I remember first hearing the phrase, “That was a God wink,” at summer camp when I was in seventh or eighth grade.
“A God wink?” I wondered to myself. What did that even mean? Through the years I have come to realize over and over just what a God wink is.
God winks are those times in life when we are offered glimmers of hope and grace on a hard day. Or perhaps when life feels simply impossible.
In my life I have been offered these glimpses of the divine through the smile of a stranger or the gentle nod of assurance from a friend or loved one. These are reminders that, as the old phrase goes, “This, too, shall pass.” They are reminders that the love God will sustain and that hope endures.
God Winks at Crossnore
As I quickly approach my one year work anniversary with Crossnore, I often find myself in awe of the ways I get to experience these God winks at work. There is no doubt that the work I am able to do day in and day out at Crossnore is simply a gift. A gift that can also be challenging. I’m often faced head on with hard stories. Walking through challenging realities with our students can leave one experiencing sadness or frustration. Yet, I have found over and over again that as I walk through some really hard days with our students or staff, God continues to show up. I see God’s goodness radiate through an impromptu dance party with some of my tiniest friends. And feel His palpable love as we dig into Bible study together.
God continues to wink, to pass on reminders of His unending love, in this work day in and day out. I find the love of God over a shared meal with colleagues in the midst of a long day full of meetings. I feel the love of God as a small kiddo runs up and embraces me fully. Sometimes I wish I had the right words to say to “fix” things for these precious children whom I adore. Yet, that is not always the case. Day after day I learn and relearn the importance of allowing God winks, reminders of hope and assurances that we are not alone, to guide all that I do.
Making a List of God Winks
Over the course of the holiday season I have challenged myself to make a mental list of all the God winks I experienced at Crossnore. (At first I was making a list on paper until that paper somehow disappeared into the magical chaos of Christmas break.)
My list included:
- Enjoying a delicious and unexpected bouquet of fruit from some amazing kiddos (and their stellar cottage parents).
- Hosting church friends bringing breakfast to share with every cottage for Christmas morning.
- Amazing coworkers helping move tables and setting up for a very fun morning activity, without even being asked.
- Getting a hug that almost knocked me down from one of my favorite tiny people, just because.
- The precious conversation had over a walk around campus with hot chocolate. And visiting the horses at the farm.
- The stuffed animal that one of the students so very proudly shared with me for “his brother,” my son, Beau, for Christmas. He adores this lion!
- Laughing until I cried with a coworker and friend.
- The silence in the chapel after a very beautifully busy break .
- Sharing a meal with friends in a cottage.
- Being able to sit in silence with a student on a hard day. Being able to be a safe space for her.
- Doing the most relaxing art with students and coworkers right before school amped back up.
- A cup of hot chocolate delivered from a friend.
I am sure there are so many more times that God has shown up and winked my way. Times that the presence of God has become tangible in my midst. Moments I’ve been reassured that we are not alone, and that God’s love is so wide.
A God Wink Challenge
As the new year unfolds I am challenging myself to write down these God winks and to place them in a jar in my office. It won’t be anything too fancy, just a reminder to myself. I am not sure when I will read them again. Maybe next year or on a hard day. Maybe both.
The love of God is vast and shows up, sometimes, in the most obscure ways. I am prayerful that this year we all can all allow ourselves to slow down just enough to notice the God winks. And to give thanks for those moments.
It is really magical when we do.