Does He Even Care?

ISO: one tall friend to stand with me in the back row for pictures.

ISO: one tall friend to stand with me in the back row for pictures.

Friday.

We all know what emotions and expectations we have of the day called, “Friday. But this last one wasn’t anything like it was supposed to be.

It started out with a bacon-flavored Dum Dum sucker.

I always give Toddler a sucker for our trip to the grocery store. Some call it “Spoiling Your Child.” I call it, “The Best Advice My Grandma Ever Gave Me.”

But the “Mystery Flavored” Dum Dum was bacon.

Bacon, I love you, Darling. But you don’t belong here.

The day digressed from there.

Including an epic meltdown at the grocery store.

I had kind strangers offering to unload my groceries onto the conveyer belt at the register. I had kind strangers offering to load my groceries into my car. All while I struggled to wrangle a 95th percentile toddler during her meltdown with one arm, and tried to pay the bill with the other.

Anger. Embarrassment.

I probably would have just left the entire cart full of groceries if I didn’t need most of them for the Noonday Collection Trunk Show I was hosting the next day.

The rest of Friday was filled with more of the same.

More tantrums. More anger. More frustration. An epically long day.

And then the grief.

When our heads finally hit the pillow after our exhausting day, our exhausting week, all I could think about was what we were missing. What we have been missing for the past four months: our other daughter.

The toughest days always seem to come full circle, back to that.

Even on the toughest days that have nothing to do with who we lost, grief seems to photo bomb my emotions and say, “And me! Don’t forget about me! I’m here to make your day worse too!”

I laid in bed, struggling with my contradicting emotions: I want more children so badly, but sometimes I feel like I can’t even handle the one we already have. I miss our other daughter so much, but the one who is here might drive me to become clinically insane. I love them both so deeply, but I’m pretty sure I’m the worst mom ever. 

{It’s always good to add Mom Guilt to the mix. #SarcasmFont}

And then the sobbing.

You know, the sobbing you hold back after a really long week that you don’t really want to give in to, but you know you really should just give in to?

And it was in between the hot tears of frustration and sadness, and my body’s convulsing sobs that I actually let my mind utter the question up towards Heaven: 

Do you even care, Lord? Are you seeing this down here? Do you even care about what’s going on right now? Lord, I know you are carrying us through the bad stuff. But right now I’m not sure if You mean it when You say You like to give Your children “good gifts” too.

Looking back it makes me shudder. How dare I? To the Almighty?

And then Saturday.

I had low expectations for this day. I was exhausted, and not feeling ready to be a welcoming host for the group of friends about to gather for a Noonday Trunk Show.

But when you’re all grown up you can’t plan an event and then say, “Never mind.”

And the moment my Mother-in-Law and I showed up to the Trunk Show’s location, I felt God breathing His grace into my heart.

I could list the many “good things” God give me on Saturday. The many ways He whispered, Yes I care, in the gentlest, most beautiful of ways:

Starting with seeing my wonderful friend Shari, an Ambassador for Noonday, who I haven’t seen in years.

Moving on to the most beautiful, welcoming home we were blessed to use as a meeting place for our event.

And then continuing with the heart pumping stories told about the artisans all over the world who create Noonday's accessories. Whose lives have changed dramatically since having found sustainable income in the poor circumstances they live in.

All these things tied up with mimosas, bagels, fruit, cheese, and sausage wrapped in….um…bacon. Bacon, we un-shun you.

And topped with the loveliest of lovely friends I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past year at church and otherwise.

I might sound like I’m getting off topic. Or like I’m only trying to promote Noonday. {I do love them.}

But I’m here to answer my questions. Moreover, to share how the Lord answered my questions: 

Do you even care, Lord? Are you seeing this down here? Do you even care about what’s going on right now? Lord, I know you are carrying us through the bad stuff. But right now I’m not sure if You mean it when You say You like to give Your children good gifts too.

Again, I shudder thinking I dared ask those questions. But I’m also a tiny bit glad I did. Because if I never voice my doubts, I would never give Him a chance to help me work through them either. Lord, help my unbelief.

Shari held up a necklace. “It’s called the Twilight Mukisa necklace.”

The Twilight Mukisa Necklace. Jewelry and Photo by Noonday Collections.

The Twilight Mukisa Necklace. Jewelry and Photo by Noonday Collections.

She went on to share what the Ugandan artisan of the necklace testified:

“We would like to call this necklace the Mukisa Necklace. When I was making it I was listening to a song which reminded me of the blessings of God. When we have His blessing, there is no sorrow. Mukisa is a Ugandan word for ‘blessing,’ or favor in God’s eyes. I prayed for every woman who will wear this necklace. I said ‘May they receive favor in the eyes of God.’ May they always know that we are blessed by their purchases, and that God will be faithful to reward them.” – Jalia, Co-founder of Noonday Ugandan artisan group

My eyes welled up. I thought maybe I was crazy, until my Mother-in-Law leaned over and whispered, “We should have brought our tissues.”

Yes, Daughter, I care. 

He does.

It doesn’t mean we won’t hit the lowest of the low days. It doesn’t mean we won’t face trials or be stretched beyond what feels comfortable to us. 

But He cares.

He cares enough to carry us through our trials. And He cares enough to give us good things.

When I look back at last Friday, even amid the tantrums, the anger, the embarrassment, and my failures, I see good things too: Friends who invited us into their homes for play dates and conversation. A vehicle to get to the grocery store. Money to pay for our groceries. A home to come back to and cool down from after the epic Grocery Store Meltdown. A husband to sob into. 

And even if I didn't have those things. Even if I looked back at Friday, and the only "good thing" I had to cling to was my salvation, was God's grace. It would still be way more than I needed. Still way more than I deserved.

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. {Psalm 103:1-5}

Good things. Lovely things. Like new friendships, and chances to talk about developing business in poor areas of the world, and yummy foods wrapped in…um…bacon.

He cares enough to tell me on a sunny Saturday morning after the worst Friday I have had in awhile, that someone eight time zones away who I have never met before, prayed for me.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! {Matthew 7:11}

And He cares about you too, Friend.

Whether we are paying attention to the small details or not, He cares. Whether we are really looking for the beautiful, good gifts He has blessed us with or not, He cares.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. {James 1:17}

 

Grace and Peace,
Kendra

 

P.S. What "good things" has God given you that sometimes are hard to recognize amid your trials and heartaches?