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For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11


This is a well-known verse that has brought me both peace and frustration, sometimes in the same moment. A few months ago I wrote about waiting. For years, my husband and I had been discussing whether we should move or add on to our home as our family grew. We prayed but didn’t know what God was calling us to do, except to wait.

A week after I wrote about accepting “wait” as an answer, we went to look at two houses. Looking at houses was nothing new for us (I have been known to search the Internet for houses for sale). My mom joined us for the walk through, but like us, she figured looking would just end in more waiting. After all, we had looked at no less than 50 houses before we’d purchased our current one.

The first house did not disappoint; we definitely liked our current house better. We drove to the second discussing (again) if we should finish the basement of our current house or add on to the upstairs. 

Then we walked in to the second house, which was a house I had overlooked many times and only at the last minute asked our realtor if we could see it along with the first. It had gone on the market on our oldest daughter’s birthday. This second house seemed to have the space and layout that would fit our family, with space to modify as the children get older. More surprising was that this second house felt like home, even though it was empty.

Our realtor suggested waiting a few days before coming back to look at the house again, so we could make sure it was really what we wanted. We agreed and made an appointment for two days later. The second time through, we brought my dad and my best friend from childhood along (you know, “that” friend, the one who will be bluntly honest with you). They both agreed this house was a great fit for our family.

On the way to the showing, my husband and I talked about asking for a long closing date so we could get our current house ready to sell. Because the new house was empty and had other offers being submitted, our realtor suggested a closing date of December 27–and it was just November 22! This felt especially providential, since my mother-in-law had always given my husband a gift on that date and now we might be closing on that day a year after she’d passed away. Even still, a little panic settled into my brain as I started thinking about Advent and Christmas while juggling two houses.


The owners accepted our offer the next day, November 23–which was the one-year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s passing. It was a bittersweet day to say the least. The next few days were a whirlwind of paperwork and inspections. We closed December 19 and moved in just two days before Christmas (and are still slowly moving!). Everything happening on these dates just seemed to confirm we were acting in God’s plan for us.

Knowing that moving in December was going to make Christmas shopping difficult, I hounded my children to no end about letters to Santa and what they wanted for Christmas. Without fail, they all responded that the new house was all they wanted. It was one of our most peaceful Christmas mornings to date.

The stress of moving has not escaped us, of course. Moving during the school year, while working, two days before Christmas, with six children (one of whom is a nursing baby) is stressful even with wonderful support from family and friends. And even if it is God’s plan (He didn’t promise freedom from the storm, just shelter, right?). But God has been there every step of the way. One day I had a repairman come out to fix our oven. I was trying to find our home warranty policy while juggling a hungry and screaming baby, who screamed until 10 minutes before this poor man ran screaming from left the house.

Before he left, the repairman laughed and said he and his wife often say they don’t remember the 80s. In my distraught state (WHERE is that policy and why won’t Nicholas stop crying?!?), I thought his comment came out of nowhere and oh so gracefully said, “What was that?” He explained that in the 80s, he worked days while his wife worked nights and “no one slept.” It was a crazy time for them of balancing careers and young children that they were trying so hard to raise right. His children are now 36 and 33, he said, and it was worth every sacrifice, every sleepless night.

God knew I needed some encouragement right then, since in the midst of that chaos I was also trying to get ready for work so I could sprint out the door as soon as my husband got home. I love that He spoke through someone I never would have expected to encourage me.

Then there was this past Saturday morning, when we made our monthly trip to reconciliation. As I talked to Father about the stresses of moving, he mentioned that I needed to look to the Blessed Mother for inspiration in my life. She kept God’s love always in her heart and was able to pull and act from that love and strength through many moves. This struck me, because a good friend had just given me the book Imitating Mary for Christmas this year. I think God used Father to nudge me to read that book sooner rather than later!

All these dates and the way things happened could just be coincidences, I suppose. But I choose to believe they are “God-incidences.” They are “God moments,” when He shows us we are not alone on this journey. We just need to remember that it is with Him–and only with Him, in Him, and through Him–that we will we find the strength to enjoy the journey through all its ups and downs.

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your perfect timing. Please help us to follow You ever more closely, to feel Your Presence in every moment of every day, and open our eyes to see all the “God-incidences” and God-moments You give us. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

What God moments have you had? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


4 Replies to “God-Incidences”

  1. “God-incidences” sounds much more appropriate than “co-incidences”.
    Black Friday (not the monetary kind) came for us early in Feb 2010. Doctors had been watching my wife’s mammograms for about eighteen months and finally called to say that there was cancer. That report really takes the wind out of your sails. Our pastor was on vacation so I sent him an email and he responded quickly and said in part “God will wrap His healing arms around you”. When I went to lock up the church that night, it was already dark and I did not turn on any lights, As I walked into the darkened church, I felt this physical presence enfold me = a very warm and tender feeling and I knew everything would be ok.
    The surgery turned out to be less extensive than first thought and while she had radiation treatments no chemo was required. There has been no recurrence of cancer. God did indeed wrap His healing arms around me.

  2. We have a similar story about wanting to move but waiting for the right house at the right time, but the God Moment I wanted to share was regarding the down payment specifically…we qualified for a loan but were cash-poor and didn’t have much for a down payment.

    We scraped together as much as we could but were still $89 shy of the minimum the bank would accept. We didn’t know what we were going to do as we simply had no other resources left, but then we found a coffee can of change that we’d saved and forgotten.

    I guess I don’t have to tell you exactly how much change was in that coffee can!

    God Moments come in all shapes and sizes, but they are all proof of how much He loves us and cares for our every need, great and small, in His own timing.

  3. “God moments” I’ve had plenty actually – even from my First Communion just never really paid attention to them i guess… For me, each one seemed to be so natural and so normal – I thought everyone recieved them but then I would get weird responses or looks but that was in the last 80’s and early 90’s when I was growing up… No one even believed what happened at my Confirmation so I’ve forgotten all the details over the years.

    If you really want to know about these “God moments” I guess I’ll share…

    I didn’t have the best the CCD formation in the world so many things I didn’t understand until years later…never really knowing the meaning of things… My First Communion:
    I remember being completely captivated the “Amazing mystery of transubstantion” when the priest holds up the Host at the Consecration of the Mass. Something I felt more interiorly in the heart since I didn’t know much about the concept intellectually. I remember that the first time I recieved Holy Communion there was “a burning in my heart”. Now at my Confirmation it was different – I was around 16 – moved several times in the past 5 years and wasn’t really able to build good lasting friends before having to move the following year – Was pretty depressed, indifferent and lonely. That’s when I experienced the Holy Spirit in my Confirmation. The “burning in my heart was very intense” in fact I sobbed for like 10 minutes after Holy Communion and it freaked me out! I was very self-conscious but then the choir sang so beautifully that I thought there were Angels singing in Church! 😀 I prayed so peacefully afterwards that when opened my eyes- there was only a handful of ppl still praying except for the nuns in different color habits on the other side of the church. – After it was packed to overflowing and then it be practically empty was weird!

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