When the days are hard and it all seems too overwhelming it is good to know God purposely puts people in our life to make sure we get through those days (or nights as it may be).
Right around dinner yesterday, I received a message with a picture of three adorable kids in Christmas jammies and a message on a big whiteboard that said their prayer was, "Casey and Johnny for JOY this Christmas." How did they know my mind was wandering and I was wishing Charlie was here with us for Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season? I obviously always want Charlie and wish he was here but yesterday it felt heavier than normal and it absolutely NEVER fails that these friends send a message on my worst days. Why am I surprised a text came through on a hard day from some of our most loving and selfless friends?
Last night I couldn't sleep. I get to this "point of no return" where the silence in my home makes me restless and more simply put, sad. I was awake in bed so I got up, I went downstairs, and the tears came.
I decided to look up a couple of advent devotions. It was something to distract me, which is what I have learned I have to do sometimes. I came across one that was sent to my email from our church, Crossroads. They sent it out to all the families that are apart of our Kids Club. For the beginning of this advent season this particular devotion was written perfectly.
Jesus "crashed into the world" to show us the incredible love our Father has for his children. The devotion suggested that as a family we make a list of all the ways God surprises us because God's surprises always reveal his love. Last night and this morning I experienced exactly what this devotion was referring to but I didn't realize it until now. God knew that devotion would be sent to my email and he knew that it would lead me to a place of recognizing that I need the support of the people around me. Every single one of them, I need them. Why am I surprised God showed up in that email and taught me an invaluable lesson through my kids devotion?
I sent a message to five of my best friends at midnight last night when I needed to sleep but I couldn't after many failed attempts. I explained that I just needed them to pray that my eyes would close. It is apparent that these prayer warriors came through for me because I fell asleep on the couch far sooner than I typically would when these nights come in waves. I was actually so soundly asleep that at one point in the night I got up and went to my bed, but I don't remember moving a muscle once I finally closed my eyes. Why am I surprised God showed up in those precious friends and their sweet prayers?
I slept a little later than normal but once I mustered up enough courage to face the day I got dressed and made a lunch I could look forward to eating. I needed something "good" to look forward to in order to make it to the halfway point of the day; as strange as that seems.
So I made my way into school and immediately went to my room. I walked into my classroom close to when school was starting and was greeted by a sweet friend with a gift in a fun red bag. She had mentioned the day before that she had bought my birthday gift and was very excited to give it to me. Apparently she couldn't wait. (God thing?) I opened the gift and found a beautiful handmade bracelet that was crafted from a vintage silver spoon. The spoon read, "Hope Anchors the Soul." Why am I surprised that God showed up this morning in a friend that knows me like we've been friends our whole lives?
These four "big surprises" aren't really surprises. They are God putting his hand on me in a very physical way to provide some sort of comfort in this lonesome, sad, and debilitating season of my life. He knew what I needed and it doesn't surprise me anymore. It is normal when you have Him with you. It is normal to feel His hand and His comfort when you most need Him. That is just one promise we have when He is in our heart.