*When I say "meet me where I was" it is not in a literal sense. God is everywhere and knows everything already! I meant it in a personal, relational sense. Did I have to change to move closer to His will or would He swoop into my misery? The answer: Both.
What does this have to do with praying to God for encouragement? A lot, actually. So much of our reality is rooted solely in our perception. And how "off" can our perception be? Especially if you pride yourself in being a realist (not an optimist or a pessimist), like me? Very, very off.
I received the flowers pictured above this year. The first time I've gotten flowers in over 5 years. This is not a complaint, I fully understand I deserve to not receive flowers. I am just stating a fact to let you know how surprised and appreciative I was to receive them. My husband didn't give me these flowers, though. I will never ask him for flowers, or complain that he doesn't surprise me with little gifts. I have apologized to him for not being grateful earlier in our marriage, but I know the apology doesn't change how I rejected his gifts of love.
Are you wondering just HOW God gives a person flowers? I would be, if I were you. Well, here is how He did it for me:
I had laid in bed in the morning and prayed for God to show me beauty and encourage me because I was in such deep despair. I have struggled with depression in the past, and the current events in our immediate family had me wondering how to pull myself out of negativity and anxiety so I could be a good mom to my boys for the day. Just for one day is all you ask when things are rough. It's Biblical and it helps.
I had a long day of feeding, clothing, cleaning, refereeing and generally parenting my boys and then I set off to visit a close family member who was in the hospital as a result of the tragedy mentioned earlier. I didn't know what to say at the hospital and the patient, whom I love deeply, was closed off with a mix of anger and shame about what had occurred. Leaving the hospital, I was emotional and empty all at the same time. I decided to try run some errands to clear my head.
I pulled into a parking lot and began walking toward a grocery store when I realized I felt very faint and slightly nauseous. I also realized I hadn't eaten in 9 hours. I stumbled my way to a restaurant next door and was pleased they had items on the menu that I could eat. I tried to hide my emotional state as I ordered and sat down to eat. I thought I was doing okay. Maybe not since the waitress offered to bring me a complimentary dessert, saying I looked like I could use it. I ate a couple bites and I thanked God for His kindness to send a waitress who would be so kind. I couldn't eat it, so I meandered over to the grocery store.
After wandering around collecting a few items, I stood at the cashier's register. The bagger asked me how I was doing and I replied flatly, "Not good." The awkward and surprised look on the employee's faces shook me back into the reality that sometimes authenticity is not as welcome as the "everything's fine" lie. I quickly apologized for my gloomy answer and offered the justification that I'd just visited a relative in the hospital. The bagger stepped away for a moment, I presumed to help another customer, but returned with a bouquet of flowers. He placed them in my bag and made some nice comment, indicating that the flowers were "on the house." You'd think I'd remember exactly what he said, but oddly enough, I don't. What I do remember is his genuine smile and the way he had focused, intentional eye contact with me when he spoke. I'd been moping around, wallowing in confusion and pain, and he reached into my world and showed me beauty through an act of generosity
I thanked Him and was crying by the time I reached my vehicle. I had asked God to show me beauty. Why was I so surprised that He answered?
*This occurred almost 4 months ago, but it will forever be ingrained in my mind as "the day God gave me flowers." I have learned more about what God expects from me, and what I can expect from Him while I struggle with depression and anxiety.