I cannot recall what I was in fear and worry over at the time, but I know that it had to do with my son Nathan. He was in the first grade then and I was busy trying to plan the next thirty years of his life! I continue even now to walk that dark road of worry when I consider how Nathan will spend his adult years. Although he is a ‘high functioning’ boy with autism, it is hard to fathom him being totally independent one day. God reminds me that true trust and faith in Him is a daily walk, and tomorrow is in His hands…But on this particular night I recall feeling heavy-hearted over things to come with the private school Nathan had been attending. I had just finished working a long RN shift in the ER, and was doing my weekly Trader Joe’s run just before the store would close. I made it to the check-out with minutes to spare. I recall the clerk trying to engage me in conversation. She was very pleasant and sweet, but my answers were short as I only wanted to get on home. I figured I was ‘done’ for the day. Somewhere I sneaked in the conversation that it had been a ‘rough’ week, and with that I made my way out of the store. Just before I exited, this very same clerk came rushing my way with a large bouquet of gorgeous flowers that they sold in the store. I was stunned as she handed them to me and said something about hoping they would bring a smile and encouragement my way. She slipped back in the store before I could even speak. I stood in that doorway stunned and humbled. As I made my way to my car, a flood of emotions enveloped me…
Flowers had become a precious love letter that the Lord had used in my life various times before. I believe many people have tangible touches from God that are just for them. Such touches are personal reminders from a loving God that He is indeed still there and has it all under control. For some people, it might be a certain type of bird showing up at just the right moment, for others, a particular song may come on the radio when they need it the most, etc. I hear this many times, and for me, when I start to feel alone and lost, the Lord will sometimes bring flowers into my life in all kinds of ways. Such moments fill my whole being with awe, as I consider that the God of the entire universe has eyes to see one hurting heart. Yes, He delivers flowers! In fact, He has a very long errand list every day, and desires to find willing and obedient people to help carry out His blessings. He looks for vessels to deliver His love…people with eyes to see and ears to hear the heart of God. That clerk listened to the message God placed in her heart that moment, and it brought profound joy into my life. Now God could easily perform His acts of love without human help, but how marvelous that He uses every day people to be His hands and feet. If you are willing, He will most certainly use you. What an unspeakable honor!
Those flowers became the centerpiece on our dining room table for two weeks. They remained vibrant and healthy all that time, and brought such comfort and light to our home. Every time I looked at them, I thought of the Lord and his faithfulness, and I as well thought of that precious clerk at Trader Joe’s. I wrote her a letter and returned many times to the store in the following months in an attempt to find her. I wanted to thank her and let her know what her kindness had meant, and yet she was nowhere to be found. I did not even know her name. In time, I was even forgetting what she looked like. Our encounter was so brief, and yet it had left such an impact. I prayed for her faithfully, and yearned to see her again. I tried to describe her to various employees, but only one shared that the person I was describing was no longer with them…but that he was not even sure if we were talking about the same person. Funny how I was so preoccupied with my own agenda at our first meeting that I hardly noticed her, and here I was aching to be in her presence just one more time. We miss so many valuable moments and encounters in this life when we are all wrapped up in ourselves and our own needs.
About eight months passed and I figured I would never see my angel again. The Bible reveals something we should all take to heart in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 2….Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!… Yes, there are angels among us. May we never hinder all that God is and all that He is capable of….for nothing is impossible for Him. Do not doubt that you may have come across some angels from time to time. Such encounters will leave you with a feeling of wanting to know God more.
But then one day…..
Before I enter the hospital were I work, I ask the Lord to get ‘me’ out of the way so that He can shine somehow in my life. Unfortunately, I still get in the way much of the time!!…but He is gracious and merciful and never gives up… on any of us. As I entered those doors for a late evening shift one particular afternoon, I had no idea what God had in store. It was 3pm and a patient had just been placed in one of my scheduled rooms for various pain complaints. I got my blood draw and IV gear ready and went in to evaluate her. I immediately knew that this woman had struggles on a deeper level beyond physical pain complaints, as she appeared a bit disheveled and her eyes and face were red and swollen from obvious crying. As I began to introduce myself, one of our registration reps entered the room. I decided to let the rep get the paperwork/insurance stuff out of the way first so that I could really sit and listen to this patient one on one after. I was hopeful that she would trust me to share about her apparent sadness. As she was answering the reps questions, I felt a vague sense of recognition about her, but I could not place where I might have known her. We see so many people in the ER, and many are return visitors. She had a restlessness about her as she spoke and she shared that she was out of work for the time being. But it was her next sentence that almost sent me flying off my chair…’I used to work at Trader Joe’s’… My eyes were immediately opened then and total recognition came back to me. It WAS my angel, right before me. Of course…it was her! And yet she appeared nothing like she did that night so many months prior. What I saw before me now was a broken and hurting woman…. the woman who I had so longed to see again, who I had searched out many times, and who I had prayed for. In all of my human efforts I could not locate her, but in an instant the God of all things placed her right in my room in the ER…right into my hands. Who can fathom His wisdom? He needs no smart phone or GPS. He orchestrates the impossible. I knew immediately what I was being called to do.
The tears were coming to my eyes and I was fighting to hold them back initially. I grabbed her hands to hold them tight and asked her to look closely at me. Her face appeared exhausted and her eyes held such sadness. I wondered what trials had come upon my sweet messenger, and I knew it was my time to be a touch of God right back to her. As she looked at me, I recounted the whole story of my going into Trader Joe’s that night months prior and the struggles I was facing, and what a beautiful cashier had done for me. Midway through the story I could see that she too recognized me, and we were both trembling with tears. We embraced for a long time and it felt like heaven was wrapping its glory around us. I will never forget that moment. She then wanted to know all about how I was, if I was ok, if there was something she could do for me. She asked about my children and shared that she was a grandmother. She was selfless and genuine. And then she agreed to open up about her life. It turns out my angel was the victim of domestic abuse both emotionally and physically, for decades. Years of scars she carried, and yet she still had room in her heart for love. She was not bitter or angry. She had faith in the Lord and told me that she just knew in her heart to reach out to me that night, and to do it with flowers. What a gift of God that I could then be the one to reach out to her in her pain. I told her how precious she was in God’s sight. Scriptures came off my lips that God had intended just for her at that very moment. He gave me the words to say. My letter was so weak in comparison!! Yes, God had set it all in motion, and brought both of us great faith and hope in the process. The pain in this life can never compare to the glory and hope that are found in the Lord. I told her that she was an angel to me, and she said that I was her angel..forever. Oh, there were more tears indeed!
I learned that she indeed was moving to another state in the following weeks to try and start a new life. And so God allowed us to truly meet and know each other before our journeys would take us in different directions. I continue to pray for her and know we will meet again…either here or in eternity. After all, we are family in the Lord.
Come across any messengers of God lately? Get to looking…..
And if you are ready and willing, He will use you too.