I Don’t Believe in Coincidence

I don’t believe in coincidence.  I believe everything in my life is and was mapped out by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not to say He doesn’t allow for free will and choice.  He just knows ahead what choices we finite humans will make, since He lives in all time and space.  God is everywhere at once, and is the greatest chess player in the universe!   

I won’t waste your time with fancy words.  I’ll tell you the facts of life.  Well, of my life.  

Why?  The only reason for me to open my book, called “life,” for you to read, is to give you hope.  The same hope that I have. Not just fleeting, momentary, feel good, positive vibes.  Eternal hope.  

We all go through mud at some point in this life.  I have a blessed life.  God has planted so many beautiful flowers in the mud of my garden that I no longer see the mud, except through the lens of how it has helped an amazing array of flowers bloom.  

I was 2 years old when my dad beat me so bad I had to be put in a hospital.  Now, your mind can go in all sorts of directions.  The main one, I suppose, being, “What a monster of a dad.”  I’m not in denial, believe me, but my dad was no monster.  He was a young father who lost control in a horrible fit of rage, in one moment.  He never lost control, physically, again with me.  Ever.  When I was 35 years old, my dad called me up and told me just that. “Katherine, I need you to know when you were a toddler I put you in the hospital because I beat you so bad.  I never touched you again after that.  Ever kid.”   He carried that huge, torturous, bad father moment, knowledge for all those years.  It was a great relief to both of us when he spoke it out.

Unbeknownst to dad, my mom had told me what happened when I was 18.  I never said a word to my tough, larger than life, John Wayne, construction working father.  Nope.  That was not going to happen.

He was too closed-minded, in my view, for me to bring up such a sensitive, wound-opening subject.  

Do I remember any of it?   I remember getting into mom’s makeup.  I remember dad asking me if I got into mom’s makeup.  I don’t remember telling him no.  I also have no recollection of him beating me.  Completely blocked it from my mind.  Too painful.  

I had a psychiatrist do some role play with me over my dad when I was 21. Yes, I had to see a psych doctor for evaluation after trying to kill myself. That was my life.  I don’t know that I really wanted to die.  I just didn’t want to hurt.  So much pain was bottled up inside that I had no clue how to release it,  how to deal with it.  For the first time, a light came on.  I began to understand the affects that pivotal moment had on young, naive Kathy.  By getting into my mom’s makeup, I was getting in touch with my femininity.  I was trying to be a woman, like mom was, and “pretty myself up.”   When I was beaten for that, it spun my young, unmolded mind into a whirlwind of doubt and shame over who I am.  Am I ugly?  Is that why I was beaten?  Am I shameful? Pitiful? Bad?  Since a 2-year old doesn’t have the capacity of mind to understand, it all gets bottled up to deal with later on in life, when our brains can function well enough to take it in and analyze it rationally.

The first time I walked into the church, I felt the spirit of Jesus immediately.  He captured my heart in a moment!  I knew!  This was it!  This was what I was searching all those empty years for.   My best friend had called me earlier that day and excitedly yelled through the phone, “Kath! You’re not gonna believe what happened to me!!”  My mind autoed on what guy she would tell me all about next.  Instead she land-blasted my thinking with, “I went to church and was filled with the Holy Ghost, Kath!  You have to come check it out with me tonight!!”  I was intrigued.  I was also put off.  ‘Shrug.  Another “Christian” story.  Boring.’  But there was that something in her voice.  What was it?  It peaked my curiosity.  “I have to tell you, I’ve been to every church in the area, and I’m turned off by churches.” I dryly replied.  She was persistent.  I went.

My husband, Dean, was sitting at the coffee table, cutting a line of ‘coke’, with his good buddy, Bob, who had served in the military with him just months before.  Dean looked up at me in surprise as I came downstairs all dressed up.   “Where you goin’?”  he asked me.  “I’m going to the church down the road.  Ruth invited me and I told her I’d check it out.”  I quickly replied, to end the conversation.  He shot back, “Don’t come home preaching to me!”  His buddy asked me what church I was going to, and I dismissively replied, “I think it’s some Pentecostal church,” (with no clue what the word even meant).  He said something so profound in that moment, something we wouldn’t comprehend fully until later.  “If she goes to that church, it will change your lives forever.”  Then they went back to their lines as if he never said it.  I found out later Bob was a Pentecostal pastor’s son.  God grows us all through many expressions of church but thinking about it makes me laugh, because there are no coincidences in life.

