Living in a Material World (When You’re Not a Material Girl): Part 2

So, the world is obsessed with our weight. (It’s also obsessed with our age, our youthful appearance or the lack thereof, our incomes, and our political affiliations.) It has its own opinion of us, but we have to embrace that, while other people may hold their opinions of us, those opinions are not facts.

I wish the world was more concerned with the condition of our hearts, but that’s not the job of the world. That’s God’s job. In part one of this post, I shared what the world says about us in regard to our weight. Now, I want to share some descriptions that God, who made us, has used about us. These are not just my imaginings…they’re from His holy scripture. If you click on the words (underlined and highlighted in blue), you can read the scripture that addresses each of these descriptions. These are God’s opinions of us, and His opinion is the only opinion that is a FACT.

God does not make worthless thing

If Jesus is our Savior, each of us is God’s child. We are friends and confidantes of Jesus. We have been justified and redeemed by grace so that we are blameless. Because we are set free from the laws of sin and death, we are fellow heirs to God’s throne. God has called us saints (God’s holy people) who have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  God loves us so much that He has sent His Spirit to live in us. We can live in victory and triumph over all things because we belong to Him — there is no such thing as defeat when you are a child of God! We are part of God’s plan and He has made us promise keepers! We are chosen, holy, and loved.

If you grew up in Sunday School, I’ll guess that you were taught the story of creation many times in your life. There are reasons we read, re-read, and re-study God’s word — there are lessons to be learned every time. There are nuances that we may miss or that God chooses to reveal to us at different times in our spiritual lives. I want to share something that I believe God revealed to me in a study of Genesis while I was teaching a class for three-year-olds about two years ago. This was not an accident. This was an on-purpose, God-delivered, simple revelation that He sent to me right before my own health crisis was revealed during a medical appointment in June 2015. It changed my whole perspective about how God sees us, His creation…His handiwork.

I love that, after God made each part of His creation, He surveyed His work and declared it good. Of course it was good! God made it.

On that sixth day of creation, God made humans. He wasn’t arbitrary about our composition. He didn’t wing it and hope He came up with something that was pleasing. He made us in His own image! And when He had made us and surveyed his work, He didn’t just declare that we were good, He said that we were very good.

Why is that important?

It’s important because who we look like in our physical selves is a defining factor about who we are individually. If you observe parents with their children, especially after a baby is born, someone is always trying to see who the baby looks like. Sharing physical looks with parents or other family members helps us know who we are and to whom we belong.

Despite all the physical factors that come together to give us our facial features, body type, and body components, we ultimately ALL look like God because we were created in His image. To be fully and completely His, is to accept how God’s made us physically and become like Him spiritually by becoming more like Christ.

Thomas-Merton-Quote-To-say-that-I-am-made-in-the-image-of-God-is

The world will never get that. It’s why we cannot be agents of this world, conformed to its ways and slaves to its obsessions. It’s why I will never be a material girl, even though I live in this material world. I am God’s masterpiece, His very good handiwork. So are you, friends.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, else matters.

shr

 

 

 

 

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Living in a Material World (When You’re Not a Material Girl): Part 1

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

I started a social experiment about image on July 24, 2017. Armed with a legal pad and pen, I decided that for a week, I would keep a list of all the references about being overweight I heard on television and radio, or read in print and social media. My intent was to continue this experiment for the entire week of vacation, but here I sit after only THREE DAYS and I’ve already heard and seen so much that to complete the week would be an exercise in redundancy.

There were very few programs I watched on television that didn’t make some reference to being overweight. There were NO publications I read during the last three days that didn’t have at least one article about how to lose weight, and every article promised that this was a sure-fire way to shed the extra pounds.

Let me share with you part of my list. Keep a tally of how many you’ve heard, whether it was on a media outlet or spoken directly to you or about you.

Every time I heard or read these particular words, it was in the context of weight: fatty, chubby, fat pig/fat hog, lard ass/fat ass, fatso, tubby, chubby chaser, tub of lard, chunky girl, broad as a barn door, fat slob, blubber butt, jelly belly, fat squab (courtesy of Gordon Ramsey on “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”), over-grown slob, porky, south end of a northbound truck, chank (short version of chubby skank), pudgy, stout, cow/fat cow, buffalo butt, buffarilla, doughboy, whale/beach whale, heifer, fat boy/fat girl, hoss, fatty fatty 2-by-4, “not normal,” fat fanny, healthy girl/boy, wide load, 2-ton Annie, rotund, wide as he is tall, pot belly, beer belly, portly, whopper, lardo, sow, and Omega Mu (said by a frat boy in a movie about a girl, a reference to an imaginary sororiety whose members are all overweight).

strength to forgive

To put these words into a more personal perspective, I asked close friends and Facebook acquaintances to share with me some of the comments that have been made to them about their weight. I shed tears of frustration and anger as I read them, knowing how some of these vicious, uncalled for words cut my friends to the core. Please remember that these are OPINIONS and that they were not spoken out of  true concern for anyone’s well-being.

“Ewww…I feel so fat! Kill me now!” (This was said by the sister of a friend. The friend had just started her weight loss journey. Her sister is thin and not overweight in any conceivable way. Her message to her sister was clear: people who are overweight don’t deserve to live.)

“Don’t say you’re fat! You’re beautiful!” (This was a remark to a friend who was being honest about her need to lose weight. Her mother thought she was offering a supportive compliment, but it was taken much differently, as if being overweight was a commentary on beauty, as in fat=ugly.)

“Have you lost weight? Because you look fabulous!” (Lynn DeArgo, who had NOT lost weight at this point, felt the person who said this was well aware of the fact that she had, indeed, not lost weight. Lynn is happy to report that she has lost 22 pounds in the last three months and has joined a gym. She says that she feels fabulous, and that’s even better than looking fabulous.)

“Is that on your diet?” or “Are you sure you should eat that?” (Actually spoken directly to me, I despise it when people take an inventory of my meals! I think after losing 60 pounds, I know what I can and cannot eat.)

“I don’t think you should wear skinny jeans. I mean, they’re for skinny girls. It’s right in the name.” (This is an actual comment made to a Facebook friend, LaNeita, by a sales clerk at American Eagle.)

“Be careful. I don’t want you to have a heart attack today.” (A Facebook pal, Connie Rodriguez, submitted this to me. After losing almost 120 pounds and walking as exercise for a year, this was said to her by the person who checked Connie in at her very first 5K race packet last October. People just ASSUME things!)

“I just don’t see how you could allow yourself to gain this much weight! I mean, didn’t you look in the mirror every day?” (Submitted by Andrew, this was a remark made to him by his sister, whom he had not seen in two years.)

“Once you lose weight, dating will be so much easier! Nobody wants to marry a fat girl.” (Single mother, Tasha, submitted this. This is a direct quote from her mother.)

“You know, they can perform surgery to help you lose weight. Just think how pretty you’d be if you weren’t so heavy!” (Spoken to my friend, DiAnna Ligon by a TOTAL STRANGER at a benefit auction she attended. This upset her so badly that she left the benefit. I am pleased to report that she’s now lost 65 pounds in the last six months and is well on her way to reaching her goal.)

“I suppose she rolls down instead of walks!” (While out and walking for exercise, my friend was huffing it up a hill when a car of rude guys rode by and yelled this out of their truck window. Now she’s lost 40 pounds and in her own words, she’s “winning the battle.”)

“My goodness! What have you been eating?” (Pregnant with her second child, this is how the doctor and his student-intern greeted Theresa. She knew she had gained weight, but felt the remark was degrading and insensitive.)

What God Thinks about me 2

I share all of these vile words and statements with you because I know life is not only unfair, it’s often cruel. People have their own agendas and their cruel messages are more about the condition of THEIR HEARTS than YOUR WEIGHT.

What I want you to embrace is the fact that you are God’s masterpiece. You are a work of outstanding skill and artistry. You are His very best piece of work, His magnum opus. I invite you to return for the second part of this series because I want to share with you what GOD says about you. What God says about you is far more important than anything society says about you.

shr

 

 

 

 

Carry You

Yesterday, I woke to dreary, rainy skies. As I was running errands and driving, I saw a break in the sky and the sunbeams broke through in ethereal streams, almost like arms stretched down to the earth. The presence of God was so strong it was palpable. He flooded my thoughts with images and words of poetry, so much so that I had to pull over, grab some paper from the glove box, and write them down. 
Then, as I prayed last night, He gave me the very last verse. If you listen to God, He will give you wonderful gifts. I want to share yesterday’s gift with you. Please remember that these are not MY words, but GOD’S words through me. Have a blessed day!

shr
CARRY YOU

When the weight of the world is too much to bear,

And the load on your shoulders is filled with care,

Lay it all at the cross, Grace will meet you there,

And Jesus will carry you through.
When hope seems thin and strength is gone,

And you just don’t think you can carry on.

It’s a brand new day at the break of dawn,

And Jesus will carry you through. 
When your mind is filled with restlessness,

And the pain your heart is causing stress, 

There is One who waits to comfort and bless,

For Jesus will carry you through. 
When struggles cut into your soul like a knife,

And you cannot escape the confusion and strife,

Remember the One who has given new life,

Is waiting to carry you through. 
When discomfort overwhelms and takes its toll,

As the storm clouds gather and thunder rolls,

God’s still on His throne and in control,

Sending Jesus to carry you through. 
As worry dies and turmoils decrease,

God will give His unsurpassable peace. 

His Love and Mercy will never cease,

Now that Jesus has carried you through. 

(c) Sandra Hall Rosser 2017

A Day of Real Life Low Carb Eating

When I changed my way of eating (WOE) in 2015, I admit that I was more motivated by the words of my doctor and the thoughts of losing weight than I was by what God thought of me at 226 pounds. I was focused on not adding medications (which meant an added monthly expense to our budget) to my daily regimen and shopping in the regular women’s sizes for clothes. I wanted to change what I saw in the mirror, not realizing that my physical condition was just as harmful to my spiritual and emotional well being as it was to any body organ or system.

God actually has quite a bit to say about our health. In Genesis 1:29, God instructs Adam to eat the seeds, fruits, and plants He created for food. In Genesis 9:3, God further says that He gives us “every moving thing” and plants for our sustenance. In Daniel 1:8-20, God gives specific instruction to Daniel about what to eat to be strong and healthy. It’s clear that God never envisioned us consuming boxes of macaroni and cheese, Lean Cuisine, or Snickers bars as sources to fulfill our nutritional needs.

With these biblical lessons in mind, I modified what goes in my body and added movement to my once sedentary life. I’ve been on a quest to educate myself about how my body works and the WHY (the science) of eating healthier and exercising. I’m going to share something with you so that you know it can be done and that I’m not just talking about this in theory. Below left is me at my highest weight of 247 pounds. Below right is me at my current weight of 167.4 pounds. My goal weight is 157.

216

My public library holds a wealth of information and I frequent it now more often than I ever have. The internet also has information available, but I have learned to read everything with an eagle eye, because, despite popular belief, if it’s on the internet, information is not necessarily accurate. These are some sources you can bank on, and one of those sources is the Diagnosis Diet website, written by Dr. Georgia Ede. She likes to say it’s “where nutrition science meets common sense.” For those of you who may be reading any part of my story for the first time, let me encourage you to take an assessment of your body and its sensitivity to carbohydrates. Click here to take the test for absolutely FREE.

This test asks a series of twenty yes/no questions to determine your level of sensitivity. If you score 13 or more yeses, you are considered in the “red zone” and highly sensitive to carbohydrates that you ingest. I scored 19.

I always share this quiz when anyone asks me why I chose a low carb WOE because this was an eye-opener for me. Armed with the information from this quiz, I started researching ways to cut carbohydrates from my diet. I know this quiz is accurate because when I started eliminating carbs, I lost weight. Not only did I lose weight, I have kept it off. The number one question I get asked is “What are you doing to lose weight?” and the second is “What do you eat?”

So, what does one eat on a low carb WOE? I’m going to share a REAL FOOD JOURNAL ENTRY from a recent week with you. I use My Fitness Pal to log my meals (sign in name is sandyrosser, so feel free to send me a friend request if you use it too) and my food diary is public, so any friend on MFP can see what I eat. I set my calorie limit at 1200 calories per day now, but when I started eating low carb, my calorie limit was 1490…and yes, I lost weight eating nearly 1500 calories a day! (As I lost weight, I adjusted the calorie intake because I naturally ate less because my body needed less.)

Breakfast (352 calories):  2 scrambled eggs (using non-stick cooking spray), 3 slices Oscar Meyer turkey bacon, and 20 oz. coffee with 2 tablespoons of almond-coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of light cream, a little stevia, and a scoop of Perfotek hydrolyzed collagen protein (for joint health, but it also is great for your skin and nails…I’ve been using this since knee surgery in 2014)

Lunch (490 calories): 1 Double Quarter Pounder (no cheese, no sesame seed bun, mustard and pickle only) and a McDonald’s side salad with a DRIZZLE of their Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing (because the entire pouch has 11 grams of carbs…YIKES!)

