A few years ago the church I was pastoring at the time graciously sent my wife and I to a Weekend to Remember marriage conference hosted by Family Life. It was an awesome conference to say the least. My wife doesn’t so much like hotels so I looked for a bed and breakfast. I looked up a few in the Akron area and found one called the O’Brien, which was the original home of the founding family of General Tire. It was the nicest place we’d ever been in and we enjoyed our stay very much. It was an imposing old home with beautiful rooms and a quirky hostess and we both fell in love with it. There was an old grand piano that my wife played on our last morning there, and a small crowd of people formed in this huge living area to hear her play.
I tend to obsess about new things that I discover and when I got home after the conference I decided to go visit a few bed-and-breakfasts because innkeepers are a pretty unique group of people! The first house I went to was about 3 miles away from our home.
This old colonial house right on the corner of Highway 60, was just outside of Ashland Ohio. The Winfield was a pink brick home, beautifully landscaped, and was owned and operated by a couple that would soon become very dear to us.
Bill and Sally met me at the door that morning and she gave me a tour of the Winfield. We had an interesting conversation in the kitchen which lasted for the better part of four hours. For the next two years, a week wouldn’t go by without me coming over to the house and checking on them. They became very much like my parents.
God, I miss them.
Their driveway was the last one we pulled out of when moving to Kansas City back in January of 2016.
One room on the main level is the biggest of the suites they have. It’s a master suite with a bathroom and a den, which is where we would go and hang out with them and watch movies, political debates, and New Year’s celebrations. My wife and I have never had the luxury of living next to parents so we’ve always had that void in our life of having an older couple to take care of and to have a sense of family with.
Every place we’ve lived I’ll get a couple years in and start to feel the clamor in my heart for these kinds of relationships. The exciting thing is that every time I’ve sought after that kind of person God has always delivered. When we were living in Pittsburgh we had been there for about six months and were crying out for community in a very large church. We were doing youth ministry and had great relationships with teenagers but nobody in our season of life. Beka and I started something of a small group where we got together with a few other families that we invited to play video games and soccer with the kids and eat a meal together.
Out of that gathering, two of the families we formed friendships with became like blood relatives. A few years later I asked the Lord for an older couple and he gave me Bill and Sally. When I was needing a mentor my final year in college, almost 20 years ago now, I prayed for God to send a mentor into my life and within 24 hours later God sent someone right to my door!
God doesn’t always answer prayers for money or provisions on the spot but has always delivered key relationships in a timely way. I really miss being close to my parents and I need a Bill and Sally in my life right now. I’d love to hear how God has sent someone into your life at the right moment in the comments section below!