The Bible contains many stories of God’s long game. Abram and Sarai waited decades for a son. The Israelites remained slaves in Egypt for several hundred years. To God, those are blips in time, yet to the players in the story, it feels like being left. The question becomes, “Did God forget about me?” or “How is this part of God’s plan?”
Then, there are other long games about which people remain clueless while they are happening but turn into moments of illumination at the climax. The best example of that is the long line of descendants between King David and Jesus. God knows the beginning and the end, but the people who lived during those times likely felt bewildered about how they fit into the story.
God had a long-game in store for me too that started over 20 years ago.
A long time ago
Flashback to college 1.0 in the mid-1990s. As the leader of a large student organization at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, I had the pleasure of working with a fiery blond with enough energy to light a room named Tina Marie Holewinski. I remember little about that time because I was a bit self-absorbed. However, we got along great, worked together fantastically, but I graduated and she left for Hollywood. I remember thinking how wild a move that was but cheered her on.
Several years later, she came back to town to give a speaking engagement called “Hollywood Exposed.” She invited me and some others we knew in college to come to see her show. During that time in my life, I worked for a college event company and thought it might be appropriate to sell to colleges. But, I was also an ardent feminist activist and Planned Parenthood volunteer, which meant going to a church to see this presentation was not on my bucket list of things to do. But I went because I was curious.
The details are fuzzy, but I remember agreeing with most of her presentation. After spending 10 years working in Hollywood, she had firsthand knowledge about the nasty marketing and lifestyle messages promoted by the media. She also talked about what it was like as a Christian working in that industry. She promoted abstinence and a pro-life worldview, whereas I was the exact opposite. However, I respected her and her passion for the cause. She lived what she believed.
Time went on and life happened. I kept an eye out for Miss Tina. She got married and became Tina Marie Griffin. Her program evolved into Counter Culture Mom as she built her family. Meanwhile, my life slowly went the way of self-destruction.
When I decided to follow Jesus back in 2010, I had to tell her, knowing she would appreciate my conversion. Not only did she flip out with excitement, but she also revealed that she and a mutual friend had been praying for my salvation since college. I had no idea.
Again, life went on, we both got busy. She continued developing Counter Culture Mom and having her four angels and I moved south and married a wonderful man resulting in my becoming a Griffin too. Of course, I messaged her about that and we had a good laugh. Both T. Griffins! Ha!
The wheel of life kept turning.
The long-game revealed
Recently, I was working on blogs, looking for places to pitch stories, and writing Medium articles, when I came across a trailer for the Nancy Drew television series on the CW. I couldn’t believe it. I read Nancy Drew books as a young one and always imagined how fun it would be to be her. She was a bit of a role model for me.
When I saw the trailer, though, my heart sank because this was not the wholesome Nancy Drew I knew and loved. In my fury over what they did to this character, I looked up Tina’s website in hopes she would publish a blog article about it if I wrote one. If anyone would understand, it would be Tina and she may want to warn other parents.
To my surprise, not only did Tina want to publish an article, but she had been praying for someone to help with content and some other behind-the-scenes stuff for her ministry. Since I can’t do cartwheels in real life anymore without injuring myself, I just imagined them as I begged her to pick me. In the past two weeks, we’ve started a collaboration that feels like we picked up where left off over 20 years ago, except this time our worldviews align under the One True King.
Several things about this progression of events struck me as I was thanking God for His Wisdom. Twenty years ago, even though I was pro-choice and Tina was pro-life, her Christianity was clear, steadfast, and visible in everything she did. We didn’t attack each other despite having opposing views. Instead, her response to my lifestyle choices was to pray for me and those like me to find the Truth. While it took some years to yield results, she put it in God’s hands which ended up being more effective.
The other thing I always admired about Tina is her passion and conviction for Truth. She puts herself out there and gets attacked often, yet her spirit-driven attitude remains solid in that if she’s under fire from the enemy, she’s doing something right.
Trust God‘s picture of the long game.
God puts people in our lives for a reason. Maybe it’s only for a season and maybe they come and go over time, but if a connection is God-inspired, it will bear fruit.
Although the tale of two Griffins includes many twists, turns, and divergent paths, God put us back in touch according to His timing when she needed help and I had help to give.
As the Casting Crowns song goes,
“And all the chaos comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece of Your picture perfect plan
When I’m lost in the mystery to you my future is a memory
Cause you’re already there.”