From planting to blossom

This pic has absolutely nothing to do with today's post, but it's one of my favorites of the thousands I took in Kenya last year.

A while back I wrote that I would tell a fuller story of our move and of God’s faithfulness in it. This is the beginning of that story.

We left Sterling sometime after 10 on Wednesday evening, July 6, after a LONG day. Dave and I, in separate vehicles, managed to get about three hours down the road before we needed to crash. We stopped at a motel and settled in. The next morning we decided to sleep in a bit and got on the road about an hour later than we had originally planned. A little ways down the highway, Dave called me.

“Jen, we’re going the wrong direction!”

“You’re kidding me.”

“No. How could I have done that?”

He continued to beat himself up, but the Holy Spirit gave me this really calm feeling. I told him. “Hon, we’ve got to trust that God has a plan for this. It’s happened. It’s okay.”

It took us thirty minutes to get back to where we’d started that morning. We were now two hours behind schedule and facing an even longer day of both of us driving.

When we stopped for gas, I noticed smoke coming from under the hood of White Lightning (what we semi-affectionately call Dave’s old Chevy truck). He popped the hood open.

Steam poured out.

The radiator.

The gas attendant directed us to a “great mechanic” just a mile up the road. The mechanic took a look. “Well, you might make it to Chicago just fine, but there’s just as great a chance that you’ll get an hour or two up the road, and that crack will split wide open and you’ll be stranded.”

Stranded in the middle of Iowa, where towns are about as scarce as they are in western Kansas and the ones you do find may not even register on the map–where we would have stopped for gas if we hadn’t gone the wrong direction that morning. We were beginning to see a purpose in our morning delay.

Instead we had a Subway within walking distance, full access to the mechanic shop’s waiting area, with its comfy couches, tv, dvd player, and toys, and a mechanic who put everything else aside and had our truck fixed in great time because, as he put it, “Well, I hadn’t planned on fixing a radiator this morning, but I reckon you weren’t planning on breaking down either.”

What a good God!

Now here’s the lesson that I’ve been remembering this week related to this. In the midst of a long time period of moving and Dave having to be out of town, in a time when I had to cling to God, I could SEE His hand at work in the small frustrations–or at least I was open to the perspective that difficulties have purpose. This week, the last full week of August, school has begun and we are finally getting into a groove, moving from the stage of “just hanging on” to “we’re in routine.” In the last few days I have found myself growing impatient with trains that have stopped my forward motion, my children for losing their lunch three minutes before we’re supposed to walk out the door, copying machines that jam–the little things.

Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards…are in blossom.”

This summer has been a trial of sorts, not one of grief–and I’m incredibly thankful for that–but a difficult time when I had to hang on to my Lord for strength and peace of mind. Maybe I could liken it to a very difficult planting season, full of storms and setbacks, a ceaseless time of labor and stress when we had to help all my brood (and myself) pull up roots in one place and put them down in another. But now my “plants” are beginning to grow–mine, too). Will I let the little foxes of impatience and frustration and self-suffieciency destroy my dependency on Christ?

God, thank You for this time, this space. Help me to see that this is a gift, not something I have worked at for myself or “arrived at” because I “persevered.” I don’t want my little foxes to pull me away from You.

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