Today began with the news that my car was to be sold for parts in a city, town far from anything that felt like home. I started off curious how God would meet this need and throughout the remainder of the day I became overwhelmed. It was as though every thing I have been praying for, craving and crying out to God for was struck and knocked over, much like a bowling ball hitting the pins perfectly and knocking them over simultaneously.
I don’t think I’ve cried this much in a long time. I moved to Colorado out of obedience a year and a half ago. God moved me, but I have not yet been settled. I’ve been living in my parents basement which has been difficult as I love to host people, create spaces of rest and restoration for others, create places where I get to design and surround myself with beauty. I was complaining to God, some say crying out… but lets be honest now, I was complaining, a few months ago about not having a home. I said, “Lord! You know how much I need a place to host people! Why have you not given me a home yet?” His response was something a little like, “Well, you have a car don’t you.” From that day on I saw my car differently. It went from being a place that took me from here to there and it became my place. My car quickly became a meeting place. I took long drives with individuals as they shared their heartaches, hopes, dreams and deep sadnesses. My car had become my home and it was good.
Lately my longing for a home of my own has once again become thick. I long to have a place to host dinner parties, gatherings for neighbors, those I meet along the way. I long to feel my home with people and give them courage in their walks with the Lord. Some encouraging prospects were on the horizon and I was preparing myself to look for a home. I had money saved and was ready to make my move.
Today, my car broke down and my home with it. This place that has been my hosting place has been taken away and the money I’ve saved to move is now going to have to be used to buy a new car. Along with the emotion of longing for a home, came a flood of unmet desires that I’ve been praying for as of late. Every desire hit me with such a force that I’ve felt sick all day. Each desire and it’s near fulfillment deflated in every sense of the word.
I have cried, questioned, cried some more, prayed, sat wondering how I was to move forward with faithfulness and cried a little more. Friends would call throughout the day and immediately I’d burst into tears and sob cries of the pain of the unmet. This is a place I do not like to dwell but has recently become unavoidable. The unmet. I’m crying even as I type. There is a pain I’ve wanted to avoid for years that is a reality in my bedroom at the Econo Lodge in Salina, Utah. It makes me nauseous.
My heart calmed tonight after an old friend called. He listened as I cried and let this pain be carried by one more. I got off the phone and began to flip through the channels on the TV, where I found a famous TV preacher doing his thing. He began speaking of miracles and recalled story after story of miracles in the lives of others. I was wrestling with the need for personal miracle and the reality that I am a cynic when it comes to TV preachers. As he went on my phone rang, it was the hotel manager. He asked if I’d come down and sign something for my extra night’s stay here.
I put on some mascara, trying to keep my eyes from being their puffy self and hide the look of a woman who spent the day in tears. I made my way to the front desk where he seemed very concerned about my situation. He mentioned as I was about to turn and leave that he would pray for me. I told him thank you and that I too loved the Lord. He ran with that. I spent the next two hours listening to story after story of miracles in his life. He had no idea of the depth of my situation, but every story was spoken not just to my ears, but also my heart. He took me to a back room that he had set aside for worship. Worship music plays 24/7 in this place and they pray over the rooms and the guests. He took my hands and began to pray over me and sent me out with a cup of hot chocolate (which I’ve wanted all day) and the words, “Cari, don’t forget to thank God for your situation, whatever it is. We serve a big God.”
We do serve a big God. I serve a big God. He is bigger than cars. He is bigger than a lack of a house. He is bigger than unmet desire. He is bigger than the most desperate of human circumstances. He is bigger.
So tonight I will close by being thankful. I am thankful for an opportunity to be blessed by the kindness of strangers. I am thankful for a place to stay. I am thankful my car made it up the mountain and into a town where I could be. I am thankful for the reminders from books, strangers, and friends that God is good and that He is powerful and will meet our needs… my needs. I am thankful for Dave who shared with me about his heart ache while he drove me to get lunch. I am thankful for Kevin who is going to buy my car that doesn’t work. I am thankful for John who prayed for me at the Econo Lodge. I am thankful for a situation that is impossible. I am thankful for my car breaking down. I am thankful for how God will provide in the future. I am thankful for my awakened desires. I am thankful for friends who have called and texted all day. I am thankful for a family who prays for me. I am thankful for a roof over my head. I am thankful for my comforter that I brought with me. I am thankful for the fact that I have a reserve to help towards a new car. I am thankful that God will not settle me until its time. I am thankful that I still want to be obedient. I am thankful that Jesus has never left me. I am thankful that God who created life, who made earth and all that it holds is my provider. I am thankful that I believe and that God is helping me with my unbelief. I am thankful for grace. I am thankful that I will not awake to sadness. I am thankful for the comforter. I am thankful for the situation I’m in. I’m thankful for the fact that God knows my deepest desires and will meet them. I am thankful for tears and the reality of hope in Jesus. I am so thankful that obedience will always lead me to good… to God.
So tonight I’m thankful that God is writing my story. I am thankful for ending up at the Econo Lodge. I am thankful to write from the truth of holding obedience, love, trust, hope, and unmet desire at the same time, knowing our God is faithful and good… always.