We’d been friends for over twenty years, seen each other through a lot of life. A lot of ordinary days. We’d laughed together, cried together, prayed together. Talked for hours and hours on end — neither of us very good at bringing a great conversation to a close.
Every now and then, she’d simply say, “On an ordinary day…”
Early on in our friendship, I’m sure she told me where she got the phrase. I don’t remember now. Probably a book she’d read or sermon she’d heard. But for her, it was shorthand for this thought:
God is always at work in our lives, even when we can’t see it. Even when we can’t feel it. Even when we don’t hear His voice or sense His presence. Even when we can’t tell at all that He’s moving, that things are happening – they are.
And one day, on an ordinary day (or what feels like one), we will suddenly experience that miraculous provision… that supernatural breakthrough… that long-awaited answer to prayer… that divine intervention… and see that He was there all the time. He was going before us, walking beside us, watching over us, protecting us, preparing us, providing for us.
When my friend said it to me – “On an ordinary day…” – she was also saying something even more specific, something friends who’ve been friends forever understand. It was her code for “I’m still praying God will give you the desire of your heart, from way back when – that He will give you a husband. And you might meet him any day now. Today could be the day.”
This friend is one of several dear ones who didn’t get married until their late thirties or forties. She knows all about hopes deferred, how hard it is to wait on God and surrender your most cherished dreams to Him. (I shared my journey of surrender in a guest post for Jennifer Kostick here.)
She also knows that sometimes God gives dreams back. Sometimes He fulfills them or resurrects them. And so for twenty years — even when I’ve lost hope, stopped believing or praying — she has been saying to me gently, sweetly, sensitively, at appropriate times:
“On an ordinary day…”
I now know what day that was, and I can tell you it was a very ordinary day.
There was nothing that felt significant or momentous about it at all. Another friend, Carolyn, had asked me to contribute a chapter to her book on Women and C. S. Lewis. And then she’d asked if I’d join her and another contributor on a radio show, talking about the book. Each of these things is an honor and a privilege — but also part of my job description. I do both (contribute to other books and give radio interviews) on a fairly regular basis.
I guess technically we didn’t “meet” that day — December 5th. The “other contributor” and I.
He was in Texas and I was in Florida and the radio show was broadcast from Arizona. But we connected online – tagging each other in tweets and Facebook posts, generally being friendly. And then he said he was coming to Florida to visit family for the holidays, and would I like to get coffee and talk about C. S. Lewis?
That day, too, was an ordinary day. I didn’t have any expectations or special interest. I thought it was possible he might just want to talk about literature.
We did talk a lot about literature. We still do. Only now we’re talking about ways to incorporate our favorite authors and quotes into our wedding ceremony!
If you’d like to read the whole story, from his point of view and mine, you’ll find it over on our wedding site at The Knot.
Much of the story, anyway… We’re still collecting all the pieces – the incredible “God-incidences” that brought us together, all the myriad of ways He was working, all the things that had to line up and fall perfectly in place at just the right time, in just the right way. All the affirmations and confirmations.
Honestly, I’m still in a state of shock! I was beginning to make plans for the next twenty years, the next season of my life – my career and ministry – as a single woman. And though some deep places still throbbed with pain, I was (I believe) for the most part resolved to be content with “whatever my lot.” To declare it was well with my soul.
But “on an ordinary day…”
May this be a year full of ordinary days for all of us…