Wood storks stand on the shore
like old men
fishing, waiting, communing
as friends who need no words
The day was June 12, 1990; the place: San Bernardino, Calif. We were anticipating the wedding of a friend a few days later, and then a 7-week separation as David traveled to the former Soviet Union to record several languages of the JESUS film. We had talked about marriage, shopped for rings in an out-of-town mall so no one would see us, and decided to wait until fall and the end of a busy travel schedule. Or so I thought.
But in order to spend a little time together before our separation, we decided to go up to the Arrowhead Springs Hotel, then the headquarters of Campus Crusade for Christ, and enjoy the view and each other. David had arranged to borrow a red-and-white-checked tablecloth from friends, packed a picnic basket with crystal goblets and Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and a book of poetry. As we sat on the back lawn overlooking the city, David, with a bachelor party to attend in a short time, suggested we pray together. We closed our eyes, clasped hands, and prayed for safety in his travels to an unstable part of the world, and for our hearts as we were separated from each other. In the middle of the prayer, David stopped and said, “Hold on a minute, God.” I thought he was getting choked up from the emotion of the moment.
Far from it, apparently. With my eyes still closed, giving him a minute to compose himself, I felt his hand on my chin, lifting my head and encouraging me to open my eyes. He looked into them and said something like, “Will you marry me?”
The rest is just a blur. I think I said “yes” first, and them something about, “I thought we were going to wait,” and then he pulled out the ring and placed it on my finger. Yea!
Now, 23 years later, as I think about what that day meant, I realize that his simple “Will you?” was much more complex than I first thought. By saying yes, I was agreeing that I would be his biggest fan. I would know him better than anybody and allow myself to be known. I would love him best, judge him least. I was agreeing to live 1 Corinthians 13, not keeping a record of wrong, never giving up. Has it always been easy? No. Has it always been worth it? Unequivocally, yes.
It’s been 23 years, three kids, three miscarriages, two cats, two dogs, numerous fish and crabs, one bird, two apartments, one cross-country move, two houses, one set of parents dying, one set of parents divorcing, his mom moving in, lots of laughter, lots of tears, and always, without fail, a boatload of love and grace and forgiveness.
Happy engagement anniversary, Hunny. I still will.
Thankful today for:
902. summer break
903. a successful first year of teaching 6th grade
904. the chance to work on Mackinac Island for a few days
905. air travel–even if I don’t like it very much
906. gift cards
907. bike rides
908. family visits
Because I believe that freedom is not primarily for the privileged, but for the oppressed, and because I believe that the strong are obligated to take up the cause of the weak, and because I believe that those whose voice has not been silenced are duty bound to speak for those who have no say, I will fly my flag proudly today and say thank you to those who have given their lives not only to protect America, but to fight for freedom all over the world.
I have a bobblehead of Barry Bonds that my mom gave me and it sits on the shelf above the computer in my kitchen. Just jiggle him and he nods his head, “Yes, yes, yes.” Whatever your feelings about Barry Bonds personally, his bobblehead is a great role model.
I read a devotional the other day that talked about having a “yes” face. How do people perceive you? Do you have a face that invites conversation? Inquiry? Friendship? In regards to our kids, my husband is often telling me, “Say yes whenever you can.”
It’s easy with simple things: Can I take the bird out of his cage? Sure, that doesn’t cost me any extra energy. Can I make a smoothie? Well, will everything be cleaned up? What will I have to invest in this project? Can I have a sleepover? Wow. That’s a much bigger commitment on my part!
So basically what I’m saying is, if it’s convenient for me, I’ll say yes. And that’s just plain selfish. Not that I need to concede to every request of my children, but if it’s a reasonable request, why not say yes?
Will you play with me?
Can we make cookies together?
Can my friend come over to play?
I’ve seen a couple of really cool times in the past week when God has said “Yes” to things I have asked for. First, last Sunday our church was holding a big outdoor celebration. When David got up early that morning to go over and help run sound for the event, it was lightly raining. I looked at the forecast, and it was calling for a 45% chance of rain right at the time of our celebration. I prayed, asking God to keep the rain away from us for that time. This was a really big deal in the life of our church family, and rain would have washed us out. about a half hour later, I checked the forecast again. Guess what it said. Zero percent chance of rain.
God loves saying yes.
The second time was just today. My friend Carol had told us that her son, Roy, who is my son Nathan’s friend, had mononucleosis. Eight days before their graduation from middle school. What a big bummer. Depending on what the blood work showed, he could be down and out for weeks. Again, I went to God in prayer. This morning, Carol called to tell me that Roy’s blood work looked beautiful. No mono. Praise God.
God always has a good reason for telling us no, or wait. I don’t always have a good reason for telling my kids no. Have I raised kids who don’t take the initiative in life because I told them no too often? I pray that’s not the case, and I will work on saying yes more often. After all, I desire to hear God say yes to me, don’t I? Be like Bobblehead Barry: “Yes, yes, yes.”
“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).
