September 29, 2013 · Personal
There are times in your life when there are coincidences, and there are times when it is something more. Every once in a while, especially during this past year, God would speak to me thorough a situation that could ONLY be Him talking directly to me. Something private, or small in importance, that gets noticed and recognized in a way that makes you freak out for a moment. Oftentimes, it is coming from the lips of someone who can not POSSIBLY know this about you.
My pastor from my hometown, Pastor Thomas, calls these instances “Divine Appointments and Godly Connections.” So much more than simple coincidences.
Back in college, when I was a junior (I remember it that vividly), I decided to draw something. I’m not a drawer. I don’t sketch things. I think I have “sketched” two drawings in my entire life where I just did it because I felt like drawing.
I had come across this picture in a magazine and for some reason…wanted to replicate it. I was 20 years old and not even THINKING about children yet, but I drew this picture of a mother’s hands holding her baby’s feet. Even as I was sketching it, it just didn’t make sense to me why this picture seemed so important.
I drew it, signed it with my maiden name, framed it, and then packed it away. I thought it would have been almost creepy to hang it up. Like I would appear to be this girl obsessed with getting married and having babies. That wasn’t me at the time. I had no place to put it and it just didn’t seem like the right time to have it out.
I didn’t think about that picture again…until almost a decade later when I got pregnant. I dusted the picture off and set the frame on Owen’s bookshelf. A cute little touch in the finished nursery. Finally feeling like I had a place for this random drawing I had an odd attachment to.
Two weeks after Owen’s funeral, I got a package in the mail from a complete stranger. She was so far removed, a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, that I could hardly trace it back. I have no idea how she even got my address.
The letter attached to the package explained that she was walking through a craft store and saw something she just KNEW she needed to buy and send to me.
You could tell by the tone in the letter that she felt weird doing this. Like maybe she read this situation wrong and she was about to either cause me additional pain or send me a random, meaningless gift. But, she was obedient. Obedience is the key to these divine appointments.
As I unwrapped the tissue paper, tears started forming. The picture was shockingly familiar. A picture that very few have ever seen.
Inside that stranger’s package was a small, ceramic decorative piece with the image of a woman’s hands holding her baby’s feet.
The angle, the closeness…it was almost spot on to my sketch. Even the mother’s fingers were similar. She didn’t know why she was buying it for me, but I did. It made complete sense to me, and everything was coming full circle. That image always meant something but I just didn’t know why…until now.
God spoke directly to me. In some of the hardest weeks surrounding Owen’s death, God spoke so clearly. Reminding me that He was still here and He sees me. Oh how I needed that…
Today, after a difficult week remembering Owen on his birthday, I experienced another.
John and I arrived after the church service had started and decided to wait until the opening prayer to sneak to the back and find our seats. We snuck in unnoticed and just in time for the opening song. I stood there with my hands on the pew and read the words on the screen. Listening to the voices around me but not joining in. Exactly how worship time has been for me since Owen passed.
It’s been hard to sing songs to God about Him being faithful, loving, and everything else when I wasn’t really feelin’ it. I was hurt, and angry and so unbelievably confused by God. My world as I knew it had crumbled before my eyes. I wasn’t really up to praising a God who just didn’t make sense to me right now. I felt like He was being faithful and loving to everybody BUT me. I was really hurting.
I read the title to the next song, “I Love You, Lord.” I grew up singing this song in my church from a young age.
“I love You, Lord.
And I lift my voice.
To worship you
Oh, my soul…rejoice.
Take joy, my King
in what You hear.
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
in Your ear.”
I have sung this song countless times. It’s just always been such a beautiful song to me. Whenever I would be babysitting or putting a little baby down to sleep, I would sing this song. Just a sweet song to lull them to sleep. Many of you reading this have no idea that I used to do that with your children. But, if I have ever put your child down for nap or bedtime, I have sung it. A song I planned to sing to my own children someday.
As I heard that song starting, I started singing. Just barely loud enough to be heard, but I did it. A baby step. No pun intended. I started to sing and praise my Heavenly Father. And I didn’t have to fake it. I felt it.
As that song was winding down, I felt like, “Ok. That was good, God. Progress.” I figured maybe that was it for the day. Like I had met my quota. I sang. I participated. It kind of felt good. And what a meaningful song for me to sing for my “first song back.” I had a little moment between me and God. I didn’t have to MAKE myself sing. I really wanted to.
And then I heard it. It only takes a few chords into the melody and I knew what was coming…
We had managed to miss every single service for the last year where that song was played. If we knew it was on the schedule, we didn’t go. We couldn’t go. It was just too painful. Other than at Owen’s funeral, hearing it on the radio or the rare occasion when I chose to play it myself, I hadn’t really listened to it let alone SUNG it.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know why this song is so significant..and painful at the same time. This song used to be a reminder of the song we sung to Owen in the hospital and in the very moments before he left this earth. Now, it’s a song that makes me feel like Owen and I are singing this song together. It is now a song that brings me joy, but still a song that I just couldn’t bring myself to SING.
With tears running down my face and splattering onto my shirt, I sang. My voice was quivering, and I was half crying, half singing. But I was singing. No, I was worshipping. Before I knew what was happening, I raised my hand in the air and began to praise my Heavenly Father. Something that used to be a regular part of my worship time with Him. The last time I did that was the Sunday before Owen was born…
For the first time in a year, I had really and truly entered into worship. Feeling at my core that I genuinely wanted to PRAISE Him. There were some dark times where I honestly wasn’t sure if this day would ever come.
The service went on as usual and it was nearing the end. A time for communion and prayer. A time to be still and let God speak to your heart. That’s when the “Divine Appointment” happened. It was loud and clear.
When I opened my eyes, I saw my friend, Rachel, sitting at the edge of the pew. She had been sitting rows and rows in front of us and came back to tell us something. To tell ME something.
I didn’t even think she saw me come in.
I consider Rachel a friend, but you have to understand that she and I don’t really know each other that well. She seemed to enter my life at a time where I was consumed with our miscarriage and then doctor appointments with Owen. We’re not that close and just haven’t had an opportunity to really get to know each other. She knows nothing about this struggle with worship that I’ve been experiencing.
Stepping out in faith, she just went for it. “I was up there praying and out of no where God said to come back here and tell you something. He said He loves hearing your voice when you sing…”
Just like the moment I opened the package from the stranger, my eyes filled with tears, stomach turned and throat lumped up. Rachel had no idea that today was the first day I truly sang and worshipped. She COULDN’T know. I knew that I knew that I KNEW God was speaking through her…to me. He noticed this change in my heart today and He wanted me to know. It was so real it was undeniable.
I left church today like a weight had been lifted. This past year was hard. This past WEEK was hard. But, today, I entered into a time of worship. One more step in the healing.
Thank you, random stranger, for not ignoring what you were being asked to do. That ceramic piece now sits on our bookshelf, reminding me of a time where I desperately needed to hear God’s voice…and He spoke right to me.
Thank you, Rachel, for getting out of your seat. For not feeling like what you are about to say is weird. Thank you for your obedience. Sometimes, instances like these…”Divine Appointments” like these…are missed. Because we can easily get in our own way. Feel self-conscious about how we will look to that person. Don’t miss an opportunity to be an audible voice through which God can speak. It’s moments of obedience like these that make a lasting impact.
There’s no going back now. From this moment on, I will be singing.
Click here for the very beginning of our 8 year journey through life, loss and our unexpected struggle with secondary infertility. Starting with what we shared at our 3-week-old son’s funeral.