Sometimes we don’t have the benefit of knowing when our words or actions affect someone else, and sometimes we can’t see how or why things happen. This post is about a chain of events that has affected me deeply- where everything happened at the right time; so perfectly that I know it’s more than coincidence. This post may get lengthy, but I do hope you take time to read it.
I’ve wanted to write this post for nearly two weeks, but I couldn’t figure out where to begin. Now I’m thinking it simply wasn’t the right time because more has happened since the initial events I wanted to write about.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I sat in church as the pastor delivered one of the most dreaded sermons: giving. It has to be one of the most uncomfortable topics to discuss, both for the pastor and the congregation. I have sat through many of these sermons, and frankly, have found some of them to be offensive and condescending. I felt differently this time, though. I heard the right words at the right time. The thought came to me that I should write and let him know. Just as quickly, I told myself that was crazy talk because of our history. Here’s a brief summary:
I won’t go into a lot of detail because my kids could possibly get their noses out of their games and come across this blog, but earlier this year, after I filed for divorce and other things didn’t convince me to change my mind, my husband scheduled a counseling session for us with my pastor- behind my back. He isn’t Christian and rarely attended church, so I saw it as manipulation (also concluded by other things he’d done.) I went to the session, but felt forced into it. The pastor affirmed that divorce is wrong and made a comment about how my hardened heart would cause me trouble in the future. I was upset because I felt unfairly judged, but I continued to attend church, however, avoided the pastor when possible.
Still, for nearly a week, my thoughts drifted to the pastor’s words from the giving sermon. On Saturday night, I wrote an offering check to give on Sunday. I then penned a hand-written note to the pastor and folded it around the check before sealing it in the envelope. In this note, I admitted that I had been thinking I would give an offering once my credit card bills were paid and I wasn’t living in a house I couldn’t afford and I now realized that this showed my lack of faith in God. That check was a symbolic leap of faith to show that I was finally putting my trust in God that He would provide. I also wrote that I didn’t really feel welcome there since the counseling session, but the money was for God not the church. I wrote other things- a full page, in fact, but I can’t remember exactly what.
To my surprise, I received a letter from the pastor. I don’t check my mailbox often, but I did on my way to work on December 9th (over a week after he wrote it.) In this letter, he told of how he’d been discouraged because the offerings once again didn’t meet budget. Some of his exact words: “I said to myself, “You know, I’m not going to preach on giving anymore because it never makes a difference. I don’t know how people can take it so lightly. Then I read your letter. Wow! It didn’t raise the offering any, but it reminded me of the real truth that it is God’s money and He always provides. Your letter was like the voice of the Lord to me.” He then assured me that I was welcome there and to let him know if I needed financial or emotional support.
I teared up. My words reached him at just the right time. And the knowledge of that reached me at the right time as well. I would never ask for a handout, but knowing emotional support was available came as a relief. He ended the letter instructing me to be at ease and know they were here for me. Life didn’t feel nearly as heavy.
That is where I first thought this post would end, with the message that we should never shy away from complimenting or showing love because it could very well be a case of the right words or actions being delivered at the right time. But like most late-night infomercials, life said, “but wait… there’s more!”
The same day I read the letter from my pastor, I got home from work to find a pallet of pellets sitting by my front door. (Pellets are a type of fuel made from recycled wood products and sawdust and are packaged in 40-lb bags. I use these in my pellet stove to heat the house.) I searched the plastic wrapping and found the store phone number and called because I knew there was a mistake. The woman looked up my information and said, “aw, that’s so sweet…. all it says here is ‘gift.'” I asked if she was serious and she said, “sweetie, someone gave you a $300 gift, be happy.” I was, but I still cried. I have no idea who did this, but I hope they know how grateful I am. I’m able to keep the house a little warmer, which is good for my younger son (that is another post.)
The gift of heat came at the right time. Knowing I have what I need to heat the house until at least mid-January lifted a huge burden. My house has been on the market since before summer and I’d been told winter months are slow for real estate, so I settled in for a long winter.
A few days after that generous gift, an offer came on the house – it’s now in escrow. I found another (much smaller) house and she accepted my offer. Inspections are next week. It’s all happened so quickly and it’s a blur – especially during the holidays, but it’s all happened at exactly the right time.
Last week, I qualified for a home loan. Even with the worst-case spousal support payout to my soon-to-be-ex, I qualified. More relief. As I was reading through the required documents, I saw ‘divorce decree’ listed. The loan officer confirmed that the final decree was needed to fund the loan. Trial is scheduled near the end of January, and my new house is scheduled to close the beginning of February. If my house would’ve sold during the busy summer season, I wouldn’t have been able to get a loan. I didn’t know that.
All of this is proof to me that even if things don’t happen on my time, they do happen at the right time. It’s also shown me there is comfort in loosening my white-knuckle grip on control and trusting that God will provide. I have a feeling that as I learn to share more freely, I will experience some positive life-changing side-effects.
If you’re reading this, it means you survived this lengthy post. Thank you for not giving up! I will keep up with blog reading as best I can, but the next month or so will be really crazy for me. Just know, it is only temporary 🙂
Have a beautiful Monday and I hope you enjoy the blessings of the season!
