Friends, consider this Part II of how I know God loves me. I’m going to share the three major ways in the past three weeks that prayers have been answered in my life over and above what I could have imagined. This is Thankful Tuesday at its most giddy.
1. Three (or was it four?) weeks ago in the midst of my most self-pitying weeks of pregnancy nausea, I had an in-bed tearfest to Chris about much I miss ministry. Though I always miss the high school kids I worked with, I most missed being part of the lives of the volunteer leaders I mentored. Most of them were in college or just out, most were struggling through dating relationships and quarter-life angst, and most of the girls I met with were people I just wanted to be friends with. I miss long coffee chats. I miss challenging them, teaching them, and sharing my life with them.
If I’m recalling correctly, my tears that night were something along the lines of: how can I ever get to know younger women again when I’m stuck in Mom World? And even if I did meet them, I can’t really invest in their lives. I’d have to demand they come to me. That night when the weeping subsided I think I asked God to show me what I can do to serve. I don’t want my life to become so obsessed with my own children that I fail to see the need around me. I was asking God for some sort of opportunity I couldn’t name.
A few days later I got the most random sort of email from a girl I’d met through a Young Life friend (she’s a leader here in SF) and whom I’d run into every once in a while at church. She, on behalf of her Bible study group of twenty something single women from my church was asking me to teach them, based on reading my blog. (What?! Seriously, you all know what a spiritual mess I appear to be in this thing.) It was miraculous. And I love these girls. And so far, they don’t hate me. But I think it’s because I keep feeding them chocolate. I’m so grateful to have the chance to teach them.
2. Around the same time, I had a conversation with a mentor and friend from Philadelphia. She’s one of the smartest women I’ve ever known, a physicist and professor at Swarthmore who, along with her gifted husband, is raising her two incredibly talented children (her daughter’s poems are stunning) and living a beautiful life of faith in Jesus. I admire her so much.
Catherine wanted to know how my writing was going. She knows I’m trying to write a book and she wanted to know if I was actually giving myself time to write or simply setting unrealistic expectations and then feeling guilty. Basically, I was doing the latter, trying to write during naptime but feeling forced to spend half of that time doing dishes or checking tasks off a list. Not the most fruitful way to write a book.
Her advice to me was significant. If I really believe God is calling me to write this book at this point in my life, she said, then I need to find a way to have child care. I knew she was right but our budget had no room left for August do more than go to his art preschool program one morning a week.
Did I even pray about this or just feel bummed? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter though. Enter miraculous email number 2. This one was from the SF Young Life Metro Director. He asked me to consider doing ten hours worth of admin work per week (from home!) and it just so happens that I already know how to do all of it. The money I’ll make is enough to get my boy to school three mornings a week, time that I’ll devote to writing. Answer to an unprayed prayer? Yes. A beautiful answer. I will love working with Young Life again, even if it means doing administration.
3. We found a home. Not just an adequate home that we could afford. We somehow found a home we should not be able to afford. It’s that lovely. It has all the things I longed for: It’s in the city. It has parking. It has a washer/dryer. It has a big enough second room for a two year old and a baby. But, then, it goes over and above. Bay windows with sunshine streaming in. A bathtub I’ve dreamed about. Carpet on the floor in August’s room that he can play on all day long. A stove that my husband can’t stop smiling when he thinks about. Four blocks from our church. And, I’d had no idea: one block from the Young Life office. How did I not know where the YL office was? I don’t know. But, I have to believe that God lined up every detail for us, even down to how easy it’s going to be for August and I to stop by the office and get work done.
I don’t understand how God works. I don’t understand how he can be involved in the most minor of details in my life and still allow another woman and her children to sleep in the open on the streets. In fact, that is a problem I cannot reconcile. But, what I can say is that I believe God loves me and I believe he wants me to know he’s willing to not only meet my specific needs, but to lavish sweet things on me.
When I watched Chris’ face as he saw the stove in our new kitchen for the first time this Saturday, I understood how God must find such joy in giving us good gifts. There are plenty of things I don’t deserve and I don’t understand. But, right now, I’m so thankful that I’ve been given so much.