By Krissa Rumsey
It had been a long day. I had worked eight hours, picked the kids up from day care, and fed them alone because it was my husband’s busy season at work and we wouldn’t see him until after the kids had been put to bed. The last preparations before tucking my pre-school aged children in for the night were simply to get our bags ready for the morning.
My oldest, four-year old Ella, had dance class the next afternoon, so that meant gathering the leotard, tights, and dance shoes since I would need to deliver her to class immediately after the day care pick-up.
What was usually a simple preparation, wasn’t. The dance leotard was nowhere to be found. Check the laundry basket. Not there. Look in the dryer. Not there. Under the bed. Not there.
I spent the next 30 minutes scouring the house while an anxious and tired little girl grew more panicked at each empty hand I produced. It was not acceptable to go to dance in anything but the requested leotard. What to do?
What was usually a simple preparation, wasn’t.
By this point, I had become exhausted and just tried to assure Ella we would figure something out. As I attempted to calm her down and engage my sobbing child in the bedtime routine, I resorted to the last bastion of hope I could think of: “Let’s pray about it.”
After all, praying was something we always did at bedtime. I had taught my children time and again that God hears our prayers. And He answers them. When you are worried or afraid, you give it to God in prayer. This course of action was obvious to my children. “Let’s pray about it,” was my rote answer to everything. But in my mind this was a complete last resort.
I resorted to the last bastion of hope I could think of: “Let’s pray about it.”
On Sunday, Pastor Justin described how Jesus met the disciples on the road to Emmaus. He was right there with them, but they didn’t recognize Him at first. Though I knew it was right to teach my daughter that God was there with her in the midst of her anxiety, did I believe it?
“God is not going to produce a pink leotard,” I remember thinking. “I am setting God up for failure … my daughter will pray her prayer and expect a pink leotard to appear in the morning.” But I was tired, and this was all I could think of to calm her anxiety. “I will think of an explanation in the morning,” I thought, as my daughter, through her sniffles, asked God to, “please help me find my leotard.”
“God is not going to produce a pink leotard,” I remember thinking. “I am setting God up for failure.”
When we woke up the next morning there was no pink leotard emerging from an unseen corner of the room. It did not appear with one last sweep of the laundry basket. It was still not there. Ella asked about it. “Did God bring my leotard?” “Not yet,” was all I could think of to say.
On the way to day care, I kept thinking, “Maybe I’ll have time to leave work at lunch and pick up a leotard somewhere.” I knew this was unlikely. What to do?
Discouraged, I walked my daughter into her day care, hoping her attention would be diverted away from the leotard fiasco. We walked into her classroom and headed to her cubby where she dutifully hung up her coat each day.
I will never forget the image as we approached her cubby. There, hanging from her coat hook, was a brand new, pink leotard. “Mommy look!” Ella screamed with delight. “God answered my prayer!”
There, hanging from her coat hook, was a brand new, pink leotard.
That He did. There was no question. The leotard was there for her. I had to ask her teacher about it, just to be sure. Ella’s teacher explained that she had been shopping at Target the night before and saw the leotard on sale, for a ridiculously low price. She knew Ella was in dance class, and not having children of her own, bought it in hopes that it would fit Ella. It did.
I had to explain to her teacher why I was bawling like a baby, and then she almost cried, too. She hadn’t realized it at the time, but God was using her to answer the prayers of a little girl.
I still weep when I remember this story because it reminds me that God responds in visible ways. He walks with us like He walked with the disciples. His presence is tangible, though we might not recognize Him at first.
His presence is tangible, though we might not recognize Him at first.
I know Ella will never forget how God answered her prayer. It may not always be so obvious, but her pink leotard will forever be a remembrance that God does hear us and will always answer …even when we’re just going through the motions and forget that He is real and present in our lives.