Throwback Thursday Post – Reflecting on a Hard Season and a God in the Details

So, I busted out my spring purse today.  And I couldn’t help but think back on the storied life of this little bag and how thankful I am to have a God who cares about our small stuff and our big stuff.  Reposting from the archives, these two stories on His faithfulness in the hard times and how sometimes He loves to surprise and delight us just because He can.

Post 1, from September 24, 2010:

Downer Warning:  It’s been a week, and I am just starting to really “feel” the events today.  This could be a very crabby post.  Feel free to flee now, or read on at your own risk.  😮

On Wednesday of this week, I had my SUV broken into and my purse stolen.  My brand new purse and wallet that I had only had for one month.  Exactly.one.month.  On a day that started out well and in the middle of what I hoped was going to be a drama-free week, everything was turned on its side.  I tried to do school with the girls, but they were clearly disturbed by what had happened and I was so distracted by phone calls to be made and trying to find somewhere to take my window-missing truck before it started to rain, we ended up only getting about half of our stuff done.  I spent most of the day numb and somewhat disoriented.  Thursday felt about the same.

Today I’m just mad.  I’m mad that my whole week got jacked up by someone’s selfishness.  I’m mad that everything cost just enough to be a giant nuisance, but probably not enough to make it worth submitting to insurance.  I’m mad that we haven’t even gotten the credit card bill for the dang purse yet and it’s already gone.  I’m mad that Matt had to take money out of savings so that I could go get groceries (because I was trying to be “good” and use cash and that was stolen).  I’m mad that I had to put groceries back today because I had to save money to go replace my driver’s license.  I’m mad that I have to make a bunch of phone calls this afternoon to change our auto-pay information from our checking account, because we had to open a new one.  I’m mad  that when I went to order new checks today, I got all the way through and realized I had no way to pay for them online.  I’m mad at the inconvenience it is causing Matt to be without any of his business credit cards for the next couple of weeks.

None of this is a big deal.  It really isn’t.  But it’s been an entire summer of this.kind.of.stuff.  Unplanned, unbudgeted inconveniences.  Matt and I laid in bed on Wednesday night and began to count up how many unexpected expenses we’ve had just this summer:

  • my truck window
  • my purse, wallet, and cash
  • his truck totaled
  • flat tire on his truck led to getting four new tires
  • two weed whips gone
  • one lawn mower dead
  • tool theft
  • roof repairs
  • broken rear hatch handle on my truck
  • broken antenna (not a cheap fix)
  • both air conditioning units at the house needing repairs
  • two speeding tickets

There were a few more, but they’re not coming to mind.  Needless to say, we’re worn down by the financial blood bath that this summer has been.

On the other hand, God has been more than generous with us this year.  It’s been a good year for the business and He’s been prompting Matt to work hard on saving money.  It’s just that Matt thought he was saving for the future, not for right now to just replace all our broken or stolen stuff.

I know God hasn’t changed.  I know He is still good.  I cling to His faithfulness and His promise to carry me.  There is still much to be thankful for and at least one beautiful story has come out of this, which I will share on Monday.  But today I feel a little like I’m going insane.  I told a friend today that I’m not even sure if this is Biblical, but I’m just going to go ahead and start “claiming” a drama-free week next week.  In Jesus name.

Now that I have written all of this down and looked back through it, I’m actually laughing.  It’s all just so ridiculous.  I wonder what could be next?!?!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends.  I’m sure going to try to here!

Only By His Grace ~

~ Sara

Post 2, from September 29, 2010

Last Friday, I was angry.  I was angry about my purse.  I was angry about how life was going.  Our insurance was willing to cover the loss, but it wasn’t worth filing the claim with what it would do to our rates.  I appealed to the buyer’s protection with our credit card; they wouldn’t cover theft from a car.  I felt like everything was going wrong.  And I was mad.  I worked my way through that anger, enjoyed a relaxing drive and laughing with my husband, and then danced the night away with friends.  By Saturday, my soul was at rest.  I had reached a point of accepting where things were at in life and was “claiming” a drama-free week for our family.  And I still had hope for my purse and wallet.  In the back of my mind my only thought was, maybe none of these other avenues are working because God is going to give it back to me.

In spite of my “claim” for a drama-free week, Monday morning started with one of our favorite red glass lamps being shattered while the children built a fort on the couch.  One of those mother moments when I looked and thought, This is a really bad idea.  And then I also thought, No, Sara, let them do this.  Say yes. So I let them and went upstairs for a bit.  And then I heard the shattering thud and knew instantly what had happened.  😦  So, before lunchtime I had given up my hopes for drama-free this week.

Tuesday morning, Matt found himself in a ditch in his truck.  *sigh*  I laughed.  I couldn’t help myself.  He was fine, just terribly inconvenienced, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  So, so ridiculous it was.

