“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5 (NKJV)
He loves me. He loves me not. He LOVES me…
Ever wonder how much you are loved and cared for by Your heavenly Father? How much He knows about you, and is STILL very much in love with you and interested in every single aspect about your life? Even in the things you consider “small”.
As a single parent raising boys, I am humbled to share that my family have been and continue to be tenderly blessed by our Father’s love and provision. He cares about His children with great detail. IMMENSELY.
The Bible clearly states:
“The Lord your God IN your midst,
The Mighty One, WILL save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His LOVE,
HE will REJOICE over YOU with SINGING.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
The following are just a few of the many wondrous examples of God’s love, faithfulness, sovereignty, provision, and kindness demonstrated towards the boys and me post separation/divorce from an emotionally and physically abusive marriage in January 2000.
A Romantic God
In the first half of 2000, something very special happened to me. It was a little after 5 a.m. in the morning. I had just dropped off the boys at the home daycare, and I was on my way to work. My shift started at 5:30 a.m. I was driving an old 1990 Ford Aerostar van that I borrowed from the boys’ father after we separated.
The van had a broken gas level indicator. Every time I filled it with gas, I was supposed to recalculate the mileage. I missed doing that on the last gas run. Lo, and behold, the car started acting weird and making strange noises…as if it was “dying” on me and immediately I prayed, “Lord, please let me make it to the first exit ok.”
I did not own a cell phone and there was no call box nearby. It was dark but too chilly.I have never hitched hiked before, but the thought crossed my mind. If no one stopped to helped a stranded lady after 20 minutes, I was going to stick my thumb out.
Suddenly, immediately following that foolish thought, I noticed something coming towards me. It was the first vehicle I saw exiting at the same exit and slowly approaching me.
I could not believe my eyes. I blinked a couple times to adjust my vision.
WOW. God did not only send a car to rescue me, he sent a black stretch limousine for His daughter!
And the driver…why he was like an angel dressed in a black suite and tie.
As he drove closer, he rolled the passenger window down and asked if I needed a lift anywhere.
He was an older gentleman with a full set of grey hair and soft blue eyes.
I thought to myself, this must be God – the way he rescued me that is, not the driver.
“Yes, to work, please. It’s not too far from here.” He told me to hop on in.
As I was pulling the handle of the passenger door, he said, “No, no, go ahead and sit in the back, and I’ll take you to work.” I went to sit in the back, and my heart melted.
That was the morning I look up into the dark sky, smiled, and whispered, “God, You are Romantic.”
A “Moving” Gift
After the Ford Aerostar expired in 2005, my mother helped blessed me with 1996 Grand Plymouth Voyager. We were at a furniture store in South San Francisco looking at kids bunk beds and mattresses. The owners were a lovely couple that just happened to be selling their van. It had 450,000 miles on it, but it was in good condition and good enough for the boys and me. We named it “The Fridge” because the exterior was white and towards the end of its vehicle life, the heater stopped working. The Fridge was faithful to us, and it served us well from 2005 up until 2010/2011, when the driver window could no longer go up. The cost to fix the window was exactly half of what the car was worth via blue book value.
Fortunately, it occurred before the rainy season. I recall driving my family on the freeway and the back of my head would get freezing cold, and my oldest had to hold a jacket or shawl on my head to keep it in place while I was driving.
Rainy season came, and driving the van was no longer feasible. An older close and dear family friend graciously offered to lend us his second car – 2007 Toyota Prius. A year went by and I could not afford to buy a car. He said it was perfectly fine, because he couldn’t drive two cars simultaneously. Another year went by and still, he was patient to extend the use of his car. At the third year, he asked if I wanted to buy his car at a really good price.
Although I still could not afford to buy a car, I asked him, “How much?” He smiled and replied, “For free…” – Seriously, who gives away a free car? I was stunned. Amazed at God. A good God.
My heart was overwhelmed with joy and happiness because I had been praying for a new car that I did not have to pay for. When I first drove the car, it had 7,000 miles on it. Fast forward to the present, we have now reached approximately150,000 miles representing commutes from home to work, school, church, doctor appointments, procedures, dental/orthodontists appointment, errands, hiking trips, conferences, trainings, choir practices, Easter play rehearsals, boxing tournaments, basketball practices, games and tournaments both local and out of town, as well as trips to Los Angeles and San Diego to visit relatives for family events and back.
Oh, how good God is and how He loves His children and provides beyond what we could ask or think. I was moved by His tenderness.