Thankful today for:
891. answered prayer
892. a new refrigerator
893. growing investments
894. a 3-day weekend
895. America’s lost and wounded warriors
896. nearly a month on my exercise plan
897. recognition for Justin for his academic achievement
898. a hair cut
899. rain for my new rose bush and transplanted avocado volunteer
900. early baseball games
I just watched a little clip from an Oklahoma news station (Tornado survivor finds dog during live interview) after the terrible tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding areas. An elderly woman was talking very matter-of-factly about sitting in a small bathroom with her little dog in her lap when the tornado hit. She did what she was supposed to do, survived the storm, and then called for her little dog. She got no response.
As the reporter continued asking questions, someone on the camera crew notices some movement, or maybe a small sound–it’s hard to tell from the video. But someone notices a dog. As the camera turns, you can just see in the darkness of a hole in the rubble this little, gray miniature Schnauzer face. It’s the woman’s dog. Overjoyed at finding him alive, the woman asks for help uncovering him, and out he walks, probably frightened, a little dirty, but very much alive.
The woman, with softly spoken words of “bless your little bitty heart” to her dog, acknowledges that God didn’t just answer one prayer, by letting her be OK, but He answered both of them. A ray of hope amidst unbelievable destruction. There she stood, amidst the detritus of her former life–her entire neighborhood–and she knows that God is good.
It’s not just a matter of being an optimist, it’s a matter of having faith in a God who has proven Himself over and over again. Yes, bad things happen. But God is good.
And a little dog helps to show it.
Thankful today for:
886. glimmers of hope
887. healing rain
888. 4 more teaching days of school
889. the chance to stay at the Grand Hotel (location for the movie “Somewhere in Time”) in June
photo from CBS.com
There are so many upside down and backwards things happening in America these days, I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact that sinners keep sinning, or the fact that I’m bothered by that. If I want things to run smoothly, I’m just going to have to wait for heaven. Meanwhile, I thought I’d just vent a little bit about those things that just make me shake my head.
1. “The pro-choice” movement justifies their stance that a baby in utero is not human–unless it’s wanted by its mother. There’s a man in Florida right now accused of murder for tricking his girlfriend into taking the abortion pill (misoprostol) causing her to lose their 6-week-old fetus to miscarriage. Had she gone to a doctor or a Planned Parenthood location and gotten the same drug and taken it willingly and knowingly–with or without the father’s knowledge–it would have been deemed her choice. The father basically does the same thing–wants to get rid of the “contents of the uterus” that he helped put there–but because the mother wanted it, the father is accused of murder. That’s patently ridiculous.
2. The IRS is involved with health care. What in the world have they got to do with health care? And why are they being allowed to do the things they’re doing? Again, ridiculous to the point of incredulity.
3. The present administration thinks that it’s OK to invoke this sequestration thing to supposedly reduce spending while still spending into the billions if not trillions of dollars. I have no words for the futility of their thinking.
4. The president calls a former basketball player congratulating him on “coming out” yet sends not one official, in office, serving politician to the funeral for Margaret Thatcher. I’m sorry, Mr. President, but your priorities, in my opinion, are screwed up.
5. People turn a deaf ear to the hypocrisy of our leaders. And I’m not pointing fingers at just one political party. I used to be a very trusting person, but years of hearing rhetoric spouted has made me very suspicious of anything any politician says. It appears that anyone will say anything to get people to vote for them. Power corrupts. That is an age-old truth.
Oh, how I long for heaven. And how I pray for our country and our leaders. God have mercy on us all.
What would you add to this list? What are some times you think people are just downright crazy and blind to think the way they do? I’d love to hear your respectful opinions. No personal bashing or name calling allowed.
At the beginning of last year, I set out to list 1,000 things for which I was thankful. I stalled out at 860. As we approach the end of the school year–and my first year of teaching 6th grade–I want to work on completing that list. Today’s are all school related, but the rest won’t necessarily be. Better late than never, so here goes the first of the last:
861. Jenni, my fun and capable co-teacher who has owned the science curriculum
862. Iris, my math teacher, because I would be totally unable to teach that subject, but she loves it
863. An hour at the beginning of each school day to gather my thoughts and consult with the teacher who has taught this curriculum for 16 years
864. 10 bright, happy students who have given their all this year
865. A grace-filled school that understands my limitations but entrusted me with this job anyway
866. That our school is right across the street from my house
867. For relatively little drama in my own house so that I could have the emotional energy to tackle this job
868. The Internet, which allows me to look up information on the fly when I have very little knowledge of the subject I’m teaching
869. My education, which taught me more than I thought about things like ancient civilizations
870. Julie, Michele, Sheryl, Christine, Gigi, Sheri, Cristina, Jo and Jill–my students’ moms who are also my friends
871. Carol, my stupendous teacher’s assistant
873. Mary Alice, the aforementioned previous teacher of this curriculum. Her input saved me many, many times
874. A management team who believed I could do the job
875. My husband, who put up with my hours of lesson planning and paper grading
876. Grace, both to do what I feel incapable of doing and to cover my many mistakes
879. Field trips
880. Latin curriculum so that I have tracks to run on
881. My iPad and Apple TV, which way rock over overhead projectors
882. Shari, our teacher mentor, for her input
884. Starting each week with teacher prayer
885. My students, because they’re engaged, fun, good kids with good attitudes and good hearts
That’s all for today. It’s good to look back and remember all the good that has happened. It gives me a renewed breath for looking ahead to next year.