It was Christmas 2008 and I was living with a friend of the family’s while trying to figure out what was going on in my life while desperately trying to get back up on my feet again after my husband walked away. She and her daughter had gone toCaliforniafor Christmas. My daughter was also out of town. Hence, this year, and for several more years to come, there was no Christmas. No Christmas carols being sung. No ornately-decorated tree. No brightly-shining lights. No fanciful decorations. No colorfully-wrapped presents. Nothing. I was alone.
It was late in the day on that Christmas Eve, it was nearing midnight and I was upstairs in my bedroom. I sat on my bed, in the dark, staring out the window. It was a nice view….of the park. A playground, lots of well-maintained plants, bushes, lush green grass and big trees. It was a peaceful view. It was showing signs of inclement weather and rain was in the forecast as I watched low-level clouds scudding past my three-feet wide field of vision. I had the shades pulled all the way up so nothing could obstruct my view. Alone, I actually found myself enjoying the peace and quiet. But, trying not to think that it was nearing midnight on Christmas Eve and that there was no family in the house….was it even really December 24th? By the looks of things it could’ve been any other night of the year. Nothing special was going on here, to be sure.
As sleep eluded me, I found, much to my dismay, that I wasn’t even tired as I sat on my bed, comfortably propped up against a pile of pillows stacked against the wall and just watched the night go by. Clouds, stars….a gentle breeze tugging at the trees. I prayed. It seemed to be the one activity that consumed my waking moments more and more. I was spending a lot of time with God, and that’s as it should be. I was learning about Him and who He was, and what He could do. I was learning to walk with Him, water-walk with Him, learning that faith wasn’t enough, but trust too, and I was learning that He was trustworthy.
Again, my prayer was for my prodigal husband, Terry. I prayed quietly, no longer feeling a need to ‘cry out to God’ with ferocity created by latent anger and frustration as had often been the case before. I had learned that a fervent prayer doesn’t need to shout and sob.
There were times I’m sure my prayers could have earned the Biblical title of a “Lamentation”, quite easily. I was also learning that God, and spouses, like a calm, gentle and quiet spirit. Prayer just needs to come from the heart. I have prayed in such a way that it seemed to come from the very heart of me, down deep….soul-level deep. Some of my prayers leave me exhausted. One heart crying out to the Maker of all hearts. I like to say that what I’ve been experiencing with God over these last few years is some serious textbook (the Bible) training. I’m in my fourth year at theUniversityofGod, majoring in graduate-level Christianity. Indeed, our Heavenly Father is quite the Instructor (and He can be a tough grader too.) But just.
I had just finished talking, praying with the Lord about my husband, quietly pleading with our Creator for his healing and subsequent return home. At that point, I was still asking God to heal him and bring him home. I wasn’t sure back then that God was going to do what He said He could do. I know differently today, but this event happened a few years ago, and learning is a process…..sometimes a very difficult, lengthy process too.
So, I quietly pleaded with God on behalf of my wayward spouse, and as an added kicker, I asked … if He would please do so….to please give me a sign. Look, He did the Disappearing Sidewalk thing, right? He gave me my very own Burning Bush, right? Yes sir, He did! Well, then what’s to say He couldn’t / wouldn’t condescend to speak to me again in a similar way.
Finishing my prayer, I sat there in the dark, still wide awake, and watching out the window. And a low-level cloud caught my eye.
Framed perfectly by the limited expanse of my window, for whatever reason I was mesmerized by this cloud as it slowly moved into view and…stopped. It was just a randomly shaped cloud, sort of oval….horizontally oval, but it had a cut out at the bottom of it, like a piece was missing. Just below the cloud was the missing piece. Two clouds. One large. One small. The whole was missing a part though, a part shaped like the mainsail of a boat. As I sat entranced by what I thought was a normal, regular, run-of-the-mill cloud….the smaller cloud…in the shape of a mainsail, mind you…..slowly moved upward, filling the mainsail-shaped gap in the larger cloud. The larger cloud above never moved. The smaller mainsail cloud moved upward to fill, and complete, the larger cloud. It’s not like the clouds moved into one another. The large cloud was completely stationary, it was the missing piece that moved into position to fill the gap of the larger cloud. Also, its not like the clouds changed shape as clouds are wont to do, and just sort of enveloped each other. No. The big one never moved, not did any part of it ever change. The smaller one, also maintained its shape and simply moved upward, into the gap, completing it…..and then, as I watched….by now my jaw had dropped open….the edges where the smaller mainsail cloud had fit into the larger cloud………were mended. By the time the process was complete, you could never tell that the two pieces had ever been separated.
It was now one cloud: whole and repaired.
To be honest, this experience brought goose-bumps to my arms. To realize that God….the Sovereign God of all Creation….had reached out to me. ME….my goodness, just little ol me, ya know….but little ol me, is a child of the Living God and dog-gone-it, He loves me, and He has known, and felt, my pain and hurt….and He was physically demonstrating to me His love, mercy and faithfulness. Again, He was displaying to me, in the physical realm, that He was healing my marriage, and was going to put us back together, and make our marriage whole again. Praise His Name!
I did not move. I don’t think I could have if I’d wanted to. Only my eyes, glanced from the cloud…..to the Lords eyes….mind you I was already looking up….then back to the cloud, and then back to the Lord, and I finally spoke, actually my voice was more of a whisper,
“Lord, what did I just see?”
“[A] Christmas gift,” came His quiet reply. And I wept. In the presence of God, I wept. That He loves me so much and touches my heart, sees my every tear, feels my every pain, knows the depth of my despair, and He came to me in love as only He can. In His presence, I couldn’t help but weep.
Now there are some who have heard this story of my Christmas gift from God Himself, and thought it could mean one of three things:
1) That God was letting me know that He is restoring my marriage.
2) That God was affirming our new relationship together, i.e
He was putting Him and I back together again.
3) That God was bringing someone new into my life.
Now, please allow me to refute the two I now feel are in error.
#2…I had renewed my walk with the Lord over 2 years prior to this event, so it was nothing new, as it were. It was not like I was being shown what He was going to be doing between God and myself.
#3…God is not bringing any new man into my life, because in His eyes and according to His Word, I’m still married. He will never lead His children to sin and for me to be involved with another man would be sin. So that isn’t the explanation either.
That leaves us with #1….which is what I believed to be the truth all along, based on my prayer of that night. That this Christmas gift from God on that very special night was signifying to me that He is indeed healing and restoring my marriage. Praise His Name, for one day my husband is coming home again and what a Christmas that will be!
Thank you, Lord.