I have to be honest with you: there have been times when I’ve felt like God was nowhere to be found in my life – especially at the points when I felt I desperately needed him.  Maybe I’m the only one who has ever felt like that.

Just a few short months ago as I sat in my quiet place, my mind wandered back to some of the darkest points in my life. (Okay, I was having a pity party. Again, I’m probably the only one who’s ever done that.) At this point, I finally felt gutsy enough to ask the Lord, “Where were you? Why weren’t you there when I needed you?” To put it plainly, I thought he had short-changed me. It seemed he was there for everyone else when they had a nick or a scrape or some sort of rough spot in their life, but I just didn’t rank high enough on his list to be there for me when I needed him.

As I traveled back through my life in my mind, the haunting feeling of loneliness began to envelope me, and my mind went from poor poor pitiful me to being angry at God. (Seriously, pity parties are bad ideas. Avoid them if you can.)

And if a pity party held in my honor wasn’t bad enough, the tears from my ugly cry were nearly enough to choke a horse – still another thing for me to be angry about. Why did God make some women able to cry beautifully and oh so femininely…and me? My face gets puffy, my nose seems to get larger, and when I blow that nose I sound like a ship’s foghorn bellowing through the fog. Oh sweet Jesus…why me, why ME?

Let’s face it. That was a day I simply could not win.

But in the midst of my childish ugly cry, I heard a small whisper. It seemed like barely a breath. Although the whisper was familiar, I kept going with my pity party

But then that whisper that I felt had so rudely interrupted me grew into a breeze. That breeze turned into a wind which swept through the four walls of my tiny room until it became the sweet voice I’ve learned to love but can only hear when I’m really listening. Perhaps it was at that specific moment in time that I was finally ready to face the truth. I guess crying yourself into a puffy tizzy can wear you out to the point of submission.

”Look again,” the voice said as I continued to recall the movie-like memories of my past.

At first the words shocked me. Look again? What on earth could I possibly see that I hadn’t seen a thousand times over in my head as I replayed the childhood beatings from my mother, an extremely abusive marriage, the death of my youngest son, the marriage heartbreaks, and the devastation that my life seemed to have so much of? Look again? Seriously, Lord – I’ve seen it all before.

“Look again,” he urged me.

Then the memory movie that was playing before me revealed a man’s hand pulling back a sheer curtain panel revealing the bedroom I shared with my sisters when I was five years old.

I knew this room. I knew it well, and I didn’t like this room for the memories it held.  My eyes danced around the room, trying to avoid the inevitable sight of what was certainly under the bed – two tiny stocking-covered feet.

“I don’t want to see it,” I said. “I know that’s me. Why didn’t you stop her? Where were you?” I said accusingly.

“Look again,” he said softly and pointed toward the bed.

So with an obstinate heart and tears still streaming down my face, I forced myself to look at those tiny feet. But there was something different – something that I had never noticed before. As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I could see the much larger feet of a man beneath the bed as well.

“Remember, Julie. Remember,” he whispered softly.

I gasped in the air that had seemed to become as heavy as drinking water, and the tears flowed harder and faster down my cheeks than before.

What I was seeing was the truth. He was not only there, but he was whispering sweet and wonderful things to me, about me. He held my hand and we were singing in whispers beneath the bed…together. He laughed. I giggled. He told me he loved me. And when the sound of footsteps were heard on the stairwell that led to my room, he hushed me and held my hand so tightly that a thousand horses couldn’t have pulled us apart. The really weird part is that I really DO remember him being there at age five. I remember talking to him under the bed. I remember him holding my hand. It wasn’t an imaginary friend. It was HIM.

As the ‘movie’ continued to play, I saw him everywhere in my life – in the good events and in the bad.

Then he released the curtain, and it fell back into place.

Reality hit me hard. For all of those years I had chosen to believe the lies that the enemy told me: that I was alone in this life, that if my own mother didn’t love me, then of course no one ever could, especially someone like Jesus. But the truth was far different. The truth was that he was there all the time and that his love never failed me. He never left me alone.

If you have ever felt like God left you alone when you really needed him, will you take a moment and look again?

You’re never really alone. He is always there, always singing softly with you, always holding your hand. And he will always, ALWAYS love you.