After the plane landed, my friend Charla picked me up from the Tampa airport. Charla and I have been friends since junior high. We grew up in Illinois together. After college I moved to Arizona and Charla moved to Florida. Charla is like a sister to me and even if we haven't seen each other for years, when we are together the years and distance melts. It is time to laugh and play cards and shed our adult responsibilities for awhile.
I flew in to Florida a couple of days before the Seize the Day Conference so I could have a chance to visit with Charla and to visit with my parents at their second home which is near Sarasota, Florida. When we arrived at my parents home, I smiled when walking through the front door. My mom had a big anchor rug I got to walk across upon entering her house. It reminded me that the love of family is supposed to be unconditional like the love from God. I am very blessed to have loving parents and special friends who feel like family to me.
That night my parents took Charla and I out to dinner. We laughed at old stories and enjoyed our visit. Then the next day, Charla and I went to Bradenton Beach. That day at the beach, was one of the biggest reasons God tugged at my heart to go to Florida. He needed me to help Charla…
Charla and I went to lunch at the Beach House Restaurant which was on the beach. While we ate lunch, we could watch the waves of the ocean. It was a very cloudy day but the sun burst through some clouds and sparkled like diamonds on the water directly in front of where we were sitting. After lunch, we walked barefoot along the beach for hours. The sun followed us the entire time! It was so cloudy and dark except where we were walking or standing. I laughed with Charla and would stand with the ocean behind me bellowing, “Charla do you see the light!”
Charla bathed in sunlight would throw up her arms and answer, “Yes, Gina I see the light!!”
We continued walking and talking and then after a bit, Charla stopped and looked down. “Gina, I have something that has been weighing me down for years…” then she told me her story and how she couldn’t forgive herself.
I responded, “Charla, I have planned and attended many interfaith prayer breakfasts. I can tell you with all certainty from hangin’ around priests, pastors, and rabbis, that all you have to do is ask God for forgiveness. He can look into your heart and see your sincerity, and forgive you. All you have to do is ask…”
Charla explained that she saw a pastor once and told him her story. He told her God forgave her but she still feels bad.
I looked into Charla’s eyes with the ocean behind me and light shining on us, “Charla, God forgives you and loves you. He sent me all the way to Florida to tell you this. He forgives you! All you have to do now is forgive yourself and move on.”
“I just need to let it go?”
“Yes Charla! Do you see the sun breaking through the clouds? It has been following us for hours! I am certain God is shining down his love for you. He wants me to let you know he has forgiven you. God knows people are not perfect. He is by our side loving us and ready to grant us forgiveness. All we have to do is ask for it with a sincere heart.’
Charla smiled and took a deep breath. I could see her face relax as she exhaled. Together we were bathed in God’s loving light sharing a beautiful anchor moment. We then went back up to the Beach House restaurant and had dinner while watching the sun set.
Coming soon Leap of Faith Part 9: Anchor Moments at the Seize the Day ymCa Conference!