When my children were very little, my husband worked very long hours. Most of the time, I was the one carting them to Wednesday night church services by myself. I remember this particular night, I didn’t want to go. I was forcing it, but I was plumb exhausted, my kids were tired and cranky, and I knew I’d end up in the cry room with them for a good portion of the service. I attempted to change each of them into clothes that didn’t have crusted food or boogers stuck to them. My children all have the same quality I had as a child. If the clothes don’t feel right, complete meltdown ensues. I’m talking, sweating, itching, hyperventilating, tears and mass insanity. I tried to dress my daughter in a cute little top, and she was fighting back like a ninja octopus. I couldn’t find a tank top for her to wear underneath this shirt, to save my life. She always wanted a tank top, and this time was no exception and she was not accepting the fact that I didn’t have one.
I was frustrated and griping to myself, when I was loading them into our minivan. Alli was still screaming like an angry pterodactyl, as I struggled to buckle her writhing body into a carseat. It was summer here in Phoenix, and that meant 3rd degree finger burns, as I fumbled with the metal seatbelt buckle, struggling to keep it away from any of her exposed skin. I was sweating buckets, My shirt was stuck to my back, I was annoyed at life, and as I listened to her screams of anger at our deficient wardrobe options, She screamed, “It itches! Mama! Take it off! Itchy!Moooommmaaaaaa!!!!” As I drove to church, I remember praying, “God, you are gonna have to help me. I know my attitude is bad. I feel like I just should stay home, but I think I need church tonight, and I need some major help if I am going to do this.”
As a Mom, or even anyone who is tasked with entertaining small children during church, it can be a draining task. Sometimes it feels like you so desperately want to feel the spirit, have some solace, and concentrate. What you are met with instead, is a frustration at keeping your kids entertained so they don’t disrupt, while hoping they somehow are absorbing any of the service, even if it’s by osmosis. I personally love that our kids stay in the chapel with us, but at times it has been very stressful. What I’m getting at, is that I needed some solace and to feel that spirit.
I managed to get all 3 kids out of our minivan, with Alli still actively trying to rip her shirt from her body like an angry Hulk. I was holding onto her shirt trying to keep her covered as she fought me, and I took her into the kitchen area of our church. I was trying to calm her down, short of an elephant tranquilizer dart. I’d begun to seriously regret coming. As I thought, I should have just put them to bed, read some scriptures to myself, and not gone. I looked at her sweating with hair stuck to her face. She was out of her gourd, with snot streaked across her red cheeks. I wasn’t going in that chapel. I had a toddler who looked like she was reinacting a Karate match. I’d find someone to fetch my four year old and and six year old boys, and I was going back home.
I heard the front doors of the church swing open. I peeked my head around the corner, to see my sister in law coming inside. She was running late like we were, and spotted Alli and I immediately. Erica walked right to me with her arm outstretched clutching something. She said, “Hi, I forgot to bring this back last time the kids hung out and spent the night at my house.” Then she held up one of Alli’s tank tops. My jaw dropped. I began to cry. I immediately started to redress Alli, while quickly telling Erica about the reason Alli had lost her pea picking mind, and why I was about to. The tank top being returned on that day, at that time, and in just the moment I needed it most…was not a coincidence. God had just reassured me that He knew every detail and desire in my life. He knew the smallest detail, down to the tank top of my two year old. Erica and I hugged, both of us with tears in our eyes. Alli was calm almost immediately, and I was able to enjoy a wonderful service.
I have heard testimonies that knocked my socks off, but the ones that are dearest to me, are the ones where I felt God saying, “Amy, I know you.” Sometimes our concerns seem small in the scheme of things. I wish every day to have a healthy body. Though it has been nearly eight years of serious health concerns, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been blessed. There have been countless blessings, some that seem small, and some that would blow your mind. Even though my biggest trial remains a mountain I continue to climb, God knows what I need to keep climbing. That is a miracle. Just that He even cares about tiny little peon of dust…me.
A friend of ours shared a testimony on Sunday, about his relationship with each of his four children. How they are each so different. He communicates differently and connects differently with each of his children. It even took him longer to foster a relationship with one of them, yet that relationship is no less precious to him. He loves them all.
As he spoke, I reflected on the many varying ways that we are exactly like this with God. He speaks to us each differently, teaches us each differently, knows each of our strengths, weaknesses, and needs, on an individual basis. He knows each of us down to even the tiny tank top details.
A very close friend of ours, has nine kids. They are a large wonderful Italian family, that have been family to us for years. Tom and Linda adopted us when we lived in Ohio, while I was growing up. We were invited to their family functions, holidays and Bible studies. They are family. Linda told me a testimony I’ve never forgotten. Tom had a massive heart attack fairly young, at his daughter’s high school basketball game. He’d been in the hospital and Linda had been running like crazy from the hospital and trying to care for 9 kids. She knew they were out of Tide, paper towels, and toilet paper. She was too exhausted to stop at the store on her way home and she may have even forgotten, and I’m not sure how long they’d been out of those things, but they needed that stuff in a dire way and she didn’t have it. She pulled up to her house, and next to the front door, someone had dropped off Tide, paper towels, and toilet paper.
The testimonies of others, carried me through my early life, but there came a time, that I needed my own testimony. I needed my own personal relationship with God. It was in hardship that I learned quickly, that the faith and blessings of other’s can encourage me, but it won’t get me into the pearly gates. Having a deep one on one relationship with God, means that God knows you. That is pretty much exactly what I want to hear when I arrive at those gates, and I see Jesus right in front of me. I want him to feel familiar and close. I want him to open his arms wide so I can be embraced by the same arms I’ve been running to my whole life. I want him to say,” Welcome home.” It is my very worst fear, that he would say, ” I never knew you: depart from me,”
21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Even the Pharisees knew about Jesus. However, the Pharisees didn’t know Jesus. They never took the time to get to know him intimately, befriend, or understand him. They only were associated with him. They wanted Jesus to fit in their box. There is a difference between having a personal relationship with God, or an association with Him. An association isn’t enough. The intimacy has got to be there to have direction, discernment, reassurance and faith.
When we are really seeking God and even struggling or needing encouragement, these tank top, Tide, paper towel, and toilet paper miracles, are God. This is Him letting us know, I know you, I love you, and I will care for even the smallest details. These miracles aren’t small. These miracles are huge. They are the difference between thinking something is a coincidence, or knowing that we have a God who is coordinating a huge plan, not only for us individually, but for the good of all mankind. He is always wanting to be closer to us. He wants us to know Him, and that is why He has given us every benefit. He has made a way for us to speak to Him, approach His throne, learn of Him through scripture, and even sent His son to be a direct example of who He is and what He wants us to be.
The personal close relationship with him and our Heavenly Father, is the only thing that can take the fear out of facing him some day. It’s the glorious difference between Him saying my worst fear, or my greatest hope. It’s the difference in me knowing him, and him knowing me. So even if what God shows forth in miracles, seems small to the eyes of man, they are not small at all. The fact that you have a God who knows you down to the smallest desire of your heart…is nothing short of miraculous. It is the most important miracle of each of our lives. To know God, and for Him to know us.
I love you each. I hope you enjoy this song. It really struck a chord with me many years ago, and I still love it. It is by Addison Road, called “What Do I Know of Holy. ” Huge hugs, my friends!