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{ You Don't Miss a Thing }

There are days when things feel a little winsome.  A little magical.  When I feel like I am those things in those days.  That there is an otherwordly grasp.  A song I can’t hear, have never heard, but completely know.  Every chord.  Every strain.  Every dotted half note.  I hang on every tone as though it’s a good word.  I’m walking around, but I feel like I’m dancing.  I am dancing.

Today was one of those days. It didn’t start out in an extraordinary fashion, but then again, maybe it did.  It started dark and early, like every morning. I actually pushed myself out of bed even earlier in an effort to have a come to Jesus moment. I wanted it. Needed it. Went looking for it, like a nighttime snack.  But instead of my head in the freezer searching for the next pint of mint chocolate chip, my hands were around a mug and my heart was looking for Him.  Expecting Him. 

I read some verses. Said a small prayer. Waited for the alarm to get my oldest up for school, since the sun wouldn’t be up for awhile, yet. I waited.  Told myself to hold in the pause.  To not fight it.  Just let myself be quiet.  Maybe that’s what He wanted me to experience.  Just quiet.  So I held my mug and watched the clock and tried to push away the to-do’s that were already rudely interrupting, begging for my attention.

Over breakfast I read devotions to Joel, just like I always do.  What else do you do at 5:50 a.m. when you’re sitting in your dining room, staring at each other in the dark? He munches a NutriGrain bar. I finish off my coffee.  And I read about the moments in the Bible - the “But God” moments.  The times when things looked like they were headed one direction, but then it all swevered.  It was this and that, but then, God.  He showed up. Shifted the trajectory.  Started playing a whole new song.

As I walk him to the end of our drive to wait for the bus, I hold my phone in my hand. In the weeks since school started, I haven’t done this once.  But I took it with me, anticipating something worth taking a picture of.  The sky was alight with stars and our house glowed like it’s own little city on a hill (except it’s not on a hill).  Once the bus pulled away with my six year old, I stepped across the gravel road into the edge of the neighboring field.  Snapped a photo of my home sweet home against the dusky sky.  Felt thankful for my sweet family and the home we built last year, that my husband and I designed all by ourselves.  Hoping that when I got in the house, the smallest were still sleeping.  Maybe I could have just a little more peace? Hang on to whatever seemed to be bobbing right in front of me?

I had a friend from church planning to show up in a couple hours.  She was sweetly bringing me Starbucks.  I had gulped down my insecurities and my silliness and went live with a request to my team that they pray for me.  My anxieties were riding high and panit attacks were heavy on my chest, clawing at my throat.  My introverted nature made it hard to open up and even harder to allow someone to come and care for me, even if it was just a Grande Iced Salted Carmel White Mocha.  But I relaxed my death grip on my own semi-security and said, why not? Maybe God wanted to take care of me by having this friend bring me coffee. And who am I to argue with God if He wants to bring an exhausted mother of three a Starbucks?

Let’s not be silly.

But I told my best friend... that I kind of wished it was a best friend.  I only have a couple and my heart ached for something that felt like home, I think. I think that’s what I was crying about.  And I told her, “You would know to bring me donuts. You would know to bring me a huge Starbucks and all the donuts and we would just sit and I wouldn’t have to talk.”

And then there’s a knock on my door and a sweet friend, who didn’t have to go out of her way for me, but so did... she shows up all smiles and love and grace, holding my iced coffee.  I let her in and she says my baby is cute (he is) and then she hands me a bag, “Here,...” she says, “I didn’t know what you’d like, but here are some donuts and I got some chocolate ones....” I’m already tearing up as she open hands me a necklace with a sparrow on a chain, reminding me that I’m seen and loved and treasured by God and by others.

I hug her once.  I hug her twice.

She leaves and I melt into my day and my delicious treats and I soak up love, wear it like my favorite socks, wrapping myself in the truth of being seen and valued like a well-worn hoodie.  It was comfort and soul food and that was the best donut I’ve ever had.  Ever.  Ever ever.  And I read in a book that is in a stack in our living room, about how God so loves us, how we’re royal and blessed and all we have to do is ask in His name.  We have an inheriatance and a voice and power in us that raised Christ from the dead.  And we don’t use it.  We don’t walk around trying to wield our swords.  We don’t walk around... expecting.  

I’m padding around my house in my grace and my imaginary “Jesus Loves Me” hoodie and I’m so grateful and full (of donuts and blessing) and it all feels good.  Just like I needed it to.

And just like when you think you have the ending of the story all figured out, have the perfect way to wrap up the day and knot it tight,... but God isn’t done, yet.

