If you follow sports at all and especially college basketball, you have most likely heard about Luke Maye this week. He made the winning shot in the UNC vs. UK game on Sunday, sending Carolina to the Final Four with another chance to play for NCAA Championship this year. The shot would have been a big deal anyway, but it was an even bigger deal because Luke Maye isn’t a starter. Instead he’s a sophomore who agreed to come play for Carolina without a scholarship for a year because his parents went to UNC, and it was his dream to play there. (Roy Williams was able to give him a scholarship after all his freshman year.)
I would have been following this story anyway as a third-generation UNC alum who was raised on Carolina basketball and whose blood runs light blue. But I’ve been a little obsessed with it because I was friends with Luke’s dad, Mark. My parents have lived in Charlotte three times in my lifetime. They moved away when I was 3 and came back in March of my 5th grade year. We lived down the street from the Mayes, and I went to school with Mark for the next five years until my parents moved again. Our paths crossed once more at UNC when we had Western Civ together, and I’d also see him sometimes at Campus Crusade for Christ meetings when the athletes involved in FCA and Athletes in Action would come.
But this blog is not a place to write about my basketball obsession. It is meant to encourage women to trust and follow God. And that leads to the story about the connection between Luke Maye and my car, a 2005 Honda Accord.
The third time my parents moved to Charlotte was in 1987. I had just graduated from UNC and was joining the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). That meant the huge step of faith of raising my own financial support, something made even more challenging by moving so much. (After leaving Charlotte in 1981 for Winston-Salem, my parents also moved to Akron in 1983 and Greenville, SC in 1985). But the good thing about this move to Charlotte was that I had lived there before so at least I knew some people. So one of the couples I contacted was our old neighbors, Luke Maye’s grandparents, Jerry and Rita Maye.
Mrs. Maye was so encouraging. It turned out that Mr. Maye had gone to high school in Charlotte with a man who had been on staff with Campus Crusade. So she put me in touch with him thinking he could help me. I will never forget meeting with Mrs. Maye and their friend in the Hardees at Cotswald. This kind, generous man gave me a huge handwritten list of names of friends of his that I could contact for support. I remember him telling me that it might take a long time, but we were going to get my support raised.
So I started making phone calls and getting appointments. Little did I know that one of the men on his list was a well-known and wealthy businessman in Charlotte. I had never heard of him because we hadn’t lived there in six years. But when I got off the elevator for my appointment and saw his name with the word “International” after it in big gold letters, I had an idea that this wasn’t any ordinary man.
That appointment was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I don’t think I have ever sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit in a place like I did in his office that day. At the end, he asked me how much I needed to raise, how much I had, and how much I needed to report. He told me he didn’t like to do things monthly and then wrote a check and gave it to me in an envelope asking me to not look at it until I left because he didn’t want it to affect our time together. When I got home, I looked at the check and was floored. He had given the amount needed to finish my financial support goal. I was done in six weeks.
Fast forward to 2005. This man and I had kept in touch, of course, although he hadn’t been able to replicate a check like that one due to changes in his financial situation. Around Christmas time in 2004, I had asked my ministry partners if they would consider giving a special gift so that I could replace my 1994 Saturn that had 181,000 miles on it (my savings had gone to an HVAC unit that fall). God provided abundantly through my kind supporters so that I had the exact down payment I had hoped for. In January I went looking for cars. I already knew exactly what I wanted – a blue Honda Accord. It was my dream car. I ended up arranging to have one delivered to the local CarMax. I had to go to Daytona Beach for some ministry training and the plan was that my friend, Billy, was going to pick me up at the airport when I got home and take me to CarMax, and I was going to buy the car.
Well, before I left Daytona Beach, I got an email from this man that I met in 1987 asking about the car and what I was looking for. I answered his email and then flew back to Raleigh, going straight to CarMax as planned. The CarMax car didn’t work out, and I ended up putting down a deposit to get a car at a Honda dealership. So that afternoon, I get home and check my email and there is another one from him. He asked if I had bought a car already. So I responded and told him what had happened that day. He wrote back and first told me to sit down. He then said to get my deposit back and then call a friend of his in Charlotte who owned a car leasing business and tell him the car I wanted, and he would have them deliver it to me. YES – you read that right. He was giving me my dream car for FREE. NEW!
And that is exactly what happened. At the end of the week, I came home from campus early to meet two sweet older men who had driven that car to Raleigh from Charlotte. And a few weeks later the title came in the mail. It was all mine. For free. I love that car. It has over 187,000 miles on it and still runs like a charm. I would be content to drive it for the rest of my life. My husband calls it “the missionary car”, and it is.
So that is how my car is related to Luke Maye. His grandmother introduced me to a friend who introduced me to the man who gave it to me. It wouldn’t have happened without her.
I tell you those stories not just because I love basketball or because I love how God is blessing Luke Maye. I tell them to you in hopes of encouraging you to trust God to do crazy things. And I tell them because I need to remind myself to keep trusting God with the latest challenges in my life.
This morning I happened to see Ephesians 3:20 which starts out “Now to Him who is able to do for more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think”. I could have never dreamed as a 22-year-old or as a 39-year-old how God would provide for me. That man gave to me in ways beyond anything I had ever asked for or thought of. And you and I can trust Him today to continue to provide for us and work in our lives in ways beyond our wildest dreams. Even something like shooting the winning shot in the NCAA tournament.