The last time I wrote in JUST A LITTLE THING, I left with this from Ephesians 3:20, Now to HIM to who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” NASB  

I’m writing about one of those times in my life that happened just a few weeks after God told me that HE didn’t want me complaining about the Navy again. It would be many years later that I connected that with that act of obedience.

It was on a Friday evening and a few of my Christian shipmates and I decided we would go in together and get a hotel room. We had money because it was payday. In those days (1974) military pay was still very inadequate, downright poor, so it was rare that junior enlisted members could afford such a thing but with four of us splitting the cost of a room, it was doable. Getting away from the ship was relaxing. If you stayed on board after “Knock off ships work” was called, you would many times be called upon for extra work when needed.

Right after we were checked in, and in our room, I heard God say, “go get your children”.  I had married at 18, had two children and divorced at 22. My ship was currently in Portland, Oregon and my ex-wife and children were in Texas.  One of the main reasons I wanted out of the Navy was so I could go back to Texas, get a job, a place to live and be close to my children.  They were only 3 and 4.  I absolutely loved being a dad and my heart grieved at losing them and never getting to see them.

I thought for a moment, their mother will never allow it!  I had no place to live, neither could I afford a place and no furnishings, no one to keep them while I was at work, my car was in San Diego AND, our Commanding Officer had just put out an order that no leave (vacation) would be approved until further notice.  See, this was more than I “COULD ASK OR THINK” because it something that was not possible.

Anyway, I told God that their mother was never going to let me have them. So God said, “Call her.” In those days, long distance calls were extremely expensive. A 3 minute call was about as much as a days wages but I called.  She answered the phone and I told her that God told me to come and get the children.  Dead silence on the other end. I didn’t hear a disconnect but I was beginning to wonder if she had hung up. After a long pause, I asked if she was still there and she responded with, “God told you to come get them?” to which I answered, “Yes”.  “So”, she said, “I guess you should come and get them”.  I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Now as I said, it was payday and child support was due, so I said, “since I’m going to have the children, is it okay with you if I don’t send child support while I have them?”.  I knew that this may be a part of her budget and she may not be able to agree but she responded, “I guess that’s would be okay.” I told her I would get back with her on the details. I had no clue how this was going to work out. At least with my not having to send child support, I maybe had enough for a plane ticket to go get them. After hanging up, I thought it was strange that she had not asked what any mother would; such as, How long, do you have an apartment, who is going to keep them, etc.?

Monday morning, back on the ship, my division officer (upline supervisor) asked how my weekend was. I told him, God told me to go get my children.  He asked, “What did your ex-wife say?”.  I told him and after looking at me for a long moment, responded, “put in a request for leave and I’ll walk it through and make sure it is approved”.

Now, I was in his office and one of the guys that worked in there said, “My car is loaded with everything needed to furnish an apartment (no furniture).  He continued to say; my trunk, back seat and even the passenger seat is full of stuff and you are welcome to use it.  I need to get it out of my car. I was going to get an apartment here but can’t find a roommate to go in with me.”  I thought, this is amazing, my division officer is going to walk through a special request for me to get leave, and now I have furnishings for an apartment as well. Later that morning a married Christian brother came up to me and said, “I heard you were leaving to get your children so I called my wife to see if she would be willing to keep them and she agreed to. (I had never even met her).  I told him that would be a great blessing for sure!  Amazed once more!

Very soon after that, a guy I had let borrow my NEW motorcycle one evening about a month before, came up to me and said, “I heard your bike was recovered and I would like to buy it from you”.  It had been stolen while he was using it.  I had only had it for about 3 weeks when it was taken.  It was a GOD thing that I had not clobbered him when it happened but God had convinced me that HE had this and would handle it. This is another testimony that maybe I will talk about later.  Anyway, I told him, that he didn’t need to feel obligated that God was going to take care of it.  He said, “But I want to buy it!  I have tried to buy one but no one will finance me because I don’t have enough time left in the Navy. I’ll take over payments, reimbursed you for all that you have invested in it; the down payment, the payments you’ve made and even pay the insurance deductible for repairs that are being made.  Got to tell you I was wondering how I would come up with the money for the deductible. I agreed! This was a blessing to him and me! I had no need for a motorcycle if I was going to have my children. Hopefully, now I had enough money for air fare, gas for travel from San Diego (that is where my car was) to Portland and a place to live when we got there. The next morning, I was on a plane to Texas to pick up my children!  I HAD NOT HAD TO PLAN OR THINK ABOUT ANYTHING. My GOD had arranged every detail. This was all so surreal!

Getting to Portland from San Diego and finding an apartment, is as Paul Harvey used to say , “the rest of the story”. I had only one week off total and four of those days were already used up. Three days to drive over a thousand miles in a car that had not been driven in about four months with two children and get moved into an apartment. In the military, you do not miss work. That is absent without leave (AWOL).

I’ll write it if asked.