By Allyn Schuyler
Special to The PREVIEW
When I look back on the choices I made once I left college, I am not proud. I learned, I enjoyed and was good at the hospitality business and soon rose up the ranks, but my time in that industry only pushed me further away from my Christian roots. I was stepping off the path God had designed for me, but I was a strong Texas woman, and my will prevailed.
Once day I noticed two older women strolling across the hotel lobby. They were gray-haired and spoke English with a foreign lilt. It could’ve been Australian or maybe Swedish — I wasn’t experienced with world travel enough to recognize which.
At any rate, these ladies intrigued me — they were obviously traveling together and were quite spry — they would come through the lobby chattering about their day’s adventures like two school girls. They reminded me of Easter eggs in their unusual crocheted dresses — plain patterned, but lacy and layered over a cotton sheath in a variety of pastel colors. I’d never seen anything like them. I complimented them one day and they explained these garments were perfect for traveling — they never needed to be ironed and could be washed in a sink and dried on a shower curtain rod. I thought it was quite ingenious.
One afternoon, one of those women approached the front desk. Across the counter, she pushed a paper-wrapped package. Inside was a beautiful yellow crocheted dress and matching sheath. I was taken aback. These ladies were traveling in a foreign country and surely wouldn’t have packed too many extra clothes. But as precious as the dress had to be for her, more special to me was the gift of what she said next.
“I am here to tell you God has something very special in store for you.”
After my stunned and fumbled thank you, she left and I never saw either of them again. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the encounter, because I certainly was not following God at the time. I took the dress home and it sat on my kitchen table for quite a while as I contemplated this strange experience and what it meant for me.
I wish I had been convicted enough to turn my life around right then and there — but that’s not what happened. In my pride, I continued to make decisions that took me further and further away from the Lord. The evil one had been lurking and he snatched and hid that seed of wisdom from me.
The yellow dress was never forgotten, but it was put away for many years. By this time, I was experiencing my rebellious life on some very rocky ground. Whenever I struggled with a job or relationship, I remembered the seed, “God has something very special in store for you.”
And with each recollection I would be encouraged there might be something better ahead — but the feeling never lasted long. I wasn’t ready to receive it, though I believed it to be true.
That the evil one didn’t snatch the seed completely away, or my life didn’t completely choke it out, I give credit to my Christian upbringing. All those times I enjoyed church as a kid, all the scripture that took root in my heart, all those prayers Godly people offered on my behalf — I didn’t start out as good soil, but the tillers who loved me tended the soil and made it possible for my heart to become fertile ground. Their prayers prepared me to, one day, come to Christ on my own.
Fast forward 10 years. By then, my life was full of thorns. I had sown my wanderlust and realized worldly pursuits never satisfied or completed me. I made it to the top of what the world calls successful, and yet I had never been further from my true nature and God’s plan for my life.
Still, I clung to the promise issued over me all those years before, and somewhere, deep inside, I knew was the lost lamb Jesus was so lovingly still trying to recover. So, I ditched it all and came home — to my home state, my Christian upbringing and my true self.
My life since that decision has not been much different from every other Christian’s — a journey of ups and downs, joyful periods interspersed between great difficulties. But I can honestly say God did what the little traveler promised me so many years ago — He had something really special in mind for me and gave me a life I could never have realized without Him. I will be eternally grateful she tossed a mustard seed to a complete stranger. I wish I could tell her how things turned out. I wonder how many seeds she sowed in her travels and how many hearts she won for Christ.
That’s what I call a very successful trip.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means. When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” — Matthew 13:1-23.