A Long Time Coming

Three and a half weeks ago, I was sitting down after a full day of work, chatting with my husband on the phone.  I had last seen him around Easter when he came home for a week.  For the past year he has been working a province over and only made it home for the major holidays.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.  With a child in school, driving a school bus and an acreage with animals to take care of, we found it difficult to make the trip out to see him.  I’ve had my husband work away from home all of our married life and am quite used to it, though that hasn’t changed my constant hope and desire to have him find work either close to home or with a job rotation that allows him to be home more often, instead of months and months of being absent.

I’ve prayed for years and we’ve both looked and entertained ideas and options that would bring our family together.  Nothing has worked out in that regard.  In fact earlier this spring we had a another close opportunity not pan out yet again that left both of us feeling frustrated.

And so on a Wednesday evening we began entertaining the idea of moving out to where he was.  He had always been so resistant to the idea, for a number of reasons, but things had changed that made it not as impossible for him as before. At the same time, things had changed for me as well, bring us into accord.

Yes!  Let’s consider uprooting and moving so that we could be together as a family!

We figured it would take time, probably 6-8 months to sell our acreage and so I got cracking by calling a realtor in our area to get her opinion of the state of the market and what she thought we could sell our place for, as things have been in quite the slump in our area for a number of years. Driving the bus around, I had seen many places go up for sale and stay on the market for most of the school year.

Before we had even finished drawing up the listing agreement, we had a showing!  Literally one week after discussing the possibility of moving and only 2 days before I was scheduled to drive out to see my husband for 3 weeks.  I was frantically trying to clean up the place so I could leave, and finish school, and make the house show-worthy, and do the paperwork that comes with getting a house ready to sell.  Lawns to be mowed, garden to be weeded and arrangements to be made for the animals.

Then we had an offer come in and we accepted the night before we began the two day drive to see my husband.  I was in shock then and I’m in shock now, because after a couple weeks of waiting we have officially sold our place only 3 and a half a weeks from when we started thinking about it!

I’m sitting in my husband’s rented apartment, thinking about all the times, we’ve tried to “make it” happen before. How we’ve tried to find ways to have our family together and how many times we’ve been disappointed and crushed by having jobs ripped away at the last possible moment.  How we’ve worked at trying to move before and then one of us would balk or life would throw us a curveball that made it impossible.

Now as I watch what’s been happening these past few weeks.  How life is changing up so rapidly and surprisingly smoothly, I am shocked, yes, but also deeply aware that God has been answering my prayers and is still answering my prayers.  That it’s all just been a work in progress that has taken a number of years to line everything up.  Certain things had to happen to prepare each of us for this moment.  There were things we had to let go of and realizations about ourselves that we had to discover before we could move forward in order for all this to work. Some of this was intentional and some of this was beyond our control.

I would pray and pray and cry out to God, begging Him to make things work out and bring my family together. And I’ve always wondered in the back of my mind why He wouldn’t answer my prayers.  You would think God would want us to be together–a wife with her husband, a child with his dad.  Over the years I’ve been angry, confused, disheartened, numb and indifferent   But I’ve also been content and at peace with the way life has gone. My prayers have ranged all over the map, but they usually have all boiled down to letting go of myself and binding myself with God, renewing my hope and trust that He has us in His hand.

Prayer baffles me.

So it helps to read books like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door.  Though it’s geared towards kids, it’s a great book for explaining the unexplainable such as prayer.  The story expands on the idea of communicating without the use of words, and how to relate to the incomprehensible—both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic.  So I’m glad I’m reading through it at this time with my son, especially now with so much changing up in our lives.  It give me hope that when I don’t quite know what or how to pray, or fears steal my words, that I can still reach out to the almighty God and that He hears me.  That He cares.

Which reminds me of that bit in the Bible found in Daniel 10 where Daniel has a vision and is told by an angel that God heard him from the moment he first opened his mouth and yet it took him a long time to come in response because he met resistance along the way. And I consider that the truly big prayers of our hearts may take time, whether it’s because forces beyond our understanding are at work against us, or that we ourselves need to grow and evolve.

Maybe even now this move will not work out, and that makes me afraid.  It scares me the most to see so many things fall into place, because I’m just waiting for it all to collapse at the last moment.  It’s happened before.  It may yet happen again.  God knows I have trust issues.  It’s something I tell Him almost daily.  Sometimes with words but most often with a deep clenching in my stomach.

It helps to walk it out. Literally. I walk and I walk.  Walking is an act of prayer for me.

So life is changing, and as I tell my son, we just need to roll with it.  We need to let go of that which hinders and embrace the adventure!

