It’s funny how God prepares you for things. It isn’t always pleasant, and it isn’t ever in the way you would expect. There’s hardly ever a checklist to follow or an explanation for why things are the way that they are. Honestly, most of the time when God is preparing you for something, you don’t even know that He’s doing it.
I wrote a song almost ten years ago now that has a lyric that especially relates to this idea. The song was originally written about my physical scars, but took on deeper meaning as time went on. The line in the song that comes to mind often is, “ …and though I can’t see beyond right now, I know you’re working through my pain somehow.”
I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in a beautiful tapestry that is being woven and spun. It is my life, your life, every person’s life being knit together in crazy intricate ways. From afar, you can’t really tell that each thread is contributing to something big and wonderful, and up close you can’t see the big picture. But there are these rare moments in time when everything comes into focus. Everything makes sense in the most extraordinary way. And it is in those moments that you get a glimpse into the sovereignty of God. You can, for the most brief moment in time, make sense of all the mess.
In June of 2015, I got a phoenix tattooed on my right shoulder blade. It was something that I’d been thinking of doing for years to symbolize my painful, but triumphant journey with cancer…rising from the ashes to live life anew. It held such great meaning for me.
Then in February of 2016 I got a wishing well tattooed on my lower right leg, with four 1s visible in the wooden roof. It was a symbol of my friendship with my best friend. We always seemed to be texting each other or talking and would glance at the clock and it would be 11:11. At 11:11, you’re supposed to make a wish. So we would each make our wishes. Almost every 11:11 wish that I made was to become a mom.
On January 24th, 2018, I found out that I was a mommy to a baby boy born in Arizona the day prior.
I almost had to laugh at the beauty of it. Not only did the phoenix already have such great meaning to me, but Phoenix is also where my dad’s mom lives. We haven’t lived near each other since I was 2 years old, and I have seen her only a handful of times since then. What are the odds of the baby we were matched with being born in the same city where my grandma lives? Of all the places in the United States?
Really, what are the odds?
God knew long before he was born that Oliver would need us. He also knew that I would need the support of my grandma during the 4 month long stay in the NICU. God gave us the opportunity to get to know each other, an opportunity I almost certainly wouldn’t have otherwise. He also allowed me to form a relationship with my aunt and her children. I had never even met my cousins before this trip to AZ!
Oliver’s name was no coincidence either, but I’ve already dedicated a whole post to that. You can read it HERE.
When I arrived in Phoenix, I picked up my rental car at the airport, and plugged the name of the hospital into my GPS. Then I drove to meet my baby. I didn’t notice the actual address of the hospital until almost a full month later, but when I did my heart leapt in my chest, and I almost broke down crying.
My 11:11 wishes were for a baby, and the address to the hospital – the place my wish came true – is 1111 East McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ.
So I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in a grand design. I believe that God has been planting little “Easter eggs” in my time of waiting. He has been proving Himself faithful, even when I felt that things were hopeless. He took my already meaningful tattoo ideas and used them for an even bigger and better purpose, giving them double meanings. He literally wrote out on my skin the promise of the place that a child would become mine.
God used every bit of my past to make me ready for my now. I am continually amazed at how all things work together. My faith has been tested, but it has grown and grown and grown. The story of how He brought our son into our lives is an epic one, and I cannot wait to tell it to Oliver one day.