Wikipedia says, "Divine Providence, or simply Providence, is the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in people's lives and throughout history."
When I say that, what I really mean is the hand of God in my life. I am thankful for it. I know a lot of people who don't believe in God the way I do, but here are a few of the reasons that I do.
*I tried to keep these short, so they may be jumpy. And some of them are still verbose. Sorry.
1. Jackie. I was born Jacqueline Marie R. to a 15 year-old girl who had recently moved to California from New Jersey. The day I was born happens to be the same birthday as one Jacqueline B., sister to Bob P. of Bob & Robin P., who would quickly become my adoptive parents and give me the name Kimberly Jacqueline, both to honor the name my birth mother chose for me and my aunt, Jackie, who shared my birthday.
2. Butterflies. There have been many ups and downs for me when it comes to my faith. One of the ups was in Spring of 2001. I was at the beach on Easter Sunday for a bonfire and service. That afternoon, I stood telling a friend of mine that I felt like a new creation. Out of nowhere, this huge monarch butterfly flies down and lands on my shoulder. Okay, I know I've told this story a lot, but about a week after this incident I went "buck wild". I got into some crazy weird stuff, I'll spare you the details, but I seriously tried to shut God out of my life. Thing was, there were freaking butterflies everywhere I looked. On billboards, flying in front of my car, one time there was even a kid's drawing UNDER my car which, when I opened my door, the little gust of air blew it out from under my car into my line of sight. I knew God was not letting me lock him up and out of my life. He used that beautiful moment at the beach to remind me for months that He was not going anywhere.
3. Doxology. When I started at Cal Poly Pomona, I seriously wanted nothing more than to do theatre. My parents wouldn't allow me to major in theatre alone, and since they were paying for my education, I had to at least double major in English & Theatre. The first show I auditioned for was The Crucible. The Crucible was running on weekends when my absolute favorite band (Five Iron Frenzy - FIF) was going to be on their farewell tour. In fact, one of the weekends of the Crucible was the weekend of their FINAL show in their hometown of Denver, Colorado. Lori and I had tickets to go to the show, and her grandparents lived in Colorado. This was for real. I decided that I would audition for Crucible anyway, because of my dedication to doing theatre at CPP, and I was honestly more than a little disappointed when I was actually cast because it meant missing my favorite band's final show.
One of my favorite songs by FIF was "A Flowery Song" which was a takeoff of this really old hymn that said "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Now, in preparing for Crucible, it was decided that during one scene some of the cast would be offstage singing a hymn to help set the idea of a church service going on. And of all the songs Kay could pick, guess what it was? Yup. That very same Doxology. I knew I was actually supposed to be working on that show, and not going to see some ska band in Colorado.
To add icing to the cake, during a performance of The Crucible, right before her entrance, Elizabeth Triplett asked me if I thought Aaron was cute. Then she went on stage (she was Abigail), leaving me to wonder about Aaron for the duration of the show. She redeemed herself from being known as the grim reaper of matchmakers (you know, since I'm married to Aaron and all). ;)
Today in church, we sang another version of that Doxology which led me to think about all of these things for today's post. I'm in yet another season where there are some weaknesses when it comes to my faith, but yet again God has reminded me that He is in control.
4. Six Degrees of Separation. Okay, remember my birth mother from #1? Well, she has a sister who lives in Upland. Vicky. Vicky works at the Rancho Cucamonga library. A guy named Christopher also used to work there with her. His dad worked at the City of Rancho Cucamonga, in the engineering department. Who else worked in the engineering department at the City of RC? In fact, still does work there? My DAD. Yeah, Bob P. from #1. Since 1988, I have been separated from my birth mother by only 5 degrees of separation.
Not only that, but the reason I found this out is because Christopher left the library to attend art/film school in Pasadena, and became friends with another friend of mine who attends my church, and I met him at her graduation party. Now he attends my church and is engaged to my friend, Lisa. :)
5. NYC: 2008. I had been looking forward to this trip and the time we would get to spend with our friends. Call it coincidence if you really want to, but while we were there, another 5 friends we knew from Cal Poly theatre were there, too. In 3 different groupings. Two couples and a friend who had moved there that very week. While we were sightseeing, we actually BUMPED into two of those friends as we entered St. Patrick's Cathedral. Of all the places, NYC, the largest city in the US. Of all the places, of all the times that we could be ENTERING one of so many places to see in the city. How many times have we bumped into people from Cal Poly theatre in So Cal? And we're pretty much all here, aren't we?
I wish that I were able to be more faithful. I wish I had more integrity. I wish that my life more exemplified the love of the God I hold so dear. Truly, I cannot deny that He is at work in my life, placing me in the right places at the right times for the most impact in my life and the lives of those who I have influence with. I know I suck at conveying that sometimes, I wish I could do it more justice.
So many of the people I love have no interest whatsoever in believing in God the way I do, in giving Him some control and credit in their lives. I don't judge them for that. I do wish that they would at least admit that some of these things are impossible without some influence from some higher power, somewhere.
So I am thankful for all of these moments of Providence and then some. I am thankful that I am able to have faith, and to live, and to love. I am thankful that even when I am terrible at being obedient, and being loving, and gentle, and compassionate, God is not. He Is. He loves me, the often unloveable. He loves the people I love, and the ones I don't. He blesses me even when I don't deserve it. I am thankful for Grace.