There is another Bob I have to give credence to.  He’s another of Dean’s buds from the military.  Bob came over one day, long before the day I stepped in that church, and while waiting for Dean to get home, he and I casually sat across from each other, snorting cocaine, smoking and drinking and chatting about nothingness.  Then Bob brought up the big taboo.  Religion.  He asked me what I believed, and I easily told him, while doing a line, “I’m Christian.”  Bob laughed, and somberly injected some truth into my stubborn mind that I would never forget.  It would haunt me for a long time.  I kicked Bob out of my house immediately over what he spoke, and told him never to come back.  I told my husband not to let his sorry friend back in, ever.  Bob simply and with ease said, “I would never sit here doing what we’re doing and call myself a Christian.”  ‘HOW DARE HE!!  Who the {expletive deleted} did he think he was? (side note:  my husband was a sailor, and I cussed worse than he did) Coming in my house and thrashing my belief like that.  I checked the Christian box on any and all documents, (back then you had questionnaires on pretty much any form you filled out, that asked your religious belief), and I was just that, Christian!’  

Like I said, Bob’s words stuck with me.  ‘I’m a Christian, right?  Of course, I have to be a Christian.  I’ve received the Lord in my heart at just about every church around here.  So I have to be!’  It was Bob that helped me begin to break down the walls of pride and ask serious questions of myself for the first time.  If you’re out there, Bob, thank you.

Another serious incident happened to me when I was a 2 year old.  Those “terrible two’s,” man!  The rubella measles went inside and swelled my brain, which put me into a coma.  On the seventh day, the doctors told my parents I wasn’t going to make it, and to come say last rites over me.  My Grams flew in from Illinois.  I was sprinkled by a Lutheran minister (Grams faith), and left there to die.  I still have the bald spot from that time to prove it.  Mom said they didn’t move me due to the sensitivity of the illness.  I also have dystonia from that brief, nine day, period of life.  Dystonia sucks.  But dystonia does not have me.  It makes my head jerk “no” when I don’t want to say NO.  The positive is, I’m not saying “yes” to everyone.   

When my dad called to tell me about the beating, he also told me this,  “Kid, when the doctors told me you were going to die, I went and prayed all night long with the Pastor across the street from us on Nyeland Acres.”  Mom had already told me that cool happening also, but I didn’t share with dad how I already knew.  I gave him the honor of the moment, and thanked him for loving me so much to do that.  I always knew that was the reason I came out of the coma.  My dad, who died of liver failure from alcoholism, my larger than life father, who tossed profanity around like it was candy, prayed for his baby girl, and God heard.  There are no coincidences.

I don’t know where you are reading this today, or what you believe about life and Jesus, but I do know that He loves you just as much as He loves me. You are not reading this post by coincidence. He wants you to know that He chose to go through the unthinkable by dying on the cross so that He could welcome you into an amazing relationship and life with Him. If you want to be in a relationship with Him and know what this is all about, all you have to do is ask.

Prayer:

God, I realize now that you love me and I believe in You. I want to have a real relationship and life with you. Please help me know what it means to be a Christian and to actually follow you. Show me how you’ve been working in my life even up to this point and help me to become the person you created me to be. Amen.

 
Kathy's picKathy Hageman, by God’s grace, is a mom of four amazing sons, two daughter in loves, and grandma to two precious granddaughters. She and Dean have been married for 33 wonderful years   She’s passionate about teaching and helping women to realize their full potential in Christ.  She has been involved in women’s ministries for many years and leads the “Breakfast & Bibles” City Group with Pastor Becky.  This post is an excerpt from the memoir she’s writing, titled, “I Don’t Believe In Coincidence”.

Conversations with God

James 5:16-18 says,

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Let’s think about this. It didn’t rain for 3 1/2 years because of one person’s prayer. The earth did not produce fruit until it was released to do so by the prayer of one person.

