Although, it didn't start out that way, and I wasn't expecting it. I usually see patients on Wednesdays, but I had canceled my schedule due to meetings and administrative duties. The day began with a visit to a psychologist to follow up on some testing that one of my children had recently undergone. Raising our four kids is a crazy experiment in nature versus nurture. With your own children, you have a general idea of aptitude based on genetics. Mind you, every child is different, and God has a sense of humor. Just because they have your genetics doesn't mean you know what to expect! When my daughter acts just like me, my mother jokingly says God is just! But, with our adopted children, we truly have no idea the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon them. I know I have great kids. This testing process was just an affirmation that my kids are gifted and blessed, and God has a plan and purpose for them beyond my wildest imagination. I was not expecting what I heard but was so thankful to hear it!
I left the meeting just beaming and ran into a drugstore to pick up some toiletries for our new au pair who was scheduled to arrive the next day. As I was checking out, I heard my phone buzz, but I ignored it, trying to be polite to the cashier. When I got to the car, I plugged in my GPS to head to my site visit and glanced down at the text. I realized it was from a provider at the site I was headed to visit! Mind you, this provider had no idea I was headed that direction. The text simply said that I had been on her heart and mind and that, in her quiet time that morning, God had laid Joe on her heart as a possible mentor for her son who is looking to go to law school. It was no less than Divine intervention on the timing.
I quickly responded to the text saying, believe it or not, I was literally hitting the road toward her office, which was an hour and a half away. We exchanged a few texts, and she said she would meet me at the office as soon as I arrived. I was able to get to the site visit early, and we spent 30 minutes before my meeting and another 30 minutes after just catching up.
God's timing had always been prominent in our relationship . . .
Our paths first crossed almost 17 years ago. I was in my fourth year of medical school, and I had structured my entire fourth year to have four months off at the end to have a baby. Joe and I had been married almost 10 years at that point. We had postponed childbearing as one or both of us had been in school for the first 10 years of marriage. Joe put me through seminary; I put Joe through law school; then Joe put me through medical school. I had a plan for childbearing, and we were going to make this happen!
As fate would have it, the month we needed to conceive, I was assigned to a rotation in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. That was 3.5 hours from where we were living in Chapel Hill. This doctor, texting me that day, was the doctor with whom I worked for that rotation 17 years ago. Then, she had altered the path of my life and was an incredible inspiration to me. In 2000, she had just returned from a mission trip to India, and I spent my entire rotation gleaning from her experience and seeing how passionate she was about medical missions. One night during the rotation, she had me over to her home for dinner. As I was backing out of her driveway in the dark, I rolled down my window and stuck my head out to make sure I did not fall in the ditch. I kid you not, I audibly heard a voice say to me: "Carmen, you are not going to have a baby this year. You are going to the mission field for me." I stopped the car and started looking for a person in the ditch!
I remember going home that night and calling Joe to tell him we were not going to have a baby now. We had just had a rendezvous a few weeks prior at a Motel 6, halfway between Chapel Hill and Rutherfordton, as the ovulation kit had forced the conception issue. I remember telling him that I knew our Motel 6 encounter was not successful, and I knew we were supposed to stop trying. God had a different path for me for me for the next year. Sure enough, instead of having a baby during the four months off of medical school, I ended up going to Kenya and serving with World Medical Mission.
During that same rotation, not only did this mentor alter my plan to have a baby, she also instilled in me a love of internal medicine. I left a rotation with a passion for medical missions, with a desire to be an internist, and with the new spiritual mentor.
We kept in touch over the years, and our paths have crossed intermittently. This day, God placed my husband on her heart as a possible mentor for her son. Funny how things come full circle. Now my husband would have the opportunity to "speak wisdom" into her son's life as she had spoken wisdom into mine. During our short visit that day, we were able to pray for one another and share what God is doing in our lives. It was beautiful. She's actually headed out of state in a few months and I don't know when our paths will cross again. But, I know they will . . . Even if not on this side of heaven!
God's timing is always perfect. He shows up when least expected. Coincidence can be God's way of being anonymous. As Ecclesiastes 3 reminds me: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (verses 1, 11).
I never expected a medical school rotation in 2000 to bless me again last week! But, God has been in control from beginning to the end!
Yes, it was a really cool God day!
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!