At my small group at church a few weeks ago, we were asked to share about a time when we experienced something that we knew - without a doubt - was God working, or answering a prayer. I remembered and shared a story that happened to me in 2008. That year had been a difficult one on many levels. I was a full-time student and was working almost full time, I had been in a car accident that totaled my car and left me shaken, I did something that hurt my best friend and our friendship practically ended, and I failed a class. On top of all that, the very worst, most heartbreaking thing, happened that summer when my sister, Annika, died.
There’s so much I could write about her, and her passing.
But that’s not the purpose of this post.
In December of that same year, there was a night I couldn’t sleep. I had exams the following day, and I was feeling a lot of stress. The past year had left me feeling unsure about everything, and totally lacking in self-confidence. I was also questioning my confidence in God. I just felt like every aspect of my life had been attacked that year and I had been broken. I was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and a vivd awareness of the brokenness in and around me.
I was tossing and turning, and the air in my room felt heavy, so I went outside. It was around 2am on a crisp winter night. I wrapped myself in a few blankets and laid down on the deck behind our house. I looked up at the stars with my mind racing and my sense of desperation growing. After a few minutes I took a deep breath in, and as I breathed out I whispered into the night, “God, I just need to know that you are real.”
As soon as the words had left my mouth, a shooting star crossed the sky right above me.
I was immediately filled with a sense of peace.
I went inside to my bed and fell asleep.
That shooting star was a small thing, but it had a huge effect on me. Seeing it in that exact moment was proof to me that - in spite of everything - God was real. That He was working. And that even when it seems impossible, He is good. When I woke up in the morning, nothing had changed in my circumstances, but inside me there was peace.
Something I am learning right now is that all of us need to be reminded of this. We all have brokenness in and around us that makes us wonder if God is real, if He is good...does He remember us? We have a responsibility to remind each other of the truth that He has not forgotten us.
Yesterday, I was doing home visits with our staff in Waithaka. We were with a woman named Joyce. For a lot of the home visit she was in tears. Her mother died a few weeks ago. She hasn’t been consistent in her HIV treatment, and because of that she has fallen sick and has a large growth on her neck that is giving her extreme pain. Her mother had been taking care of her girls, and now that she is dead, Joyce doesn’t know how to take care of them, so she put them in a children’s home. As she spoke, you could see the pain in her eyes - she has lost her health, her mother, and her ability to be a mother to her own children. Towards the end of the visit, she said through her tears, “Thank you for coming to visit me. It means that God has not forgotten me.”
It doesn’t take much. We all need it. How are you reminding the people in your life that God loves them, that He is for them, and that He hasn’t forgotten? Look for ways to communicate this to everyone you interact with.
Are you in need of a reminder of God’s goodness? If so, ask people in your life to share stories where they saw Him working, or examine your own life and see if you have any “shooting star” moments. Hold on to those, and share them. We all need to be reminded.
Note: Joyce is only two weeks into the program. We are providing medical fees for her to remove the growth on her neck, and she has started taking her medicine again. We are hopeful and excited to see what the next nine-months will bring in her life. Our goal as we walk alongside Joyce, is to help her be able to provide for her children so they can move out of the children’s home and back home with their mom.