Not long before the bus is set to bring my big boy home, I start tackling a cleaning project in the kitchen. I decide to start my organzation dreams by purging the sippy cups and travel mugs we never use. I could use that drawer for something, anything else. I sit down and start sorting. Toss it. Keep it. Toss it.  Never liked it anyway. 

I pull out a glass tumbler, something my sister gave me a few Christmases ago. I actually have never used it. I don’t know if I didn’t trust myself with the glass or what, but I’ve just been storing it. I set it aside to either get rid of or re-gift.  And that’s when I see the verse reflected in the glass, shimmering in my palm: “For I know the plans...”

No. Wait, what? This?

Now?

A quick backstory: about a month ago, my pastor shared how, in a dream, the reference “Jeremiah 29:11” wouldn’t stop running through his mind. He finally woke up and asked God to reveal what this meant.  It all unfolded in a way that the verse refrence, the beautiful reminder that God knows His ways for us, was specifically intended for a handful of people. I’ve honestly kind of glossed over the verse in the past. I’ve seen it’s overuse on graduation cards and new baby cards and “You’ll get through this” cards and I think it lost some allure for me. Surely there were OTHER verses that would hand more to my hungry heart.

But still... I listened on that Sunday of the stories unfolding. And I expected. I mean, didn’t God have a Jeremiah 29:11 experience for me?

I would read my boys their nightly bedtime story, expecting to see the reference there. 

Nothing.

I opened up a devotional and fully expected to see the verses glowing, the text highlited just for me.

It never was.

I anticipated a friend sharing a reminder. Someone sending me a card. A note. Anything. I joked with a fellow staff member at church, “Where’s MY Jeremiah 29:11?! I’m here! I’m ready! I love Jesus!”

Maybe I was living out my purpose. I’m married and have kids and a house. I have beautiful part-time work at the church I love and people that I’m honored to link arms with and do ministry with - wasn’t that my purpose? Why did there have to be more? The dreamer in me probably just needed a kick in the pants and a reality check and to go do another load of laundry for crying out loud.

But here I was, sitting on the (probably needing to be swept) floor of my kitchen, going through a junk drawer of plastic and insulated cups... and God was showing up?  Handing me my own Jeremiah 29:11 moment? I was almost too stunned, too frozen, too freaking loved in and out in that moment, to cry.  The tears pushed gently at my eyelashes.

My dreams?  Are they ever mine? Were they ever? Hunger in my spirit for more times to worship, more opportunities to shatter myself at His feet, more ways to be creative, loving,... words and music and dust and bones and housework and babies and vacations and school field trips and hand holding and song learning and toilet cleaning.... could He be in all of it? Could He be intending, all of it?  Could He be, still, holding... all of it?  While I struggle exhausted and coffee laden through “the little years”, what about my deep love for my Savior? What about the stories I’m dying to tell about the Jesus who loves, loves, loves?  Am I just sitting here, holding another shopping list, watching my dreams die?

Or does He have a deep well of purposes for me? 

For you?

Could I live in expectation and wonder?  Could I do all my jobs and wear all the hats and still... still have my heart catch at the possibility, the ancipated enchantment of a God who never stops telling stories in our lives?  Who never stops purposing and repurposing?  It goes on and on. His goodness.  Our path.  All glory and honor and praise. 

Holy. Holy. Holy.

And it’s found in donuts that she didn’t know you needed, but He did.

It’s unwrapped in the little moments.  It surprises us every time, but it shouldn’t.  He told us this was the way.  When you look for Him with your whole heart.... when you walk heavy to the end of your driveway and watch the sky... when you open up to be used for Him... when you shatter every tender pint of hope and terror and passion and will at His open door... you find Him.

He may not give you a blueprint.  He may just give you a chocolate covered donut.

But the thing is... that small... that tangible... it will always end up being the very thing, the very deep love language that your desperate lungs are gasping for.

And you’ll feel something crack in another world, something that opens up... and you’ll know that that banner - forever and for always waving, billowing, tugging at you to believe His plans and His vast desire for you to come fully alive - you’ll know He is stretching it out for you to see, for you to know...


And it will say, “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. By me.” 


"When You stand, I feel the floor of Heaven tremble.
As You breathe, we live and have our being
When You speak, oh I feel it in my chest.
When You sing, all my fears are put to rest.
What a wondrous thing, I can stand to sing,
cause when I fall to my knees, 
You're the one Who pulls me up again.
What a mystery, that You notice me!
And in a crowd of ten thousand, 
You don't miss a thing..."
~  A m a n d a   C o o k   /   B e t h e l 




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