A few years ago I had the absolute pleasure of meeting a six-year-old who lit up the world with her innocence and smile. There is something beautiful about children who say whatever is on their minds and sometimes you aren’t even sure how they come up with what they do or why. We were sitting in a Dairy Queen, she was dipping her french fries into her blizzard and she says to me, “Did you know that when you go to Heaven you get to see Unicorns and meet God and Jesus?”
This simple statement, so matter of fact, her eyes sparkling with wonder, pierced my heart. I felt such a joy at the thought of being embraced by God, Jesus and seeing a unicorn saunter by… could you imagine? Caught in the middle of my laugh she looked at me and her expression became very serious. “Do you know God and Jesus?”
The boldness was inspiring. “Yes,” I said, “Yes, I know God and Jesus very well.” She was satisfied with my answer and went on about her business eating her ice cream and fries.
Though it was years ago, I remember that exchange clearly. I had journaled about it and what God had inspired at that moment in my life when all I could possibly focus on was the given moment because the next minute, hour, day and week were caught in the void of unknown. I journaled about how comforting and inspiring it was to know this beautiful, precious gift embraced God, Jesus … and unicorns! This little girl before me, who in many ways could have resembled a near replica of me at that age with the near platinum blond hair and wide, brilliant smile, felt safe and secure in knowing God was someone you should know.
A few weeks later I sat in my old childhood bedroom, my refuge after an era of life that had come to pass, and I sat in a trance contemplating this odd place I was in. I was there to be a support and strength for my mom who most likely found herself in the same void as I since my father had passed away earlier that year, and me, a divorced Catholic, not sure how to move forward and still be the Godly woman the Lord had been developing with great care over the past decade. It was an absolute world of ‘unknown’. I felt God say to me, “Trust in what I provide, in my plan. I will give you what you need.”
Later that morning my mom and I went to an afternoon Mass that was being offered for my dad and my aunt who had passed one week after my father. Attendance was scarce as it was held in the middle of the day. But the impact was both comforting and confirming. The first reading was Numbers 11:4-15. The children of Israel were frustrated and complaining because they had been taken from their homeland and all they had to eat was their daily provision of manna given to them by the Lord. They were remembering all they had in their past, all the options that seemed so much better than the manna.
The Gospel reading was Matthew 14:13-21. The story of the loaves and fishes. If you are not familiar, there was a crowd of thousands who had followed Jesus and His disciples, but all the disciples had to feed the crowd was five loaves and two fish. Jesus blessed the food and instructed the disciples to feed the crowd…as they gave out portions to the crowd, it multiplied and fed everyone with twelve baskets full of leftovers.
When the priest gave his homily he pointed out the correlation between the two readings and made the point that in both cases God provided, took care of, and gave each group exactly what they needed to survive. Being that there weren’t many people in the church I felt like he looked at me directly and said, “We can’t look back on what we had or what once was. We are to trust in God’s provision as each day comes.”
I looked at my mom and we both got tears in our eyes. Not that my mom needs physical or monetary provision, but she needed a daily dose of courage, strength and comfort. We grabbed hands and squeezed. God has us.
God has us. And we can trust Him when we know Him.
Five years has now passed. My mom is comfortable in a new home, surrounded by a community that looks after one another and gives her the support and care she craves. She has blossomed in ways I never thought my mother needed. Before, my father’s presence was so powerful I believe my mom inadvertently claimed space to being in my dad’s shadow, and now I see her taking center stage.
As for myself, the decades of prayers I had laid at His feet and were never answered are now simply tear stains on an old journal page. Where once I felt they would remain the thorn in my side, and I would never be able to know a life without their pain, there is now only a scar. The Lord heard my cries and though the journey to get to a place of ultimate healing and refuge felt at times treacherous, bleak, and even unpassable, when I showed up in prayer He shined His light on the next step, reminding me He always provides.
Whatever situation you are in at this time, whether it’s suffering through a trauma or overcoming a past trauma, rest in knowing God has you. Take it moment by moment; sometimes all we can do is breath by breath. You can do this. You can make it to the next breath, the next hour, the evening, and to the next day. Show up in prayer and He will provide you what you need.