Found

A mom can find her kid. Even in a crowd.

I could find Andrew on the football field by watching for arms and legs. I can spot Daniel by the sound of his laugh. And Ian’s voice draws my attention. Much like his dad’s, it’s distinctive and pleasing.  And as with Andrew, if he’s moving, I can find David.

Several years ago, Doug and I flew across country to meet David. His back to back deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq had taken a toll on this mom.  I needed to see his face.

Normally, crowds distress me and I’m never one to push to the front of any line. Ever.  But once the soldiers were in the building and their commander began to speak, I couldn’t wait.  I made my way to the front, held out my camera and took the shot. Other cameras flashed around me and I wasn’t sure what I’d get.

It turned out to be one of my favorites.

~ I found you – I see you – you’re OK ~ David in crowd

I’m always amazed at the ways God finds me. It can be a phone call from someone with just the right words, a scripture that jumps off the page, a series of events that fall into place… or that unexplainable peace He gives when they don’t.

I have a persistent memory that floats in my head… a million years ago, or maybe 35-ish, I sat in a coffee shop in Anchorage, Alaska. It was middle of winter and my two sons (at the time) and I had come inside for hot chocolate.  Since we didn’t get to the “big city” all that often, the boys and I tagged along with Doug who had come in for an interview.

Jobs seemed to come and go all too often. We were always struggling.  I’d been questioning if we were doing right by our boys.  I missed family living so far away.  And did I mention… it was winter in Alaska.  Serious case of cabin fever had set in.

Honestly, I don’t remember many specifics from that day, or even if Doug got that job. What I do remember is an older couple who sat at the table next to us. Out of the blue the woman tells me she could see we belonged to one another… same beautiful smiles, same beautiful eyes.

She was sweet and motherly.  She talked to me like we were old friends.  Our conversation was brief, but as they left she put her arm around my shoulder… kind of a side-ways hug. Her parting words were that I was blessed with a beautiful family… that everything will be alright… to enjoy every single moment with my children, no matter the circumstance.

They paid for our hot chocolate.

At the time I felt so grateful.  Touched that a complete stranger would be so kind.  Amazed that she knew exactly what I needed to hear.

As years have passed, I’ve drawn a few more gifts from that memory, like that “kid in a crowd” thing. If a mom can find hers, how much more our Heavenly Father?

…and becoming more like that unknown woman.  God chose to use her arms to hug and her words to encourage.  And she let Him.

…but mostly, it’s not so much God “finding” me. He already knows where I am.  It’s reminding myself every day, or every hour if need be, that I am “found”.

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