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When Life Changes Course
God intervenes in our lives in very real, very direct, and very visible ways. They are moments when something happens, big or small, that causes a Course Change.
You experienced a Moment of Grace when you picked up this book.
There are many ways that The Divine moves in our lives, especially when we open to the possibility of miracles. Once we have unlocked the door in our psyche to the potentiality of being touched by God in ways we could only imagine in our dreams, then those dreams begin to come true.
A few years ago I wrote a book called Conversations with God which captured attention throughout the world. I believe that book was directly inspired by God during Moments of Grace. And I am very clear that I am not the only one receiving such inspirations and experiencing such moments. For if Conversations with God taught us anything, it is that God talks to all of us, all of the time. Yet we can hear God only when we are open to listening.
Let those who have ears to hear, listen.
But now here is the startling news. God not only has conversations with us, God visits us every day, in person.
This book is all about such visits. It will create a course change in your life because it is about real people, just like you. It is not the story of masters or gurus or saints or sages, but about ordinary folk who have had a "run in with God"—and never forgot it. Because it is about real people living lives just like yours and mine, it is very convincing on the question of whether there is Another Force at work in our lives.
In my own mind that Force is called God. You may call it anything you wish. Whatever you call it—coincidence, serendipity, synchronicity, luck, intuition, inspiration—you will find it very difficult, after reading this book, to deny that it is there. Right there. In our lives. Every day. Working miracles. Making magic. Changing everything.
It happens in everyone's life. Janice Tooke, 43, of Herkimer, New York, says it happened in her life this way ...
My 11-year-old son and I were on our way downstate to camp and sail on the Hudson River. During the two-hour drive we listened, as we always do when we are in the car together, to Conversations with God.
On this warm sunshine-filled August afternoon we noted that we had seen many, many monarch butterflies during our trip. Feeling full of light and love as we sailed lazily along, I envisioned Jesus in my mind, standing in a field, arms outstretched, calling forth many butterflies. They came as bidden, orange and black and beautiful, and covered him fully, alighting on his arms, his hands, and his head. It was a beautiful image, and it brought calmness to my heart.
Feeling in that moment that I was one with God, I also imagined myself calling forth the butterflies in much the same manner. It was a beautiful moment in my mind. I wanted it to continue. I wanted it to never end.
Then my human doubts crept in. Maybe I'm making it all up, I thought. All these feelings and visions are nothing but creations of my own imagination. I felt frustrated. I wished there was some way that I could know that God is real, and that I am part of Him.
At that moment, I asked God to show me a sign and reveal Himself to me in a tangible way during this trip. I didn't want to have to wait any longer. I wanted it to happen during this trip, right here, right now. I even used "I Am" words to call it forth. I said, "I Am going to be given a sign."
That evening we camped on an island. The next morning brought a beautiful sunrise to the river. The sunshine sparkled off the water into my eyes as I shook myself awake. While I sat at the picnic table watching waves on the beach, a large monarch butterfly swooped own out of nowhere and began dancing in front of my face. It startled me as it circled once around the top of the tent in which my son was still sleeping.
I immediately said, "Oh, how beautiful you are. Come and see me!" Reaching out my hand, I watched, astonished, as the butterfly alit there!
It was so beautiful! Its orange and black wings were huge and perfect, and it sat still for several seconds there in the palm of my hand. My son awoke hearing my voice, and sticking his head out of the tent, saw the butterfly on my hand.
We were both amazed.
Of course, I knew who sent this gift. I have the knowing because I called it forth. And I know that I can call it forth, and that we all can, in moments of gratitude and praise, and pure at-one-ment with All That Is.
Now if you're not careful you could look right past the magnificence of that moment. Or you could agree that it was kind of neat, but that it proved nothing, and that Janice is stretching things to say that it did.
But what would you tell Bill Colson, of Ogden, Utah?
My father's breathing had become difficult, labored. He'd been lingering between life and death for days. The whole family was there, keeping the vigil.
