Serendipity is the world’s way of inserting the hand of God into circumstances. The definition is “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for” It’s such a pretty sounding word, very fancy and light feeling on the tongue. Much more whimsical than using a word like FATE. Do things just happen by chance? Coincidence is favored by some it’s just that things happen randomly sometimes that make us say, “WOW, that’s crazy!” No rhyme or reason to it.
Is the hand of God intervening in our daily lives? Does He even care? How much does He care? How does He work everything together for good? If you throw into the mix the concept of free will…this topic can get very complicated very quickly. Our human brains can’t fathom how it must be. We certainly won’t know this side of heaven how God moves. But I have a story to tell you that happened to me. I’ve been telling it since I began this blog, but I’ve never felt it more clearly than I have this past month.
Why do things happen the way they do and when they do? Sometimes it only makes sense after looking back. So here is how I see the hand of God quite literally orchestrating events in my life:
As Harry and I were walking into the sanctuary for church the day he died, I held my Bible in my hand. In my Bible was a project I was given by the very church we were attending. I was asked to work on the project and bring it with me to a job interview that was scheduled for the very next day.
The woman who never left my side, while the entire congregation prayed, when the paramedics who were already attending the service gave him CPR, was like an angel to me. She prayed with me, talked sense into me, and held me. She was a my life line. She followed the ambulance to the hospital and was in the ER as I entered. I told her that I didn’t think he was alive anymore. Something in her eyes told me that she understood my conviction. And for some reason in that moment I remembered the job interview. I told her, “I have a job interview at the church tomorrow.” I was almost embarrassed to bring it up. She said, “For what position?” And I said, “Communications Director.” She said, “That’s with my husband.”
She was the wife of the pastor I had the interview with. The same man who drove to the hospital to pray and counsel me after my worst fears were confirmed. He told me not to worry about the interview, that we would postpone it to allow me to mourn and grieve. I was grateful. He later brought to me my Bible and Harry’s wedding ring that were left on the floor of the church. I looked into my Bible as I walked away and noticed that the piece of paper I brought reflecting my project was missing.
I have been struggling for some time with my current work scenario. Flying once a week was incredibly taxing on my finances and emotions. Staying one week out of every month was a hassle. Figuring out how to get my car, where I would sleep, where I would park… Forgetting things like power cords at home, or my favorite brush, or razor. Figuring out what to eat and having to buy things I knew I wouldn’t finish because a week wasn’t long enough to eat it all. It was money, time, effort, and stress.
Along with that, work was in a complete upheaval. My boss of ten years fell in December and hasn’t been able to speak since. Her role had to be filled with someone else and there was this internal shifting that was hard on all of us. Promises made to me were forgotten because she didn’t formalize them or discuss them with anyone else. We were in crisis mode now and we were starting over with new promises. After ten years on the job I felt underutilized and frustrated. Everyone was doing their best and even doing their jobs very well. But for years, I’ve felt that I wasn’t being challenged enough and mentioned to Harry many times how I felt a shift in the wind was coming. Since early 2015, I’ve been frustrated with feeling lonely all the time working from home, and wanting to get a fresh spark of inspiration. So I was casually looking in Nevada for something that might be a good fit. I never really believed I would find it.
But that fateful morning all the whys started coming together. Why, when I asked God for direction, he kept saying WAIT. Why Harry ended up moving to Nevada. A move that gripped me with fear and promise all at once. Why I was frustrated at work. Why when I had the chance to move back to California I didn’t. Why I was so compelled in the last three weeks of Harry’s life to be with him if I had free time. Why I picked up that book on Loneliness. Why after over a year of looking I hadn’t really found a true “home church”. Why in March I found the listing for that job. Why the recruiter called me when my application was blank asking me to send my documents again. And why she forwarded my application to the church despite my salary requirements being higher than what they originally considered. Why we were there at that church that morning. Why God chose that moment to take Harry.
There was an instant bond between me and the pastors, the pastor’s wife, and the congregation. A love and sense of family I haven’t felt for YEARS. Probably ten years, since I quit my job at a church and started working for a para-church ministry.
This week we finally got around to having that interview. I sent my project on ahead last week because I felt guilty holding the process up, and if they didn’t like it, they could move on to another candidate. They asked me to walk them through the project and after I was done…it really didn’t feel like an interview any longer. It was three peers talking about things that mattered to our purposes and goals and desires to serve God on this earth. In addition to telling me they enthusiastically wanted me to work with them, they also gave me what I needed financially to maintain my life as I know it. At the end of the meeting they gave me some cards left by people from the church. They also told me people came in to donate money for me.
Sitting at home after telling my sister, my daughter, and son, and close friends….I couldn’t believe how it all worked out. Serendipitously? Coincidentally? Or did God orchestrate it all?
God knows all things. He has control over when people die. If I’m listening closely His Holy Spirit leads my actions. And the actions of other Christians. In that moment when Harry fell into my lap…when He died…my new life began.
I get to work at a church again, amongst people…not home alone. I will have those new challenges to face that I have been longing for years. In the emptiness of grief I belong to a new church family. A family who didn’t have to walk through the chaos that was. Who only knew Harry in death. A completely fresh start.
He is gone. I am desperately sad. But God did not leave me wondering what’s next. He clearly set in motion the answer. Finally, it is starting to make sense to me. All the whys. The Bible tells us to walk by faith not by sight. My steps for the past year and half have been made in the heavy fog of wondering where all this was leading. I have at times doubted everything. My lack of faith excusing behavior that embarrasses me now. Why couldn’t I just trust Him? Why couldn’t I just be the perfect wife who on her knees prayed for my husband every day. Why did I have to to lash out, and try to date other men, and make so many mistakes? All I can say is there were lessons I learned in every mistake. And the knowing I know now…is incredibly humbling.
Choosing to trust, to be faithful, to keep going back to the goal even after failures ended up giving me some pretty awesome experiences. I wish I could share them with Harry. Even with all the mistakes we made…our story ended pretty amazing.
I’m going to start my new chapter very soon. I’m terrified and thrilled at the same time. But I know God was unmistakably in the details. His love for me is evident. I trust it. I feel it. I know it.