Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: hope (Page 1 of 2)

The Street Corner

We recently took a trip to Seattle and Garry dropped me off at one of my favorite coffee shops. I ordered a drink and did some people watching. Beside me was a guy with a guitar and dreads laboring over a small notebook. I noticed how the barista acted like the bar was a shield between her and the customers. In the corner sat an older man working diligently on his computer between smoke breaks.  I did some writing. I enjoyed the experience, and Garry was due to pick me up soon. Due to the parking situation I decided to wait for him outside.

I stepped out of the welcoming coffee shop and on to the street corner. It was a handy place to stand because I could see traffic in so many directions. But it was cold, and in less than two minutes I began to feel awkward.

A younger guy who was high on something stumbled by. A well-dressed guy kept eying me  while acting like he was doing something on his phone. A scantily dressed woman walked by, swinging her hips and trying to catch the eye of the guy just down the street. Two guys sauntered by, holding hands and looking into one another’s eyes. I looked behind me and saw a small band of poorly dressed young adults apparently fighting over something they were examining from an old grocery bag. An older lady, shabbily dressed but with steps of purpose, walked by carrying her groceries.

Garry didn’t come.Both our phones were nearly dead, and for just a moment I imagined what it would be like if he never came back. Seattle with no money in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Suddenly I knew that my few “good ideas” about downtown were sorely disconnected from reality. I imagined how hard it would be to actually get out of this neighborhood if you were born here. I imagined what kind of help you might need to get a better job, how much effort it would be to change your self-perceptions, and the long journey to better habits. The complexity of the conversation hit me hard.

Soon Garry came and we returned to our safe world. The mental photos and haunted feelings remain as a reminder to pray for so many who are caught and for those who reach out to them.

Old while Young

I felt old as a teenager and ancient in my early twenties. My memories of pain-free days as a young mom are few and far between. Now in my forties, I feel younger than I did two decades ago. While it strikes me as strange sometimes, it shouldn’t surprise me. Until my early thirties I struggled with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Every day began with the same mantra, “I can do this. I can make it through another day.”

All that changed with a simple, faith-filled prayer late one night. There had been many simple, faith-filled prayers before that one, but that night God answered in a miraculous way. Things changed. I woke the next morning with energy and a new hope for the day. I’ve been sick, I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been weary since then, but neither the chronic fatigue nor the fibromyalgia has returned. It’s an undeserved blessing, one for which I am grateful every day.

I would hate to return to the fatigue of those years, and yet I would hate to live these years without those experiences. There are so many things I learned in that time that I need every day. God used sickness in a powerful way to dispel my independence and to teach me about prayer. I began to learn about empathy as I lay exhausted on the couch, trying to pay attention to my two-year-old. I had to say “no” more times than I can count, and yet it’s a skill that still comes hard to me. Sickness taught me to value the temple that our bodies are and to take care of myself and others in ways that have proved valuable.

Chronic illness was a school that taught me things I would have otherwise have had no interest in learning. It pushed me into places that I would not have chosen to go. It changed my perception of myself and of others. In some ways, I experienced age before my time and am now given the opportunity to live my real age.

What has caught my attention lately is how common this is. Maybe not the exact circumstances, but the reality that we experience things for a purpose. Today’s trials have every opportunity to be tomorrow’s joys. Today’s hardship is training for tomorrow’s joy, and for tomorrow’s challenges. What we do with today matters, not only for how well we’ll sleep tonight but also for how well equipped we will be for tomorrow and the days, weeks and months that follow.

The Christmas Move

I didn’t want to move. Not even a little bit. I was rather happily settled into a comfortable house in a comfortable neighborhood with a stable routine. Things could have just continued as they were. Then there was a windstorm followed by a tree removal. This led to a conversation which made it clear that things were going to change. Immigration issues came to light. Financial concerns got bigger. Employment realities changed.

