Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

April 22, 2015

Clearwater, Florida and My Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

In all our lives there are certain places that have special significance and memories.  Clearwater, Florida is one of such places in my life.

The summer after high school graduation, I visited family in central Florida. I had received a scholarship and was preparing to enter Emory University to study dentistry.  My great-uncle wanted to take us on a day trip to the west coast of Florida.  I remember so well driving across the Courtney Campbell Causeway from Tampa to Clearwater.  I believe it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.  It still holds an unbelievable fascination for me.  We also saw Clearwater Beach and I fell in love with it.  We drove north into Port Richey and when I saw those canals, I commented, “This is where I will open my dental office!”  (Of course,  I soon forgot that plan!}

My life plans began to go a different direction.  I walked away from college and into a life style that did not reflect the values on which I had been raised.  After a couple of years, I ran off to Texas.  I was ready to start a new life, whatever the future might hold. Yet I still had not forgotten Clearwater, Florida.

I found a place to live and found a new friend.  His name was Joe Franks.  He was a veteran whose maturity as a committed Christian would become a great influence in my life.  And to my surprise, he was from Clearwater, Florida!  He had grown up in Calvary Baptist Church.  I could have never known what connections these would become.

Several years later my father relocated with his company to Tampa.  He and my mother chose to live across the bay in Clearwater.  I came from Texas to aid them in the move.   I was deeply settled in Texas after these several years, and I had no intentions to ever leave Texas. However,  I found myself again attracted to Clearwater, Florida.  I rejoiced that my parents would live in Clearwater and I would be coming often to visit.  I fully anticipated returning to my adopted State of Texas.  But that would change!

I attended church with my parents the first Sunday after the relocation.  I walked into the church and saw this beautiful young lady named Judith Richbourg.  Immediately my mind and heart said, “I am never going back to Texas!”

She was a native of Clearwater.  She was all that one could imagine.  A beach lover, beauty queen, radiant, confident, committed to the Lord, and prepared to follow God’s will.  By now, God had gotten hold of my life and given me directions.  Now at 27 years of age my life was to be completed. Within 14 months she would become my life partner. It was so obvious that God had been at work.  He had planted Clearwater in my heart for reasons that I could have never understood.

Judy had been baptized at Calvary Baptist Church–the church where Joe had been raised!  And although in a few years, I would serve another church in Clearwater, only God would have known that some 10 years later, we would return from Costa Rica to serve Calvary Baptist Church.

But why do I share all this with you?  It is because we need to know that God can be working in our lives when we are not even aware.  We need to be sensitive when a dream is in our heart.  God may have planted that dream as a preview of the future, even if we saw the dream as purely selfish.  I am so glad that my God touched my life in1953 with the dream of living in Clearwater, Florida.  For in that place, my life came together for me with meaning and purpose.

Trust God with your future.  He said, “For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  When life had no real purpose, God was at work in my life. I was too out-of-tune with God to know what He had for me.  But I praise Him now that I can look back and see what He was doing. What a wonderful plan He had for me!

Consider the plans God has for you.  It is never too late to discover them and live them!

Lawson

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1 Comment »

  1. Thank you, Lawson. This has given me direction to help make the decisions I need to make right now. You are a very special person. I admire your writing (trying my hand at it myself right now). God Bless you!

    Comment by Leslie Eaves — April 22, 2015 @ 2:59 pm | Reply


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