The author of James is emphatic in letting us know that Elijah was a normal person, just like us. He was prone to bouts of depression and fear even though he also performed one of the boldest moves in the Bible (the Baal altar incident), he had incredible supernatural experiences, and ran faster than a chariot at one point! We too may wax and wane in our passion and strength of faith, yet we are the ones God calls righteous and we are the ones whose prayers are effective.

How then, do we pray?

Prayer is not a formula. It is not passive, it is not a last resort, it is not in one direction, it is not a list, it is not a wish or a hope.Prayer is heartfelt communication with the God of the Universe. It is a two sided conversation of  speaking and listening. Sometimes, it’s a tear. Sometimes it’s a groan. Sometimes it’s one word. Sometimes it’s many words with heightened volume. Whatever form it comes in, if it is from your heart and aimed at the God of the Universe, it is prayer, and it is a constant and real substance, called incense (Psalm 141:2), which is continually before His throne. Our prayers do not vanish with the evaporation of our breath. They are always before His Throne of Grace.

So what do we talk to Him about?

If we are saved, we have  access to Him anytime, day or night. We can talk to Him out loud or privately within our minds. We can talk to Him about EVERYTHING!!!  He says to come boldly, to give Him our problems and worries no matter how large or small.  He says to ask for the impossible things and to be thankful for what He has already done for us. He desires for us to agree with Him for His will to be done on the earth, to pray corporately and alone. He wants us to be united when we pray, in one accord putting aside our different opinions. He calls us to pray for all people, even our enemies and for those in authority. He calls us to pray for our churches, our families, our schools, our bible study groups, to ask for protection from the evil one. He wants us to be honest when we pray, to tell Him about our day. His ears are open to hear what makes us happy, what makes us sad. He is eager for  us to express our dreams and desires, our whole heart to Him.

We may say, “But if God already knows everything, why do we need to tell Him?” The answer is: intimacy. A wife may know basically what her husband does everyday. He gets up, has a cup of coffee, maybe spends some time with the Lord, walks the dog, eats breakfast, and goes to work. He comes home, eats dinner and hangs with the family for a bit then goes to bed. Of course God sees our lives and He does know the desires of our hearts, just like a wife probably know which things are preferable to her husband to have on the dinner menu. But when he tells her and explains WHY he likes those certain dinners and what he would like to try in the future, it changes everything. She gets a peek into his feelings and what makes him come alive. It makes her want to cook those dinners all the time and find more things that will please him!! It’s love on a whole different level. It’s a love that seeks to meet the heart’s desires!! This is what God wants to do with us! This is why He wants our hearts in prayer. He does not want to just observe us and automatically take care of us (Though He will because it’s His nature). He wants a relationship, a sharing of the hearts. He desires to be a constant companion in an ongoing conversation.

When I first became good friends with a woman named Jil, we bonded through email. We knew each other from church and were friends, but it really kicked into high gear when she moved to Texas. We constantly emailed and texted. We were in an ongoing conversation all the time. We were always checking our devices. This is exactly what “praying without ceasing” is like. It’s an ongoing, open ended conversation with the God who adores you!

But it’s not all about what He wants. It all starts with what He gives, how He comes to meet with us. God made the choice to send Jesus to become one of us, to take on our weakness, our pain, our rejection so that He could be a sympathetic and merciful advocate. The Bible says that Jesus has a prayer life, sitting at the right hand of the Father God, and He prays for us! (Rom. 8:34).  That kind of love, that offer of real friendship makes me want to respond and make space for an authentic and intimate prayer life. We get intimacy. Out of that, we find identity, direction, wisdom, love, provision, all of the promises in the bible!! We receive restored relationships, bodies healed, joy, an inheritance, and authority over the enemy. God tells us things that He doesn’t tell everyone. We get the “treasures hidden in darkness”. We get to know Him and HIS WAYS (Isaiah 55:8). The list could never be exhaustive because He is not finite as we are.

I hope you feel encouraged to begin or continue seeking the Lord in prayer. I’ll leave you with Psalm 116:2 (NKJV), “ Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”

What are you going to talk to Him about today?

XO,

Sharon

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Sharon Rhodes is a mom of three incredible boys and the wife of Allen. She’s passionate about prayer and evangelism and helped to pioneer the Agoura Campus of The City Church. She leads the Agoura Campus prayer team and also leads a City Group. If you’re passionate about prayer and would like to join Sharon, sign up for her City Group here.