The house we were in was going on the market. We cleaned up the house and people came to work on it and photograph it and soon people were coming to look at it. No more stable routine. The house was on display and the comfortable status was disappearing. An e-mail assured us we were moving. Only there was, as yet, nowhere to go.

We prayed about immigration and finances. A committed team joined us in seeking God and answers. Friends called to let us know they were going to help cover rental costs if we stayed. Anonymous friends left a cash gift in our mailbox. Someone offered to cover immigration costs and the lawyer assured us the process could move ahead. A check came in the mail. Friends intentionally overpaid for things they bought from us. The whole process was unheard of– we are missionaries on support, and support comes through expected channels. But this was totally unexpected! One by one, the questions we had were being answered, the only outstanding one being somewhere to live.

We took a second look at a house on a Wednesday, got keys on Thursday, and started moving furniture on Friday as we began packing up smaller things. Sunday the pastor mentioned that they were late getting their Christmas preparations under way, and I realized I hadn’t even thought about Christmas. Yet the season was over-shadowed by the move, and we told people we could use some help. We were amazed at the people who showed up with willing hearts, cleaning supplies, and vehicles. Exactly one week after we’d taken a look at the house, all our things were moved to our new house and the old house was cleaned. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, though there was still a large pile of things to move out of the old garage. Soon that also was done and we settled into serious unpacking.

By now Christmas was seriously upon us, just 4 days away. Garry hung two strings of lights, we spent a fun evening chasing down a few gift ideas we’d had for our sons, and then wrapped a few presents. The amazing thing was, Christmas still came. Regardless of how prepared we were or were not, Christmas arrived on schedule, December 25th.

And the reality is, we had an amazing celebration of Jesus. We were amazed at what God had done in getting us moved. We enjoyed family. We relaxed in our new house and were thankful to be warm and comfortable. We made new memories. We enjoyed family times in the new-to-us living room. We ate meals at our dining room table and gave thanks for food and togetherness. We started a puzzle and began organizing photos to scrapbook.

Given other options, I still wouldn’t choose to move over Christmas. But sometimes, the things we wouldn’t choose are the best gifts we could get.

Potential and Destiny

I’ve been going through a book called The Cure with a couple friends. The book has been good, and the last chapter in particular caught my attention. The authors talk about the difference between potential and destiny: potential being what we can accomplish with our talents, hard work, and dedication and destiny being what God has in mind to accomplish through us. In fact, this chapter came in the middle of various other conversations and information that also focused on similar thoughts. And when the same thing comes up again and again, I have to think about what God may be saying.

img_3514I’ve been pondering this thought in relation to right now and in relation to the past. Right now we are facing some changes as the house we’re renting is on the market. Reaching for our potential begs me to look at every available option, to make lists of what we need and want, and to focus on finding a perfect place to live. Walking in God’s destiny, or focusing on His destiny for me, calls me to quiet trust and patience. It seeks God and spends time asking Him for the perfect house. It scours ads and networks with friends with calm assurance that the house is there and it will come to light clearly. Destiny allows me to continue focusing on the people and tasks that God is calling me to instead of being consumed by the current issues.

As I reflect on the past, many of the same things apply. Do I interpret my past in terms of destiny, what God was calling me to, or in terms of potential, how my efforts and talents have paid off? Do I try to figure out whether I could have done better? Do I take credit for where God has brought me, or do I give Him credit?  I have been humbled by consciously interpreting the past in light of destiny, how God has brought about the impossible through normal, needy people. And it’s not just my past, it’s the past of my parents and my children. It’s being reminded that we are but a small part in an epic tale that God is writing, being amazed that we have a part in this epic tale.

And these thoughts give me deep hope for the future and grow my faith that God is creating something beautiful. Following Him leads me to His perfect destiny for me. Seeking Him is always the best option, obedience always key. I may not understand how this particular part of the path has meaning, but in God’s economy it is important. It may be that hidden in today’s mundane tasks is opportunity of eternal significance.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: