Strange combo of terms in the title, right? Well...grab a cup of lemonade and let me tell you a story.
It all started with a little girl afraid of noise. Public places scared her. People scared her. Then she grew up and conquered that fear.
She thought she had anyway. But deep inside, she was still afraid- of everything.
Including grocery stores.
She never knew why. Not until things in her life reached a breaking point at home with her husband's addiction and she realized she had to get help for her heart.
She was led by God's great mercy to an amazing trauma counselor. Her last book advance paid for every counseling appointment- to the exact penny. And through every appointment God was present, revealing, healing, showing Himself to be so very good, so very real.
Even as He revealed horrific things from the past. With every memory, every tear (and there were many) God began to heal her mind and her heart. In every painful session, God revealed more and healed more. Childhood physical, verbal, sexual abuse.
Life began to make sense. Fear began to lessen because the people and experiences she feared were in the past- not happening right now.
God provided even more opportunities to see the healing happen. Amazing conversations with family members. Noise-which equaled a beating in the past- began to just be noise. Balloons popped. Kids were kids. And she smiled.
She even went to the grocery store for the first time in her life and could add prices in her head. Where before, she'd run into the store and try to run out, but couldn't add 6 plus 4 without her insides turning into knots.
Healing, true, deep, tangible healing was taking place.
Obviously, that she is me. And the last few months have been a roller coaster of pain and joy. Of experiencing real freedom from the chains of the past that bound me. Of healing.
Which brings me to the cucumbers and paper bags...
Money is tight, as it is for all of us, and one of my daughters needed a paper bag for a tea party luminary. I didn't know if we'd have the extra to buy some this week because of unexpected medical bills.
As we were pulling out of our driveway to head to the grocery, a neighbor gave us a gift of Wisconsin cheese- in a paper bag.
I nearly cried. God knew our need and cared that we see clearly His creative, intimate provision.
While we were at the grocery, we noticed a sign for the first time. A sign that encapsulates grocery shopping and just about everything I'm learning to do as a separated woman raising kids on her own.
We are. ;-)
At the store, I couldn't find the cucumbers I needed for this week. But I got "adventurous" and picked up some zucchini squash and started thinking about whether my kids would go for them instead of cucumber.
When I looked down at the package again, I saw "organic cucumber." The only cucumbers in the store.
In my hand.
Once again, God revealed Himself as a loving, present, extravagant God who cares intimately for every need.
I call moments like these God kisses.
So that's how paper bags, cucumbers, and God kisses go together in my adventure with the Lord.
Like I told a friend at church last night- when all you have that makes sense in your world is God, you start to see His amazing, intimate, omnipresent love in myriad places...
Even in paper bags and cucumbers.