So Tuesday afternoon when the city services truck stopped in front of my house I honestly wondered what the next thing would be.  I wondered if something had happened with our payment and now our water was being turned off.  It just seemed like the next ridiculous occurrence in this series of unfortunate events.

The men in the truck sat out there a bit, so I went on and forgot about them, until one of them came to my door.  “I’m looking for Sara,” he said.  “I’m she,” I responded.  “Did you lose a purse?” he asked.

I gasped and my eyes had to be as large as saucers and I replied, “Did you find my purse?!!?”

He led me out to his truck and there it was sitting in the back, dirty and crumpled, but completely intact with my wallet inside.  I hugged him.  I couldn’t help it.  I told him I had been praying for it and that my friends had and that he had made my day.

I asked him where he found it.  He said it was in a trash can at a local park, about two miles north of where my purse was stolen.  He said they find them there all the time.

The smell on the purse is indescribable.  I took it to a local cleaner’s yesterday because I couldn’t even bear to have it on my front porch.  As best I can tell, the thief only took my money.  Every last penny was gone out of my wallet, but nearly everything else was there.  A few random items are missing from my purse, but my guess is that they fell out in the trash can because it’s silly things like lip gloss and fingernail clippers.

I knew my money was gone as soon as the purse went missing.  All I asked of the Lord was that I could have the purse and wallet back.  I didn’t care about any of the rest of it. I have seen God in so many little details throughout my seventeen year walk with Him that I never doubted His ability to bring that purse back, if He was willing.  (And after all this, I’m also confident He can get the smell out of it!  🙂 )

Matt and I have been asking ourselves for weeks, but especially the past several days, Is this God?  Is this Satan?  What are we supposed to be learning? And those thoughts continued to roll through my head as I processed the excitement of the afternoon.  What was God saying by giving this back?  Had we done something right?  What was it?

As I drove along, my soul knew it wasn’t anything we had done.  It was just God.  He gave it back because He’s God and He can and He chose to.  It’s grace. Simply grace.  And really it’s His grace that leads us through the trials that bring us to our knees.  For if grace means undeserved gift, then the trials of life that make us more like His Son are surely also grace.  It’s all grace.  Every moment.  Every breath.

And I’m so thankful for His endlessly abundant grace and His concern for the details of this day-to-day life.  Oh, how deep is His love for us!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

 

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And so, even though this bag is really too small for this season of life, I keep it and I carry it as my very material, very first-world reminder of His goodness and that He delights in us as a father delights in his children and He loves to give us joy gifts and glimmers of hope in the midst of this crazy world.

For His Glory ~

Signature

Two Seemingly Unrelated Stories…

…And a God who brings all things together:

A month ago, my purse was stolen.  Prior to that we had been experiencing months of trials that are common to life, but they just never seemed to let up.  Seven days after it was stolen, it returned.  All by God’s grace and for His good pleasure.  My heart was delighted by this and it seemed to be a turning point in how things were going for us.  Life just seemed to improve.

Today I called the cleaners and found out my purse is back.  The cost of having it cleaned was a decent amount more than I had planned on and I just wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to go pick it up right away.  I decided not to worry too much about it and I would trust the Lord to take care of it.

Last night I sent two girls to my parents’ house while Matt had meetings, the older two had ballet, and I got groceries.  I made one last stop at the Dillon’s near my parents’ home to grab some of the deals in the expiring ad (and to get some produce, because I am so over WalMart’s produce).  I loaded the few bags of groceries out of the cart and into the back of my SUV, dutifully rolled my cart up and over the poorly placed median, and put it in the cart corral.  I began to walk back to the car and the silly cart started rolling backward away from the corral and out into the lot.  I went back and pushed the cart back into its spot and that’s when I noticed it….someone had left an iPad in the next cart in the corral.

I considered taking it inside and leaving it with customer service.  Those who know me know that I assume the best of just about everyone I meet, but I had a very uncharacteristic thought of, What if someone inside decides they would like to have an iPad, rather than returning it? So, I decided to just take it home and try to figure out who it belonged to.

I wanted to protect the privacy of the owner, so I did minimal snooping.  I found a cell phone number connected to the iPad and tried calling it.  No luck.  I sent a text.  Never heard anything back.  Today I did some deeper snooping and found an email address.  No reply.  So tonight I decided to really get nosy and began skimming emails and searching everywhere I could for some more contact information.

Eventually, I found out the owner’s last name (I already had her first name from another page).  Then I was able to find her address.  I looked online to find a home telephone number, but couldn’t.  I nosed around some more.  I put together that she had a couple of kids going to a local high school….  And then something just clicked in my head (it was, in fact, the Holy Spirit)…. her last name, kids at a certain school, they lived in a particular part of town, could it be???

