In October, I wrote a story about a woman named Mari, whom I had the privilege of meeting in Nogales, Mexico. I shared that Mari, recently widowed, needed a gate in front of her Kid’s Café property, and I wondered if you might consider helping to fund this project. As Thanksgiving approaches, I wanted to share an update.
But first I want to talk about a story in Exodus.
(Wait! Come back! Stay with me!)
In Exodus, we hear the story of God leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Some pretty amazing things happen along the way, miraculous moments of God’s rescue and provision for His people. For years the Israelites had been slaves and they were finally free. It was a dramatic freedom, with God literally separating the sea so that they could escape. There was an angel and lots of drama and in spite of all, as soon as the people became thirsty, they started to complain. The Bible says, “They grumbled” and wondered aloud to Moses what they were going to drink.
So God does something impressive in spite of the grumbling and tells Moses to throw some wood into undrinkable water and immediately it becomes fresh water that the people can drink.
The grumbling stops until the people get hungry. Yes, they have been walking in the desert for a long time, but it seems that they have completely forgotten the water miracle and God’s promise to be with them.
Which then leads God to rain down bread called manna to feed this large group of people. As well as some quail.
It doesn’t matter how many times God provides for their hunger or needs; the people complained as soon as they felt hungry again. Or scared. Or tired.
As I read this passage early this morning, alone in my kitchen, I said aloud, “God, what is wrong with these people? Why do they keep forgetting what You have given them? Why are they complaining? You clearly promise that you’re with them and they never believe it.” And then I had one of those outer body experiences where I could hear myself ranting and immediately stopped as I could hear those words directed right at myself. I looked around the kitchen hoping no one heard me because they could have easily responded with, “Why do YOU keep forgetting?”
It is so easy to be critical when I can see the whole picture. Easy to think, “They had manna every day! How could they possibly be grumbling about that?” Until I remember that they ate this every day for two years. If I had to eat the same meal three times a day for a week, I would probably whine more than most in the group. Seven days…not 730.
It is easy to look at Exodus and read it as a story about a bunch of people who keep forgetting how God provides and never think about how I am often just like them. I may not be walking in a literal desert, but there are days that leave me dragging, thirsty in my soul, tired of myself.
And on those days, I can so easily forget about two days before when God reminded me of His faithfulness and His love.
I can tell you countless stories in my life where God provided exactly what I needed, whether it be something big or something as simple as a friend sitting with me and holding my hand.
In those moments, I thank God for His grace and mercy and my heart starts breathing again and inside I think, “I won’t ever complain again.” Or “Because of this, I will never doubt God again.”
Until three days later when I doubt Him again.
So today I want to share this update, to write it down, so that I don’t forget that God really is with us and really does provide. Because the more we tell each other stories like this, the more we might remember.
In October, here is what the front of the Kid’s Cafe looked like:
After my October post, donations for Mari and her family totaled over $1300.
Which then led to this….
LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL GATE!
A woman you have never met feels a little safer because you were willing to pray and give.
Here’s the thing. Mari is still a widow. Days are still difficult. I am sure she carries fatigue and heaviness and some days wonders how much longer she will have to walk in the desert.
But she trusts God. And each time she opens this gate, I am praying that she will remember that He sees her and knows her and won’t ever leave or forsake her.
On the days when we struggle to trust or to give thanks, I am praying we will remember that too.
THANK YOU for helping and for giving me hope.