BeadsMy Profile

  5. Carlie August 31, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Oh, Pat, this brought tears to my eyes. Such a powerful reminder of how God works in our lives. ‘He took the little you had, and He is returning so much more…’ Beautiful! I also love ‘His best is so much bigger and better than my good.’ What a great reminder to trust Him through all our lean times. Thanks so much for sharing your friend’s story.
    Carlie recently posted…A New Way ForwardMy Profile

    • Pat August 31, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Carlie, This really was (is!) such a moving story…still as powerful to me today as it was when I first heard it! I’m glad it was moving to you as well…

      Have a wonderful week…and hope you’re able to see His mercy in your life, too! <3

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Pat recently posted…10 TED Talks Your Teen Needs to Watch Before GraduationMy Profile

  6. Beth August 31, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    Wow! This really does put all of my grumblings into perspective, Pat. Thanks for sharing Ginny’s inspiring and painful story. I’m amazed by her generosity as well. Just beautiful! Thanks for the linkup, my friend!
    Beth recently posted…Comment on ‘Tree of Lies’ Reveals Identity Struggles Giveaway/Linkup by Michele MorinMy Profile

    • Pat August 31, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

      Beth,
      I know, doesn’t it?! I’ve always been touched and blessed by her generosity…

      I’m always so glad to see you here, too; you are certainly one of the little unexpected “love-note-of-a-friend” whom God has sent me over the years.

      Haven’t read your post yet, but I will – I always learn so much from your thoughts and words. Thank you for being so generous sharing them with us all! Have an awesome week…
      Pat recently posted…Coffee and Conversation #109 – The Story of the BeadsMy Profile

  7. Patricia Krank August 31, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    What a wonderful story. I must remind myself daily that God’s best is so much better than my good! Thank you.
    Patti
    Patricia Krank recently posted…August in Review & HGTV Ahead!My Profile

    • Pat August 31, 2016 at 8:40 am #

      Oh, Patti, it’s a daily necessity for me, too! This would have been SUCH a different post had I had my usual conveniences over the last few days…. And tho’ I’m now up and running, I am (today) grateful for having been side-tracked (in my estimation!).
      Now if I can just get that way while I’m walking *through* those times!!!
      Pat recently posted…Homeschooling On a Benjamin – What to buy for $100My Profile

  8. Debbie Williams August 31, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    This is a beautiful story of God’s love for us and how a storm can change us. What a friend!

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser August 31, 2016 at 2:03 am #

    Wow. All I can say is, God is Way Cool.

    In my life too. I can barely walk, sleep about 30 min a day (hurts too much to stay asleep), and have discovered the wonders of incontinence…

    And God gave me a goal. Tokyo 2020. Decathalon. Just too be there.

    Heck, I’m not supposed to be alive now, according to my doctor. But according to the Almighty, I’m supposed to be on the other side of the Pacific in four years. He made the world in seven days; What is the trouble, says He, with giving me speed and strength when He has four years?

    I used to be a track and field guy. If He is not jerking my chain – and I think He is not, as He’s already healed a stiff arm over the weekend – I’m not bound for the grave just yet.

    I’m bound for Tokyo.

    Onward Christian athletes, I suppose.

    This is gonna be interesting.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 201 – A Patient’s PrayerMy Profile

    • Pat August 31, 2016 at 9:02 am #

      Tokyo in 2020?! Love it! I heard a sermon once where the preacher encouraged us to lift up those seemingly (to our eyes) impossible requests to God, acknowledging that *nothing* is too big for Him (Matt 19:26). He called them “Himpossibles”!
      That’s become kind of a buzzword around our house since then…

      Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

      “Tokyo in 2020” has a nice ring to it! We’re behind you, Andrew – GO, GO, GO!!!
      Pat recently posted…How to Ensure Your Homeschooler Thrives in High SchoolMy Profile

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