I found God in my fridge one day. He wasn’t where I expected. A great big God in a kitchen appliance.

Broken, crying, I called out to him. I wanted to know where he was, why I still hurt. Why I still waited for answers. Why I couldn’t feel him near. But there he was, in the fridge, in the form of a rainbow shining across the meat drawer, while my 3-year-old asked for lunch.

Absurd, I know. But, see, to understand, I have to go back years ago, to the day I could no longer stand questioning my purpose in life. My heart cried out to be a writer. To do the thing that made my soul come alive and breathe, to dance. In my selfishness, I asked for a sign as though he would suddenly throw a big neon sign into the sky. But being the gracious God he is, he obliged.

On the floor of the office in which I once worked—where I secretly dreamed of a life full of stories—suddenly a card appeared where it hadn’t been before. A rainbow bent across the thick, glossy paper. I asked my coworkers, but no one had dropped it. A verse scrawled over the brilliant colors caught my eye.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I remember feeling like it had been placed there just for me.

Since that day, whenever I’ve been uncertain of the future or where I stood in the present, on many occasions God has sent me a rainbow and not always in the sky. In the sink, inside my car, in the sprinkler. Moonbows, sun dogs, double rainbows—you name it. And each time, I’m wrapped tight in his peace and filled with awe at his immense love.

Just like the day I questioned my purpose so many years ago, I now stood in my kitchen, feeling lost. I took stock of my life. The gratefulness that should come from a heart so loved, now a distant whisper.

Our family’s finances weighed on my shoulders. It felt like my fault. A year ago, a terrible thing happened, causing me to lose my job, lose what I felt was my good name. The pain so raw, even a year later. I washed a coffee mug with the faces of our precious daughters on the side, trying to drink in the autumn beauty outside the window as I contemplated what to do next. I had never felt so stuck.

How could I move on when nothing, yet everything, had changed?

How could I leave this place of limbo—no job, just a big dream?

How could I move on when I had to face the same community, day in and day out— financially unable to move?

The crisp winds of change swirled outside my window, from one season to the next. Autumn gold, crimson, and amber. Gilded shafts of sun angled through the glass, gathering in pools across the kitchen floor. I could almost smell the dry decay of the leaves carrying away the old, making room for the new. The world prepared to move on, while my feet were cemented in place.

The light caught on my daughter’s curls, turning them to something wrought from Rumpelstiltskin’s hand. A little fairytale in the flesh, dancing to the music of her own laugh. Yet, joy stayed beyond my grasp.

Then, as I made lunch, a rainbow showed up in my fridge. A rainbow to remind me that I’m not alone. I may be waiting, but I’m not stuck. Like the card said all those years ago: God has a plan for me.

With each hurt, each waiting room in life, comes a spark of the divine, a preparation for the next step. Something I could’ve learned in no other way but down this pain-filled avenue.

It’s in this waiting for a dream or an answered prayer that the strength comes. His strength. To take in the blessings of the everyday. The small/big miracles of the mundane.

After the Big Awful a year ago, I was a broken woman. My inner-skin bruised, run through with cracks like Humpty Dumpty. Nothing able to put me back together. I feared I would never be whole again. Everything hurt. It took an urgent care visit to convince me the pain in my chest was a broken heart, not a heart attack.

Even then… through the smallest increments, I began to believe I would be okay again.

I’ve come to understand, Humpty Dumpty was never supposed to be put back together, at least not in the way he’d been before his Great Fall. Maybe none of us are meant to come through our toughest times the same. Perhaps that’s the point. Change. Learn. Grow. Know the love of those around you in the perfectly horrid circumstances of life. Find hope in our Creator despite (and in the midst of) your hurt.

It wasn’t about getting what I wanted—changing my circumstances from the previous year, or my desperate desire to write professionally—it was about seeing what I already had and how good could come from this terrible place. How God is a God of the broken. How his beauty is perfected in our weakness and pain.

Standing in my kitchen that day, my chest ached, but my lips quirked into a smile when I found the rainbow.

And as I stood like an idiot, tearing up in front of my fridge, the cracked shell finished crumbling. Like so many shards still covered in my blood and tears, they turned to sand, scattering in the wind. I broke to reveal a better me underneath, someone I’d never be without the hurt…an unexpected beauty.

Just like finding God in the refrigerator.