God's Love in a Fortune Cookie


I don’t believe in predictions that come through fortune cookies. But I do believe that if God wanted to speak to me through a fortune cookie, He could do that. In fact, I’m convinced that He has. It wasn’t really me He was trying to reach but my oldest daughter. You need to know that it’s been a tough year for her, and she’s been struggling of late; mainly with food. Too much, too little, what kind, whether it’s foe or friend. I remember being at the same age. It was one of my worst years as a teenager. Dark thoughts ran through my head and I wasn’t sure if life was worth living. Now, I thank God for His persistence in loving me through those overcast days. Somehow, by listening to His still, small voice, I was able to hang on and believe in something bright shining around the bend. I shudder to think of all the beautiful things I’d have missed out on if I’d given up on life at age 14. Now, I’m a mother of five, trying to convince my oldest daughter that the hard things she’s going through now shouldn’t be given the power to squelch the beautiful things that are coming. Last week, we were both reminded we’re not alone in the difficult task ahead. She’d just opened up to me about how hard this was going to be; this commitment to start eating normally, to shun the voices (including the interior ones) attempting to lead her away from health and that beautiful future I know awaits her. I told her it was going to be hard but I knew she could do it. A short while later, we were in the kitchen, just the two of us, unpacking Chinese food. And out it dropped — the broken-up fortune cookie. “You can have that,” she said. Truthfully, I didn’t want any arguments over food. I also knew there were usually only a couple cookies in the bag and there could be vicious fights over who would get to consume the fortune cookie. I determined that eating the broken one right then might save on some squabbling later. “Fine, but it’s your fortune. Whatever it says it’s for you, okay?” I said in compromise. I opened the little package and out spilled the slip of paper with the fortune on it. I read it out loud, verbatim:    “Don’t give up, the beginning is always the hardest.” I looked at her, she looked back, eyes wide. The world stopped for an eerie moment. “That really was for you,” I said. She smiled, then set about arranging the plates and glasses. We called the others to the table and ate our dinner. The whole time I wondered…did she hear what I had heard, and did she know the source? I found confirmation a short while later on her Facebook wall, where she’d shared with her friend what the white slip of paper had revealed. “It’s like Jesus came to me in a fortune cookie!” she wrote. Then, while I was out, she texted me: “You know how my fortune cookie said that? Then on the back it has like your lucky numbers and a ‘learn Chinese’ thing?” “Yes?” “Well,” she continued, “the ‘learn Chinese’ phrase on the back of that fortune was ‘to eat’…o.o. mind blown.” “Wow!” I answered. “I think God is running over hurdles to get your attention. That’s how much He loves you.” Maybe you had to be there. Maybe you needed to have been right in the middle of it all to understand how precisely timed it was, and how that, as much as the rest of the details, is what sent tandem shivers through us. How could we be misreading this? She was needing a sign to tell her she could do this, that she wouldn’t be alone. I was needing a sign to tell me I could help her do this, that I wouldn’t be alone. And there it was…in black and white. Mere coincidence? Maybe. But if there were any doubts, the message on the back was the confirmation we needed. “To eat.” The chances of  mere coincidence just did a nose-dive. There was no doubt in either of our minds. The way I see it, four miracles took place. One was the miracle of having had the chance to talk earlier that afternoon. Two was the miracle that she’d gotten verbal affirmation from God that she’s not alone in this trial. Three was the affirmation that I wasn’t, either. And the fourth? Well, that happened the next day. “Mom, you can write about the fortune cookie if you want.” “Really?” I asked, not certain I was hearing her correctly. “You mean…are you sure?” We both knew that in order for me to write about the fortune cookie, we’d have to tell the whole story. And that would mean being vulnerable and public about something that has been difficult. “Yep.” Many people wiser than I have cautioned me to not overlook the smaller miracles while searching for the big one. My daughter’s offer to share this tells me she’s already realizing, even in her dark time, that by sharing a piece of her story, she might be able to help someone who is struggling with the same. Even if that means having her mom write about it on her blog and making it public. She’s glimpsed that there’s something bigger at stake, and that she might have to come out of her comfort zone a bit to let it be free. That in doing so — in bringing something difficult to the light — we free ourselves and give others the permission to do the same. (Thank you, dear daughter, for trusting me with this. I love and believe in you!) Q4U: Where was the most unusual place God reached out to you? Copyright 2011 Roxane Salonen


About Author

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website, roxanesalonen.com


  1. Brian K Kravec on

    Praise God! Be assured of my prayers. Please thank your daughter (I’m the father of a 14 year old)) for her trust and courage. She is inspiring!

  2. Thanks Brian! I see that the spacing was a little crazy here so I’m glad you were able to read through it okay. I’ll see if that can be fixed. Meantime, I share your response with my daughter. I’ll pray for you as well. 🙂 We parents of 14-year-olds need the encouragement of one another, for sure!

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