Four Leaf Clover Bible
I became a Christian at the age of 11, & I love to read my Bible. Actually, I have several Bibles, because I was once involved in a Bible study program that delved into homiletics. In those days, we did not have access to online Bibles, so I purchased different versions of them for comparison purposes. Some of them even have built in study guides. However, my very favorite Bible is a small new King James version from 1988. It is the Bible that I have carried to church constantly for nearly 30 years. I have read and used it so many times that all of the tabs have fallen off of the edges of the pages. Once it even fell into a toilet. Fortunately, the water was clean! My children played with it when they were little. I have scribbled notes in it. But the thing that stands out the most is a little sticker that I placed on one of the pages a few years ago.
When I was growing up, we did not have Bible journaling sessions. People did not color in their Bibles. Most of the writing was an occasional note from the preacher here or there that especially touched a chord. In previous generations, Bibles were used to record family genealogies, & important information such as birth & death, before the era of government certifications regarding those major life events. So it was not until recent days that I began underlining parts & verses that had touched me in a particular manner. And prior to my divorce, I doubt that I would ever have placed a sticker inside of my Bible.
To be clear, I did not say “I Do” to one day turn around & say “I Don’t.” But sometimes divorce is necessary. Besides that is story for another day. But here where I live, contested divorces can get very ugly, & worse than that, our backed up court system can mean that they take a very long time to accomplish the process, as in my case, which dragged on for nearly two interminable years.
Living in this same house with an unhappy spouse wears down even the most optimistic of souls. So I did any variety of things to keep myself busy. I did whatever I could to stay out of the volatile atmosphere of that house. I joined a gym. I went to activities with a Meet-Up group for women. I reconnected with girl friends, some of whom I had long since lost touch with prior to that time. I went out sometimes on Friday or Saturday nights to listen to live music with friends. And of course I went to Church, prayed, & read my Bible. And I discovered the joys & challenges of social media. I did a LOT of volunteer work, including being an Ambassador at the local Chamber of Commerce. Anything to keep me out of the tension in that house!
One night, I was meeting with a group of female friends at a restaurant for a “Girl’s Night Out” dinner that I had suggested. On the spur of the moment, I invited another girl from high school that I did not know well, but who I knew was going through a hard time. I arrived a few minutes late, frazzled from a difficult negotiation regarding repairs on the house that I had under contract, and looking very much the worse for wear from having been out showing houses all day in the rain. So when that girl arrived and told me that she had invited a male friend of hers that was also going through a divorce and whom she thought I might enjoy meeting, I was none too happy! I was refusing to date anyone until after my divorce was final. I was not in the mood to meet anyone new. And to top it all off, I looked dreadful! I told her to tell him not to come because it was only women, but she informed me that it was too late, & that he would be arriving momentarily. I ran to the ladies’ restroom, applied a little lipstick & tried to run a brush through my tangled hair.
I cringed. I did not want to entertain a stranger, but I do that for a living when I show real estate, so I decided that I could suffer through. Sure enough, he walked in & sat beside me almost immediately after I got back to the table. But he was a handsome & charismatic man, filled with charm & personality. Something about his quick wit drew me in. Or perhaps it was the pain that was almost hidden beneath his sparkling blue eyes. I’m always a sucker for someone who is hurting. Nonetheless, we became engaged in a conversation to such an extent that a couple of the ladies at the table began texting me with little jokes, because he & I seemed to be enrapt in one another. As dinner drew to a close, I innocently handed him my business card, because he is in a real estate related industry, & that is what I do: I network.
I was so surprised when he texted me upon my arrival home. I was flattered by the attention, as I had never texted with a man before. But I quickly let him know I was not interested in dating until my divorce was final. Somehow we developed a friendship over text. In the ensuing months, we would text off & on about all sorts of things, but mostly just about our divorces. We would encourage each other, & commiserate. Not often, but if things got especially trying, we would have an occasional chat on the phone. I decided that I really liked him, & hoped we would date one day. Some times we would go for weeks with no communication.
Eventually he asked me if I would like to go to a movie, & I agreed, because his mother & kids were our chaperones! And I did break down & meet him for a movie once after that, & we had dinner a couple of times. But each of us had contested & highly contentious divorces, so no dating. Secretly, I hoped that we would date after our divorces were final.
This was long before I had ever heard of SQuire Rushnell’s books “Divine Alignment” & “God Winks.” The concept of a series of unusual coincidences being signs from God was foreign to me & my religious upbringing. But in his writings, Rushnell cites numerous examples of repeated “coincidences” that turn out to be a part of Divine alignment, or God trying to get your attention. These things can be number sequences, things in Nature, phone calls, etc. and though I did not know then during that two year period of my divorce, a Bible verse that I encountered repeatedly in numerous places was just that: God winking at me.
