Not the Book Series
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is a book series that many grew up reading. It has now turned into a Netflix series with three seasons. If I asked many people what exactly a series of unfortunate events was, they would simply answer with that: A series of unfortunate events. I, on the other hand, would use it to describe a week in my life last November.
Last November, I had quite possibly the worst week in my life. A series of three unfortunate events would happen, and as a result, change my life forever. Those three unfortunate events also taught me quite possibly the best lessons I may ever learn in my life.
The first week of November last year started off with a minor car accident me and some friends got into. Although the car was totaled, my friends and I were okay. The car accident itself did not injure me, but mentally, triggered something in me from the major car accident I got into several months earlier. The next few days were spent resting and trying to navigate a weird anxiety that had been imprinted in me.
The next unfortunate event that has truly changed my life happened that Saturday. My college roommate and I went out to lunch to catch up and share how the Lord had been working on our hearts recently. While waiting for our food, we both were on our phones when I decided to check Facebook. Sparing some details, I learned that my biological father and stepmom were in a car accident that ended both of their lives a few days prior. As you can probably imagine, not the best way, or area, to find out that life altering news happened. My roommate at the time handled it way better than I think I would have, in her shoes. We prayed, I cried and sat in my dorm, 6 hours away from home without any family around.
Lastly, the day before I planned on driving home to the Bay Area, I got extremely sick, and ended up testing positive for both Covid and the flu. I was put in an isolated dorm, and couldn’t leave for ten days. Now, something you should know about me is that I am as extroverted as it gets. Dealing with the grief I was going through, I spent every second I was awake with people. So now being 6 hours away from everything I knew, to being isolated in a dorm while being extremely sick both mentally and physically, left me crying out to the Lord.
I realized I only had two options. I could sit and blame the Lord, and be angry with him, as I process in that way, or I could use it as an opportunity to fully lean on Him, because everything else worldly that I used to use to cope with was stripped away. Although it was hard, I chose the second option, and I’m forever thankful I did.
I would have friends come and visit me every now and then, sitting outside my balcony, but being stuck in a room by yourself for that long without human contact, if you’re not careful, can be a playground for the enemy. I always say, isolation is desolation. But in this case, I didn’t have a choice.
Now … the biggest life lesson I learned.
I truly believe that if I did not lose my dad, and then immediately after, getting as sick as I did, I would not rely on God in the ways I do now. As someone that has tendencies to rely more on people instead of the Lord, this hit me like a truck, but it was needed. My love for community was not tarnished by this, but rather grew deeper, knowing my first priority was the Lord and being in communion with him.
My time in isolation gave me the space to fully surrender and allow the Lord to imprint scriptures on my heart. The main scripture that I truly meditated, prayed over, and proclaimed was Isaiah 40:28-31:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
If I can encourage you with anything, keep your hope firmly in the Lord! The series of unfortunate events could have taken me out, but just as a climber anchored to a rock, I anchored myself unto Jesus. My body and mind were terribly exhausted those few weeks after. I grew weary, but Jesus didn’t. My battle was fought! And won!
The Lord has given me the strength to find healing when I never thought that I would. Healing in the midst of an indescribable heartache. Healing that sometimes looked like an encouragement to do one more day, to find strength to start again when the road seems daunting. What I discovered in the time where I felt exceptionally disheveled, is there is a loving God who has endless grace to fill in the gaps of my brokenness. There truly is a moment there where you learn that the devil can scrap, but the Lord has already won.
I could sit here and complain about that week, or I could sit in gratitude. Gratitude for the people in my life that were praying alongside me. Gratitude for my community group and friends that supported me! Gratitude for my school, as they did the absolute best they could to make me feel as comfortable as possible while I grieved and processed. And most importantly, gratitude for the sovereign God we serve. Jesus is near to the broken hearted, even when it’s a series of unfortunate events. Even when it’s one thing after another, and it seems like you’re being pulled deeper and deeper underneath the surface of the waves, Jesus firmly has you; and that will never change.