23 Years Ago

Twenty three years ago I was a summer intern at a camp in North Carolina. I met a boy from Texas and moved here to work for a ministry. One of the guys I worked for just happened to be in charge of fundraising for a new camp this ministry was building in Colorado. Today, this boy and I put our oldest daughter on a plane to go volunteer for this same camp. If the Lord would have let me in on His plan all those years ago, I would not have believed Him. It really is true, He does more than we can ask or imagine! I have twenty three years of evidence to prove it.


The school year has ended and summer is before us. How will the days unfold? Will the kids get bored and fight? Will bathing suits and beach towels overload the laundry room? Will the smell of chlorine and sunscreen still make me smile? Will the sand from the beach follow us home? Will popsicles be consumed several times a day and ice cream be considered a meal? Will bedtimes be much later and rising come well after the sun has come up? Will family movie night happen several times a week? Yes, for this is the making of summer and I can hardly wait to get started!


When the same verse shows up several times in one morning, I take notice. Today it happened to be, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus wrote out this idea of faith with His very life. So often my eyes seem to drift to others lives and how they are living out faith, but my focus needs to always come back to Jesus. However, I am glad He has given me so many examples. It challenges me to ask what impossible without faith mission He has for our family.


Our youngest little girl climbed into my lap yesterday morning. They had the day off from school so there was plenty of time to read. She picked a favorite book and noticed the silver award seal on the cover. We talked about what that meant and she said it marked the book as good. I told her that she was like a good book to me and I loved reading her everyday. It takes time and attention, sometimes I am running low on both. Each day seems like a page with characters and events, all stringing together to make up the years. Some pages hold tears and others are hysterical. Others are filled with learning and some action, none ever boring if I stay present. I do not want to jump ahead, just enjoy each page, each day as it comes. Besides, I have seven books going at once and today is more than enough for me.


Early in the morning, ten years ago, I got a call from my dad. He told me my mom did not have much longer. Before I even left for the airport, she had died. In the days, weeks, months and years that have followed, a question had to be answered daily. Is God trustworthy even though He allowed my mom to die?

My honest answer would be that He is completely trustworthy, but I am not. Loss makes one feel badly shaken, but I found God to be full of steady grace and mercy. He has not wasted one tear that I have cried. In fact, it seems maybe He collected them to water all the seeds that He was planting and cultivating in this now tender heart. Hopefully, more compassion, kindness, peace, love and joy have flourished over time. And I never find Him to be in a rush as I am growing, a good Father never is. Maybe now that ten years have gone by, I love a bit more like Him. The very One who my mom now sees face to face.