Friday, March 22, 2013

Eyes to See Fire

When I started this Facebook fasting journey, I really was expecting some great revelation to drop right into my lap concerning the questions of this life.  Now I realize that won’t be the case – at all.  I’ve been rather disappointed in the last few weeks that I haven’t been given any clear direction in our lives concerning future children.  It’s been frustrating, to say the least – and sometimes even maddening.

But some things have happened in the last couple of weeks to remind me that although I haven’t been given THE answer I’m looking for, I’ve been given so much more.  I’ll start with a couple of weekends ago…

Shawn had a Presbytery meeting in Des Moines and was going to be gone Friday night and all of Saturday.  So, my sister and I got this wild idea to “meet in the middle” and see each other for the weekend.  It worked out GREAT!  We had a fantastic time and it was so good to see her and the kids.  What I learned from that weekend:  Jess and I can pack up an entire hotel room (clothes, toys, food, toiletries, everything) and move to another one in less than 1 hour (long story), Derek is really good at splashing in pools and jumping from the hot tub to the cold pool without screaming, Calleigh always wants “to go to the beach” (AKA – the swimming pool), Austin is now walking and will get into ANYTHING within his reach and would be happy to live on a diet of Fruit Loops, I always miss Shawn even if we’re only apart for 2 days.  Anyway, I digress…

I got a call on Saturday night from Shawn telling me that the weather forecast was calling for LOTS of snow and sleet on Sunday morning…great.  He told me to think about the possibility of driving home in the morning instead of the afternoon.  Now, you have to know my stubborn determination and my lonely heart when I’m away from my sister, but my first thought was, “And miss out on the last 4 hours of sister time?  No way!  I’ll be fine, even if I have to slide my way home.”  My wonderful husband who knows me so well said the following, even before I had voiced what I was thinking, “I don’t want you driving home in a snow and sleet storm just so you can spend a few more hours with Jess and the kids.”  Busted.  So, I promise Shawn that I’ll check the weather in the morning and leave if I really need to (secretly knowing that a blizzard warning would still not be a good enough reason to leave early).

In case you’re wondering how this detailed story fits in with my fasting journey, let me explain.  I began to realize (or rather I was reminded again) that God is IN every single detail of my life and that He even CARES about the small things.  For instance, I wake up the next morning super early to check the weather and see that the forecast has changed.  The snow and sleet shouldn’t hit Ackley area until 4 PM.  I did a little dance in the bed right there (quietly of course, so Calleigh-the-bed-hog wouldn’t wake up)…and I’m reminded that God even cares about the last few hours I have with my sister.

I have a four hour drive home so we plan to check out at noon…and much to Derek and Calleigh’s dismay, we did NOT have time to go swimming again because Aunt Melissa had to hit the road (and we had to check out on time).  After a wonderful weekend, we give hugs and kisses all around, strap the kids in, load the cars, and take off.  I am barely outside of Quincy before I realize that my drive home is going to be VERY unpleasant.  And by unpleasant, I mean that the fog was so thick I could see less than ¼ mile in front of me.  Are you kidding me???  A delayed snow storm only to find myself stuck in the middle of a thick cloud for the next 4 hours?  This is going to be a bad drive.  But again, God cares about the little things – and the not-so little things like getting me home safely.  About 5 miles outside of Quincy, I’m driving pretty slow because I’m totally unfamiliar with this road and a bright red pickup truck flies by me.  I think to myself, “Hey, he sticks out pretty good.  Why not follow him?”  So, I speed up and keep him in my line of sight for the next 2 hours…and because of him, I knew in advance when the road would curve.  Okay God, I’m beginning to see how greatly you truly do care for me…

Because of the fog, I drive right past the exit for THE only gas station right off the road (to my knowledge).  I glance at my gas tank reading in the car and get a little worried because I know that I’ll never make it to Iowa City on a ¼ tank of gas and there’s no way I’m getting off this unfamiliar road and driving 15 miles to a gas station…not in this fog.  So, I keep following the red truck and pray that God would show me where the best gas station is…or maybe create a whole new gas station just for me.  (And yes, I actually said that in my prayer…)  After about 2 hours, and much fretting, I come up over the top of a hill…*drumroll*  The fog clears and there is a gas station sitting right off the road to the left.  I nearly cried when I saw it because I was down to about 1/8 of a tank of gas, which really means I’m almost out of gas in my lovely car.  And in case you’re wondering, after seeing it I remembered the other times I had passed it by on my trips home…so God didn’t create a new gas station for me, but he did clear the fog so I could see it.  I pull in, fuel up, buy some Wheat Thins and water and hit the road again.  About 2 miles down the road, the fog hits again.  Great…and this time, the red truck is long gone.  I start following another car but it’s going so slow that I know I’ll never beat the snow and sleet home.  So, I get brave and pull ahead of it – only to hit this gigantic wall of fog.  I keep driving and pray that God will keep me safe.  About 5 miles after this, I drive out of the fog and the landscape opens up before me.  Again, God cares about the little things.  The rest of my drive was pretty uneventful.

I pulled into the driveway at exactly 4:00 PM – no kidding.  I go inside to tell Shawn I’m home safely.  Then I put my shoes back on and go outside to move the car into the garage – and it’s already sleeting.  I hadn’t been home for more than 20 minutes and the storm hit!  Perfect timing on my part – definitely NOT.  Rather, it proved again that God cares for me.

Now, I know this is getting to be a long story but stick with me until the end.  It’s almost done.  As I was mulling over these events during the next week, my Bible reading plan sent me to 2 Kings 6.  Do you know this story?  It’s one of the best in the Bible and it had been such a long time since I’d read it that I had almost forgotten about it.  The king of Aram has sent an army of horses and chariots to Dothan because he wants to destroy Elisha, the prophet of Israel.  Elisha’s servant goes out in the morning and sees the army.  He’s terrified and asks, “Oh no, my lord!  What shall we do?”  Elisha says, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Um, Elisha, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s just you and the servant against this huge army.  What are you talking about?  Then Elisha prays…

“Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”
Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
~ 2 King 6:16-17

As I read this passage I was thinking, “I’m definitely like this servant.”  Totally clueless and oftentimes plain dumb in troubling situations.  I see trouble and just throw up my hands.  I see the worst of the situation instead of seeing a situation that God is in control of.  He sent horses and chariots of FIRE to surround Elisha!  Really?  Imagine that!  Don’t you wish that you had eyes to see this kind of God power, this kind of answer??  I really wish I had those eyes!

In the next few days, I heard a song on the radio that is based on this passage (at least in my opinion).  I had heard it before but never really thought about it.  These days, I can’t get it out of my head.  It reminds me that I know who is before me and behind me.  I know who is IN me – the God of “angel armies”.  If you haven’t heard the song, you’ve got to listen to it!

So, to wrap this up – I still don’t have a clue what we are supposed to do about children.  I don’t know if God wants us to have biological children or just give that up to pursue adoption.  Maybe he wants both, or maybe just biological children, or maybe just adoption.  The only thing I DO know is that He's called us to be parents – whatever that looks like.  So, I don’t have THE answer I was looking for but I now realize that I have so much more.  I have the God of all the universe looking out for me.  He postponed a snow storm, protected me in the fog with an empty gas tank as I raced against the storm and barely beat it.  If He knows about that one small day, don’t you think He knows about my heart’s desire?  I know He does…so whom (or what) shall I fear?


Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Next Memory Verse

Reading about God’s strength today, I read this verse:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:14-19

Now, really think about this verse and what it’s actually saying.  I think that pretty much sums it up.  I don’t need to say anything except I think this will become my new memory verse….