Coincidence? I Think Not
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
So the great Kansas City Chiefs won!! The Chiefs from the great state of Kansas! Woohoo! (Thank you if you get my joke.)
Okay honestly I had no clue the Super Bowl was here until a week ago, I had no plans until the day before, and I had no idea who was in the game until the day of. It really just snuck up on me. I didn’t grow up watching sports, we grew up playing them. It’s weird to say, as an actress, that I grew up away from my television set and attempting to climb trees, but it’s true. The only thing I remember about the Super Bowl at a young age, was my moms amazing chip dip. As I got older, it became about a celebratory time with friends. And then once all my friends went to college and I went and did my own thing, became an “artist”, and worked to pay my bills... Super Bowl who?? It wasn’t that I don't enjoy watching sports games, it’s just that I much more enjoy the atmosphere rather than the actual game. So without atmosphere, there's really no reason for me to watch it. So, to me, February 2, 2020 was just any ol' Sunday, but I think God had some different plans.
The country saw that day as a day to make some wings, post on every snapchat story a heart-eye emoji of cheese dip, and root on a team. But God saw it as a day to “wow” me. Yeah, the KC chiefs scoring 21 points in the last 5 minutes sure “wow”-ed me, but compared to the work He did in my life that day, those last 5 minutes seemed like any ol' 5 minutes. It’s easy for any big moment to seem like an “any ol' ____” when you are in a different atmosphere.
Calling Out Cues Help
See, the night before the Super Bowl I slipped into a valley, I hit a low. My heart had been heavy for a few days and no matter the amount of encouraging words I could pour into myself, there were a lot of things going on my life I just couldn’t understand. Health problems with loved ones, relational problems, financial problems, and despite great opportunity, constant rejection. I felt I had been traveling down this long corridor for two years, attempting to open every door but no key seemed to work; except now, the lights were flickering off and a montage was playing of the hallway I thought I’d be in by 2020. This imagined hallway gave me a master key to the doors of career, financial stability, friendship, family restoration, health... and here I am in a hallway where it seem those doors won't budge.
I have this tendency to lock away sad thoughts and sad feelings because I am fearful of giving them power. But that night, I decided to be honest. I prayed. “God, I can't see why I am still dealing with these problems.” “God I can't see why all of this is going down with my family.” “God I can't see why these doors are still not opening.” “God I can't see it...” “Help me to understand. Help me to receive some clarity.” And then I prayed a real dangerous prayer, “God if I am on the wrong path and that’s why you are shutting every single door, then, please let me know. I will give up my dream if that’s what you’re calling me to do. Just tell me what to do because I am so lost. I volunteer for whatever you want me to do, use me.”
Any Ol' Sunday
The next morning I planned to go to the 9:15 service at my church, Passion City Church, go work, then meet up with some friends to watch the Super Bowl. One of my favorite speakers, and honestly the one who (unknowingly) encouraged me to pursue Jesus, Sadie Robertson Huff, would be speaking at Passion that day. It was my plan to get there as early as possible to get the best seat right up front. But... once again God had different plans. I woke up an hour after my alarm. Yup. But I realized I had to take advantage of this moment. So, boldly, I decided to write Sadie a letter of thanks and questions regarding her pursuit of faith under the heavy spotlight, something that I believe can take preparation. I figured it couldn't hurt.
I raced to get ready and by the time I got to church, traffic was so bad and two parking lots were full. I drove a half mile out of the way to park. I got to service right on time, but, there were no seats left. So, they let us sit in overflow seating where we watched Sadie on a screen.
Yeah, no, this isn’t going to fly. My favorite speaker is here, this message is fire, I'm watching it in the room where she's speaking. I’m not going to work, I’m staying for the next service to grab a good seat. So, I stayed for the 11:45 service.
Christina Meets Christy
I left the 11:45 service at about 1:30. None of this was in my plan, I was now hours behind my schedule. So I start the half mile trek to my car in hopes to get back on schedule and get some work done before the game. About one hundred yards from my car, I hear someone yell "Excuse me!"
