Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


How It Came to Be

"Sorry, we're sold out," the lady in the glass hexagon told us. Lauren and I both stared at her, hoping that the longer we stood there, the greater our chances that the answer would change. Finally, we turned away and stood under the marquee, murmuring about our options.

"I'll go inside," Lauren decided, "and see if they have any tickets there."

"Okay?" I answered, highly skeptical that the inside ticket sellers would be hoarding tickets when the outside ones were empty handed and apparently oblivious. "I'll stand out here and look pathetic."

Joshua Bell is one of the great violinists of our time--do not be deceived by his disarmingly youthful good looks. He is forty-four and has been a serious violinist since the age of twelve, having now recorded over two dozen albums, in addition to movie soundtracks, received the prestigious Avery Fisher prize, and been appointed Music Director at my favorite orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. So one might imagine the ecstasy of Lauren and I on our sweltering August birthday last year when our parents and siblings gave us each a ticket to experience Joshua Bell playing the Shostakovitch Violin Concerto (changed in the last month to the Brahms Violin Concerto) with the Oregon Symphony.

Snow was the last thing on our minds.

Nevertheless, as the monthly countdown melted into a weekly countdown and then into days, the weather report obstinately insisted that snow was predicted for the Northwest. We were all nerves, anxiously hoping our special day would not be snowed out. Sure enough, Sunday dawned cold and white, and though we made it to church safely, Mama was decidedly uncomfortable with the thought of Lauren and I driving to Portland on our own. At this point, our dear Papa volunteered to take us, reluctantly deciding that he could spring for a $45 ticket (the cheapest available at this late date).

Through relatively excellent road conditions we drove, making it to the beautiful Arlene Schnitzer concert hall in downtown Portland, where Papa dropped us off to investigate tickets while he began the arduous task of locating a parking spot. And yet, we were immediately informed of this terrible news that there were no more tickets available. I felt glum and melancholy as I stood outside the Hall, knowing that Papa would cheerfully brush off the fact that he had taken the long trip to bring his daughters to Portland, only to sit in the car or a coffee shop for 2 1/2 hours waiting to drive them home.

I turned to look at the entrance, watching people flood the doors with white and orange tickets clutched in their gloved hands. I didn't have to worry about looking pathetic--it came quite naturally. A coupled moved in front of me, blocking my view.

The man held up his ticket in the air. "I have an extra ticket," he began loudly. I was right there, and I jumped and exclaimed, "Yes!" I had been lost in my own world, not thinking about him, not preparing to pounce. But in the split second after I had reacted, two men behind the ticket benefactor also jumped forward to claim the ticket. Truly, the Spirit had prepared and prompted me, for I was now the rightful possessor of one $62 ticket, gratefully pouring out my thanks to the couple and explaining the situation.

I pulled Lauren out of line, and we jumped around gleefully, waiting for Papa to walk up so we could pretend we had spent $62 of his money on a ticket. The concert, which included not only Joshua Bell and his own genius cadenza, but also Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, and two Oregon Symphony premieres, one a Baroque piece--The Battle--by Adriano Banchieri, and the other a gorgeous Sinfonietta by Leos Janacek, was breathtaking. Joshua Bell was astounding. Meeting Joshua Bell was exhilarating. And going out to coffee afterwards with Papa was delightful.

Yesterday, as Lauren and I rested in the snow from our sledding endeavors with the kids, she asked, "Did you think why God sent snow?"

I paused, blank faced, thinking about the allegories of snow and purity and the wonderful application snow can have on our spiritual lives. But as Lauren explained, I realized what she meant. We bemoaned the snow and worried about its coming all week, hoping and praying the God would keep it at bay so we could attend our much-anticipated concert. God, however, had a much more magnificent plan in store for us. Even as Papa agreed to come, wondering where $45 would fit in the budget, God had it all worked out. And then, when the ticket lady told us they were all sold out--that was God's providence too.

Lauren showed me this passage that had come to her mind about Sunday:

"By the breath of God ice is given,
      And the broad waters are frozen.
 Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds;
      He scatters His bright clouds.
 And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance,
      That they may do whatever He commands them
      On the face of the whole earth.
 He causes it to come,
      Whether for correction,
      Or for His land,
      Or for mercy.
 'Listen to this, O Job;
      Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.'"
~Job 37:10-14
Such a small thing really, but oh so precious to me. I rest confidently in my God, knowing that each turn of events in my life are for my good and God's glory.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
   Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What an awesome story! The way God provides for us while we're worrying about it is so wonderful! We have such an amazing God!
    Glad you enjoyed the concert! :-)

  2. Amen! What a special treat not only for you but for your earthly Father and for God. I bet it made God happy knowing the special plans he had for you, your sister, and your dad. Then to see you delight in those plans, to find scripture that speaks further truth about those plans, and to witness to your readers. God is so amazing!

  3. Emily--I know! Our God is awesome, amen and amen.

    Brandy--I just smile all the more broadly to read you putting it like that. His eye is on the sparrow, and all the more on each one of us.

    Debbie Lynne--Thank you! Great to hear from you again!

  4. Thats awesome that you got to hear him!
    I was able to hear him for the third time in December. You should come over here- he comes to the "area" about every other year. And tickets are usually only $20 - $30.

  5. What a blessing - and how fun! I love when God opens our eyes to see how He provides for not only our needs but also our pleasure!

  6. Elizabeth--three times! How cool is that! He does tend to tour on the West coast about every other year, but it just hasn't ever worked out for us to go. Our tickets aren't that cheap you think I can justify a plane ticket so I can save on the concert ticket? ;-)

    Sarah--I know!

  7. That is wonderful Mikaela! I love how God works things out in His own way and His own timing! We serve a great God! And I'm all ready for you forgetting this time!

  8. One more reason {the greatest} to love snow!! :)

  9. Andrea--we do indeed. How can I ever forget His sovereignty and providence? (But I do!)

    Kaytra--aha! Girl after my own heart. ;-)

  10. @Mikaela - Of course it does. If you plan it right, we'll do two concerts in one week. This year alone I got to hear Sarah Chang, Gil Shaham, and Josh Bell. Living only an hour from SPAC (summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and an hour and a half from the Albany symphony, we have it good.
    And, I would absolutely love to have you out here!!

  11. I loved this story and am so excited that y'all got to hear Josua Bell! He is such an incredible violinist and I would love to hear him live! Isn't it amazing how God works even the smallest things for good? We serve an amazing Creator!

  12. Elizabeth--you do have it good. And I would love to visit you! The time is not right, but I hope and pray that God will work it out in the future!

    Jacqueline--When he comes to your area, you should definitely go see him. It is worth it! And God is so good--I wholeheartedly agree. I wonder how many of the small details He has worked out in my life have I missed?

  13. I loved reading this story and reading how God put together all of the details. I have had those "rearranged" special events that turned out better than originally planned - usually because God had something better in mind. ; ) I am so happy you were able to hear Joshua Bell live! Even though I was in the "nose-bleed" seats when I heard him a couple of years ago, I was mesmerized by his abilities. I also loved how approachable he was afterwards. :)

  14. Ruthie--that's wonderful that you got to see him too! When and where? What did he play? Yes, I was thrilled that he was signing afterwards, and he was so kind and friendly.


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