As I mentioned in my last post, my son had found a tick embedded inside of his shoulder. Try as I might I could not remove the tick. I was on and off the phone with my husband discussing ways to remove the little pest. My oldest son was scouring the internet in search of some solution. We tried tweezers, squeezing, Vaseline, liquid soap; we even lit a match, blew it out, and touched the tick’s back with the hot end. Nothing. He was not going to budge.
I thought to myself, “This is absolutely crazy. How difficult can this be? Why in the world can’t I remove this minuscule little creature?”
Even my husband scratched his head at my seeming inability to do this simple task. “How are none of these things working,” he asked.
We were both at a loss, and my son was at his wit’s end, so off we were to the doctor.
Frankly and honestly, I really didn’t have time for this today. We had to school work…tests…things to do. We already had had a topsy turvy kind of week. This visit was not on my agenda today. I must admit that my insides were a bit agitated by this monkey wrench. But, this is life, and life has it’s little unexpected, unplanned, inconvenient, tick-in-the-arm kind of moments.
Soon after checking in at the office, my son was called back to see the doctor. Within ten minutes of that, we were asked to take a seat in the back. There is a large common area where people wait to have blood drawn, have IV treatments, or like us, wait to see the nurse. The nurse was quite busy that day, and as we waited, one person after another filed into the common area.
A woman, likely around my age sat next to me. I nodded and smiled as she sat down. The nurse quickly popped her head into the room to see us. She asked us to show her where the tick was and took down some information. She apologized in advance for the wait. So my son and I waited, and we waited some more. Then the woman next to me spoke. In a few short sentences, she told me her story.
“It’s a good thing you came here to have the doctor remove the tick. I have Lyme Disease, and it’s caused real problems for years. I didn’t know I had the disease. I got pregnant and passed antibodies to my son. Now, he’s sick. He’s really struggling, especially in school. We had him in public school, then moved him to a private school, but he just can’t seem to handle anything. The school officials think he is faking his illness. We are frustrated and have decided to pull him out of school to homeschool him. I’m not sure I can do this.”
And in that moment I knew exactly why I could not seem to extricate the tick from my son’s shoulder. I realized why a simple task had become impossible. I realized that the Lord had a meeting arranged for me. He cleared my schedule to make room for this very encounter.
See, that woman’s story is my story…almost exactly. I’ve had a little experience with Lyme Disease myself, been pregnant during my illness, passed antibodies along to my kids while pregnant, have one son who is sick and struggling, and, to boot, I homeschool. Coincidence? Oh, no. This was an orchestrated meeting. No chance or alignment of the stars here. This was the Lord placing me in specific place, on a certain day, at an exact time, to say a few simple words to someone who needed them.
And with that I turned to her and told her that I understood exactly what she was going through. I knew of her personal struggles; I knew of her son’s struggles. I knew of her apprehension regarding school. I then briefly told her my story. She looked at me and said one word, “Really?”
“Yes, really,” I responded.
I introduced her to my son. She spoke a bit more in depth about her son’s struggles. She questioned her ability to homeschool. She was unsure and scared. We talked about curriculum and such. She then looked at me and said, “Just tell me that I can do this.”
“Yes, you can do this,” was my simple reply.
And that’s why I was there, to speak words of encouragement to a mom whose shoes I have walked in. I was put there to show her that she is not alone in her struggles, in her concerns. My schedule was cleared so that I could have this encounter.
All at once and rather abruptly, both of us went our ways. She was called into the doctor’s office, and the nurse came in to take care of my son. We quickly exchanged names. I asked her where she was from. “Connecticut.”
Connecticut? Really? She had come from two hours away to have this doctor’s appointment in New Jersey? She had navigated Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey morning traffic? She arrived when I arrived?
There are no coincidences in life. They are providential, planned meetings of the Lord to carry out whatever His will may be.
These verses from Proverbs say it best:
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
The Lord is always at work. He is not just sitting around casually in heaven as an observer. He is in control of all things and orchestrates our coming and going. Oh, how fast we can be to complain or moan or gripe when our best laid plans are disrupted. How easy it is to become frustrated by life’s inconvenient moments. We can get downright crazy when delays or setbacks come our way. Yet, the Lord is in control of all of these things. He is at work. His plan is simply unfolding, and you may have the privilege of being part of it.