370

Dinner (339 calories): 4 oz. grilled herb chicken breast (oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper), 1 cup stir-fried zucchini and onions (cooked in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil), 1 oz. of BLOCK cheddar cheese*, and 1/4 cup fresh blackberries.

Total for the day: 1181 calories, 21g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 10 sugar**, 77g fat, and 88g protein.

*Cheese that comes pre-shredded has added carbohydrates in the form of potato or cornstarch. These additives keep the shredded cheese from sticking together and clumping. I buy block cheese and shredded it myself (as needed), eliminating those unnecessary carbs.

**Let me break down those 10g of sugar: 8g are natural sugars that come from the green vegetables and blackberries, while the other 2g are ADDED sugars from the ranch dressing, which is why I only used a little drizzle on my salad and why I make my own dressings at home to eliminate added sugars and preservatives.

I drink between 64-80 oz. of water daily to stay hydrated. I drink even more on days that I work out. I walk every day and I try to have 10,000+ steps at least four out of seven days. I don’t always meet that goal because life happens, but it’s my goal and I like meeting that goal as often as I can.

So, this is a day in my real life low carb WOE. If this is helpful for you, I’ll be glad to post more of my food journal for you in future posts. As always, your feedback is important and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you leave me in the comments.

Have a blessed week!

shr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support is More than Just an Underwire Bra

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…Hebrews 10:25 NLT

When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation that God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.  1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT

It’s been said that church is not a social meeting for Christians; it’s a hospital for sinners. Going there doesn’t absolve anyone from their sins, but being with other believers is a good place to stand in God’s presence and repent.

In the throes of my youngest son’s “teenage-ness,” he boldly confronted me by hurling this accusation at me, “You think you’re so much better than everybody else just because you go to church on Sunday!”

“If I’ve given you that impression, then I’ve been doing this motherhood thing all wrong,” I said. “I go to church so that I can be around other people who are sinners and celebrate the fact that I am saved by grace. I go to church because when I look around the congregation, I’m certain I need to be there more than anybody else.”

And I mean that with all my heart. I find that worship in church is a God’s way of healing me from the sinful way I’ve conducted myself during the week. I don’t have to go to church to repent and come back into a good relationship with God, but it sure does help.

TOPS_Logo-BW

I feel the same way about my weight loss support group in TOPS. Taking Off Pounds Sensibly is more than a name — it’s a motto and a way of life. I celebrated my one-year anniversary on April 5, 2017. It’s been an exhilarating year with lots of ups and downs, but overall, a year of tremendous progress emotionally and physically.

If you know any of my background, I started this weight loss journey way back in 2010…and in 2011…and in 2013…and finally, in 2015. I have a great support system in my immediate family. When I finally took charge of my health in 2015, I lost half the weight with the tremendous support of my mother and my husband, Kelly. The only problem was that neither one of them were trying to lose weight WITH me. There’s only so much support you can get from someone who’s not going through the same experience as you.

My great friend, Trisha Smith, her husband, George, and several others organized a new TOPS chapter (NC 947) in January 2016 that met just three miles from my house. I read each Facebook post she shared about this new chapter and thought, “This sounds like fun. Maybe I need to join.” But I didn’t.

I would comment on her posts and even tell her I was thinking about joining. I told her than it January, in February, and in March. Every Tuesday night during their meeting time, God would nudge me and I would ignore Him. Kelly said several times, “It would probably do you a lot of good to join.” I ignored him, too.

Ignore, ignore, ignore…until I gained back some of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose. I stood on the scale that Monday morning, April 4, and stared at the scales, devastated. EIGHT POUNDS! Some of you realize how hard it is to lose ONE pound, let alone EIGHT. And then to gain it back? God pushed me that morning, and it was not gentle. “Do it now,” He said.

And before I could talk myself out of it, I contacted Trisha and said, “I’ll be there tomorrow night!” Even though you’re allowed a free visit before you decide to join, I came with national dues in hand and paid that first night. I was not going to give the devil a week to talk me out of it.