Genentech: Faith in God and His Favor
“Please turn blue. Please turn blue. Please turn blue.” That was my prayer from November 2007 to December 2008, while consulting for a biotech company I had dreamt about working at. Temporary workers were given green badges that displayed their photo and full name, while regular employees walked around with their blue badges. People were distinguished by their badge color.
“For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12 (NASB)
“You shall be led forth with peace…” There were many times in my life where a lot of things that happened to us did not any make sense, and I learned that throughout my life that that was quite alright. I did not always need to know the how and why.
All that was required of me was to trust, believe, obey, and have faith in God my Father and His Word.
God was all I had. I relied on Him. I sought His perfect will. It was important to me that every decision I made regarding the boys and their well-being would be pleasing to Him and bring Him glory.
After a lay off occurred at my previous job, which was a pharmaceutical company, I thought it was prudent to start looking for new employment externally for the anticipation of a second lay off. I casually started browsing employment websites in search for new and better job opportunities with better pay and excellent benefits. I knew I wanted to work for a well-respected and prestigious biotech company that was in fairly close distance to my employer at the time. It was one of my dreams.
Now, there must be a way for job search engines to retrieve your contact information the second you are on their website searching through their system. I only browsed two different job search websites; however, I never provided any personal information, nor did I apply for any open positions, including uploading a resume. Within 24-48 hours, I received two phone calls almost back-to-back from a recruiting agency from each of the job search websites I was browsing through. Each recruiter inquired about my job interests, and they offered a great job opportunity.
I listened carefully to what each recruiter had to offer, but the assignment seemed too short. They were temporary. A consulting job meant I had to pay for my sons’ medical and dental insurance out-of-pocket. Neither offers were enticing to me, so I declined both recruiters.
Well, “no, thank you” was not an option for both recruiters. One recruiter went on to say, “Ma’am, it’s a really good opportunity for a great company.” I responded, “For how long?” He replied, “Six weeks, but you can easily roll over into another position.”
I was honest about having a family to support and needing benefits; however, I purposely left out my single parenting and my four sons. He would not budge. He repeatedly said it was for a very good company. I finally asked, “Which company?” And he answered, “Genentech.”
Oh, I could not believe it. My heart leaped for joy, and even now as I’m writing this, I cannot help but get all teary-eyed. It’s what I had been praying for, but not for 6 weeks…
I conveyed my deep concern about paying out-of-pocket for health benefits for my family if they needed to see a doctor for their regular checkups or potential colds/illnesses. I negotiated with the recruiter and asked for a wage increase that would compensate for my family’s out-of-pocket heath benefits. He mentioned that he would follow up with agency that represented Genentech to present my requests and get back to me.
God Has Gone Before You and He Knows
In the meantime, I sought hard after God’s heart in the matter, and what He thought. But He already knew…
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16 (NASB)
A few days later the recruiter called back and relayed the message that he himself could not believe. He said to me, “They said ‘Yes!’”
I had to make one of the most important decisions as a single mother raising four boys alone that would greatly affect their livelihood if things did not pan out.
BUT I had peace. Not just any peace. I had His unspeakable peace and overwhelming joy inside my heart. I could not understand it.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
I thought to myself “Lord, I trust You. I believe this is where you are leading me.” And so, I too said “yes” and I went to interview. They loved me, THANK GOD! The hiring manager-supervisor also assured me not to worry, and that there were always jobs to roll over into.
The funny part about this moment and season in my life is that I never told my family that I was going to quit a full time position with benefits for a 6-week temporary position without benefits to get my foot “in the door” and get my feet wet. My family, mom, relatives, and even some church family members would have flipped and probably would consider this a very unwise decision. Anxiety and stress levels would have skyrocketed everywhere. So I did what Mary in The Bible did concerning Jesus – she kept all these things in her heart.
Faith Being Stretched Step by Step
I was nearing the end of the 6-week position in College Programs – Human Resources (HR) and just before the last few days in that department, someone who worked just down the hall in Diversity & Inclusion – HR, had to take a last minute trip overseas and they needed coverage for one month. Right before the month ended, the Relocation & Immigration – HR department located further down the hall, needed help and this time is was for about eight months. Whew, a little longer this time.
My Skin: Detergent Allergy
It was in this department that my skin had a horrible allergic reaction from a chemical inside a new cleaning agent we started using and I developed a terrible and painful itchy rash throughout my body – mainly on my legs, arms, neck and back. My entire back looked as if it was burned. The rash was so thick I could hardly turn my head to change lanes when driving. Everything I did was painful and uncomfortable. I had to miss many days from work because it was so unbearable.
