Author: Taylor Tinnin
Close to joyful tears the rest of the evening, I did my best to nestle back into the truth of God’s love and care for me.
I didn’t know how much time I had so I was doing my best to soak it in. I don’t know when I started to love Oxford, but I woke up one day and just noticed I did. It’s probably the people. But my parents didn’t think it was all such a good fit for my summer. They wanted me to move back in with them until the semester began and I didn’t want to go. I sat at the Formal Gardens and pretended I wasn’t saying goodbye.
I love the sound of water. The rhythmic pull and rush of the ocean is my first love followed by the lapping of the lake. But I would take the garden’s smooth and gushing fountain this evening. I could see the huge, golden coy nibbling at the algae on the bank and I watched a snapping turtle tug itself onto shore for a rest. I leaned back onto the grass and asked Jesus to talk to me.
Silence. “God, I know I’m not in a good place to hear. I’m distracted but I’m trying. Please meet me here.” I just laid there and couldn’t quite rest my thoughts or decipher His whisper among the birds.
I heard on my right, “Hello.” I started up and the woman who had been sitting on the stone bench across the pond was slowly walking up to me. “Hello.” I said. She had a gentle face and was in her late twenties or early thirties. She wore a patchwork skirt and neatly done dark hair. When I first noticed her on the other side of the pond, she had in earbuds and was swaying to music. I wondered if she came here to worship like me.
“Can I pray for you?” She asked me. All guards down I threw my hands up in praise, “Yes!!” She happily jumped down next to me and we grabbed hands like giddy friends. I think believers just kind of know when each other are around.
Her name was Maria and this is what she told me. She had been in town from Cincinnati for a prayer meeting at a local church in Oxford. “I just got really fidgety during the meeting and knew the Spirit wanted to talk with me.” Maria left the meeting and drove around Oxford to listen for God’s voice, unsure of where she was going. “I kept pulling into parking spaces but nothing felt right.” Eventually she pulled up to the Formal Gardens and found her spot on the stone bench across from me.
“When I saw you the Lord really high lighted you. I asked Him what you needed prayer for. And I just felt this aching for love and thought ‘wow that hurts!’”. I couldn’t have said it better. I marveled that God had given her wisdom into my heart. The strife between my parents and I over the past week had left me feeling clawed up and abandoned. I had been praying for an advocate to help because I didn’t know what else to do. So the Lord sent Maria to powerfully pray over me.
I told her the whole story of the hurt within my family. We held hands and she prayed. She told me the Lord said my heart was right in the situation and that I was doing a good job. She said the Lord knew exactly how I felt and that she saw the arrows being thrown at me falling at my feet and turning into flowers. And that I picked them up and made a bouquet out of them. I was reminded that beauty comes from ashes and that my shield of faith extinguishes the arrows of the enemy.
She finished and I said I hoped I would see her again at the church. We hugged and she again reassured me of the Lord’s compassion. She went on her way and I went on mine.
99% sure that Maria had been an angel, I went home to the family I was living with and asked if anyone knew her. They said they did but that didn’t make our meeting any less miraculous. Close to joyful tears the rest of the evening, I did my best to nestle back into the truth of God’s love and care for me. He would mend my relationship with my parents and He would give me strength for whatever my summer might be.