I will be completely honest in saying I normally never respond to strangers yelling at me on the street. As a young lady walking alone in a city, I am left very vulnerable. And well, I have things to do. I often turn my head and continue walking, but something told me to respond.
The stranger yelled back, a woman, who seemed out of breath, "Did you come from Passion?" This woman had a gold grill, fake hair, worn out clothing. Despite her efforts of trying to cover up, her sadness could be seen.
"I did, yes."
"Can you pray for me?"
Whoa. I stopped in my tracks. Oftentimes we hear people say, 'I'll be praying for you!' But to verbally pray for someone in their presence is a very challenging task, one that I don't quite think I've mastered. She continued, "I told myself the first person I see from Passion, I'll ask them to pray for me. My back is up against the wall."
I'm going to put a few things into perspective real quick.
Perspective #1: This woman was about a half mile from the church. Both of the church parking lots are in the complete opposite direction. The odds of people walking towards her, toward the lot I parked in, are not very high at all, but because I was so late to the first service, this was the last parking lot available. By this time it was about 1:45, and church had gotten out at around 1:00. That means, most of the church-goers that day left nearly an hour ago. In my effort to try to find someone to hand off Sadie's letter to, I left the church about thirty minutes late, thus putting me into perfect time to meet this woman and pray for her. Despite my lateness I was the first person she had seen walking towards her direction from church.
Perspective #2: I am very scared when it comes to praying over other people. I stumble on my words, I stutter, and I feel so unequipped. Like I said, it's very challenging. To hold someone's hand, pray for them, with them, over them, and everyone can hear you? Uh... it's daunting. And quite frankly, it's not anything I grew up doing. I grew up speaking the same repetitive prayers in my head. Speaking aloud, off script, to a stranger, asking God to "do His thing" is something I was introduced to only months ago. It was something I hid myself from and just three months ago, a friend of mine challenged me to pray for him. I was shaking when I "stood up to the plate". Since then, I only did it two other times. I, in human terms, was so unqualified to pray over this heartbroken woman.
In that moment I remembered last night's prayer: 'God I volunteer, use me.'
"Of course," I said, "Let's do it. Let's pray. But before, I'd like to know a little bit about you so I know what's going on."
Her name was Christy. A former prostitute and drug addict who believed that all white people hate black people. She began going to Passion City Church's "The Grove" (a women ministry) six years ago, when a white church-goer found her on the side of the street and invited her. She has managed to stay sober for those years, but providing for her two daughters was exceptionally challenging and she felt she had no where to go. That Super Bowl Sunday, a man had offered her money if she would sleep with him. So her plan was to go steal from Target so her children can eat, then to go prostitute herself for money. I was left speechless hearing this woman's story. I knew no word I had would be sufficient. I knew no word I had could save the day. And despite my stuttering, timid self... I put my stuff down, grabbed her hands and for five minutes, prayed over her. She listened. Afterwards, I tried inviting her back to the church where I know she could receive real guidance and resources, but she ran off. At this point I had no clue what to do. I knew the severity of her situation, but I didn't know how to act. I didn't even know her last name. Do I just sit in my car and pray? Do I call Target? Do I turn back to the church and ask them for help? The latter was the most terrifying, so it seemed like the right choice.
I got in my car and drove back to the church, where there were just a few cars left in the main parking lot. That's when, somehow, I saw four church volunteers standing around, talking. Boldness came to save the day and encouraged me to ask them to help me pray for this woman I just met but did not know. Together, we prayed. These volunteers were endlessly excited to reach out in prayer to help a woman they did not know, and man, their prayers were fire. "I could learn from them," I thought.
Whether or not Christy turned around and didn't steal, whether or not she decided to turn away from prostitution, whether or not someone randomly gifted her the winning lottery ticket, we will not know. But I truly believe there is a reason for everything, and I believe, that day, God was calling me, along with those four volunteers, up to the plate.
Now This Is Just Crazy
Afterward, the five of us praying people, all began to talk. They asked what my name was "Christina", what I did "I'm an actress", and I was stopped.
"You're an actress?! Have you been waiting for some doors to open?"
