Susan was between sleep and waking when a stern voice spoke. She says, “I was convinced I’d heard the voice of God.”
The voice said: “Reject nothing.”
“I’m not good at remembering dreams or figuring them out,” Susan Martin says. But home in bed in Vermont, she was thinking she should write the message down. Just then two loud claps of thunder sounded, literally hammering the message home.
It was the late 1980s. Susan and Jerry Martin were going through challenging times. Technological changes had forced them to shut down the printing company they’d run for 18 years. Their expenses were high. Daughter Jennifer was in her last year at Ithaca College. Son Justin was headed to UVM in the fall. Susan’s elderly mother, Marian, was living with them at their home on Lake Champlain.
Friends invited them to visit the Adirondacks. Despite the uncertainties ahead, they accepted. In the Adirondacks, they took a boat ride with the owner of the small motel where they were staying. Puttering along, Susan said to the motel owner, “You must love these peaceful boat rides.”
“Yes,” he said, “We’re going to miss this.”
Reject nothing? Wheels started turning. The couple could operate a motel. With Jerry’s skills (he’d taught industrial arts), he could fix anything. Susan was a people person (a former teacher). They were hard workers. Why not? But that motel was under contract to be sold.
They started looking for a motel in VT. Nothing sung to them like the Adirondack Motel.
6 weeks later, the ADK Motel owner called. His sale didn’t go through. In 2 months, the Martins were the new owners. 2 weeks after that, their VT home sold.
“We rejected nothing, not even a full change in our future,” Susan says. “It felt as if God was orchestrating the experience. We were rewarded with a renewed life’s promise.”
More than 20 years later, the couple is semi-retired and back living in Vermont. The message still resonates. Over the years it encouraged Susan to be less judgmental, more open. 4 months after taking over the motel, Jerry had a heart attack. Susan kept the business going. “Scared,” she says, “but I managed.” After college, their daughter moved to Atlanta without a job. “I didn’t dissuade her.” (Jennifer now works in project management in VT.) Son Justin followed his dream and played semi-pro hockey. (“We didn’t discourage him either…though I might have liked to!”)
“The message taught me to go with the flow on experiences I might have once rejected.”
Some years before the message, Susan was seeking a spiritual path. She read “A Course In Miracles,” took EST, visited an ashram in the VT woods, studied Buddhism, practiced “re-birthing” in MA, visited synagogues with Jewish friends. Her quest lasted several years. In 1988, her beloved father, Richard, died. She was “devastated.”
Her father, a devout Presbyterian, “had a personal belief in Jesus and told me about miracles God had accomplished in his life.” Since she had “already read every New Age book I could find,” to honor her father she spent a year reading the Bible. She finished “no more enlightened than I was before.”
One late evening Jerry was away at hunting camp. Susan felt especially alone. A televangelist happened to be on TV, praying “as if for me.” She got down on her knees and invited Christ into her life. Suddenly she no longer felt alone. “For the first time, I trusted this step would bear fruit.”
Susan now gladly participates in Bible studies “with many inspiring women” and is reading the Bible for the 3rd time. “I ended up back where I started, as a Christian. I know, through experience, that following Christ leads me to ‘the peace that passes all understanding.’ In praying I feel connected to God and to all I love. I believe God accepts and answers prayers of everyone who seeks Him in earnest.
“I could say that God rejects nothing.”
(Thanks, Susan, for sharing your journey. And thanks, Jane Regan, for connecting us.)