Do you mind if I share this on my church’s FB page?
Go right ahead, db. I appreciate you checking 🙂
thanks for the post, patience, happy christmas
I hope you had a nice Christmas, BWCarey 🙂
thanks for your good thoughts and wishes, may the good lord hear your fine thoughts, amen
I think you need to paint your nails in rainbow colors to celebrate! Fantastic. You have suffered enough, it’s time you get to see the brighter side of life again.
Thanks, Timothy! There have been a few stumbling blocks since this post, but nothing that completely sends me off the path, so it is all good 🙂
I hope all goes well for you. Sounds like a things is going the right direction
Thanks, Bjorn. Things have gotten better, though there have been some unanticipated glitches.
Yay! What a wonderful and WARM share, Janna. So glad that things are looking UP for you.
Thanks, Nancy! I hope you had a nice Christmas, and that your new year is off to a good start 🙂
This is so beautiful! I’m in tears myself thinking about the gifts that come to us when we just hold on and believe. Thank you for finding the words to share your story.
Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Deborah. I hope you had a joyful Christmas!
And here’s to a better 2016! 🙂
I sure hope so, Deborah (2015 has made it really easy for 2016 to shine, haha)
Awesome post, Janna! I’m so glad to hear that things are improving for you. And the way they’ve improved, it’s a great Christmas story. Good for you! Merry Christmas to you, and I hope the good things keep coming to you.
Thanks, EagleAye. There were a couple of things that made me think the good streak was over, but even so, things are still good. Hope your break from blogging is going well, as you focus on other things.
Oh Janna….I am so happy to read ALL of this!! My smile today is for you. Happy holidays indeed!
Thanks, Susan! In less than a month, I hope to be in my new place. There’s a gap between houses that I’m not sure where I’ll be, but it’s an adventure, haha.
Janna, this really is a wonderful story and a reminder for all of us. We all suffer the hubris that things should be done according to OUR agenda and timeline. Then we get stressed and frustrated when things ‘don’t go right’.
I’m so happy the “right time” has finally arrived for you 🙂
It’s funny how easy it is for our timeline to run (or ruin) things. Handling some unexpected things after this post revealed that! I hope you had a nice Christmas and that you found the perfect funny cards to share with your family 🙂
Thank you. I hope you had a great Christmas with your family too.
Any time we can get family and friends together for stories and laughing is a good time 🙂
My Christmas was interesting… between my life and family members who aren’t on speaking terms, it was different 🙂
Ugh – whatever drama exists in a family seems to become accentuated during the holidays. Sigh.
It does seem to do that, Joanne. In some ways it’s a relief to be past the holidays!
I’m on top of the Maslow scale so giving is not a real problem for me as long as it stays within my budget. Today I recieved a letter from the child I sponser in India. Seems like the right time for many people. So glad you wrote this post. It really reached home for me. Been reading about prayer rather than actually praying.
Will now be praying for you. So sorry your marriage didn’t work out. ( not been keeping up with your blog 😦 ) But glad you found a house and it looks so promising for you right now.
So yeah! Mixed feelings.
Take care sweet blogging friend. Let me know if there is anything I can do.
I appreciate the prayers, Clar. I hope your Christmas was joyful and that the new year has started off well for you. Glad you stopped by 🙂
You’re a better person than I, Janna! I doubt that I could have kept my temper with the pastor’s comments. Nonetheless, I’m so happy to hear that you’re moving forward with some healing, faith, charity, and hope. Merry Christmas; stay warm & well!
You’re funny, Leigh 🙂 I couldn’t really blame him for speaking the truth as he saw it. I just found the situation incredibly frustrating. I hope you had a nice Christmas and a happy beginning of the new year.
Yeah, for as quiet as I normally am, sometimes I bust out with a rude or insouciant comment that I should have probably just kept my mouth shut about. Or gestures and comments while driving, thankfully pretty rare (I think “what about the kids” now, even if they’re not there); I know I definitely need to curtail my negativity whilst motoring! I am eager for the driverless cars, though!
Driving can be a frustration, Leigh. I’m a little disturbed that my older son’s solution for stupidity is to ‘honk the horn’ or ‘flip them off’. Not sure where that’s coming from (well, I have an idea and I can’t change that) but I react calmly and say that really won’t solve anything, but it can get you shot. I’m hoping his aggressiveness wanes by the time he’s driving age…I’ve got a couple years!
What a beautiful, wonderful post and very important message. Thank you for sharing it with us all. I’m thrilled things are looking up for you and I thank you for giving back by reminding us all that we are not alone – that messages are received at just the right time. Take care, stay warm and enjoy the holidays.
It’s funny because things rarely happen in such an obvious way that I just stop and say, “wow”. True to the nature of my life, there have been some stumbling blocks and things that refuse to be “ironed out” but it’s all good 🙂 I hope you had a happy new year!
I’m really glad. Happy new year to you and your family. I hope it’s been a terrific start 🙂
Thanks, Mel! I’m not sure about terrific, but it’s all good 🙂
Things happen for a reason. Life is falling into place for you. I am waiting for my life to fall into place. I have asked God to help me and to show me his plan for his life. Too many variations can happen so I just have to trust him. Merry Christmas.
