I said in Signs & Wonders that I didn't necessarily think coincidences were actually coincidences, that there could be a deeper meaning to seemingly random events. In the follow-up post to that one, Why Haiti?, I told you that there had been 19 references to Haiti. The references were not just a reminder to email Andy, because they continued after the email, and were apparently not just a reminder to write the "Why Haiti?" post, because they continue. I'm now up to 23 references, two of which happened just this morning.
I think that there are so many things that are connected, somehow, but it is hard to see the big picture that only God can see. Is it cliche to think of it as a spider web, as me on one side connected, somehow, through all these transparent, thin threads to everything else on the web? And why am I using a spiderweb analogy? I don't even like spiders!
If I had never moved to Iowa, I'd have never met my friend Andy and I'd have never have had all these Haiti references. Even more than that: if my husband hadn't gotten a job in Iowa in the first place, or if he'd pursued a different career, or if we'd never met or if, or if, or if.
I know that some people say that things happen for a reason. I don't necessarily believe that all of the time, especially when it concerns tragic things, because I have a hard time thinking that God causes bad things to happen for a specific reason, but maybe there is some middle ground in that in ways we do not understand, the Holy Spirit is working in and through events and people.
After one of the references, I had asked Andy for a link to any blogs by people he knew in Haiti and he directed me to the blog of his friends Troy and Tara Livesay. I spent a decent amount of time reading this blog one day, but what hit me was actually not so much their being in Haiti and having experienced the earthquake, but rather, the page in which they write a litter that begins with "Dear Someone, Somewhere", written on June 2, 2008.
These words are what spoke to me:
- "In reality, the MAIN point of blogging (outside of - and more important than - the ones already listed) ... is to hopefully encourage someone somewhere."
- "If you've ever said "God cannot use me" or if heaven forbid- some holy-roller person told you that you were not usable because of X Y or Z in your past - you must know those are lies."
- "There is a way in which God can use anyone and everyone seeking Him. Having every little answer packaged up nice in a fancy box is not necessary or possible."
- "There is a misconception about what it looks like to be used. I don't think it only looks like going to Africa to hold AIDS babies. I don't think it only looks like pulling up stakes and going somewhere far from where you live today....
- I think it looks like something different for each person. That is an issue for each of us to work out with God. I think for some it is reaching out to the guy next door whose wife just left him, inviting him over for dinner. I think for others it means coming along side a 16 year old that is pregnant and afraid. Maybe it means baby-sitting for a struggling single mom down the street. Maybe it is as simple as being kind to a real geek/dork that you work with. Maybe it is finding out how to interact with the homeless in your community and going way outside your comfort zone to do it. It mainly means allowing God to take us to uncomfortable places where we're loving people that we don't find all that lovable. The location in which it happens is irrelevant."
- "We hope there is something here for you. Whether it be a story about Haiti that moves you, a goofy kid moment, a confession that helps you know you're not alone in your struggles or a chance to see God's amazing creativity and ingenuity by working with ordinary people that are not missions trained, ordained, perfect, or even all that together ... Be encouraged."
Two words that are so simple and yet say so much. As I continue to listen and watch and wait to see what God has next in store for me, I am going to remember that I need to stay encouraged. I have had other "coincidental" references too (though not nearly as many as Haiti) that have to do both with the general topic of vocation and the more specific topic of writing. I hope, as I practice writing here on my blog, and as I learn more about the art and craft of writing (because I feel very out of practice; writing papers in college was a very long time ago!), that I will eventually be able to call myself a writer.
So, thank you, Tara and Troy, two people I don't even know, for encouraging me, and for encouraging anyone else who has crossed paths with you.
I hope that this post too, can be used to encourage anyone reading it who needs encouragement, because I want you to know that you are loved by God and that you have so much to give to others.
I don't think this is the end of the story, by far (and, actually, I have some other Haiti-related references that didn't fit into this post like I thought they would, so there will be at least one more), but I am glad to have traveled this far so quickly and I am looking forward to seeing what the next part of the story is.
I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts. ----Ephesians 6:22
This story is continued in "Brokenness".