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Faith Imagined: April 2009

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

April 29, 2009

There is a God at Your Local Target!

I nervously called a few of my friends for moral support before heading to Target. I was on a mission. This would be my first time taking all three of my kids to a store. I didn't know how I was going to even fit a 4 year old, 2 year old and 8 week old in one cart, but I was determined! I was scared, but I pepped myself up during the drive over there: "Just get what you need and go. Don't linger at the women's clothing. Don't even look that way!"

When I finally got there, I kept Kiki in the carseat and put her on the front of the cart, and I put Levi and Isaac in the basket. I got a bag of popcorn for the boys to split, and I headed straight to the children's clothing. (My eyes did wander toward the women's clothing, and, yes, I had to force myself not to steer my cart in that direction!)

I got to the children's section and asked an employee right away, "Where are the 5T pajamas?" She pointed, and I hurriedly pushed the cart in that direction as Kiki started to cry and Levi started to yell at his brother for more popcorn. I could feel my heart pumping away like I was in a fight or flight situation.

There was a woman in her late 50s or early 60s browsing the kids' section. She had those eyes that I love to see: full of compassion and understanding. Her skin was beautifully aged, and her wrinkles and white hair only added to her aura of wisdom.

She came over and told me how beautiful my kids were. I nervously told her that this was my first time at Target with all three of my kids. She could tell that I was agitated.

She looked right at me and said, "Don't you mind what people think. Those who would say anything are just grumps who either forgotten or don't know what it is to be a parent." Her countenance became very protective, and I had an image of her vanquishing the naysayers around me with the point of her finger like a Charlie's Angel.

She gave me a few more encouraging words before she went back to shopping for her grandkids. After she left, I thought about what she said. I felt God ask me, "If there was only you at the Target and no one else, would you be so stressed about bringing your kids?"

"No, of course not," I thought.

Then God said, "The only reason you are so anxious is because you value what others think. You should only value what I think, and I love you. There is nothing you can do to make me love you more or less. I love you without condition, to the fullest, all the time. If you understood that, you would never be anxious."

I could feel that beautiful truth deposit itself into my heart, pushing the opinions of others away. If there is nothing I can do to make God love me less, then He doesn't mind if my baby is crying and my boys are fighting over the popcorn. I am loved no matter what I do!

I pray that when I'm in my 50s, I can pass that truth to another mother who has her three kids yelling and hanging from her red Target cart. We only have a few seconds of interactions with people. We can either share our Christ-likeness or our ugliness. As for me, I want to show that there is a God at Target!

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