There was a little more falling to pieces that happened after this post, but still, things are good, Tessa. I hope you start seeing a clear path through prayer soon.
This is great, Janna. Things just can’t stay the same way all the time and I love it when good things happen to people who deserve good things to happen! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you xxxx
Thanks, Dianne! The road has been a bit bumpy, but still moving along. I hope your Christmas and new year were filled with joy!
Wow, Janna. Just: wow! What an incredible sequence of events. Your message about our time versus the right time resonates with me. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of months too. I’m thrilled for you and wish you all the best and brightest for the holidays! 🙂
Thanks so much, Anita! There have been a few unexpected things that came up, but prayers are being answered. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new year 🙂
I’m so glad to hear that things went well overall and that you’re finding support. Our holidays went quite well this year too, which left me feeling so relieved and happy. Have a wonderful week and hope the year has started off well for you! 🙂
Thanks, Anita – I hope you have a great week as well (now that it’s half over!)
Thanks, Janna! 🙂 Yes, I have my eye on Friday, ha ha.
I’m not a churchgoer myself, but I hear the truth and intent of your words. What a great story to share – this time of year, any time of year. It’s a great reminder that we should all take that time.
Thanks for reading, Jay. I think we all can relate to the need for hope, especially after a time when life has felt hopeless. Hope you had a happy new year 🙂
What goes around, comes around, eh? 🙂 Marry Christmas. 😀
… erm … Merry Christmas !!! 😀
I didn’t even see the marry vs. merry at first, Widdershins 🙂 Hope you had a happy new year!
This is all wonderful news, Janna. Perfect timing, and we know Who’s in charge of that! Did you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
No, no pot of gold… but really, that would be more hassle than it’s worth right now 🙂 I hope you enjoyed Christmas with your family, Patti!
Thanks for adding so much cheer to my world. It is a Christmas miracle – actually the second one I’ve witnessed in 3 days. The other with an older divorced blogger who I meet for coffee once in a while. Between the two of you, there’s plenty of reason to smile.
May all the warmth and joy of the season wrap around you and yours and give you the Merriest Christmas ever!
Thanks for reading and for the nice comment, Phil. I hope you had a merry Christmas as well, and a joyous new year 🙂
Don’t know what made me search out your blog this morning while waiting for my wife to get ready 🙂 but I sure am glad I did. I don’t seem to be getting notifications when you post. What’s up with that? I do have some comments but will have to come back a bit later. Just know I’m very happy for you and the kids. A very happy, merry Christmas. And post photos of the new home when you finally move in!
I’m not sure why you’re not getting notifications… maybe WP has determined that my words aren’t worth reading 🙂 Thanks for the nice comment, Emilio. It will take some time to make the house my own, but I think I can manage some photos of the progress. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new year!
These are wonderful words to hear. I am so very happy for you. Thanks for sharing them. As an aside, other people look at Jesus and divorce a bit differently, keeping in mind that the phenomenon of divorce in ancient cultures was one sided (men alone could initiate a divorce in many settings), and they left women social and financially devastated. Jesus’ critique of divorce, then, is a challenge to a particular practice altogether different from ours. Sorry, couldn’t help but share that! At any rate, I am happy you and your pastor have found some peace, and may this season of the peace child drench you in love.
Thanks, Allen. That is an interesting perspective that I’d not heard before. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that your new year is off to a peaceful start 🙂
Your journey feels so familiar to mine, as you know. So to spend a Christmas as I did, with more negative than positive, it was perfect to read your words this morning. They remind me to hold out hope that good things might be on the horizon.
Thanks, Eli. I do hope things are looking up for you. Hope is there, but sometimes we have to search for it and shine it up a bit to really feel it.
I’ll always hope for hope.
Good move, Eli 🙂
It’s the only way to go, JT.
Wow, it’s amazing how God has provided as you’ve released control in difficult-to-surrender areas. I’ve been challenged by the whole surrendering thing lately, and this is encouraging. His timing is often not our timing.
Release of control is a repeat lesson with me, God Girl. Things have come up since this post that have forced me to say, “I really don’t know, but God does.”
beautiful Janna!! Full of grace! All the best of the season and new year!
Thanks, TDM! I hope your new year is off to a beautiful start 🙂
Running back by just to say Happy New Year – may yours be filled with wonder and delight!
Thanks, Phil! It’s crazy how time just slips away and days and weeks pass without much time to blog.
can identify with that…and so many times dawdling is really under rated, too. (HA HA).
Dawdling is an art that is under-developed (well, except for this one cashier at Wal-Mart… I always get in her line… why do I do that? hahaha)
Dawdling at work is discourage – why waste True Dawdling there anyway? Save it to get full utilization and enjoyment from it!
You should write a book about the art of dawdling, to educate the masses 🙂
Wow, talk about answered prayer, huh?! Happy New Year to you and yours, Janna — may it bring peace, magic, and delight!
Thanks, Debbie! Life certainly isn’t perfect, but is it ever? I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new year 🙂