The navy tank top

23 Oct

Around seven years ago I bought two identical tank tops — one was black, one navy. Both were equally awesome because they were fitted and had wide sequin stripes across the front in the same color as the fabric. Figured I’d wear the black one more, but that kind of became the problem. I wore the navy tank once and put it in the laundry. I know I wore it. I know it went in the wash. But after that it’s all a blur.

I needed it, went looking for it, couldn’t find it, had to change my whole outfit. Next time I needed it, I gave myself a little extra time to look for it thinking I was just in too big of a hurry the last time. Couldn’t find it, had to change my whole outfit. So it went on my list — you know, the list of projects you keep that are 100% dependent on how much time and energy you have to do them, ordered by your life’s priorities — and since one silly tank top is not as important as pretty much anything else, it took me a while to find the time to tear the house apart to find it. STILL no top. It was so unfair. I never needed the black one. Every spring/deep cleaning I continued to look for it. And I prayed. About my tank top.

Yes, I prayed about a tank top.

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers–the moon and the stars You set in place–what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)

Who knows how many times I cleaned out my closet, added to my pile of donations, gave things away. But there was this one pile that for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get out the door. This week I decided I needed a few of those pieces back in my wardrobe (yes, I broke the cardinal rule of closet cleaning…don’t judge me), so I dropped them in the washing machine this morning. The load finished, and I pulled the pieces out to hang dry. I reached in the machine and pulled out the navy blue sequin stripe fitted tank top. I could not believe it. How many years have gone by? The only thing I can figure is that it must have somehow been inside one of the other pieces — you know, the pieces that have been hung and un-hung, folded, boxed, refolded and reboxed repeatedly without me ever feeling anything unusual inside/around/between/anything else them. Right.

So I’m standing in front of the machine holding the tank top, making noises somewhere between laughing and shrieking, scaring the neighbors who can hear the bizarre sound through my open back door, and my heart is bursting with joy: God answers prayer.

Why does God bother listening to me in the first place? He doesn’t have to. But He does.

Why does God care about something as ridiculous as a shirt that’s only going to last a season? Because it matters to me. And because I matter to Him. And because He wants me — and now you — to remember through all the day-to-day duties and lists that He does. Do NOT forget that He cares for the minutia in your life…because He cares about you. And do NOT forget that He hears you. He. Hears. You.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)

Maybe He bothers with the little things just to help our faith when one of the big scary things rolls around.

I have much deeper, more meaningful, sacred and painful prayers I have never seen answers to. Years have gone by, and I’ve given up and walked away. But this moment at my washing machine today spoke to my heart that He has not forgotten them. I have no idea what He is going to do with them or what He is doing about them, but I promise you, if He cares about bringing a navy tank top back to me, He sure as heck is doing something. And every time I wear it now I will remember.

Never despair. Your navy tank top is out there somewhere.

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