Last night I was strolling through Target with an empty cart. I wasn’t looking for anything specific; actually I wasn’t there to buy anything at all. I was there to pray and process. You might think that sounds like the antithesis of spirituality, but it was the perfect environment. Funny, how God works like that. My head and heart were noisy. Target was quiet. The rhythmic hum of the four wheels on my cart soothed me. My husband offered me some time out, after a day spent frolicking with 4 kids off school for the holiday. I needed some space, and Dan knew it. It’s not that my kids were getting to me, I have an amazing family, and sure, they’re loud and rowdy sometimes, but it wasn’t them. I was the problem. I was getting on my very last nerve.
I entered the store with a list, a list of things weighing heavy on my heart, an accumulation of very personal little things. I felt this list. I strolled through the store and began a conversation with God. I asked him what he was going to do with those things and what I was supposed to do about them. I wasn’t getting any answers. I’m firmly convinced that my surface questions are often related to processing, and I must keep asking to find the deep answer my heart needs most. I circled the store, picked up a few things, and, at the same time circled my issues. The conversation changed.
Do you see me?
Factually, I knew this wasn’t THE question, but I was getting closer. I even knew the answer as I asked—I know he sees me.
I continued to explore my heart in an effort to try to understand what I desperately needed to know.
I need to know that you see me. Show me that you see my heart.
Surprisingly it wasn’t a question, but it was THE KEY that would unlock the door and let me out of my self-made irritation. I needed God to come to me, in the middle of Target and remind my heart that he sees me.
I was browsing through the picture frames when this revelation occurred. I looked at my cart and decided to put back the things I had collected. I pushed the cart in silence. There was nothing more to say, no more questions to ask. I needed to wait.
I found the shelf, popped the items back in place and started towards the front of the store. I looked at my watch. Maybe I wasn’t going to meet him in Target. It was time to go home. I passed another shopper, but didn’t look up, I felt subdued by silence. She stopped me, “Excuse me, are you Marie?” Jolted from my inward conversation, I stumbled to answer her question. “I knew it was you, I saw you earlier but didn’t say anything and then I told God, that if he wanted me to talk to you then he would have to make sure our paths crossed again.” She continued, “I’m sure you get lots of these conversations, so I don’t want to bother you, but I just have to thank you for sharing your story.”
The words I type don’t accurately convey the way she expressed them and how God used this encounter to touch my heart. She went on to tell me that she had been praying for my family and was encouraged to know what God had done. I thanked her and walked away, still stunned and silent, but completely changed. All my “issues” remained; nothing was different, however the weight had lifted. This was only the 3rd time a stranger approached me to talk about my book. This was not a coincidence; this was God.
You see me.
Tears filled my eyes. I held them back. I was not going to break down in the middle of Target.
I felt his arms surrounding me, his hands holding my heart—the love of the Father in tangible form. It’s startling to think God would send me to Target to process and pray, and that he would simultaneously send a stranger, used with precision to encourage my heart. If she had spoken the first time she saw me it would’ve come before my revelatory moment and the impact would’ve been reduced. Her words came with perfect timing.
I returned home, confident that while my circumstances remained the same, everything had shifted. I was able to view my life through the lens of love, confident that God sees my heart. He doesn’t have to instantaneously fix my problems—I just have to let him change me. I am comforted, because I know he sees me.
This song says it all-
And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing
You Know Me- Bethel Music