Psalm 107:15, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” King James Version
Sometimes God’s love and His plan unfold in ways we never would have predicted or imagined.
“Clogging is not a plumbing problem,” proclaimed a ragged T-shirt worn by the director of our Bailey Mountain Cloggers dance team at Mars Hill College in the beautiful hills of western North Carolina. This championship-caliber group has represented the now-university very well over the years in a region where clogging remains a popular form of dance, combining quick tap steps and lively kicks with creative formations that resemble square dancing.
After my sister joined the Bailey Mountain Cloggers, I became interested. Successful my second time trying out, I danced with the team for one year – my senior year. Jane had already graduated; I wish we had had the chance to be on the squad together! The team danced at college hoedowns and in a handful of competitions. During the 1982 January mini-term, we loaded ourselves into a van pulling a U-Haul trailer of luggage and sound equipment. Thus began a tour that would have a life-changing impact on me.
For several days we performed at schools and other institutions in Florida. Then, we stopped back by the college, took a day to wash dirty laundry and to re-pack, and headed north to Ontario, Canada, for more performances and a local television spot.
Something unexpected was happening to me during that trip. Twenty-one years of age at the time, I had struggled with a terrible nail-biting habit virtually my entire life. Perhaps only those who have been down the road of unbreakable habits can understand the self-disappointment, the embarrassment, the unanswered prayers for an instant miracle, and the unsolicited input of other people ranging from censure to pity that a hard-core nail biter endures. During that tour of clogging performances, the audience participation dances had us holding hands with strangers in a large circle and “promenading” with our assigned partners. Too, we rode for hours at a time in that dirty van, before the days of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. Under those conditions, even I found the common sense not to put my fingertips into my mouth. Enough days of this routine passed that – miracle of miracles – my fingernails grew enough for me to see what I had been missing all of those important years. I was amazed and intrigued. I was astounded and proud.
With only a minor setback or two over the next few months, a very long and unhappy chapter of life was closed for me forever. Rare is the day that goes by without my feeling immensely thankful for how God worked through that one-of-a-kind experience, rescuing me from what I saw as a wretched pit of personal failure. Who could have guessed that God would send my miracle at that particular time, through such unusual circumstances? I am sometimes heard to say, “I am wearing ten miracles all the time.”
The writers of scripture knew how important it is to review and to retell how and where God has led His people. You and I have personal stories to share of what God has done.
Originally published September 22, 2009 as an email devotional