Seems I’ve been MIA the last few weeks. We have had a steady stream of visitors this summer…and more to come in the weeks ahead. We’ve also made a trip to Ontario this month and one the previous month. We don’t usually travel in the summer, as that’s our busy time, but we actually made two within a few weeks.
The first trip was an emergency. My Love’s father was hospitalized and, sadly, passed away before we got there. Even in this, the Lord is good. My father-in-law was a believer, and though he’d spent much of his last years wrapped in bitterness, he belongs to the Father and now rests in His peace forever. Not only that, it occurred right before we had two back-to-back missions teams coming to help us with some outreach. It meant leaving many details and tasks in the hands of our kids at home and our cb girl and her husband who were conveniently visiting us for a few weeks. (Aren’t you glad that God knows all the details of our lives and often works it all out before we even realize our need?!)
The second trip was for a much happier occasion: the birth of our latest grandlittle! He was born shortly after my father-in-law passed. A beautiful baby boy, adorably wrinkled and squishy and oh-so snuggable. You may think I’m just biased, but really…look at these…
The pièce de résistance? Our whole family was together for one day for the first time in almost three years! In that time period five littles were added to the numbers!
Needless to say, I was doing a happy dance! I didn’t think it would happen. There are four hours of driving between our northern boy’s home and my cb girl and techie boy’s homes. My Alberta girl was coming in the middle of our trip. I didn’t want to be ‘that mom’ who passively aggressively ‘suggests’ a plan. You know the kind…”I’d never ask you pack up your littles and drive four hours so that all of us can be together, even though it has been three years…deep sigh.” I just left my heart in His hands and that was that. Until…my cb girl texted me while we were still en route to ask when we planned to go north. She suggested the Monday would be a good day, that way she and her family and my techie boy and his family could head up, as well! Again…God is good. He cares about the things that matter to us.
In the midst of our trip we had the memorial service for my father-in-law, lead by my Love. It was a simple, honest service with a reminder of the blessing of our security in Christ, the need to forgive and be forgiven and embracing the freedom that each of these truths affords. He shared how grateful he was that his father, early on, taught him of his need for Christ. Our two oldest ‘boys’ played a lovely piece together, and my heart swelled as I was moved to tears. They each shared a memory or two of their grandfather, and my Love’s uncle and brother also shared a few thoughts. We enjoyed catching up with several extended family members that day.
As I sit to write these things, the well known passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 comes to mind:
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
Our lives are full of cycles.
Natural cycles: time cycles, the amazing water cycle, changing of the seasons, life and death.
Personal cycles: good days and bad days, growing-up years, working years, retirement years.
Parenting cycles: sleep-deprived newborn days, every-changing infant days, toddler and ‘terrible twos’, school-aged and teen years when you’re alternately in awe and in frustration, empty nest years, wonderful grand parenting years.
Man-made cycles: fiscal periods, fashion trends, political patterns, times of war.
These, of course, are just a few. God is good in each cycle of life, friend. Sometimes, He is blessing us with something He knows we’ll enjoy. Sometimes, in the hard things, things that are just a natural element of life or tragic things in a sinful world, He is holding our hand and getting us through it, perhaps shaping our character or even preparing us for something more.
Remember to praise Him, whichever cycle you may be in, knowing that when you belong to Him, He knows exactly what you’re going through and He wants you to draw your strength from Him. And if you’re in a ‘good’ pattern right now, don’t just absently enjoy the ride–thank Him.