Can I just be honest? It’s the third best decision I’ve ever made (behind choosing Jesus as my Savior and Kelly as my husband). I belong to a group that is more like family than some of my biological family. It’s been the real source of my success, over and above any way of eating I’ve chosen.

Of course, I recommend TOPS and if you want to get more information on this organization, just click here. If you do a Google search, you can find other groups as well. Perhaps there are local groups that meet at a health facility or area churches that you could attend. For lasting results of weight loss, you need a support group. You need a support group like you need a great underwire bra! (Maybe more!)

If you’re ready to look for a group, but don’t know what to look for, let me offer some advice. I’ve narrowed down my “must be” list for a great support group to just four guidelines.

  • Your group must be EMPATHETIC. Empathy isn’t something we’re born with, but it’s something that can be easily learned if we practice it consistently. Basically, empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes…to view their situation through their lens, not through your own. That means we cannot pass judgment, but instead, embrace all that someone else is experiencing without pitying them. This, by far, is the most important requirement for finding a support group that will work for you.
  • You need a group that ENGAGES and ENCOURAGES each other. There has to be a great deal of positive reinforcement in a weight loss group. It’s morale-building and soul-soothing.
  • Your support group needs to have an EVALUATION PROCESS, based on honesty but spoken in love. (It all goes back to empathy.) Evaluation keeps you accountable to yourself and other group members. Without honest evaluations, both individually and group, then your support group experience will be as useless as a flat tire — it certainly won’t take you very far!
  • Finally, a support group should EQUIP YOU WITH REAL POWER, not “power-over.” (Real power versus power-over is the topic of an upcoming post, but if you’re interested in getting a head-start, let me recommend I Thought It was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown. It’s a game-changer.) Real power comes from within yourself and is borne from empathy. You cannot have real power by stealing another person’s power. (That’s power-over.)

These are the same guidelines our family used when we were looking for a church home. They’re great guidelines for a reason — they help you find a place where your needs will be met, where you can find comfort, where you can blossom, and where you will ultimately find your greatest successes.

If you have questions, please share them in the comments. If you belong to a great support group, please share that as well. Tell me why you love your support group!

Thanks for reading. God bless y’all!

-shr

How Fear Can Paralyze You

Hi! It’s me. Long time, no see. I’ve been absent for nearly a year, and even before that, my posts were irratic at best. I’m not proud of that and there’s really no excuse for it. You were never far from my mind and I have a whole notebook full of blog ideas written down to prove it.

I could tell you that LIFE happened, but so what? Everybody’s life is happening all the time. I could tell you I was taking a sabbatical — that sounds as if I’ve been soul-searching and dedicated to the writing process. I could hint that I was working to be a better me (and I have been). I could mention a tragic thing that’s happened in my family and you all would completely understand why this blog might not have been my number one priority. I could give you several reasons for my absence, all having an official “sound” to them. I could even (dare I say it?) lie.

But that wouldn’t fit the purpose of this blog, nor would it be fair to those who patiently waited for me to come back (or forgot that you were subscribed to this blog and didn’t miss me at all). I want to tell you the absolute truth…and this is going to be embarrassing and painful for me. I’m afraid and the fear has paralyzed me for a long time.

Spiritually, I am closer to God than I’ve ever been. There are so many things to share with you that I found empowering in my time away. Each moment made me a much better wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. I will eventually share those amazing insights with you. I promise.

Why didn’t I just sit and share these things with you then? I was scared someone would ask me about my way of eating (woe, for short — which by the way is still carb cycling and it’s still working) and my weight loss. The question I dreaded answering the most was this: did you meet your goal weight? 

No. That is the truth in a nutshell.

In 2013, I got close…so close I could see the finish line. And then I gave up. I blew it. And the truth is, I don’t know why. Every ounce that I lost, I gained back plus more. I packed away my nutrition books. I stopped doing research. I just decided it wasn’t worth the effort and I was sorry I ever mentioned it in this forum. People were still reading this blog, especially the posts on nutrition and weight loss. They left wonderful comments. Someone even asked if this blog was still active.

In all honesty, I was prepared to be unhealthy for the rest of my life. I just didn’t care anymore…until my doctor shared blood work results with me that shook the foundation of my world. I was in a health crisis: cholesterol was awful (not enough of the good kind, way too much of the bad), I was pre-diabetic (and probably should have been classified as Type II), my blood pressure was way too high (and I was already on medication), my chronic pain raged, and I was at the second highest weight of my whole life (226 pounds). I was an emotional and physical wreck. Dr. Anderson asked me two questions that saved my life,”Do you want to lose the weight and work on these numbers or do you want me to put you on medication? Don’t you want to live a long, happy life and watch your granddaughter grow up?”

