One Post Short

There we were.  A hot, June evening in Ukraine spending time with precious women and girls in a small room, while young men played a serious game of soccer outside.  We had gathered to enjoy female fellowship.  Jazz music, coffee, finger foods and candles help set the mood for a cozy night to laugh and share our hearts with beautiful Ukrainian women.

On one table, my daughter set out nail polish to paint anyone’s nails who felt like be pampered.  At another table, members from our team made a knotted blanket together while enjoying great conversation.  Little girls ran around the room giggling.  The occasional male peeked inside, only to quickly leave the estrogen-filled atmosphere once he realized he was a fish out of water.

At our table, another teammate and I helped women and girls make earrings.  My daughter loves to make them, and is very good at it, so we thought bringing tons of colored glass beads and all sorts of earring posts might be fun to do at our girly event.  The first night, she helped make countless pairs of earrings.  By the next day, the palm of her hand was quite bruised from repeatedly squeezing the little pliers for hours.  She could barely move her hand, so she asked if we could switch and I help with earrings and she paint nails.

Sure!, I thought, though I wasn’t nearly as good at helping with the earrings as she was.  So my teammate and I tried our best to help.  Supplies were running really low.  In fact, although there were plenty of beads, the earring posts were gone.  I began to pack up supplies since we were now out of business without more posts.

A woman approached the table and wanted to make a pair despite my cleaning efforts.  She held a post in her hand and was looking for its match.  We looked everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  It was the last post we brought out of 350 pairs including 4 different styles of posts.  Her sweet smile and tender heart made my teammate and I want to help her so badly.  In fact, a few moments prior, another woman approached us with a different, single post and asked for the match.  We couldn’t find one, so my teammate took the pair off that she had made for herself the night before, unassembled it and gave the match to her.  I was so touched!

But, this woman standing before us had no such success.  Her post was different.  We searched under mats and in plastic containers.  We sifted through beads and backs and extensions.  We looked under the table’s flower centerpiece and on the floor.  We scoured every inch of the table.  We searched our pockets, our laps, and lifted cups of coffee, napkins and food plates.  We searched everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.  There simply wasn’t a matching back.  The woman looked very disappointed but didn’t leave.

This was our gift to the women that night, and we felt terrible that we couldn’t deliver.  The language barrier made it difficult for us to explain why we were telling her she couldn’t make a pair.  She just stood there with her hand held out with the small post in it, waiting patiently to receive its match.  We searched at length again to no avail.

In the surprisingly wildly popular activity of making earrings, we came up one single post short out of the 700 cumulative posts we brought.  God, we need another post.  Please!  Just one more.  Tell us where it is, please, I prayed, Just one more, God.  I can’t tell her no.  You can do this, God.  Give us the matching post.

My teammate looked down at the place mat directly in front of her, and sitting in plain view was the matching post!  We froze as chills ran all over our bodies.  It was the exact match – and it wasn’t there one second earlier.  Seriously, it wasn’t there before.  It appeared out of nowhere, because we had looked everywhere.  We stood there for several seconds dazed in amazement.  We looked at each other with wide-eyes and jaws agape.

It was a miracle.  A real miracle.  There is no other explanation for it.

There was a reason why it was important for this woman to make a pair of earrings; and only God knows what it is.  It was so important that, while running the universe, He took the time to stop and produce an exact match to an earring post on a hot, June evening in Ukraine for a woman whose name only He knows.  She is that important to Him.  The details of her life mean that much to Him.

The Bible is full of Scripture about how much God loves us and cares for us.  I think sometimes we assume that only applies to the big stuff  like health and safety issues.  Marriage and life and death.  Yes, it is true for those times, but it is also true for the quiet moments when only He is able to read between the lines of what is happening.  Moments when we don’t, or can’t, express why something is important to us, but because He knows us the best, He understands us the most.

Perhaps we miss His miracles.  We are too busy, too tired, too self-consumed, that we don’t see the help He offers, the goodness He gives to us or the small miracles He performs in our daily lives.

I often pray, Give me eyes to see, God, because my body’s eyes miss so much.  I am guilty of tunnel-vision and hyper-focus and can miss the bigger picture if I am not looking for it.

Once, I was walking across a parking lot at sunset when the most brilliant fuchsia and orange colors flooded the sky.  I stopped in my tracks and simply stared at one of most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  It was all shades of pink – something no hand could recreate with a paintbrush.  God whispered to me, This one is for you, Kristi.

His words sent chills down my spine.  He knows I am a beach girl who spent half her life watching the sun set over open water.  It is one thing I miss about where I live now.  This resplendent sunset made me feel like I was back on the sand with salty air blowing through my hair as rhythmic waves stumble lazily upon the shore.

I didn’t even know I needed that memory at the moment as I weaved my way through parked cars.  I was simply traversing the hot pavement in my running shoes making my way toward home.  God knew.  He knew I needed a moment to stop.  To gaze in wonder at a beautiful sight I have not seen in a long time, and hear that I was remembered by Him who made me.

This Ukrainian woman needed to be remembered, too.  God saw and acted on her behalf.  Just to comprehend that His presence was with us as the perfect earring post match was placed mere inches from us took my teammate’s and my breath away.

We joyfully gave her the earring, telling her it was a gift from God.  She sat down and thoroughly enjoyed making her pair of dazzling earrings.  John 6:1-13 tells of the time when Jesus fed more than 5 thousand people with only 5 small barley loaves and two small fish.

Yes, He can make something from nothing as well as increase short supply.  He can do anything.  Do we ask?  Do we have faith to ask?  If not, why not?  What is holding us back?  There is nothing too small to ask God.  His answers are simply yes, no or wait, and they are always for His glory and in our best interest.

If you could ask Him anything, without any fear or doubt, what would it be?

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