On October 17, 2015 at 3 a.m., I came home from a night out with a friend and wrote the following:
I came home this weekend. This is the first time I’ve been in my sleepy little town in two months. For the past few weeks, all I could think about was my mama’s cooking. And if I wasn’t thinking about that, my mind was on being reunited with one of my dearest friends, Molly.
That happened last night. We reunited with a minute-long session of excited screams. We were finally together again! After we stopped screaming, Molly and I spent some time with her family before taking a long drive and stopping in at Wal-Mart to purchase some goldfish (that is, the real-life, water-breathing fish). And upon our return to Molly’s beautiful property in the country, something crazy happened.
We unknowingly stepped into a divine appointment with God.
It started off by us growing tired of watching our new children swim around in frantic circles. We decided to go out into the pasture with the horses, where we planned to look up at the stars for a while.
It was very dark—after midnight. It was less than 45° outside. We accidentally scared off the horses, and the coyotes were chattering in the silence of the night. Most of the time, we would have just called it a night and gone in. But for some reason, as we walked with our arms interlocked so as not to fall into a ditch or break an ankle on unknown terrain, we just couldn’t leave.
We stopped dead in our tracks about twenty feet from the gate to check out Orion. Our intention was to go back inside. But all of a sudden, Molly and I both took in sudden breaths and said to one another, “Did you see that? Make a wish!”
It was a shooting star. To be more specific, it was the first of well over twenty shooting stars that we would see over the next hour.
So we made our wishes. Excited for what we had just seen, we decided to stick around a few minutes longer and bear the cold in the hopes we would be granted another opportunity to make a wish. We started to talk about our love for the stars and our galaxy. There is so much to our universe. So many stars and galaxies and planets that we cannot fathom. Their size is simply incomprehensible. And we began to feel our hearts well with awe at the creation we were seeing.
Suddenly, another shooting star. Another wish. And right back to our conversation. We remarked how odd it was to have seen two shooting stars in one night. I had only seen one in my entire life prior. I was excited.
Within only a few mere minutes, the stars began to shoot past us like lightning bugs in June. We couldn’t keep track of them. Our conversation quickly shifted from constellations and galaxies to the God who made them. Our wishes rapidly changed shape as well.
They began to turn into prayers.
Before long, Molly and I were laughing. We were holding onto each other’s arms and talking aloud to God. All we could seem to say to God was “give us more.” And with each prayer, more shooting stars came. We raised our hands in awe and we relished on the truth that the God who cradled the stars was the same God who knew every hair on our head. He was delivering his voice and his answers to prayers. He was talking to us, and we were listening.
The stars kept falling, and the sky kept getting more and more beautiful. We were communing with God.
Molly had started our time in the pasture talking about how she felt as if God was like the night sky and the stars — sometimes we can’t see him because clouds get in the way, but we know he is always there. And as the night progressed, clouds began to roll in. Our vision became a little skewed. The stars began to hide away a little. But still, God’s voice was clear. He was with us.
All my life I have adored the stars and their beauty. And tonight, God revealed himself to me and Molly through them. He was there. We were with him. And it was good.
If you cannot see God, do not lose heart. The clouds will soon clear and He will shoot across the sky to make it clear that He is here for you.
Tonight, December 28, 2016 at 3 a.m., I came home to rewrite much the same message.
After crazy semesters and a crazy last few weeks, Molly and I felt the need to go back to our favorite place. This time, we didn’t end up in the pasture with the horses. Instead, we laid out in the middle of a field and looked up at the clear sky. We were wrapped in so many blankets that we could hardly contain our laughter at how crazy we were. It was 29° and neither of us remembered to bring our parkas.
We took in the silence. We admired the elaborate night sky. We laughed as we nearly choked on our midnight star-gazing snack (note to all who are reading: eating chocolate while laying in a field is dangerous—consume at your own risk!). As plane after plane flew over us, likely headed toward Louisville, we were taken aback by the way the silence gave way to the waves of motion. I could see the sound moving in the sky. Eventually, the dog that Molly claims lives happily in her woods started to bark.
I tell you all of this to paint a picture. We were out there to, hopefully, relive our beautiful starry night from the year prior.
And you know what happened?
We didn’t relive it. We created a new one.
God showed up. A star flew across the sky, and we both squealed a little. “Did you see it, too?!” I asked.
She reached her hand out for me, and instead of telling me to make a wish, she said, “Let’s pray!”
We prayed several times out in that 1 a.m., freezing cold, kind-of-wet-from-last-week’s-rain, God-filled field. He didn’t have to send us those messages. We didn’t have to listen. But He did. And we did.
I’m not saying that God is a Magic 8 ball. Far from it. But God is intimate. He knows what each and every one of us desires and longs for, long before we begin longing.
He wants to lavish us with His love. He wants us to know that we are known. Molly and I simply wanted to experience God the way we had last year. And, oh, how we did.
So friends, I say all of this long-winded, 3 a.m. jumble of words to make this point (and congratulations if you’ve stuck with me through all 1150 words so far): God wants you to come searching for Him. He may not always answer in shooting stars or clear signs or audible sounds, but He will answer. He is speaking. He is moving. He is living and breathing here on this Earth. He is waiting, and He is longing for you.
He wants only you and all of your mess. Don’t be afraid to start talking.