I can't say exactly how long ago it was that I first met KaraAnn on Google+, but it was six to eight months ago. We had some things in common, horses for one and our faith for two. We chatted occasionally, commenting on each other's posts and sharing horses stories.
Through KaraAnn, I was invited to be part of the Pictures of Praise group, a group that shares photos that give glory to God. I shared a few photos and became slightly acquainted with two other young people that I sensed had some connection to KaraAnn, but I was unaware what it was at the time.
A month ago, my parents took an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls. The falls are only about five hours from where we live, but they had never been there is 26 years of marriage. So they spent some time at the falls, then traveled on to New York State and visited a church called Antioch that we had heard about through some friends who used to live in Michigan, but move to New York State and were going to a sister church to Antioch.
They had a wonderful time at the church and enjoyed meeting new families and catching up with our old friends.
Dad really wanted us kids to experience this church, so we headed out on Saturday, spent the afternoon at Niagara Falls (more on that on Friday...I took nearly 900 photos) and then went on to New York where we spent the night at a motel since our RV had already been winterized.
Late Saturday evening, I got a message from KaraAnn, saying she wished she would have known we were at Niagara Falls as she only lived fifty minutes from there and would have driven up to meet me. We chatted back and forth for awhile, discussing the possibility of meeting in the future. This was the longest conversation we had had and as I was relaying the conversation to my dad the next morning, he said I should have invited her to join us at Antioch for church.
We got to discussing where KaraAnn said she lived and my dad voiced the idea that perhaps Antioch was KaraAnn's church. I laughed at the idea, thinking it was too crazy to be true, but in the back of my mind, I wondered if it was possible.
I sent her a message saying I thought she lived close to where we were headed and mentioned Antioch. Her mom answered my message and informed me that Antioch was their church and that KaraAnn would be there! I just about fell off my seat from the shock....there was no way this could be happening!
But it was! I was elated to be about to meet my online friend. When we arrived at the church, I was shocked to find that I knew two other people from Google+ and several recognized me! I have never, ever had something like this happen to me. I found that KaraAnn's family and mine had much more in common than I thought. (Later, KaraAnn told me she had thought about inviting us to church when we were chatting Saturday night!)
My family has been searching for a church for 14 years and we have visited many, many new churches during that time. I always feel a tiny bit of dread when walking into a new church with people I do not know. I was blessed to feel at home at Antioch. Having someone to chat with that I actually knew, even just an online acquaintance was so nice! This is why I do not believe in coincidences!
Have any of you ever experienced something like this? Something that showed you that God puts people in your life for a reason?