I called my veterinarian’s office (that sounds random, doesn’t it?) and spoke with the assistant who answered the phone.  “Ellen, this is going to sound like a really strange question, but is the doctor related to a (so and so)?”  A slow yes was her reply.  “I think I have her iPad,” I told her.  She squealed and put me on hold to go tell the doctor.  He was elated.  I drove out to his office to deliver it to him before he went home for the night.

Once I was there, we visited for some time and I learned that the past few weeks for him and his family have been much like those few months over the summer were for us.  The iPad had been a gift from him to his wife for their anniversary; she used it all the time and had forgotten it in the cart in her hurry to get home last night.  She was devastated.  He was trusting God to take care of the details.

By the time I got to the office, He had written me a “reward” check and also told me that Coco’s next round of boosters (that she’s due for this month) were on him.  I told him that it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.  I told him the story of my purse and that this money he was giving me was enough to pay for the cleaning bill and leave a little extra.

And we rejoiced together that God is good and He is in the details and He works in amazing and mysterious ways.

Oh, He is glorious!  And He is so tender to us, His children.  What a thrill to be on this side of a God-thing today.  He is good!

A God in the Details

Last Friday, I was angry.  I was angry about my purse.  I was angry about how life was going.  Our insurance was willing to cover the loss, but it wasn’t worth filing the claim with what it would do to our rates.  I appealed to the buyer’s protection with our credit card; they wouldn’t cover theft from a car.  I felt like everything was going wrong.  And I was mad.  I worked my way through that anger, enjoyed a relaxing drive and laughing with my husband, and then danced the night away with friends.  By Saturday, my soul was at rest.  I had reached a point of accepting where things were at in life and was “claiming” a drama-free week for our family.  And I still had hope for my purse and wallet.  In the back of my mind my only thought was, maybe none of these other avenues are working because God is going to give it back to me.

In spite of my “claim” for a drama-free week, Monday morning started with one of our favorite red glass lamps being shattered while the children built a fort on the couch.  One of those mother moments when I looked and thought, This is a really bad idea.  And then I also thought, No, Sara, let them do this.  Say yes. So I let them and went upstairs for a bit.  And then I heard the shattering thud and knew instantly what had happened.  😦  So, before lunchtime I had given up my hopes for drama-free this week.

Tuesday morning, Matt found himself in a ditch in his truck.  *sigh*  I laughed.  I couldn’t help myself.  He was fine, just terribly inconvenienced, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  So, so ridiculous it was.

So Tuesday afternoon when the city services truck stopped in front of my house I honestly wondered what the next thing would be.  I wondered if something had happened with our payment and now our water was being turned off.  It just seemed like the next ridiculous occurrence in this series of unfortunate events.

The men in the truck sat out there a bit, so I went on and forgot about them, until one of them came to my door.  “I’m looking for Sara,” he said.  “I’m she,” I responded.  “Did you lose a purse?” he asked.

I gasped and my eyes had to be as large as saucers and I replied, “Did you find my purse?!!?”

He led me out to his truck and there it was sitting in the back, dirty and crumpled, but completely intact with my wallet inside.  I hugged him.  I couldn’t help it.  I told him I had been praying for it and that my friends had and that he had made my day.

I asked him where he found it.  He said it was in a trash can at a local park, about two miles north of where my purse was stolen.  He said they find them there all the time.

The smell on the purse is indescribable.  I took it to a local cleaner’s yesterday because I couldn’t even bear to have it on my front porch.  As best I can tell, the thief only took my money.  Every last penny was gone out of my wallet, but nearly everything else was there.  A few random items are missing from my purse, but my guess is that they fell out in the trash can because it’s silly things like lip gloss and fingernail clippers.

I knew my money was gone as soon as the purse went missing.  All I asked of the Lord was that I could have the purse and wallet back.  I didn’t care about any of the rest of it. I have seen God in so many little details throughout my seventeen year walk with Him that I never doubted His ability to bring that purse back, if He was willing.  (And after all this, I’m also confident He can get the smell out of it!  🙂 )

Matt and I have been asking ourselves for weeks, but especially the past several days, Is this God?  Is this Satan?  What are we supposed to be learning? And those thoughts continued to roll through my head as I processed the excitement of the afternoon.  What was God saying by giving this back?  Had we done something right?  What was it?

As I drove along, my soul knew it wasn’t anything we had done.  It was just God.  He gave it back because He’s God and He can and He chose to.  It’s grace. Simply grace.  And really it’s His grace that leads us through the trials that bring us to our knees.  For if grace means undeserved gift, then the trials of life that make us more like His Son are surely also grace.  It’s all grace.  Every moment.  Every breath.

And I’m so thankful for His endlessly abundant grace and His concern for the details of this day-to-day life.  Oh, how deep is His love for us!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

What Do You Do?

