Seeing God

I’ve found that seeing God comes in spurts. He’s always there but sometimes He is right there. Sometimes I feel like I’m grasping to try to find out what He’s saying. But sometimes it comes clearly and suddenly.

Last year was a clearly and suddenly season. I’ve been reflecting on it, as I glide into a new season.

Where it Started

I woke up in my own bed two days after my fifth child was born. She’d been transferred to our local children’s hospital the afternoon before and I hadn’t had the energy to make it over there after being discharged from the hospital.

I quickly dressed and got ready to go see her. As I headed for the door to my room, I realized I hadn’t read any scriptures or prayed, something fairly routine for me. Looking at the clock I knew my time was short. The morning was already wearing on. Our family’s priority was our little baby in the hospital, but the rest of our responsibilities hadn’t gone away. I knew I needed to optimize the time I had that morning.

In a flash the early days of all of my babies lives entered my mind—the endless feeding of the baby and other children, the way the day just kind of melted and how my time with God was caught in snatches between moments of being needed. Now, being caught between the hospital and home, and still having the needs of five kids relying on me, I felt a chasm between me and my time with the Lord.

I dropped to my knees and begged Him to tell me what to do. How could I have Him with me while also meeting the demands of this season? I felt the words in my mind, “Just stay close to me.”

I was blessed by following that inspiration. My time with the Lord looked a lot different over the months that followed. It was singing hymns in the car, reading the scriptures on my phone, and praying whenever someone wasn’t trying to talk to me. But those little moments helped me with seeing God during a tumultuous time.

Staying Close

One experience comes to mind. I entered the heart unit in our children’s hospital last summer. Toward me down the hall, came a small boy, a patient, his heart monitor held by a woman, his mother, next to him. She held his hand as he took shaky steps. His dad supported him on the other side. They were flanked by a nurse. They all encouraged him in his wobbly walk. A little closer to them I heard, “Mommy, carry me.”

“I will,” she said, “just a little farther, then I’ll carry you.”

He continued a difficult walk down the hall. I haven’t any more context for the reasons for his unwanted exercise, but I was touched to see the way his parents gathered around him and guided him. But no further meaning struck me until the next day.

That morning I got up with a to-do list pulsing through my brain. My older kids were visiting their grandparents, while I tried to handle a very sick baby and a move. I had a little more space with God without so many urgent needs surrounding me. But it didn’t stop the stress that assailed me that morning.

Pack the bedroom for our move. Shop for furniture and rugs. Visit the baby in the hospital. Talk to the discharge planner about training. Take the feeding tube class. Find an activity group for the kids before they filled up. Figure out dinner at the hospital.

I tried to connect with God for a minute, but the to-dos kept coming. Everywhere I looked there was something to add to the list. Clear the dresser. Wash laundry. Load the dishwasher.

And while I busied my hands my head swam, I reasoned that of course I did not have time to kneel in prayer. Wasn’t this part of the difficult season. Wasn’t seeing God in spurts enough right now. My heart whispered that I needed a closer connection. But I pressed on, plates and cups onto the racks of the dishwasher. Anxiety making me feel jittery.

Then a thought came to mind. “You don’t have time not to pray.” It was just like the “stay close to me,” and this day required a reset, a time to focus just on Him so that the closeness I was fostering could continue. As the thought settled in my mind, I let go of the dishes. And to my room I went to kneel and beg for God’s help.

Praying for Help and Seeing God

A few hours later I sat at the hospital with my baby. An unexpected fever had the anxiety moving again. And as I knelt on a stool over her crib I pleaded with God, “If you can do something, please…”

And then I asked myself, don’t I believe he could? I do. This is my God who can do all things. Then what do I need to ask?

“If thou wilt…” I said, but why wouldn’t He? Why wouldn’t he save her from this pain?

With no explanation for that, I looked up to see through the little window by her closed door the mother and father I had seen the day before walking the hallway with their son. I heard her voice in my mind, “just a little farther.”

The parallel of the situations stilled me. These parents had a child who didn’t understand the full scope of his illness, and they knew that for him to access his full physical potential he needed to walk those halls and make his body stronger. Like that little boy, I didn’t understand why my baby (or I for that matter) needed this physical trial. I didn’t understand what God was making my daughter stronger for. But as I sat there and God showed me that I was a child, I felt my trust in Him grow. This trial was for a purpose, and we would be stronger for whatever lay ahead.

All my momma worries weren’t immediately resolved, but that experience let me see for a moment what God sees: that this trial was a temporary walk down the hospital hallway, that this was going to be for her good, for my good, for God’s glory.

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