Wracked by cancer, Dad's weakened body—which seemed to be disappearing right in front of our eyes—shook now and then with what I could only assume were spasms of pain. He'd gone past any ability to complain about it, not having spoken a word, nor opened his eyes, in 72 hours.
"My God," my mother said softly at one point, sitting at the side of his bed, "how long can this go on?"
It was after one o'clock in the morning, and the poor dear was exhausted. We all were. But they'd been married 61 years, and there was nothing and no one going to take Mom away from that bedside now.
That's when I had my conversation with God.
"Must he suffer like this?" I asked Him, silently, urgently, in my heart. "He's been a good man, God. And he's finished his work here. There's nothing left undone, there's nothing more to complete. Please. Won't You take him now? Won't You stop his pain? If You're here, God—and I know You are—please, let this end."
At that instant, Dad's breathing became less labored. Within three minutes he slipped away. Gently. Like falling into a deeper sleep.
My eyes filled with tears. I never doubted God before. I'll certainly never, ever doubt Him again.
Coincidence? Synchronicity? I don't think so.
A Moment of Grace? Yes.
Moments of Grace are those times when God intervenes in our lives in very real, very direct, and very visible ways. They are moments when something happens, big or small, that causes a Course Change.
You experienced a Moment of Grace when you picked up this book.CHAPTER 2
There Are Many Mansions
Bill Tucker learned the lesson of faith thirty years ago, a lesson he has never forgotten. He has called upon it many times to remind himself that nothing is impossible. Only one thing is required. Belief.
In those days Bill had never sold a house, although he had an agent's license and managed a real estate office. He would often stay late in the evenings to be available to the agents coming in from their evening showings. It was his responsibility to review the offers to purchase, and he didn't want to hold up any deals—or lose any—by not being available on the spot.
Ten o'clock, however, was late enough for any office to be open, he decided one night as he glanced at his watch and yawned. I'm heading home, he told himself. I'm calling it a night. But then he heard voices coming from the front of the office. I must have forgotten to lock the door, he told himself as he rose to investigate.
"I'm sorry," he apologized to the young couple he found standing at the counter, "the office is closed." They were a diminutive pair—she barely five feet tall and he only slightly higher. Two small children hovered shyly behind them.
"Well, the lights are on," the small woman observed. "And you're here, aren't you?" she added sweetly.
"Yes," Bill answered, "but, you see, I'm the manager, not an agent. I'm just waiting for the agents to return so that I can close up for the night."
"We're the Johnsons ... Ted and Amy. We need to buy a home tonight, so you will have to help us," she insisted.
"Why tonight, Mrs. Johnson?" Bill asked.
She took a breath. "Because we have to move in tomorrow." It was all Bill could do to stop from rolling his eyes.
"That's impossible, madam," he smiled patiently. "First of all, even if you were to find a house you like at this time of night, we would have to submit an offer to the owner. Then we'd have to wait for a possible counter offer. After that, you have to apply to the bank for a mortgage. The house has to be appraised, and the bank must qualify you. There is absolutely no way you can move into a house in less than six weeks."
There, that should explain it adequately enough, he thought. People never failed to amaze Bill. He chuckled inwardly. Did she actually think she could march in here at ten o'clock at night and get anywhere with this ridiculous notion?
He opened his mouth to suggest that perhaps she should come back tomorrow so that he could introduce her to an agent who might be able to help her, but Mrs. Johnson apparently had other ideas.
"Oh, it won't be any problem at all. We'll be able to buy a house tonight," she said.
Okay, Bill thought. Maybe they have the cash for a house. That, of course, would certainly expedite the process. "Oh? Why is that?" he asked politely in response.
"Because I asked God to give us a home by morning, and He never lets me down."
"I see. Well, even if I had an agent available, it's way too late tonight to look at anything."
She didn't seem to get his point. "You are licensed, aren't you?" she persisted.
Bill answered that he was. "But I've never sold a home and am not expert enough at this for you to trust."
"You believe in God, don't you?"
Bill smiled indulgently. "Sure. On that issue there's no question. But ..."
