I was having a “one of those days” day. I woke up tired and all I wanted to do was stay in bed. Life seemed overwhelming, chaotic and frustrating. I felt rushed, and like I was doing a poor job at everything put in front of me. I wanted to give up, but felt powerless to say “no” to my mounting to-do list, and well—some things can’t be paused—like hungry babies.
In the middle of this “one of those days” day, I was running late with Ansley, pushing her furiously in her stroller through the grocery to grab something for her and myself to eat, because on a “one of those days” day, you never have enough time to eat. She was fussing. I was fussing. We made it into our building and up the elevator with my thoughts racing from one step of eating, to the next step of cleaning, to the next step of nap for the baby, and on and on.
We rushed through the doorway, I picked Ansley up, and immediately dropped her jar of baby food which shattered all over the floor. You know what is trickier than cleaning up broken glass? Broken glass covered in sticky yam purée. Anyway, I just left it on the floor and started to make Ansley food. Hurriedly opening the fridge, I banged my funny bone so hard my arm went numb.
That was it.
It tipped me into full-blown *#!?% mode. In a muffled rage I cried out “Jesus!”
Now this wasn’t the vain cry of Jesse from Breaking Bad. This was a desperate, heartfelt cry, a cry that wondered: Where was this mighty God I served? I believed I was going to melt down in the a pile of pureed yams, and shards of glass and join my now-crying infant.
Before I completed enacting this little bit of drama to my satisfaction, I heard the sweetest and most shocking reply.
It was such a mellow and peaceful and odd reply that it stopped my overacting. Standing at the wide-open fridge door, holding my stinging elbow and looking at my baby’s unhappy expression, I felt I had heard Jesus deep in my mind and spirit.
I had cried out to Jesus in frustration and anger, wanting him to come down from his majestic throne and magically rewind me dropping the jar, magically soothe Ansley’s hungry crying, magically make a Thanksgiving feast appear in my fridge, and magically stop me from banging my arm.
What I got was so much more. He was there.
With one simple word, I realized he was not 30,000 feet in the air, watching from a cloud like Superman or some aloof alien king. He was standing right beside me. He was present with me. And what my mind and spirit grasped in a rare moment was that he had been with me all day.
At once I felt sorrow and heartache for missing out on him, and simultaneously unspeakable joy and appreciation that he was sticking it out to be with me.
This moment shook me to the core. It did not undo broken glass and bruised elbows and the little one’s wails. But I had someone with me to share all of the mess with. I had someone with me who could see me — all of me — my pain and anger and sadness and fatigue. Someone was there, and it made all the difference.
This moment, a simple reminder that Jesus is Emmanuel, ever-present, and not just accessible or watching from afar, has really impacted me. I cannot help but see him this week. I see him when I awaken, as if he has enjoyed watching me sleep. I see him play with Ansley while I wash dishes. I see him read over my shoulder even now, laughing at our shared embarrassing moment. (Remember that time I was like, “Jesus?!” and you were like, “Yes?” haha.)
This is our God. What an amazing God we serve. He’s a God who has chosen to enter in our lives, to be with us, to sit in our hearts and see us fully, to live life with us, cry with us and laugh with us. There are so many things happening around us that want to take our attention from him. There are so many fires to put out and messes to clean up and needy people to love. But he is here.
I hope and pray that this story will help you see Jesus reading this with you, sitting on your desk as you surf the web, placing a caring hand on your shoulder, helping you organize that pile of papers, or sharing a laugh at my expense. I pray his presence may shock you and sweeten your day.