Full Circle

Even though my hubby is a Baptist pastor, I was actually semi-raised in the Church of God of Prophecy.   I have a horrific memory and have forgotten a great deal of the details of my childhood, but much of what I do remember is the golden era of Johnny and Cindy’s Gang of Camp Echeconee in Lizella, Georgia.  I went there every summer from the time I was 8 until 14.  Johnny and Cindy’s Gang was a core group of kids (of whom Counselors Johnny and Cindy were the pack leaders) who were my peeps.  Each summer we reconvened at the Snack Shack to pick  up precisely where we left off the previous year.  There would be hookups and breakups, salvations and re-dedications, and all manner of fast living so we could pack in as much fun as possible to last until we could see one another again.  

It’s important to note that I was not a Christian during these years.  I played around with religion, but I never made that commitment to a saving faith.  That being said, let me insert how much I believe in the power of youth ministry even when the kid doesn’t appear to be impacted in the least by what she is being taught.  The implanted word never expires and even though I lived like the devil until my 20’s, I don’t take for granted the seeds of faith that were sown by my childhood church or the camp kids and counselors I loved so much.  There is no way I could ever have known how the Lord would later use these relationships in the plans He had for me before the foundation of the earth.

Now, I’m a fan of the email but it makes me very sad that the age of the pen pal has passed.   My mom was stingy with the long distance phone calls (and I don’t blame her) so I relied on writing and receiving real live, handwritten letters to stay in touch with my friends.  Hands down, my most faithful pen pal was Dewayne.  I could always count on him for at least 2 pages full – often more- of the latest news along with the most fabulous comic strips he had drawn on the bottom.  My early teen years were difficult for a variety of reasons.  Dewayne was a constant and it never failed that his notes would come during painful times, tumultuous times when I needed to know there was one person out there who could be counted on.    

I’m not exactly sure when we lost touch but it was long after my relationships with the rest of Johnny/Cindy’s Gang had faded. (Many of those have now rekindled thanks to Facebook but that is a story for another day.)  So, imagine how happy it made me a few months ago to get an email from my long, lost friend who had found me online.  He has a beautiful wife, is about to have his first child and works with Christian Retailer Magazine – perfect for that comic strip drawing kid that is most certainly still in there somewhere.    CRM is a publication that goes out to bookstore owners, etc. that previews/highlights new releases among many other things.  Hold on to that – it’s important.

I may have mentioned a time or 37 that my book is coming out in February.  I had a marketing meeting last week in which I was told that manuscripts would be sent to reviewers of different trade magazines.  Y’all, guess who the reviewer is for Christian Retailer Magazine?  My friend, Dewayne.   It’s more than my heart can take in that the Lord began a friendship between two goofy kids that would result in our working together (if you call it that) all these years later. He sent me a note today that said, “YOUR BOOK IS ON MY DESK!” Who but God?? Who??  

I don’t know if this is what you consider a full circle moment but I’m certainly feeling it as one.  There are people in life whose opinion matters.  People who had faith in you when you didn’t have it in yourself.  People who made a difference whether they understood it at the moment or not. People who – for some strange reason – you want to know that you turned out okay despite the odds being stacked in the opposite direction and that maybe, just maybe their prayers played a part in it.  

How amazing is our God who would orchestrate such an arrangement to give me opportunity to say that?

Thank you, DeWayne. You’ve touched the lives of many. I’m grateful and honored to call you friend.

Love,
Lisa

(P.S. And no, I didn’t write this so you would put me on the cover. Pg. 2 will be just fine – as long as there is a comic strip involved…:)

camppeeps

{Kim, Dewayne, Me, Lance, and Gena at our Senior Banquet my last year of camp. I just reconnected with Kim last week. Lance is a Music Pastor. I still haven’t found Gena Clark. Any of you Georgia people know her?}

flashdance

{Gena, Dewayne, and Me. I hope you noticed my Flashdance shirt. I loved that thing. Also notice my collar bones. I’ve not seen those since 1996.}

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