She interrupted, "Do you believe in miracles?"
"Well ... yes." Bill had, in fact, experienced many of what he considered to be amazing occurrences in his life.
Mrs. Johnson drew herself up, stuck out her chest, and said, "Look. I prayed today and asked God to give me a home ... um, could we just sit down?" Bill nodded, pointing to a couple of seats in front of an agent's desk. He sat in the chair behind it. "I asked God," the woman went on, "to give us a home that we could move into by morning."
Bill's eyebrows shot up.
"We have nowhere to live," Mrs. Johnson said simply. "We thought we'd bought a house on contract from a little old lady here in the city that agreed to finance it for us. We're from about two hundred miles north, but my husband just found a job here, so we packed up and moved. When we arrived, the lady wasn't out yet ... and when we asked her when she would be leaving, she said she wasn't going to be leaving. She thought she was making a deal with us to live with her. So, she's put us up in her basement."
Bill whistled softly, shaking his head. "That's a very strange tale," he offered. In his twenty years in business he'd heard lots of horror stories, and this one qualified for a place near the top of the list.
Mrs. Johnson continued, "Of course, we can't live in this lady's basement. We have our children here. We've been washing daily at the gas-station restroom down the street. Tonight I asked God for a miracle because we can't go on like this. So we've been driving around looking for an open real-estate office. And here you are!"
Through the front window Bill could see the couple's old, beat-up car in the parking lot. "How much money do you have for a down payment?" He almost didn't want to hear the answer.
"Oh, we don't have any money at all. Ted has been unable to work for the past ten years. You see, he's a recovering alcoholic and we're getting a new start, but it's not easy. I've been working parttime as a waitress."
This situation is getting worse, Bill thought. How in the world do they think they can buy a home with no money?
"You've been supporting your family on a waitress's salary? Why were you only working part-time?" Bill wondered aloud.
"I had to," Mrs. Johnson explained, "in order to volunteer at my church. That's important to me. But we get by ... that's not the problem. The problem is, we have nowhere to live.
And you know, we're not picky. We'll take the least expensive house we can find."
"Why not just find some place to rent?" Bill suggested. "Get back on your feet, pull some money together, and save for a place."
"We've been renting for years," the woman dismissed. "It's time we had a place of our own. And we can, with God's help. Look how he brought us to you!"
Yeah, well, good luck, lady, Bill thought. At the same time, he was intrigued by the strong faith this woman was exhibiting. And, he mused, who was he to interfere with her miracle? He took out his multiple-listings book. Might as well at least see what there is to see, he told himself with an inward sigh.
"Well, here's one for $54,000. It's not in the nicest part of town, but it's a pretty low price. How much will your husband be making in his new job?"
Mr. Johnson had been quiet up to this point, but now he spoke up.
"I'm darned lucky to have a job at all. I'm starting as a janitor tomorrow, making six bucks an hour."
Bill looked askance at both of them. "That's not much," he observed. Getting out his calculator, he punched in a few numbers. "Less than $12,500 a year."
The man nodded.
Bill said, "The most you can afford on that salary is a $36,000 house. There just aren't any houses in that price range. And even if there were, the bank is going to require a down payment. All this is very unlikely, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson."
"But, you said you believed in miracles," Mrs. Johnson said quietly.
"Yes," Bill smiled meekly, "but I didn't say I could perform them."
The couple only stared at him. Okay, he thought. I'll just have to prove how impossible this is going to be. He picked up the phone and dialed the realtor listing the house he'd just talked about. "We'll make an offer," he said, but he already knew what the outcome would be.
The realtor was delighted with the call at first. Bill saw from the listings book that the house had been on the market for over a year, so he expected this reaction. But when the realtor heard that the offer was $36,000, Bill got the second reaction he'd expected. She became indignant. Bill had to insist that she convey the offer to the owner, reminding her of the law stating that all bona fide offers must be presented.
A few moments later, the realtor called back. "The owner has a counter offer," she said, less annoyed now that at least some kind of deal seemed possible. "It's a good one. Forty-five thousand dollars. I think you should take it."
