The plastic container was empty.
I looked around my sink, through the cupboards… nothing.
I had just put my bleaching trays in a few days ago, and now they had vanished. With three toddlers that like to destroy just about everything they can get their hands on, my heart panicked.
Because friend, those whitening trays are expensive!
(Remember, I used to be a dental hygienist. So, I can’t help but like vibrant, white teeth.)
Recently, I’d been faced with disappointment after disappointment when it came to my plans, my hopes and my dreams. Personal issues when it came to my kids were eating at me. Not to mention one of my closest friends is moving next week. And then Twin Two came down with a fever at a time when, well, time is sacred and there’s not enough to devote anywhere else (like caring for a sick kid, ahem).
Discouragement was my present nametag.
And losing my bleach trays (although not a ginormous problem) was at the present moment my tipping off point.
Two nights before, my husband and I were on our knees (okay, let’s be real… laying on our bed before sleep) praying and pouring out our present cares and worries to Him. Our hearts were heavy with many burdens and challenges we’d been facing. We prayed for Gods mercy to shine through this present darkness that seemed to surround us and our home.
We went to bed, hoping for a glimmer of His touch.
The next day, He answered our first prayer: healing our son from a fever that started only 12 hours before.
Well, that was interesting!
Of course, I was still skeptical and watched my boy like a hawk for the rest of the day and yet, no signs of fever ever came back. He acted his normal, energetic happy self!
That was the first sign of God intervening.
But then the following day, I ran around the house rampant wondering where my bleach trays went, practically cursing God for this additional disappointment and not giving me a break from the pile of negatives.
It’s funny how quickly we can forget about Gods mercy-filled gifts.
My husband finally asked what was wrong.
“I can’t find my bleach trays, have you seen them?”
“You mean the ones that were on the kitchen counter wrapped in paper towels a few days ago…??” he cautiously questioned.
I ran downstairs, scanning all the counters. Nothing. All the leftover used up paper towel balls had been thrown away (in my house, I have a weird fetish with leaving slightly used paper towel balls laying on the counters everywhere. Thanks mom.)
They were gone.
But then I remembered something… we forgot to take the trash out this week! There was still hope!
After taking the next hour rummaging through our trashcans with old banana peels, mildewing leftover dinner scraps and piles of wrapped up paper towel balls with no bleach trays in sight, I started to cry. I know they are only bleach trays, but this was the final tipping point on my discouragement pile.
Have you ever been there too where you just feel like discouragement keeps piling up and you wonder if God even cares?
Are your kids having trouble at school?
Is your work taxing with little reward?
Are you facing distance in your marriage?
Do you wish your friendships were stronger?
Does one thing after another keep happening that makes you want to cry out, “God, I need mercy! Seriously, don’t you even care?”
“I FOUND THEM!” My husband exclaimed breaking me out of my lamenting reverie.
Stunned, there they were. They were found!
And this may sound ridiculous, but I cried like a baby. I danced around, squealing like a crazy person who just won the lottery, even though it was much less exciting than that. I hugged my husband profusely, trying to keep from smashing old banana guts on him with my hands. And then made sure to wash those trays (and my hands, obviously) THOROUGHLY before putting them in my mouth again. ?
The kicker to this story is this…
If it wasn’t for God allowing us to forget to put out the trash this week, I would have lost my bleach trays forever. And Tuesday night we had prayed for God to show us some mercy, some sort of hope that He was still working in this season of discouragement after discouragement. And it may sound like a coincidence to you, but I assure you this was no coincidence.
This friends, is evidence of Gods present mercy in my life. He really does care about me, even when I feel like He doesn’t.
Is it possible that God is allowing us to lose a little because He’s protecting us from a bigger loss? Is it possible that God may be working in your life, but you’ve failed to notice Him in the smaller celebrations? Is it possible that He has never stopped caring about you, even when things don’t go the way you hoped they would?
It may sound silly. Childish even. But to me this small act of mercy was a direct testimony of God’s love for me.
Friend, I don’t know what challenges you’re facing. They’re probably much bigger than not being able to find bleach trays.
But if He cares about something as insignificant as my bleach trays (which would have been gone forever if we had put out the trash like we normally do), I guarantee that He cares about you and the present problems you’re facing, no matter how big or small they are.
From washing the disciple’s feet which demonstrates His love for them, to raising a girl from the dead, Jesus cares.
From turning water into wine to feeding five thousand people using only two fish and five loaves, Jesus cares.
From little things like finding your car keys to the big things like having enough money to pay the bills, He cares.
I encourage you right now to submit your cares to Him right now. To ask Him to show up in your life and reveal to you where He’s already working and where He’s caring for you right now. Because I guarantee, friend, that God cares for you in ways you may be surprised to find out… like perhaps helping you enjoy the benefits of sparkling white, bleached teeth again.
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