God created a miracle in my life eleven years ago. I've always wondered why. He must've wanted to use me in some way. There had to be a purpose for the miracle; I was supposed to use it to do something life-changing. But I never discovered the purpose. I've been convinced I let God down...until just recently. I discovered the purpose of that miracle. Indeed, it was life-changing. Just not in the way I'd expected.
In 2008, the recession directly affected my family. My husband, a self-employed painter working in new construction, was about to lose his job. We had had several years of financial bliss, and it was about to come to a screaming halt.
I was working few hours as an RN, mostly staying home with our 3 young kiddos. The beauty and wonder of motherhood had changed me. I remember laying my little one down for a nap and staring at his or her angelic face. My child looked so peaceful, warm, and cozy. This stirred that warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. But it also made me realize the child's vulnerability. I'd praise God for my babies, and then I'd go on to pray for all the babies and children who don't have snuggly beds or parents to change their diapers the minute after they're soiled or offer them milk every time they cry in hunger...
I was burdened. Burdened by the hurt in the world. I'd literally pray for "every hurting baby and child". I'd pray that for tonight there would be no abuse. One night off from the abuse they endure every other day. I had to do something. I tried to tell myself that taking care of my own children was enough. I couldn't possibly save all the children. I just needed to care for the children God placed in my care. But my heart was unsettled.
Every opportunity that presented itself to care for vulnerable children, I would consider. By consider, I mean obsess over. I had an orphanage in Haiti I wanted to adopt from. My husband said we had our hands full with our 3 kids. I tried to convince my husband we should do foster care. Yes, our lives were busy, but we wouldn't be keeping the foster kids forever. My husband got so frustrated with these conversations (me begging him) that he would start vigorously rubbing his head when I brought this stuff up. We were busy. In the thick of raising our family. But I had to help these poor kids. I realized that if God wanted us to adopt or foster kids, he would bring my husband on board.
I did what I could. I sponsored a Compassion International child. I volunteered in the church nursery. I prayed over my patients in the Special Care Nursery. But it didn't feel like enough.
This brings me to the miracle day. :) I went for a run one Sunday afternoon. As usual, I was praying for all the children around the world. I begged God to show me why He gave me this burden for vulnerable children, yet every time I tried to do something to help them, the door was slammed shut in my face. I begged God to make me content with my life instead of searching for ways to serve Him (by serving children).
Specifically, I prayed about a new opportunity. I knew that it was possible to visit the child you sponsor through Compassion International. I was feeling weary of praying all of the time with seemingly no answers. So I asked God to "make it clear". I didn't want to obsess over this endeavor. I told God that if He told me to go to Mexico to meet Alexia, I would go. If He didn't want me to go, I asked Him to make that answer clear.
I was almost home by the time I was saying "Amen". I was wondering, how could God possibly make it 100% clear if He wanted me to go to Mexico. How would I know? Hmmm. Then I thought...Well, if there was a letter in the mailbox, from Alexia, asking me to come to Mexico to meet her...then I would have a clear Yes.
Keep in mind, this was a Sunday. The mail doesn't come on Sunday. And I only received about 3 or 4 letters from Alexia in an entire year...
Yet, I knew there was a letter from her in that mailbox. I knew it! I ran to the mailbox. My fingers were trembling, my legs felt like rubber as I opened the mailbox and sifted through the mail that we hadn't picked up the day before. And...it was there. A letter from my sponsored child. No way! I stood in the street tearing open the envelope. Sure enough, she'd written asking if I like Mexico and could come visit her country someday.
I ran into the house sobbing tears of joy. I could hardly speak; I was so overwhelmed, knowing the Creator of the universe had "spoken" to me. My husband met me at the door. He took one look at me and started crying too (this was very touching since the man has only cried a few times in his life) before he knew what was going on with me. I told him, "We're going to Mexico!" I showed him the letter, and he said, "I guess we're going to Mexico."
It was $5000 for the two of us to go on this trip. We had to dip into our savings which we knew would be dwindling very quickly with the recession. But God had told us to go.
God wanted me to go for a reason, right? To spread the good news or to be a great influence on the other travelers or on my sponsored child, right? Well, the trip was amazing, but not because of anything I did. I was so overwhelmed the entire trip that I was quiet and introspective, even teary. The language barrier between Alexia and me hindered my ability to communicate effectively. I had SO much fun meeting her and being on the trip. But I still didn't get why God went as far as showing me a miracle to get me there. I definitely did not change any children's lives. Instead, I was the one who was blessed.
Recently, author Rachel Hauck shared on Instagram that God sometimes creates miracles for us as gifts. Because He loves us. He doesn't expect something from us. Sure, He likes to be given glory; He's fully deserving. But that's not the purpose of every gift.
My going to Mexico was a gift. Because God loves me. He showed me that He heard my prayers about my burden for children. He cares for them too, way more than I do.
I no longer feel guilty for wasting God's miracle on me. He's so loving. He's a personal God, even as the Creator of the universe. He still cares about each individual whom He has created. Wow.
I also don't feel that same burden. God's given me tidbits of wisdom in the years since. I now rest in confidence that God sees the hurt. I can only do that which He calls me to do. That's all He asks of me. And sometimes, all He asks is that I go on a fun trip to Mexico.
God is good, you guys. He's for real.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.