If we look closely, we can often find Providential Blessings, even in tragedy. What is a Providential Blessing? Well, a Miracle is something amazing that cannot be explained, while a Providential Blessing (PB) is an Extraordinary, Highly Unusual Occurrence that is given as a Gift from the Lord to encourage, even though it may be explained by natural means.
Here are the PB’s I have been given while in the midst of unfathomable anguish after the unexpected death of my brother. I hope and pray there are many more to come, as my heart, mind and soul are crying out in utter despair.
1) Needed a place to stay so that we could attend the memorial services. Because of my chemical sensitivities I had not been able to find a hotel to stay in (except Disney) for 8+ years. They clean with chemicals, often have air fresheners and sprays, carpet shampoos, etc. I had spent 4 months calling all of the hotels in Grand Junction for my reunion. Only one seemed to pass my lengthy checklist and agreed to appropriate preparations (cleaning room and linens with baking soda and vinegar, airing out room, etc). However, when we got there it was worse than anything we had ever been in. I had to turn right around and leave, while I was seeing spots and my legs were going paralyzed.
So, when my brother passed away, we had no idea what we were going to do. After asking around to doctors’ clinics, hospitals and friends, I only had one other possibility. On my previous list, I had passed up on a hotel the last time, because they were in the middle of orchards (which means pesticides). I figured since it was winter, they shouldn’t be spraying. I gave them a call and they passed my giant test! So, we were off and running. It was a nervous ride, with no other options but to turn around and come back with my mom battling lung cancer in the car with us. But the Lord supplied our need!
Wayne went in first to check it out, then came back for me to say that he thought it was OK! When I went into the lobby, I was hit with a mild bit of chlorine from the hot tub and the public restroom was definitely off limits. Yet, the room was great!! Not perfect, but very tolerable and wonderful!
Very shortly, we turned a corner and we were up on a hill looking down into a valley with two sharp peaks on each side. From the very bottom of the peaks, way past their tops and far above our heads was a blast of colors all layered on top of one another! Orange, red, blue, yellow, purple! It was the most incredible thing we have ever seen!
There was no place to pull over and take pictures, so I took a few pictures through the front window and showed up. WOW! A rainbow came down from the sky and into our car! Thank you, Lord!
3) At the grave-site, I leaned over the casket to give my brother a hug. It was very cold out, with snow on the ground, but I honestly felt my head lay up against his warm chest and his arms wrap around me. I didn’t want to let go!
4) Also at the grave-site, my dad and I were both attempting to take a picture of the amazing casket my sister picked out (all black onyx with silver columns). The trees had a dusting of snow and the sun was at the horizon. Both of us when looking through our cameras, saw multiple straight, vertical beams of light coming straight down out of the clouds from above and not from the sun. We both tried taking pictures of these beams, but they would not register on our cameras. I have may times in the past taken pictures with beams of light from the sun. We agreed they were God’s gift shining down on us as we said goodbye.
5) The day after the services, I was lying on the bed while Wayne was working on the computer. I was on my stomach facing the window and trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I closed my eyes and prayed silently that God would bring a large bird to my window to encourage me that He is with me. I stayed there for a few minutes, but then realized that was a silly request. So, I got up and forgot about it.
Suddenly a gigantic shadow engulfed our window and slowly flew by. Wayne yelled, “Did you see that? That was huge! It shadowed our whole window as it went by. It was so close!.” I then told him about my prayer. Incredible!
6) Also the day after, my great niece (Avery) came to the hotel to spend time with us. We needed her and she needed us! She wanted to see the rest of the hotel, so we walked her down to the gift shop. It was just a tiny little space with lots of things such as postcards, wine bottle openers and cases and snacks.
I turned the corner and saw this bear dressed in a leather jacket, pants and boots! I picked it up and showed it to Avery. Her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “Uncle FUN!!” That was what she called my brother, Jim. She quickly gave him a hug and started say things like, “Uncle FUN is giving me a HUG!” Of course, I purchased him and as we walked, she talked to him and told him she loved him and now she can hug him anytime.
When we returned to my mom’s room, she looked out the window to see that someone had made snow angels where the closed, gated and pool was. She said, “Grammy, I think Uncle FUN made those snow angels!” I said, “Wow! I think you’re right! And, look how the footprints go back to the door where the gift store is. He must have known you were coming over, so he made the angels then went into the store to leave the bear just for you!” She thought that was amazing!
7) My brother’s best friend and love, Cindi, went to the grave-site on New Year’s Day. She asked God for a sign. When she looked up, there was a cross in the sky above his grave. I have never seen anything like this with a line going straight up and another across and look at the customized racing flames coming out of the top!
8) Also on New Years Day, my mom was very distraught. She looked out the window to see the sun dip behind the mountains and paint the sky with deep, rich oranges, blues and reds, with Pikes Peak silhouetted and glowing. She heard Jim’s voice say, “I’m okay, Momma! Don’t worry about me. I’m at peace!” … Wow!
9) Two days later, my husband got off the phone with my mom and asked, “Did you hear what happened to your mom this morning?” I said, “No.” He continued, “She was awakened by an intense beam of orange light shining in her bedroom [which faces West]! She said everything looked like it was on fire outside.” I exclaimed, “What?” I ran and got my camera to show him pictures that I had taken that very morning! I, too, was awakened by red beams in my North facing bathroom window. I got up and looked out to see that all of the houses literally looked like they were on fire, like in the Ten Commandments movie! I ran and got my camera and took some pictures of the sunrise, but when I went back to photograph the houses on the hill, they were no longer lit up.
10) That same day, my sister called her granddaughter, Avery to arrange picking her up. Avery said, “Grandma, I miss Uncle Fun!” Deb said, “I know sweetie. How about if I pick you up today in his Trans Am and we go for a ride?” Avery was thrilled. Now, my brother never let Deb drive any of his vehicles, especially not the Trans Am. Yet, he left this car to her! Deb picked up Avery, got her all buckled in then turned on the radio. There was a short silence, no commercials, no talking then suddenly a song burst out right from the beginning! It was by a band, Steppenwolf, that she and my brother had gone to see together and even worked at on many occasions. This was also the band that recorded the song that I used for Jim’s memorial video, Born to Be Wild! This time, another one of Jim’s very favorite songs played called Magic Carpet Ride! My sister couldn’t believe it! She turned to Avery and said, “This song is for YOU, from Uncle Fun” as she sang the words, “Well, you don’t know what – we can find? Why don’t you come with me little girl – on a magic carpet ride!” Avery wiped away her tears and a big smile emerged as they drove off to take a ride on Jim’s magic carpet!
Now, I know these things can be explained. Extraordinary can sunsets happen once in a lifetime and giant birds fly by windows. Even bears dressed in a motorcycle outfit can show up at a fancy country inn with a winery at just the right time and a staff member can certainly go into the pool area to make angels the night my brother was laid to rest. Nevertheless, I believe that God made these things happen and I praise Him for these gifts! We just have to be watching for them and give Him all the glory!
“What we see of God’s provisions teaches us to trust Him for what we cannot see of His purposes.” RBC Ministries Devotional
Thank you Lord for your gifts of hope as we live with crushed hearts and must trust in you for our every breath.