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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lost and found

My girls and I have this list we've recently dubbed the "lost and found praise list." It's a series of lists in various places in my journal where we've lost something, prayed about it, and seen God answer. It started as my simple suggestion to pray and ask God to help us find a pair of lost sunglasses~ my two year old's favorite cool purple sunglasses. She smiled and I offered a half-hearted prayer, sure we'd left them at the beach. We didn't find them until a year later when we unearthed our beach toys bag from the closet. She was thrilled to have her sunglasses back, even if it had taken a year for that prayer to be answered.

Then she lost them again. But this time they belonged to her little sister.

This little sister suggested we pray right then. So both my girls prayed we would find the sunglasses that night. By the end of the evening, I stumbled onto the glasses tucked away in a stroller out in the garage.

After that, the suggestion to pray about anything and everything has been met with an enthusiastic round of little girl prayers. I add my reluctant prayers, usually wondering what I’m going to say to “bail God out” when we don’t find the little puzzle piece because someone threw it in the trash can.

But we find it. And I’m left to wonder if I will ever have the faith of a little child.

Each and every time when I’ve thought the lost item was too insignificant or even impossible to find, God’s shown us right where it is. My girls whoop and holler about how good God is. I shake my head and wonder why I don’t just trust Him like my girls do. Especially when our list has grown into pages of “little things.”

So God keeps working on me in totally unexpected ways. A case in point is our last day at the beach this past Sunday. We’d had an amazingly wonderful time hanging out as a family and enjoying God’s beautiful ocean. Saturday we pumped up a raft we’d forgotten we had and carted it out to our beach chairs, adding it to the pile of shells, my sandals, and another raft we’d purchased that year. We hoped with another raft, all three girls would agree to go out farther than they could stand. We’ve done that other years and come within feet of a huge sea turtle that was awesome to see.

Well, the girls agreed and we had a blast floating in the ocean and watching fish and crabs and even a huge jellyfish. We left it well enough alone, and fast! But when we came back in and packed up our stuff, I was missing one of my black flip-flops. We quickly realized it had caught a ride on our old raft and gone out to sea with us. Only it didn’t return.

True to form my little ones promptly prayed that God would “bring Mommy’s shoe back to the beach so it could go home with us.” I balked. Then I tried to explain that there was no way that little shoe would wash back up on this beach anytime soon. It was most likely somewhere out in the vast expanse of the Gulf, never to be seen again.

My oldest, with hands on her hips, (don’t know where she got that from!!!) pretty much told me that God could do anything and we should just wait and see.

My husband added his prayers that God would let us find my shoe on the beach the next morning. Feeling very “protective” of God’s honor and trying to bail Him out in case my shoe was indeed lost at sea, I launched into my usual lost items prayer. I asked God to help us accept whatever was His will and to trust that He knows best.

My girls gave me that “Oh mo-om” look and just grinned. Like I’d lost even more brain cells than I thought I had.

The next morning as my hubby and I sat on our balcony reading our Bibles, he got up and pointed out to the beach. “Do you see that?” It was a black “thing” far to the left of where we’d been stationed the day before. There was no way the tide could have run opposite its normal course and dumped my little shoe that far up the beach.

My husband just grinned and went to retrieve my shoe.

The black “thing” turned out to be a huge rock, far bigger than my foot~ thank you very much I told him later. But instead of giving up on God bringing my shoe back to us, he listened to the Lord whisper for him to look to his left. Even farther away from where we were playing the day before.

And there was my shoe.

My little, insignificant, black flip-flop was right there on the beach.

My eyes filled with tears and my heart nearly burst. First there was regret for once again not believing God would do something like that for me. Then there was overwhelming thankfulness that my girls would grow up knowing such a big God cared about even the smallest things we brought to Him in prayer.

When it was my turn for a little early morning stroll on the beach I wanted to find something too. But we hadn’t lost anything to pray about finding. So I thought maybe I’d find a sand dollar my girls had hoped take home, but didn’t yet have. Maybe a cool message in a bottle? Something.

Like I needed more proof God cared.

Out I went. I found nothing. All I could think to do then was sit in a little deserted beach chair and sing. I actually signed, something I do when I really want to praise God. I finally got that God had already done something big and instead of wishing He’d do more, I was ready to just say “thanks.”

After a neat time of hanging out with my Daddy, I knew I should head back inside. As I turned around, to my left, the gorgeous orange/gold sun was peeking up over the buildings. Immediately, I felt the Lord’s overwhelming presence. The thought popped into my head that this was a kiss from God. A reminder that He did see me.

As tears welled in my eyes, I realized that I had indeed found something that morning. Something I’d lost. Something precious to me.

My childlike faith.

The faith that just believes. The faith that says with my heart, words, and hands, “My Daddy loves me.” And in believing receives a most precious gift… His gentle kiss. His whisper that it wasn’t my shoe that was important to Him—it was my heart.

On the way home we lost something else and my girls immediately prayed. I started to utter my “bailing God out” prayer and stopped. My husband smiled and my girls cheered. What I asked instead was that the Lord would show us where my missing ring had gone and I added that I trusted Him to give it back to me.

Then I lifted one last bag hoping my ring was in there. It wasn’t. So I picked up another bag, one I’d already checked in, and my heart ring popped into my lap.

All I could do was laugh. God does indeed have a sense of humor! And He never wastes an opportunity to show His slow-to-learn child that He really does have it all under control.

Even lost black flip-flops and little heart rings.

What an awesome God!

“I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.” Lord, may Your incredible grace be ever new and ever amazing to me!

7 comments:

HeyJules said...

Unbelievable! Wow, wow, wow! This just soooo cheered me up today! Blessings, Amy...blessings to you all over the place. : )

HeyJules said...

And on a funny note...I tried this just this morning and it worked! Who knew? LOL

Amy Wallace said...

Jules,

God is soooo good!!! I'm so glad my post cheered you up and prompted you to pray about something lost... and it worked!

Your posts make me so glad I started blogging! When I read your comments, I smile. Thank you!

Amy

Heather said...

Amy,
This was "heart chocolate" for me today. Thank you for being a living sacrifice!
Love,
Heather

Jen said...

There sure is a difference between a head knowledge that God cares and a kiss from the Father.

Jen

Amy Wallace said...

Heather,

I LOVE that phrase "heart chocolate!" What a cool word picture! Mind if I use that???

Thank you so much for posting. You gave my heart a sweet treat and I'm so grateful!

Love,
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Jen,

Head knowledge or heart kisses? Easy answer, right? But oh what it takes to get us from one to the other. Thanks for walking that path with me and being the Master's tool with just enough chocolate to sweeten those convicting words.

Much love,
Amy

 
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