"Thank you," Bill replied sincerely. "But let me explain the situation here. My clients have no money put aside, and they earn no money to speak of. They'll be lucky to find a bank that will loan them the thirty-six thousand, much less forty-five. We'll keep the negotiations going with a reply of $36,500."
"I'm sure my owner won't accept that," the woman realtor said matter-of-factly.
Bill replied, "You don't have the right to make that assessment. You're required to present our counter-counter offer." He was starting to get into the spirit of things. This might be an interesting exercise, after all.
The realtor rang back in five minutes. "I've made the offer and the owners are willing to have me show the house. We think that when the buyers see it, they'll want to meet our price."
"I don't think they can," Bill told her again.
"I've seen stranger things happen," the selling realtor said. "Let's show the house."
"Okaaay," Bill agreed, and said goodbye. He told the Johnsons what was up. They just sat there, smiling. Bill could hardly believe they'd gotten this far. Of course, in the morning they would all understand the futility of this exercise, but that was part of the real-estate business. They were nice people, and he was willing to go through the process with them until they got the picture.
The next morning as Bill drove to the house, he was unhappily imagining what it would most probably look like. It was, after all, the cheapest house on the market and in the very worst part of town. The street was full of potholes. Abandoned cars and unkempt lawns were everywhere. Bill sighed as he pulled up to a modest front gate.
The selling realtor was waiting for him, the Johnsons standing with her, looking hopeful. He dreaded how sad they were going to be. Bill was glad his job didn't usually entail selling houses and having to sometimes be the instrument of people's disappointment.
As the realtor swung open the gate, Bill caught his breath. The little house was lovely! Mr. and Mrs. Johnson smiled broadly. It was an adorable red-and-white Cape Cod, complete with dormers and shutters on all the windows. When they entered through the front door, Bill noted new carpet and linoleum. All the woodwork had been stripped and stained, there were new appliances and brand new cabinetry in the tiny kitchen. The house was immaculate and fully decorated with new furniture, which would be going with this house, in all the rooms. It was a jewel!
"We'll take it!" Mrs. Johnson blurted happily.
"Great. Let's drive over to the owner's home and conclude the negotiations," the realtor beamed.
Excerpted from When God Steps In, Miracles Happen by Neale Donald Walsch. Copyright © 2011 Neale Donald Walsch. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
1 When Life Changes Course 1
2 There Are Many Mansions 7
3 Taken for a Ride 19
4 Miracles Do Happen 33
5 The Voiceless Voice 43
6 God Sings, Too? 53
7 A Messenger from Heaven? 61
8 A Fortunate Misfortune 71
9 Divine Designs 83
10 And a Little Child Shall Lead Them … 93
11 Our Friend, Who Art in Heaven … 101
12 Journeys of the Soul 109
13 The Land of Shadows 127
14 Seeing the Sacred in Every Moment 137
15 It's Never Too Late to Be Blessed 145
16 The Gift of Prophecy 153
17 The Gift of Healing 159
18 A "Grand" Sign Indeed 173
19 It's Music to His Ears 179
20 A Mother's Message 185
21 The Invitation 191
In Closing … 201
Posted March 1, 2012
Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series, shares more of his wonderful messages in When God Steps in, Miracles Happen. He has gathered many personal stories from everyday people to help explain God’s presence in daily life. These stories tell about synchronistic events, coincidences, and what Walsch terms as everyday miracles. He brings them to our attention to show that it’s fine to share what you may find a little strange, to come out of the closet and tell your story, and to shout out your truth. Walsch states that awareness is the key — it is everything and only when you are aware of yourself, can you change the world around you. These wonderful stories are positive messages of inspiration and encouragement. Often when you are looking for a sign or wanting an answer, you only need to become aware of the stranger in the store, the street signs, the small voice within or even a song on the radio. As Walsch says, “In one manifestation or another, God will be there.”
— Jelina Vance
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Posted February 7, 2012
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