After sharing my heart about being completely blindsided by life I have to tell you what God did in the midst of our heartache. But first….
In 2017 I published my second book, The Memorial Box. Those who have been hanging around our Place Called Simplicity are very familiar with our Memorial Box since I’ve shared many stories from it. But for those who haven’t been hanging around long, here’s what a Memorial Box is.
In the most prominent corner of our family room sits a large, light blue wooden cabinet which we call our Memorial Box. Many, many years ago Dw and I began to fill our Memorial Box with little items or trinkets – each representing something our astoundingly faithful God had done. The items remind us of His healing, His provision, His protection, His unexpected surprises or His miraculous power. Each symbol serves to remind us that He is always astoundingly faithful and worthy of all our praise!
The background (or the “why”) of our Memorial Box….
In the Old Testament, God parted the flood-swollen Jordan River so that the Israelites could pass through on dry ground into the long-awaited promised land. After the entire nation had walked across on the dry river bed God told them to send one man from each of the 12 tribes of Israel back into the dry river bed. Each man was to gather one rock from where the priests had stood with the ark of the covenant (representing God’s presence as they passed through). They were to take their rock out of the river bed and pile the 12 rocks in a prominent place where God told them to put them. Over the years, as they would pass the pile of rocks they were to tell their children and their children’s children the story of God parting the waters for them, reminding them of His constant care for them.
So based on that story, we have gathered our “rocks” to represent all God has done for us. The thing we’ve found is that when we see God in the “little things” we are able to remember His faithfulness when we are blindsided by life. Because let’s be honest…it is very easy to panic and fear when something big happens that is completely out of our control. In our humanness we can quickly think the worst (I’ve done it and I bet you have too!). But when we intentionally look at our Memorial Box we remember all God has done on our behalf which encourages our faith that He will do it again. There’s nothing that He cannot do. He is working on our behalf in the little things and He is working on our behalf in the enormous things!
Anyway, when we were blindsided recently our brains switched into survival mode. The circumstances overwhelmed us and we were left stunned and reeling. Due to the nature of it all, the situation continually looms large in our hearts and mind. (Thank you to all who have prayed for us. Please don’t stop.)
But anyway, with our hearts very overwhelmed and troubled, it has been difficult to think about every day life which brings us to this Memorial Box story from just the other day.
After 30 years of homeschooling, we have had the joyful privilege of finally(!!) being part of a homeschool co-op. It was not something we had ever had the opportunity to do before, but at the urging of my friend Kimmy, we jumped in and boy-oh-boy it’s been the best! The kids love it and I love it. Once a week we go and I volunteer while the kids take classes in Science, Spanish, Archery, Flag Football, Painting, Calligraphy, Health, Robotics etc. The classes have been such a blessing and we have made some sweet new friends. As we were joining we noticed that they needed someone to teach Basketball and since Dw is a basketball lover, he hopped in to volunteer for that!
A couple of weeks ago when he was heading to Africa we realized we needed someone to teach in his place. Liberty’s college classes hadn’t started up yet, so she could cover the first week, but the second week needed a teacher. Dw talked to a dad at the co-op and he said he would cover. Whew.
Except in the hubbub of it all, as he landed in Africa with the team, Dw mentioned that I would need to confirm it with that dad. Only thing was I had no clue what dad he meant because he’s not a dad that is there every week.
And about a day later we were blindsided and all remembrance of having to have a teacher cover for the class went out the window and I could think of nothing else but the very real situation unfolding! As the class day approached Dw told me that I couldn’t do it myself (he knows that of all the sports, basketball has never, ever, ever been my strong point!). He also knew the stress that was overwhelming all our hearts – it was the last thing any of us needed to think about and so he told me, “Just cancel the class.” Well I couldn’t do that! Twenty-eight kids were counting on it – they love it!
So co-op day rolled around…and he was texting me from Africa, “Babe, cancel the class” and “You can’t lead it” and then “You don’t need the stress.” And yes, I was ignoring his texts because I had simply prayed, “Lord please provide for the class.” My prayer wasn’t fancy because prayers don’t have to be fancy. Trust me, mine are never fancy – I had merely spoken the need to my loving Father. I assumed the Lord would just give me the strength to teach it and all would be well. I had total peace about it.
As it was, several texts in and no response from me Dw had texted, “Babe, are you ignoring me?” Haha. And yes, I had sorta’ kinda’ been ignoring his texts as I felt confidant that God would provide. And right about then, as I wandered around with Birdie and Ruby during my free period I ran into a new mom. She and I had emailed back and forth about her son being in the basketball class. She wanted to give us a heads up that he has autism. I had written back that we have many children of our own with special needs and Dw would love to have him in the class! It was really sweet to finally spend some time talking to her in my free period.
So although I had ignored his first few texts, I got wrapped up in the conversation with my new friend and completely forgot he was texting me. Haha. Toward the end of our conversation I happened to mention that Dw was in Africa and that I would actually be teaching the class. I kind of apologized to her and said that although I have zero basketball knowledge I thought I would have them do drills, etc. As I paused she exclaimed, “Oh! My mom is visiting from out of state. She’s here with me today….” (Friends, are you ready for this? Seriously, it just makes me giggly!)..as she continued, “My mom was actually a professional basketball player many years ago and I bet she would love to help you!”
My mouth dropped open!! Her mom had been a professional basketball player! Do you see what God did? He didn’t just provide a former gym teacher (which would have been great). He didn’t just provide another parent to help which would have also been amazing. He did something over-the-top miraculous because He is astoundingly faithful – always! I still giggle. Seriously friends. A simple prayer and He was already providing a wildly-miraculous answer!
Do you know what else His provision meant to my soul? It meant that God was aware of our “blindsided situation” (of course He is) and He IS working even though it doesn’t look like He is. Our hope rests firmly in who He has been to us!! The spectacular stories behind every one of the items in our Memorial Box gives our family the confidence that He is working!
Friend, in YOUR situation…He is working. It might not look like it, but He is. It might not feel like it, but He still is. It might not seem like it, but it doesn’t matter – He is. He is always, always, always at work around us.
Think about it….up until that moment talking to the mom whose mom was a professional basketball player, I had zero clue that God had been orchestrating the situation so that the mom’s mom played professional basketball, came from out-of-state for the very week I needed her then allowing us to chat and discover that the answer was right there in front of me. I marvel at all He did for one homeschooling basketball class. He’s got your blindsided situation and mine in the palm of His hand. And I dwell in hope…He is working.
As soon as I can find a little tiny basketball it will go in our Memorial Box, reminding us of the time God provided a former professional basketball player to coach our homeschooling class without any effort while we were reeling from life. Just because He loves us so.
PS And when I texted Dw that a former professional player was going to teach the class he was blown away!