This is the backstory: I had a painful reaction to a conversation that I had on Saturday. Nothing hurtful was said to me, but I was weak enough that my logical interpretation of some words spoken uncovered hidden uncertainty and sent me into a tailspin of doubt regarding some important decisions I have felt God directing me toward. I was praying for clarity into the late evening Saturday, went to bed, and got up again Sunday morning at 4AM to pray some more. Then I fell back asleep on my couch to wake up only a couple of hours later.
I sensed some very specific encouragement from God while I was praying but I was feeling vulnerable and battle weary. I felt like I was being pulled from side to side by my arms, and couldn’t seem to keep my focus on the path where God had placed my feet. I was continually tempted to look to the right and the left. Even after a deep sense of God’s presence in worship at church, a wonderfully timely sermon, the joy of praying and encouraging others, and receiving some personal encouragement myself, my head was still spinning and I felt like the battle was not over. I was determined to let God fight the battle for me, as I just placed one foot in front of the other and leaned into His voice.
After church, and in spite of my weariness, I ventured out to the store, and successfully checked off my shopping list. In spite of my preoccupied brain, I was still somehow present enough to have a fun interchange with the checkout clerk and get her to smile. After leaving the checkout area, I remember taking my hat and gloves out of my purse and putting them on. Then I went into the parking lot and unlocked my car.
I usually open the trunk and then throw my purse in the front seat, lock the car while the trunk is still open and then take the items out of the cart and put them in the trunk.
Maybe I forgot to lock the car and someone grabbed the purse out of the driver’s side when I was putting the cart away, or I actually left the purse in my cart this time and someone walked by and swiped it — maybe while I was sliding those furnace filters far into the car. I didn’t even realize that my purse was gone until I got into the garage at home. To make a longer story short, hours later someone found and brought my purse to the service desk at Walmart with my cash and phone missing.
There are two things that I am very grateful were still in my purse when it was returned to me: my drivers license and some gift cards given to me. It is kind of embarrassing but the gift cards are over a year old, I have not used them yet, and thankfully they are not expired. I can imagine the heart-sinking feeling of the people who bought them for me if the unused cards had been stolen from me.
This may sound funny, but this whole robbery event has profoundly lifted my heart. For me, there is so much marvelous symbolism. The event has actually strengthened my focus and given me the upper hand in my recent internal battle. I feel like God spoke to me through the items stolen and the items returned: Even if the devil could wipe out my finances (symbolized by the stolen cash), and convince my friends and family to abandon me or withdraw their encouragement (symbolized by my missing phone — means of contact), no one can take away my identity— a created child of God (symbolized by my I.D./drivers license), no one can take the gifts and purpose that God is stirring up within me (symbolized by the gift cards and the locations where I will use them).
Just like the heart, intention, and generosity of those who gave me the gift cards, God’s plan is for me to use the talents and gifts He has given me in the places that He has intended, and he won’t let anyone take that destiny away from me as I cling to Him, stay in His love, and follow His instructions. I believe that this is His desire for all us — a secure identity and uniquely designed destiny.
It may seem laughable for me to say (that’s ok — laughing is one of my favorite things) that I don’t feel violated from being robbed, and I am celebrating! Once again, what the enemy had meant for harm, God has worked for good. He knows me well and I believe he used the event to minister to my metaphor-loving brain. The devil is paying a large fine for this attempt to derail me: I am moving forward, giving God glory with a big smile, wrapped in a peace that passes all understanding, stronger, with more certainty and focus than before this all happened. It feels like I got some pretty cheap, effective, and long lasting counseling/enlightenment for $35.00 and a handful of change!