Adversity helps us recognize the generosity of God, allows us to stand beneath his wings when we find no other shelter.
Of course, we can recognize Providence in the moment or understand it in hindsight. Both have been part of my family's experience these past several months.
The temptation to file these many days under tribulation was quickly discarded once I read a concise definition. No, we have not had tribulation. We have cradled insecurity in our bosoms; we have worn anxiety like a cloak some days. But we have not known great suffering in my estimation. God is good, and we are grateful.
Grateful for unanswered prayers.
Grateful for worry that brings us closer to understanding others' experiences and imparts wisdom.
Grateful for friends who pray, worry for us, ask about our circumstances and extend gifts of time and advice.
Now Providence is something of which I feel wholly unworthy, but it fills me with love like flowing water when I reflect on how it has accompanied us since last summer.
My grandfathers passed away, and it was a terrible time. In mourning with my family in Idaho and feeling utterly exhausted and as taut as barbed wire, I decided, rather irrationally, that it was time for my family to sell our little house in which we had lived quite happily for almost 15 years.
To make the transition to a new home much less stressful, we ditched our plans to put this house on the market (after consulting multiple contractors and agents) and sold to an investor who very generously offered to let us have three months free rent and then two months additionally at our mortgage rate. Little did we know what a blessing that would be! The days of those months ticked by, and we couldn't find a home here in the Phoenix valley, though I prayed hard day after day, growing frustrated and depressed, eventually turning to bribing God by attempting to correct past sins, becoming convinced that they were preventing my prayers from being heard.
It seems silly now, though I'm sure that downtown library in Dickson, Tennessee is glad to have back the overdue book that I finally returned after more than 20 years. (Don't laugh, Dad.)
Now it's clear why we never found a house here; why the homes we loved in this valley were not to be ours though we tried; why my husband couldn't find a job in Phoenix when he left his old company, though he networked aggressively and submitted his resume religiously.
What a straight path it has been, littered though it was with hard stones and humility, what an excellent plan it was given the events we did not see coming - and here I stand now, looking back and praising God!
How generous is the One Who first loved us! For my husband has a good job at last, and the offer they made to him brought tears to my eyes, realizing again God's generosity; we did not expect it. We also found a home afterwards on the second day of looking - a home that reminds me of the one I really liked here that a friend advised me was just a place marker for the one we were supposed to have.
When my grandfathers died, and I attended their funerals over one long weekend in which I cried a river with my parents and siblings, the loss of my grandpas - not one left in this world - struck my core. To find comfort I wanted a fresh place, a new home for my family that would remind me of how I felt in my grandparents' homes.
I should have known God would mold my prayer into something better, giving me not what I selfishly desired merely as balm for my aching heart, but something that was life-giving for my family - not a place to remind me of grandparents but a place that would give my children what I had known and appreciated keenly: a home with grandparents.
My kids will finally live near grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time in their lives. There will be birthday parties and holiday meals and relatives to come to their sports games and school events. Great, everlasting memories will be made. Stories will be created and enriched.
I have for many years preached that family and home are everything. I wanted a shell, a mere house, an impermanent thing, but God gave my family Love, gave us time with Family.
God is good; I am His witness. He is so very good. Truly, His mercy endureth forever!