Once again on Wednesday I rose early to run.  No inclement weather threatened this time.  We met, Nikki and I, at our usual place, parked our cars, and started out.  Four and a half sluggish miles later we returned to the parking lot, laughing and rejoicing that we had finished.  And then we saw it.

Nikki saw it first – the back window on my SUV shattered.  Glass all over ground, floor, Ellie’s car seat.  My purse gone.  My new purse, a “souvenir” from my trip to Chicago with Grace.  The purse, the wallet, all the contents…credit cards, driver’s license, who knows what else…and the cash for our groceries this week….gone.

What do you do when it feels like this is just another incident in a long series of major incidents?  What do you do when you feel like you’ve spent the summer facing unexpected expense after unexpected expense, and none of them small?  When it just seems to be one thing after another?

What do you do?  You remember that moth and rust destroy, that thieves break in and steal.  You cling to the promise that every good and perfect gift is from above….all things work together….He will provide….He is here….He is enough…He is faithful.

What do you do when children come, smiles hidden, eyes alight and hand you envelopes rattling with change, stuffed with monies saved and cards made?  You weep and you hug and you give thanks.  In this inconvenient, broken moment of canceling credit cards and replacing shattered windows, you find your own heart shattered at this love-gift from children, from a Savior.  For without this broken moment, their beautiful gift never could have been given.

And I give thanks….

0805.  broken window

0806.  stolen purse

0807.  a friend who prays with me and for me

0808.  generous, abundantly generous, children


0809.  granny oakley

0810.  drives in the country

0811. dancing

0812.  barn swings

0813.  laughing

0814.  perspective

0815.  Sunday school prayer time

0816.  someone who dances with me



Oh, sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth!  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!  For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

~ Psalm 96:1-4

Week In Review – So Happy It’s Friday

Downer Warning:  It’s been a week, and I am just starting to really “feel” the events today.  This could be a very crabby post.  Feel free to flee now, or read on at your own risk.  😮

On Wednesday of this week, I had my SUV broken into and my purse stolen.  My brand new purse and wallet that I had only had for one month.  Exactly.one.month.  On a day that started out well and in the middle of what I hoped was going to be a drama-free week, everything was turned on its side.  I tried to do school with the girls, but they were clearly disturbed by what had happened and I was so distracted by phone calls to be made and trying to find somewhere to take my window-missing truck before it started to rain, we ended up only getting about half of our stuff done.  I spent most of the day numb and somewhat disoriented.  Thursday felt about the same.

Today I’m just mad.  I’m mad that my whole week got jacked up by someone’s selfishness.  I’m mad that everything cost just enough to be a giant nuisance, but probably not enough to make it worth submitting to insurance.  I’m mad that we haven’t even gotten the credit card bill for the dang purse yet and it’s already gone.  I’m mad that Matt had to take money out of savings so that I could go get groceries (because I was trying to be “good” and use cash and that was stolen).  I’m mad that I had to put groceries back today because I had to save money to go replace my driver’s license.  I’m mad that I have to make a bunch of phone calls this afternoon to change our auto-pay information from our checking account, because we had to open a new one.  I’m mad  that when I went to order new checks today, I got all the way through and realized I had no way to pay for them online.  I’m mad at the inconvenience it is causing Matt to be without any of his business credit cards for the next couple of weeks.

None of this is a big deal.  It really isn’t.  But it’s been an entire summer of this.kind.of.stuff.  Unplanned, unbudgeted inconveniences.  Matt and I laid in bed on Wednesday night and began to count up how many unexpected expenses we’ve had just this summer:

  • my truck window
  • my purse, wallet, and cash
  • his truck totaled
  • flat tire on his truck led to getting four new tires
  • two weed whips gone
  • one lawn mower dead
  • tool theft
  • roof repairs
  • broken rear hatch handle on my truck
  • broken antenna (not a cheap fix)
  • both air conditioning units at the house needing repairs
  • two speeding tickets

There were a few more, but they’re not coming to mind.  Needless to say, we’re worn down by the financial blood bath that this summer has been.

On the other hand, God has been more than generous with us this year.  It’s been a good year for the business and He’s been prompting Matt to work hard on saving money.  It’s just that Matt thought he was saving for the future, not for right now to just replace all our broken or stolen stuff.

I know God hasn’t changed.  I know He is still good.  I cling to His faithfulness and His promise to carry me.  There is still much to be thankful for and at least one beautiful story has come out of this, which I will share on Monday.  But today I feel a little like I’m going insane.  I told a friend today that I’m not even sure if this is Biblical, but I’m just going to go ahead and start “claiming” a drama-free week next week.  In Jesus name.

Now that I have written all of this down and looked back through it, I’m actually laughing.  It’s all just so ridiculous.  I wonder what could be next?!?!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends.  I’m sure going to try to here!

Only By His Grace ~

~ Sara