Okay, weird, how did you know, "Uh, yes, I am."
"This so exciting! We can help you!"
In that very instant, I was connected to a writer and actress who loves to help others. Not only does she act, but her four children do as well. Two of her children you would recognize their names, their faces, you may even follow them on Instagram, but... my lips are sealed. Actually, I grew up watching the woman on some of my favorite TV shows. (This woman has now been helping me navigate my own career with her extensive wisdom from being in my place five different times.)
Upon leaving the church, I heard one of the praying people call my name out.
"Christina! Do you want to get lunch with me and a friend of mine?"
By this time it is at least 2:30 and I am entirely behind schedule, but God has surprised me with saying yes to Him, so, "yes, I'd love to!"
In the midst of lunch, his friend and I get to talking and his friend happens to be a successful film producer. We network and well... my lips are sealed.
What About Church?
If only it could get crazier, I'm going to let you in on the message I heard not only once, but twice, that day.
Sadie spoke of a very strong message: “Pray for trust, not for clarity.” She used Matthew 14 as her backbone — when Peter walked on water. I'll quote it from the Bible:
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Sadie used this very well known message to preach on the fact that Peter could not see Jesus clearly in the dark, windy night on the water. Most of us, like I did just the night before, would say to Jesus, “Hey can you come a little closer so that I can see it's really you?” "Jesus I can't see how you're moving in this moment." "Am I following you in following my dream, cause I can't see." But no, Peter didn't ask to see Jesus, he said “if that’s you, tell me to come.”
Remember that prayer I prayed the night before? I was asking God for eyes to see what He was doing in my life. I was asking Jesus to come closer so I could understand. I was asking Him to reveal what’s going on, because I have no clarity about my life right now. What I didn’t have was, well, trust. Me of little faith, I doubted. I didn’t have the faith to continue going because I couldn’t see, and the moment I felt the wind hit me (just as Peter did), I began to sink.
In that message, Sadie had hit every single point that I had questioned in my prayer the night before. Not only that, but after the message, a Q&A happened. And guess what questions were asked... the same specific questions I had asked Sadie in my letter. The same. Exact. Ones. And she answered truthfully, candidly, and specifically speaking of the burn of the spotlight and her rise to this platform, all through Jesus.
Some of y’all may not believe in God, so if ya don’t I’ll just say this in the most worldly way:
this message being spoken to me, twice, by my favorite speaker, the day after I poured out those same specific troubles was the worlds biggest COINCIDENCE.
The fact that the same exact questions I asked Sadie, she answered in the Q&A: Coincidence.
The fact that I woke up so late I had to park a half mile away: Coincidence.
The fact that I decided to stay for the second message because they just ran out of enough seating at the first service: Coincidence.
The fact that I left the church 30 minutes later than intending to: Coincidence.
The fact that I met Christy on that walk to the very far lot, at a time no other church-goer was around: Coincidence.
The fact that I was immensely terrified to respond to Christy, but I did and then she called out for me to help her in prayer: Coincidence.
The fact that the thing I was scared most of in my faith, praying over others, I was called to do that day after a message of having trust and obedience in God when He tells you to "come": Coincidence.
The fact that I decided to turn back around and go to the church to seek help: Coincidence.
The fact that in that prayer group I had met a woman connected to a woman who can help me in my career: Coincidence.
The fact that afterwards I took a chance and went out to lunch and a film producer happened to be there: Coincidence.
The prayer I prayed the night before was crying out in regards to my career, and that next day I was blessed with two very helpful resources because I decided to step out on the very scary water. At the end of my prayer I asked God to use me, and that day, He led me to Christy.
The Super Bowl
After all of this happened, I couldn't imagine the day I had. I was in a whole different atmosphere. But God had some different plans. To tie up the day, I went with some new friends to watch the Super Bowl game where in the last five minutes, the KC Chiefs scored 21 points to win the game. Coincidence?
If you'd like to watch Sadie Robertson Huff's fire message, watch here:
It's titled: Following Jesus In The Unknown .... COINCIDENCE?