The last stop of a five-state road trip with Girls Nite Out USA, was Largo FL where I was scheduled for a TV interview. The tour manager, a 22-year-old road warrior named Matt Forrest, and I drove in from South Carolina the evening before.
“Do you know who Carol Kent is?” I asked Matt when I saw the sign welcoming us to Florida.
“Not yet,” he said, knowing I would fill in the blanks.
“She’s one of my heroes,” I replied. “She and her husband Gene have one son named Jason — they call him JP, which is what Gerry and I call our son, Jean-Paul. Jason was the boy every parent dreamed of having,” I began. I went on to tell Matt the story of JP’s life that began in Michigan, how he qualified for the Annapolis Naval Academy, and how after graduating he moved to Florida for further training.
“The reason I suddenly thought of telling you this story,” I explained to Matt, “was because we were driving behind a vehicle that looked like a prison paddywagon.” Naturally he was puzzled and I told how Jason’s storied life took a completely unexpected turn just over 10 years ago when, taking matters into his own hands, he shot and killed his wife’s ex-husband, thinking it was the only way to protect her two tiny girls.
“JP is in a Florda penitentiary for the rest of his life,” I explained, “so Carol and Gene moved to Florida a few years ago to be close to him. I pray for them and for ‘their JP’ so often. Carol and Gene’s courage and commitment to stand by their son is a constant reminder to me to care for and pray for other parents who find themselves dealing with ‘life sentences’ they didn’t expect,” I continued. Several people came to mind as I said this: my precious grand-nephew with cerebral palsy, my friends whose son has autism, our beloved “daughter for a season” who was diagnosed with Crone’s and Rheumatoid arthritis at 19, our wonderful nephew with diabetes. The last thing I said to Matt was that I had read all of her books and her latest was Between a Rock and a Grace Place – Carol Kent
The next morning, we dashed over to the TV station and completed the interview. Matt noticed as we were leaving the set and going back to the green room that the producer was holding a copy of a book entitled, Between a Rock and a Grace Place. His interest was piqued but before he could comment we were told that Carol Kent was scheduled for the next interview. Back in the green room, Carol and Gene were waiting. Since we have met on a number of occasions and Carol endorsed my first book, (amazingly) she recognized me and greeted me like an old friend. I was honored and humbled.
“Gene, take our photo!” Carol requested, and he did.
It’s not often we get to rub shoulders with giants and I am so grateful God allows me that privilege from time to time.
It all stems back to that day in 1999 when I held the telephone receiver in my hand and a woman on the other end asked if I would fly accross Canada and speak to some women in Collingwood Ontario.
I had every reason to say no since I was spiritually dried up, terrified to travel and speak, and thought I had nothing of value to say. But, sensing that this was God’s will for my life and thinking I must be nuts, I said yes. Following Him one yes at a time has taken me places I never dreamed. As I write this blog two days after running into Carol In Florida, I am sitting in a room overlooking the lake in a resort in Collingwood, Ontario. God’s kind of funny that way — heaping blessing upon blessing.
If you think God might be calling you to something way beyond yourself don’t hesitate; say yes. And then keep following Him, one yes at a time.
2 thoughts on “Carol Kent in Florida”
What a great post Connie. I met Carol Kent a few times over the years through Christian Women’s club as a host speaker and I went to her Speak Up With Confidence seminar when she was in Calgary-’87ish. It still rips at my heart for their JP.
Connie. Thank you for all of the times you have said ‘yes’. Your example has encouraged me to keep on saying ‘yes’ too. Blessings on you. For His fame.