It started one night when I was playing “Bible Roulette”, which is where you are praying about something & ask God to speak to you through a Bible verse. I was getting a divorce at the worst possible time – real estate was a not exactly booming in 2011, as we were still, as a nation, feeling the after effects of the Economic crisis of 2008-2009. And of course, my soon to be ex-husband’s attorney was adversarial, looking for anything at all against me to try to make me look bad in court. Though I had done nothing wrong & had never committed adultery, my own attorney had been successfully playing the game of trying to make me feel as if the other side was “our” mortal enemy. It is always “us” against “them” in contested divorce cases. As I prayed for comfort, I randomly opened my Bible to this verse:
“The Lord is my rock & my fortress & my deliverer, the God of my strength, In whom I will trust. My shield & the horn of my salvation, My stronghold, & My refuge. My Savior, you save me from violence. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, So shall I be saved from my enemies.” – 2 Samuel 22:2-4.
The words leapt off of the page, for this was the exact same verse that I had claimed when I had been embroiled in another spiritual battle of a different nature back in 1997. Back then, I had purchased a paperweight with that verse on it, & put it on my desk as a reminder of impending victory, which indeed did come. Anyway, after that evening, I began seeing that Bible verse turn up frequently, & not just in my Bible, but on plaques in stores, on email devotionals, in sermons at Church, on Christian shows on TV, in houses I was showing, etc. so I knew immediately what to quote to this male friend of mine when he called me one night to chat. He was filled with desperation, because, as sometimes happens in nasty divorces where considerable resources are involved, he was being falsely accused of something. (No, it did not involve me.) I read this verse to him, & prayed with him on the phone.
His battle was much worse than mine, & some days I would just text him that verse & tell him I was praying for him, & for a favorable outcome. One day, he told me he was worried that his luck was running out. Again, I prayed with him. Later that same day, I was standing in the back yard of a home I was showing, & I looked down to see that I was standing in a bed of clover. There was a four leaf clover! I stooped & plucked that little clover. Though I used to look for four leaf clovers in beds of clover when I was a child, that was the very first one I had ever found in my entire life! So I snapped a picture of it on my cell phone, & texted it to him as a sign that his luck was about to change for the better. Later, at home, I randomly opened my Bible to insert that clover to press it, & sure enough, it fell open to 2 Samuel 22, so I gently placed that four leaf clover there, & left it there for many months.
Finally, my divorce was final, & I was looking forward to to the prospect of going on my first date since I had met my ex-husband so many years before. This man’s divorce was still not final, but I decided to invite him to stop by my new townhouse for a few minutes, so I could give him a birthday present. We were not dating, but I wanted to give him that clover. So I bought a tiny shadow box, printed out that verse, & glued the clover to it. I thought this might help him get through the final days of his divorce. But I bought myself a four leaf clover sticker, & placed it on that page in my Bible as a reminder that God is faithful to be our refuge & our strength, as He has been mine many times before.
A few weeks later, I met another handsome, charming, & witty man, & fell in love with him. Two days after I agreed to date him exclusively, the first man’s divorce became final, & he called me to invite me out on a real dinner date. I explained that I was in a relationship with someone, but thanked him for the offer. As I hung up the phone, I wept. It was almost as if I was breaking up with a man with whom I had never even been in a relationship. But I loved the man I was dating, & I refused to be disloyal to him. Occasionally, the first guy would text me to see if I was still in that relationship, & each time I would tell him that I was, & wish him well. However, after nineteen months, I separated from my new love, & I found myself once again without a significant other. After many months of being single yet again, I texted the first man, but this time he was in a relationship. But I knew that we had a bond from surviving those extraordinarily stressful divorces, & that we would always be friends.
A couple of months ago, the first man & I reconnected, & had a lovely dinner date, where he came to my home & picked me up for a real date! During dinner, we caught up with all that had transpired since we had last spoken. He told me that he still has the little shadow box with the four leaf clover & that Bible verse in it on his kitchen window sill, where he can see it for encouragement every single morning. It was such a simple gesture on my part, but it goes to show you that the smallest things can sometimes have a lasting impact.
After dinner, we went back to my place & rented a movie. We were both exhausted from work, so about half way through, he had to leave, as he lives quite some distance away. It was a very pleasant evening with a dear “old friend.” But the chemistry I thought I felt when we first met just was not there. If ever we go out again, I am sure it would just be as friends this time. Yet I know that God did bring us together for a reason. It just was not for the reason I originally thought.
Something may be happening in your life, & you do not understand the reason. Hold on. You may understand it – eventually. After reading this, I hope that you will think of some small gesture that you can make towards a friend who is going through a tough time. Whatever it is that your heart comes up with to do, I assure you that they need it!
As for me? I got another God wink this morning. After seeing that verse & that clover sticker in my Bible yesterday, I decided to write this blog post. But I had to write an offer on a house instead. I awakened this morning thinking again about writing it. But I hesitated. Then I saw a sweet friend’s Facebook post. She is struggling with some things right now, & her son had picked her several four leaf clovers for good luck. I told her that is a sign that her luck is about to change. And it was a sign for me to write this – for whom, I do not know. But I hope you find a four leaf clover somewhere today. Or at least read 2 Samuel 22:2-4. God IS your rock, your FORTRESS, & YOUR deliverer! Good luck is on its way.
P. S. Thanks, God, for winking at me, today!
– Lou Lehman Sams