I’ve been craving some beach time, but I DON’T do the beach during the summer. My favorite time to visit the beach is the winter. Still, I just needed some down time. And since the dogs woke me up at 4:45 this morning dropping their balls on my face . . . well . . . today seemed the perfect escape time.

I arrived just as the sun appeared in full splendor over the horizon, but first God gave me this beautiful moment as I drove across the three mile bridge.

The last time I drove that early across the three mile bridge to Gulf Breeze was July 28, 2000. I was rushing to the hospital to get to my granny who was in the hospital. In the moment the Lord reminded me of Psalm 113:3, “I will praise you to the rising and the setting of the sun.” When I arrived at the hospital my granny was in the arms of Jesus.

Just weeks prior I had celebrated my second year of sobriety. That was my first loss sober. But my new found faith carried me through.

That same faith has carried me through many storms the last twenty-two years and there is no doubt it will continue until the Lord calls me home.

Through the last twenty – two years the Lord has given me moments in time that I call divine appointments. Sunday was one of those days.

I arrived at the beach, set up to take some pictures, read my Bible, and just relax. The sun’s reflection was like gold reflecting off the water and the white sand. It was incredible.

I intended to sit in silence . . . But God . . .

He had a divine appointment for me.

See that image of a person in the picture? She was there for me as much as I was there for her.

We started talking . . . she told me that she and her husband were staying in the 8th floor of the condo and they had watched a school of dolphins the morning before from their balcony. So we watched . . . and waited . . . hoping and anticipated some dolphin activity.

And God brought us a dolphin . . .

I sensed more than ever there was a reason God had put this woman in my path . . . She had stepped into my pictures and then something about her just drew me in . . .

Her name is written in the front of my Bible. She and her family are from Texas. She and her husband are retired. They are on vacation with their adult children and it’s their first time in Pensacola and she just loves the area.

We talked for quite a while . . . I learned her grandparents would travel from Mexico to a small town in Texas and worked. Her grandfather earned .50 a day working the vegetable fields. Her grandmother cleaned for an American woman and she earned .25 a day. The American woman was good to her grandmother and gave her milk, cheese, and breads. The grandparents would travel back to Mexico every weekend and return back to work the fields and clean houses. Eeceilia is named after one of the American woman’s daughters, she said. Erceilia’s grandfather built a large wooden box. The box had a coin slot on top. Every day they received their wages and every day they placed their .75 in earnings in the wooden box.

Ercelia has been blessed with that wooden box to pass down to her children and grandchildren one day.

Ercelia was born in Mexico. She later met and married her husband. He would travel to the states and work and return back to Mexico to spend the weekend with Erceilia only to return back to work for the following week. Erceilia learned to sew and worked odd jobs to include making homemade tamales with her own spices. She still makes them today. When Erceilia’s first child was one they made the move to the states.

Then the conversation changed and I knew why we were to meet.

Her heart is broken at the loss of a child.

Her pain broke my heart.

And the stress and depression she has experienced through covid has been more than she could carry . . .

And the tears fell.

“I need touch and I can’t have touch,” she said.

It was then I asked her name and wrote it in the front of my Bible. I gave her my name and told her I would be praying for her every time I see her name. I then told her I understood that I couldn’t hug her or touch her but what I could do is pray for her. And in that moment with the shine shining . . . we prayed together.

And with that – a friendship has formed.

Our visit was interrupted when her phone rang and her husband was wondering what was taking her so long on her walk. We said our goodbyes and exchanged numbers. I asked her to let me know when they come back so we can connect again. And she was off.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang – she had something for me and wanted to make sure I was still there.

Shortly later she arrived with a bag of homemade tamales for me that she had made and brought with them on their trip. She also gave me a mask she had made. She makes a lot of masks and donates them to various agencies.

I thought I was there for her, but in essence we were both there for one another today.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23 (and George Mueller says, “and the stops too.”)

Thank you, Lord, for divine appointments, new relationships . . . friendships. Thank you for allowing mine and Erceilia’s path to cross . . . thank you for directing our coming and going . . . and the stops along the way. Amen.