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

With a loud ear-splitting crack and boom above our heads, the thunder shook the entire house. My eight year old son burrowed tighter into my side as we sat in the big recliner together reading Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wind in the Door”. We had just finished the part where the heroine of the story had just endured a horrible event, and the combination of the tense story and the booming thunder and constant flickering lightening outside had my son rather jumpy. Small hailstones tatted against the window panes as we finished the chapter.

It was time for bed, and after we finished our preparations he begged me to leave his curtains open.

“I’m scared.” He said.

“Wouldn’t you rather have the curtains closed then, so you don’t see?”

“No, I’d rather see if it’s coming closer. I just need to see! Please stay and sing to me!” He asked.

Since he was a baby, whenever he was screaming in the midst of a meltdown or I was on the verge of a meltdown myself, I would sing to him. Sometimes I would be scream-singing in an attempt to drown out the screaming of the child and to also keep myself from doing something I’d regret. Eventually the scream-singing would subside into a gentler tune and the two of us would find ourselves calming down–the rush of our emotions fading into contentment and peace.

So tonight I found the words to an old hymn spilling from my mouth. I grew up on hymn’s and I often find the words of one coming to mind or a tune filling my head. For some reason I can remember them far better than the modern worship music I’ve been surrounded by for the past twenty years.   The old hymns resonate deep within me.

This is my Father’s world . . .” I sang softly, the tune rich and beautiful in my mind, dripped slowly from my mouth and breathed over the open, trusting face of my son.

BOOM! CRACK!

The room lit with unearthly white light for a split second and then returned to the soft glow of the bedside lamp.

And to my list-‘ning ears All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres.

Deep long rumbling in the heavens above and then another loud boom as a wave of rain spattered hard against the windows. The tall spruce trees outside bent to the strong winds and I briefly thought about them (as I always do when the strong winds come) snapping and falling on top of the roof above and crushing us beneath.

I raised my voice louder against the cacophony outside “This is my Father’s world! I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–His had the wonders wrought.

On to the next verse . . .

This is my Father’s world– The birds their carols raise; The morning light,

FLASH! FLASH! The room lit up again and my son’s eyes grew big and excited.

The lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise.

“Mom! Mom! When you sang light, the lightning flashed!”

“Isn’t that nifty?” And I continued on singing.

This is my Father’s World! He shines–

FLASH! FLASH!

“It happened again!” He interrupted to make sure I noticed. I had.

–in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass–He speaks to me ev’ry-where.

I thought, in a quick moment between verses, about how this world just doesn’t make sense to me these days. How can such evil things happen? Where is God in all of this? Does he not care? Did He not say He was love? Where is this love? Does love make any difference at all? How can I so naively teach my son that this is God’s world and that He cares for the whole world and that we can trust Him, and that we don’t need to be afraid, because I’m not too sure some days if I believe it myself?

A big deep breath and “This is my Father’s world– O let me ne’er for-get That tho the wrong seems oft so strong God is the Ru-ler yet.

Shivers course down my spine, as the world outside lights up brilliantly again.   And the Spirit repeats softly to my frantic mind, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the Ruler yet. And I relax into the moment. I find myself choosing again to trust the apostle John who wrote about the marvelous love the Father has lavished on us, calling us His children, and that we are held safe and firm in His hand.

BOOM! CRACK! The heavens continue to rip apart in continuous groans that eventually fade to the sound of swishing trees and the house shuddering to wind blasts.

This is my Father’s world! The bat-tle is not done; Jesus who died shall be sat-is-fied, And earth and heav’n be one.

“Again! Again!”

“Well then you sing with me.”

We raised our voices to the wind and the thunder, with the lightning flashing in all the appropriate places, and finishing strong the last line.

Jesus who died shall be sat-is-fied, And earth and heav’n be one.

That is the prayer of my heart today.

Be satisfied my Jesus, Come near! Move into my neighbourhood, make your home with us! Let us be together for good! No more death, no more tears, no more pain. No more endless struggle to love and have no love returned, no more failure to beat back evil and brokenness and shame. No more heartaches and heartbreaks. No more loneliness and aloneness. No more guilt and confusion. No more separation and endless waiting.    The broken made unbroken.  Everything will be made new!

This is what I live in hope of and I pray for and I lay my trust in.

“Do not be afraid.” I whisper, as much to myself as to my son, “Trust in the One who holds the whole world in His hands.”

Read a similar blog post on my other site about how Songs have lifted my spirits and calmed my fears on occasions in the past here: https://lessonslearnedinthebush.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/singing-the-darkness-away/