Just so you know what me at 226 pounds looks like, here I am:

446

So in the summer of 2015, I chose to work on my weight and cholesterol through diet. I knew what worked. I’d done it before. Could I do it again? I remember telling my husband, Kelly, that I had yoyo dieted so much in my life, I should have “Duncan” tattoed on my hip!

When I had my check-up in September 2015, I weighed 211 and that was enough to get a second chance. The journey started out rough and along the way, there have been extreme highs and lows…and a lot of middle of the road days where I just keep plugging away. I just want to tell you that it’s gotten a lot better. Have I reached my goal weight? Not yet, but I’m getting there!

To be continued…

shr

The God of All Things

I love a good bargain, especially children’s items because children grow fast and outgrow things just as quickly. I am not opposed to purchasing gently-used items for my granddaughter, Joshlyn. I am a member of several online groups where other members offer used items for sale in a variety of conditions. I don’t buy just anything. If one item is purchased by someone else, another item that is similar will come along in a day or two. I have learned to watch and wait for a bargain. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to bargain-hunting.

The night before we left on vacation, I saw a nearly-new bicycle on my Fayetteville Online Yard Sale group that would be perfect for Joshlyn, but it was midnight and I was leaving at 5:30 a.m. the next day, so there was no time to make the purchase before we left. Sales online go swiftly and I would never ask a seller to hold something for me for two reasons: one, most do not know me personally and don’t realize that when I say I’ll come get the item, I mean it; and two, if something were to happen that would prevent me from picking up the item, I would cause the seller to miss a chance to make a sale, and that’s just not fair.

I commented that I liked the bicycle and if it were still available when I got back from vacation, I’d contact her and make arrangements to pick it up. She said she understood completely. On our second day of vacation, the seller posted that the bicycle was no longer available. I was disappointed but, as I said before, bargains come and bargains go.

Let me share with you one of the scriptures that accompanied my daily devotion on that Tuesday morning:

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Now, let me insert a little information about my dear friend and neighbor, Jerry Ann. She has two precious fur babies that I walk three times a day while her husband, Richard, works and she visits her daughters and grandbabies in Georgia. Since I keep my granddaughter while my son and daughter-in-love work, Joshlyn always goes with me to walk the dogs and has become quite the helper in this endeavor. We have just decided that Sasha and Pixie are part of our extended family because they’re the sweetest little dogs in the world.

Wednesday morning, I got a message from Jerry Ann, “When will you be home from vacation?”

“We’ll be back on Friday,” I texted.

“Well, I purchased that bicycle for your granddaughter,” she replied.

WHAT?

“The bicycle I was following on Facebook?” I asked incredulously. “Thank you! I will pay you for it when we get back.”

“I saw your note, called Richard, and had him pick it up.” she offered. “You owe me nothing. You and Joshlyn love our girls and we just wanted to do something nice for the two of you.”

Just like that, God took care of the desire of my heart. I didn’t know that He was going to do it and I certainly didn’t expect Him to do it in this way. In fact, I was willing to accept that this bicycle was just not in God’s plan for us.

Some of you reading this will say, “But it was a BICYCLE…do you really think God cares whether your granddaughter has a bicycle when there’s so much going on in the world.”

To that, I answer, “Yes! I do think He cares.”

I have a little poem that explains how God cares for us:

God is the God of big things and small things;

God is the God of all things.

God has answered so many prayers in my life that I cannot count them all. Some have been huge answers – such as the adoption of our three children or bringing my husband, Kelly, through leukemia into remission (and keeping him there for five plus years). Some have been very small answers – like finding a parking space upfront when I’m having a terrible back pain day or when someone buys a bicycle for my granddaughter completely out of the blue, just to be nice.

God spoke this to Jeremiah:

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)

If you are in the midst of waiting on unanswered prayer, God may bring that answer to you through something or someone unexpected. And never, ever assume that because it’s something little or seemingly insignificant, that it’s not God’s concern. If it’s happening to one of His children, it’s His concern. To believe anything else, is to put God in a box and take away His great power.