It’s always cool to see when God drops you into someone’s life for a moment and for a reason…

Today, I met Katheryne when I checked into my new hotel in Houston. I’ve been in Texas for five days for a retreat and I arranged to stay an extra day to catch up on some writing away from the distractions of home.

As it turns out, God seemed to be doing some arranging of His own…

While she checked me at the new hotel, Katheryne looked at my age on my drivers license and asked how I stayed looking so young.

I gave her $100 for asking that. Ha!

I told Katheryne that I prayed each day, worked out, ate well, and got lots of sleep. I also mentioned that I speak kindly to myself, even when I make mistakes.

As I signed the hotel paperwork, Katheryne asked if I had kids and then she told me about her busy little toddler boy.

Then, she asked if I was married.

I told her that I was recently divorced.

She didn’t say anything for a few seconds. I looked up.  While that sweet young woman was trying to be professional at work, the reality of life at home began to show up on her face.

She told me that she’d been separated for two months

I walked over to the edge of the counter and asked if I could give her a hug.

She said yes. I hugged her. Katheryne looked like she was around the age of my 24 year old daughter. She was far too young to experience such a heartache.

I asked if I could pray for her. She said yes. So I did.

I asked God to remind Katheryne that she was never alone and that He was always present with her. I asked Him to send people to surround her, support her, and love her through this.

I opened my eyes to see tears falling down her face.

Since Katheryne was at work, I kept the prayer brief. But she said that she felt better. She felt calm and peaceful. Katheryne added, “Sometimes I pray once every four or five days, but I think that I need to do it each day.”

I smiled. I don’t know what happened to her relationship or to her husband. But it’s none of my business. It’s not for me to figure out who was at fault. Too often we like to do that because we base our compassion on a sliding scale of how much we think that someone messed up.

Instead, I chose to be present in her pain. To show her love and remind her that God loves her.

Since I’ve walked on the broken, bumpy road of a wrecked relationship that she now travels, Katheryne felt safe enough to be real since I was like a temporary older sister who shared her story.

I didn’t have to give her advice or try to fix her feelings. I could say “I’m so sorry that this has happened.” And I could be give thanks that out of brokenness, I feel like a big sister in a silent group of women sitting alone on Sunday mornings. These are the women who often feel like failures or second-class Christians wearing the oft-embarrassing and painful “Scarlet D.” They remain painfully silent because they’ve learned the hard way that sometimes that is the only way they can avoid criticism, being shamed, or hold onto their church. I’ve learned to embrace the blessing that comes with being able to see them, meet them, and whisper a different kind of “Me, too.”

While marriage loss is always tragic, God has freed me from the guilt, the shame, and the weight of that “Scarlet D” that tends to crush the already broken pieces of a divorce-shattered heart. On the other side of freedom, I feel so strongly about showing up and loving on women who feel isolated, alone, and unloved. While it isn’t the main thing that God has called me to do, it’s a privilege that I’ve come to cherish.

As I wheeled my bags away from the front desk, I was so grateful that I stayed an extra day in Houston to catch up on some work. Usually I don’t tack a day onto a long trip because I prefer to get back home to my pajamas and favorite tea mugs.

I’m praying that I get a lot of words on the page today for my next book. But I’m already thankful that God gave me a chance to meet Katheryne.

Would you pray with me for Katheryne today?

Dear God, we thank you that there are no coincidences in life. Thank you for the opportunity to meet Katheryne. And while our paths may never cross again, I am grateful to know that you are present with her each second of every day. I pray that Katheryne remembers that you were always with her and for her. I pray that you give her wisdom and provision in this very tender season of her life. Surround her with wise and trusted voices and continue to draw her closer to you. In Jesus name, amen.