I rebooted LATENIGHTCRAVINGS.COM (LNC) with a dual purpose in mind. It is here for more than simply transferring random thoughts to virtual paper. I put those stray ideas down and sometimes they turn into a current post or sit in a back log folder until it finds a way to make sense. But the other side of LNC’s purpose is to share my family’s journey with God. This is a catalog I already have stashed away to be pieced together in chapters here on this page.
I do have several of those random thoughts on the stove as well. Some of which is commentary that might possibly have been inspired by various current events. But I felt like moving those to the back burner for now. I felt like sharing more of….well, happy thoughts.
Today I had a couple of small items that crossed my mind. I say small because some of the major life-altering events that God has orchestrated in our lives have been somewhat dramatic. But while these seemingly insignificant pieces that I’m passing on today may not be grandiose on the surface, they are an essential piece of fabric in my walk with the big man upstairs.
The first of these two happenings goes back to the summer of 2008. It had been about a year since Shanti and I started going to church which steered us onto God’s path. Over the course of that year we made the effort to apply the pastor’s teachings to our lives beyond Sunday attendance. Growing up and going to Sunday school at our local Baptist church I really only recall being told that Jesus saves and was given Bible verses to memorize each week. That’s not to say that those Sundays didn’t help lay a good foundation. But It wasn’t until I landed back in church in July 2007 that I discovered there was an actual relationship to be had with our creator.
Over the course of that first year (2007-2008) I had been making time first thing in the morning to pray and get into God’s Word – getting to know Him. By summer 2008 we had been serving as ushers for a couple of months already. After each service we walked up and down the aisles and picked up any weekly handouts or other items left on the seats and floors. Now I am a people pleaser, to the point that it causes me stress at times. Leading up to this particular weekend at church I had been praying and questioning whether or not I was pleasing God. In hindsight that was obviously a truly a ridiculous question. But at that season in my walk I was unsure.
The morning before we headed out the door for church I prayed yet again for peace to this question. Fast forward to the end of service and we are performing our clean up duties and I stumble across this little gem on the floor –
A piece of paper hand-cut in the shape of a heart on which a child happened to write “I Love you. From: God.” Whether that child was in service instead of Sunday School or his parents had this little note with them, it was left on the floor of a church with a congregation of almost 3000 at that time. But that little note was left right where I found it. Coincidence?! Hmmm.
Ok, so you’re not picking up what I’m laying down. So try this one on for size. Skipping ahead to the fall of 2009, I’m deep into my God walk and about four months into living in Kansas City, Missouri after moving from Florida(that’s a bigger story, it comes later.) We’re living in a beautiful midwest planned community called Thousand Oaks. In the center of the neighborhood is a beautiful pond, man-made but picturesque nonetheless. A paved winding trail wraps around the perimeter of the pond which is lined with trees that the developers left standing in place during construction. We had walked this path plenty of times with the kids in the few short months we had lived there.
This season in my life I had another question for God. For some reason I had felt that I had not really been giving much focus on Jesus himself. Looking back I know it was another insecurity of mine – I was asking “am I doing this right?” But in any case, that is where my head and my heart was at this point. Just as I was praying two years earlier asking if I was pleasing God I was now praying about my relationship with Jesus. That was part of my prayer on this one beautiful fall morning which was followed up with a walk around the Thousand Oaks pond.
The foliage had just begun to change colors. While not many, the winding trail did have a few scattered leaves on its surface. There were also random twigs no bigger than a thumb’s width that had fallen to the ground here and there. We had reached about the halfway mark of the walk when we happened upon a bit of a clearing on the path. Nothing definitive but just a little less natural debris compared to the first portion of our trek. Just a few feet into this clearing was an object that stood out. As I approached the area I looked down to see this –
Now I don’t know what anyone reading this believes, but I know what I believe. That little note, “From:God”, two years prior in church was not a coincidence. Then one day I’m praying about Jesus specifically and came across this piece of art. Someone took two small twigs and tied them together with twine to form a cross. The person that chose to do that happened to be living or just passing through my neighborhood. Whether accidental or intentional, a cross ended up in the center of a trail – a trail in Thousand Oaks that I happened to walk on and stumble upon a response to my prayer on that specific day. Coincidence?! Rod Serling didn’t suddenly appear from behind a tree…but God did.
Peace, and forgive me –