For years I have pleaded, “God if you’re real, show a sign. God if you’re real, break my heart to make a change. God if you’re real, please deliver me.”
But I’ll tell you…
Tonight, God did my dishes.
Tonight, God crawled under my bed, dusted, and swept top to bottom.
Tonight, God brought pizza.
No, no. I am not crazy or some lunatic, but I experienced God. I felt him. He is more real than anything I have ever known in my entire life as if I could touch him, hug him, and enjoy his company like he was my dinner date.
It’s all because at my lowest point, God failed my expectations.
The weight of the world sat on my chest and I cried out to him, begging him to take it from me, to solve my problems, and to let my friends reply to my desperate text message by 5:10pm if he expected me to do anything other than cry the rest of the night.
He did not deliver what I asked for.
Instead, he showed me such immeasurable love that I cannot put it into words. What I didn’t know was that the text I sent out at 4:45 was gotten and was heard by God. Instead of me going anywhere, God brought them to me.
The vulnerability of stepping out and sending that text changed my night and quite honestly my life.
Before you say, “I don’t even have a community” please know I was there too. Just a few years ago I remember the loneliness of raising my kids without many friends and no one to call upon in both my joys and shortcomings.
Over time, as our family has begged God to provide a parenting village. And he has.
He called us to action first. It wasn’t until we started taking the opportunities to serve others that real friendships and community were placed in our lives. When we moved, we made the commitment to live near the church we attended (which actually took making a hard decision to leave a church we were in after finding one near our home) and God has blessed us for following through.
We’re no martyrs. Nor are we perfect. In fact, we’re pretty messed up.
But we try. We try to be present when needed. We try to help to meet needs. We have also learned that true sacrifice leads to the greatest joys. Whether it’s waking up a little earlier or spending a little extra money on those who need more than we do… or stupid things like bringing some bowls to a get-together.
It all counts.
It all matters to someone else.
And when we make life about those around us, that’s when it gets good. You see, just as life seemed to be feeling normal and do-able, spiritual warfare struck. We were hit with multiple financial struggles and shocks in a single week. So as a cried and lost control of my own emotions, I hastily sent that text.
But instead of God fulfilling a request, He showed me he can provide something so much bigger, something better, and something I could never have dreamed.
Three women and their children marched into my home with boxes of pizzas and happy hearts. They hugged me and encouraged me while asking what they could do. It started with them taking our dog, Samson, outside. But it ended with my house spotless… even under the bed.
No, I am not saying these women are God themselves, but because of them, I know who God is.
I have seen the hands and feet of Christ work.
I have experienced selfless love extended to my family.
I know what it means to have joy and a heart of service.
It may seem like such a small act of service on their part. But through their love and encouragement, what seemed like such a mountain before they showed up at my doorstep, now feels manageable. It feels as if we can ask God to rescue us from our current state and provide the car, the house, and the finances we need …and that he’ll say no…and then show us what we really need in a more beautiful way than we could have previously imagined.
In my fight to find truth, the lukewarm-ness and the hypocrisy of mainstream Christianity I have found myself questioning even the existence of God in my darkest hours. This time, I instead found light and purpose in what seemed like a hopeless situation. Others stepped up to fill the needs I couldn’t have dreamed of accomplishing in a week of diligent effort.
Clarity came in the shower after they left. My understanding of God, not just from a distance or on paper, but personally happened as I was singing “As the wind blows, you are my shelter. When I’m lost and alone, you’re next to me. And when the lion comes, you are my victory. You are constantly watching over me.”
That was the moment I realized, God sends his people to be the protection, to be the friend, and to conquer the devil like the lion.
So if you really want to encounter God, first be his hands and feet to others, and it will be brought back ten-fold in ways unimaginable in your current situation.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!