What followed was a long weekend for me - dealing with sick kids and little sleep. Both the kids came down with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, with symptoms beginning to show on Friday night just hours after daddy had gone. (I'll spare you the details.) So we muddled through the rest of the weekend looking forward to 6:00pm on Sunday when daddy was supposed to get home.
Then, Sunday afternoon around 4:30, I get a call from my husband. "We broke down near the city. I don't know when I'll be home." I want to know whose car it was. I was hoping it wasn't OUR car, since he didn't say "I broke down..." But it was. Bummer. More than bummer, I am mad. I didn't deal with this well - I'll admit it. After the ridiculous weekend I just had I am tired and frustrated and I just want my husband HOME and I don't want to even THINK about spending money to tow a car and have it fixed at a garage an hour away from home and then having to find time to drive up there and get it...
After I got off the phone with him my three-year-old son came over to me and asked when daddy would be home. I told him that daddy's car was broken, so he wouldn't be home for a while. He questioned me about daddy's car and what was wrong with it for several minutes. I tried to explain, but I could tell he wasn't really understanding. I paused and looked into his face. He looked a little confused, and like the wheels were really turning in his head. Then he said (in a questioning sort of way), "We prayed for daddy to be careful." Wow. I was floored. I didn't expect that. He had been so concerned about the mechanics of the situation - WHY isn't daddy's car working? - that I never considered he'd be thinking about that short, simple prayer we'd had on Friday afternoon. (I know I wasn't thinking about it at that point...) "Aww, buddy..." I gave him a hug and tried to reassure him that daddy had been careful, but the problem with the car was beyond his control. Then I offered to him that he could pray for daddy to get home safely with no more problems and that the car wouldn't be hard to get fixed, which he did. Then he ran off to play.
This got me thinking about perspective. His, as a child, versus mine, as an adult.
While his comment forced me to look at the situation differently and grounded me a little bit, I still needed to calm down some more. I was kinda praying/kinda just talking to God about things. I was expressing my frustrations, mostly. I mentioned the fact that I was upset that the car would be so far away and I just wanted it to be home so it would be somewhat easier to deal with. I wasn't mad at God, but I did express to Him how mad I was about the situation. And I wasn't really being mature. Because, let's face it, cars break down from time to time. It happens to everyone. I was overreacting. Eventually I calmed down, but I was still irritated.
Then my mom called. "Have you talked to your husband lately?" No, I hadn't. "A guy from your church is driving up with a car hauler and bringing your car back to your house. Your dad and I are going to get our extra car and bring it down to your house so your husband has a car to drive for work." Oh. I was humbled. I said a thank you to God. I also said I'm sorry for throwing a fit. Then I made a mental note to bake that friend from church a plate of cookies!
Don't you know God loves us? I was both humbled and blessed by this answer to a prayer I hadn't really prayed. In some ways, I felt like I should have been reprimanded for my stunning display of immaturity and apparent lack of faith, but instead all I felt in that moment was the mercy of a loving God who knew me and understood me and chose to extend His favor to me despite my imperfections. The car isn't fixed yet (in fact, it is in the transmission shop - needs a rebuild), but at least dealing with the problem hasn't been as difficult or as stressful as it could have been.
Perspective. A three-year-old's versus an adult's versus God's. A child takes things at face value - simple and uncomplicated. As adults, our perspective has matured with age and has been shaped, at least in part, by the experiences we have gone through. We may think we have it all figured out. That our perspective is the most accurate. However, we do tend to overcomplicate things many times (I know I do), and the experiences that have shaped our perspective weren't always positive, so we don't always get it right. God's perspective is the ultimate. He sees the beginning and the end of every situation at the same time. If I can remember that as I go through my daily life, it should give me some comfort. Even though I don't know what is ahead, God does. And He will be there for me through all of it.
It is good for me to remind myself of that frequently, especially considering our current situation. My husband now has only one month left at his current position, and we still don't know for sure what we're going to be doing after that. We are considering and praying about a certain town. We have even recieved several confirmations toward that end. We still need several things to happen before we go ahead and call the moving company, so we're praying for those things to come through if that's where God wants us to serve (and that they don't if He has something else in mind for us). This particular option would require another cross-country move away from our families, so we want to be extra sure of our decision.
Ahhh... life. A constant adventure that keeps us totally dependent upon God - for breath, for provision, for sanity...
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
-Psalm 62: 5-8 (NIV)