Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Red Hat


Several weeks ago, my older sister, Elli, shared this testimony with me. I asked her if she would be willing to share it with the readers of my blog, and I've been humbled and blessed by her transparency. I pray that it blesses you as well. 


The Red Hat

It was a normal day in mid-August when the doorbell rang. I was watching a movie and trying to soak up a tiny bit of mid-day pleasure towards the end of a summer that had turned out to be a grueling test.

This was the summer I felt my life unraveling, falling apart at the seams and fading into disrepair. It was a summer that forced me to make choices: between life and death, between lifting myself up out of the pile of self-loathing or staying there to drown in sorrow and disappointment, between doing the hard work of staying committed to my family or choosing to serve my own selfish whims and desires, between dwelling on a past full of missed opportunities or deciding to take hold of the possibilities tomorrow has to offer and push through the manure and mud, like a flower being birthed out of the soil.  


The choices were not made in one particular single moment, but after allowing myself several weeks of moments. Sometimes these moments included self-destructive behaviors and really ridiculous arguments with people I love the most. Other times I decided to walk for hours so I could have the space I needed for self-examination and an honest evaluation of who I was and who I wanted to be. 

In these moments, I realized that I hadn’t prayed in a very long time.

In fact, I hadn’t gone to church for most of the summer and when I was there, I insisted that we sit up in the balcony, where we could hide from all of those presumably happy people in the congregation. The dreaded question, “How are you?” would smack painfully across our cheeks if we drew near to anybody. 
I filled a seat in misery, mostly tuned out and feeling lost. 

I really wondered if anyone could see that in my eyes…and furthermore, I wondered where God was. Where was He as we thought our business was failing, as our bank account was being drained and we were struggling to keep our home and keep our children’s lives running normally? 

Where was He as I contemplated whether I would continue being a part of this household, this marriage or this life? Fear and anxiety had quietly filled up my soul over the months and now I doubted if God could really see me, if He was invested in my life. I had begun thinking those ideas were just the product of hype, produced by a flamboyant pastor and a room full of enthusiastic people. 

I believed that as part of the collective body of believers, He probably had my name written down somewhere, but was He interested in me personally? Did God truly hear my thoughts, know my dreams and sorrows, was He really even there? 

Somewhere, during these life challenges (which I know that everyone faces in some form), I had abandoned hope. Like a balloon that slowly, imperceptibly loses its air through a tiny hole, my desire to believe in myself and put forth the efforts that make a family thrive and make life valuable had quietly leaked out.

So, in those weeks of moments, I made a choice. I started to pray again, however feeble my attempts were. 

I asked God for a sign, proof that He really was there. If He really could see me and He really heard me, I wanted to know without a doubt that He was truly invested, and interested in my little life. This sign had to be specific, and unlikely; something that only I would think up and ask for. 

I figured that nothing should be too difficult for God, so I chose the most random thing to cross my mind: I asked for the sending of a RED HAT from my Aunt in California.

After several weeks, I had all but forgotten about the “test.”  

And that is when the UPS man unassumingly brought a box to my doorstep from my aunt in California. 

I let it sit next to me on the couch for quite some time before I began to open it. 

Slowly, I pulled out a can of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, some gift wrapping supplies and ribbon, a package of cute cupcake papers and other miscellany. 

Then finally... I opened a large plastic bag and found it.  


A RED HAT! Just as I had requested.

God was real. He heard me and invested in my life. God chose me. He responded to ME!  

I still fear that people will think it a coincidence or just plain silly, so I share the story with few people, but I carry the hope gained by this event within me every day.

I share it every time I smile at my children or laugh with a friend, or love on my husband and think of our future together. 

I now know, that even in our times of failure, we are not alone; God is walking beside us. And I know this because God loved me enough to listen to my strange request. He greeted the prayers of a broken-down and hurting woman, with the gift of a RED HAT.


***

Thank you, Jesus, that we never, ever walk alone.

7 comments:

  1. Kira,

    I have loved reading your blog! It's both hilarious, inspirational and a great reminder of the things to be thankful for in this life thanks to Him. Your sister's testimony is an amazing one and I felt the need to say thank you to her for sharing such an intimate part of her life on your blog for all to see. God works in mysterious and wonderful ways -- even sending red hats! =) It's a good thing "our ways are not His ways, and our thoughts not His thoughts." Thank you again for sharing!

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  2. I LOVED this story!!! God is so good.

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  3. Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing! God is good and His love is amazing!

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  4. Thank you Elli for being willing to share. Your transparency is an encouragement and it allows Gods greatness to shine though. Yeah God, I LOVE stories like this:)

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  5. Awesome post Kira. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a blessed weekend.

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  6. What a lovely testimony to God's faithfulness and love, Kira. I'm so glad you shared this on your blog. Stories like this help me keep chin up in those horrid, seemingly lonely moments in my mummy life!

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  7. Chills! Thank you, Elli, for being vulnerable and sharing your story here. I guarantee that it resulted in some restored hope, even if only in slivers.

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I adore reading your comments; they bring sunshine to my day. Thanks for reading!

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