By God’s favor, my manager allowed me to make-up the hours I missed so that my weekly or bi-weekly check would not be affected. I worked extra hours every business day until they were all completed, 28 hours altogether. There were so many nights I left work late feeling so exhausted but thankful, holding my green badge in my right hand and praying, “Please turn blue. Please turn blue. Please turn blue. I thank You, Jesus, for turning it blue.”
God My Healer
I saw a Family doctor, and I was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone but it failed. I prayed to God to heal my skin and to help me find a good dermatologist near work so that I can plan a visit during a lunch break.
I was in such pain when searching the web for a dermatologist and discovered Merry Clinic, which was a nutrition clinic.
The Lord was so kind and gracious to lead me to a nutritionist instead, because I misread dermatologist for nutritionist.
When I walked into the clinic, there were writings in Chinese. Hmmm, I pondered a while and asked what kind of office it was. The lady at the front desk told I was seeing a Nutritionist. I was already there so I thought what the heck, it can’t hurt.
The nutritionist was outstanding. She looked at my hand and asked me to check my detergent because the rash “keeps coming back”. This was around the time that Febreeze was becoming popular and when we started using it a couple weeks prior, which was when I started itching and developing the rash.
That was also around the same time Tide came out with “Tide with Febreeze” and we had recently started using it to wash our clothes.
What an awesome God!! The nutritionist helped me target the source of the rash and treated me with Chinese herbal pills and herbal spray.
I had to consume 16 pills/ per day for one week, then 12 pills/ per day for another week, and 6-8 pills for the final week. Within 3 weeks of the skin regimen, my skin was completely clear and back to normal visibly. I did not even have a single scar on my skin. And my back looked as if nothing ever happened to it. What a good and loving Father…
Soon enough, my consulting term was coming to a close. I started looking internally for permanent positions because I now had access into their system. I was able to view whom the hiring managers were, including the recruiters assigned to the open job positions. I now had direct contact.
I had a couple phone interviews, as well as first and second round interview(s), but nothing promising as of yet.
Genentech has an annual holiday shutdown at the end of the year. I thought to myself “Lord, I don’t have a job to come back to after the shutdown.” My initial ‘back up’ plan was to find a seasonal job during the holidays so I can feed my kids and pay rent, while I was searching for a full time position. I just did not want to be without a job and not work while looking for a permanent job.
Then SUDDENLY…oh, how I love happy and amazing “suddenlies,” God’s suddenlies, that is.
I got “The Call”. I was in my cubicle working on relocation and immigration tasks, and the phone rang.
“Hello, Mary. How are you? I am so pleased to tell you that the hiring manager and the entire interview team loved you and we would love to offer you the position if you are still interested.” – Are you kidding me?!? If I was still interested? – Ah, I had the biggest grin on my face. I was overjoyed and I replied, “Yes, I would love that, thank you so much. This is the best Christmas and New Year’s present ever!!” The recruiter chuckled and said they were so pleased and that my new hire (wow…”new hire”…sigh…) start date was the first working day of 2009.
A Thankful Whisper
Immediately, after I hung up the phone, I knelt down in my cubicle, closed my eyes, lifted up my hands, and whispered “Thank You, Lord”. No one was visible. Just God and me. Then I resumed working. Because of God, I had a job to go back to after the shutdown and it was permanent. My green badge would transition to a blue badge.
HAPPY to “Infinity and Beyond”!!!
I was elated because I would be equipped to take better care of my sons. It was one of the most happiest moments in the my life, because my sons meant the world to me.
A Second Turnaround
Remember the company I left? They had undergone their second lay off, and I felt so blessed knowing He was leading me way before it occurred, even if I did not “see” how and what He was up to. But again, He knew. Worry not needed. Only faith. Not even big faith.
Faith as small as a mustard seed.
Giving God Glory
I finally told everyone that I left a full-time position with benefits for a 6-week temporary position at a “dream-company” in hopes to become an employee, and how God orchestrated the whole thing.
God cared for us five and it was clear how much so…
At Genentech, employees are entitled to a 6-week sabbatical every sixth working year.
January 2015 marks my sixth year at Genentech, and I am entitled to my very first 6-week sabbatical. I also have the option to combine my annual 3-week vacation, and simply enjoy an extended and blissful holiday. We are in awe of Him.
He LOVES us
The scenarios mentioned above – the limousine rescue, the Prius, God restoring my skin, and the blue badge journey – are just a few of the examples of one mother’s simple faith and trust in a good and loving Father, and how He provided for my family far beyond human understanding…
About 15 years later…