My daughter, Laura, doesn’t like change. Most of us don’t for that matter, but when she was a little girl, anything great or small that altered her universe, would send her into a tailspin for exactly two weeks. You could bank on it.
One time that stands out, happened when we made a major move from Missouri to northern California. We found that because of overcrowding in the public schools where we were going, it would be better for Laura, an upcoming fourth grader, to make the switch and attend private school.
First, there was the digging-her-heels-in and wrinkling-her-nose-in-protest-phase, followed by the argumentative, why-this-couldn’t-possibly-be-good-for-her-life, angle. (At that time, I was convinced if she had chosen to be a lawyer by profession, any firm would have gladly welcomed her.)
Next on the horizon came the bargaining. If you will not make me do this, I will do everything else so much better. I proooomise.
Succeeding these failed attempts to change what was about to happen, came tears accompanied by feigned illnesses. Headaches. Stomaches. Even Gone with the Wind like swooning. I think it was during this time she later confessed to running the thermometer under warm water to exact a fever.
But, voila, at the end of two weeks, as if nothing had ever been troubling her, she appeared one morning, dressed in the school uniform she would don for the next three years, happy-go-lucky as ever, ready to meet any challenge head-on.
All of this came to mind as I was looking at this beautiful photograph I took—a happy accident because the settings on my camera were incorrect—that hangs on a wall in our home. The sun was just coming up, the morning fog so thick that the lamp post light that turns on at dusk and off at the break of day, was still on, casting an ethereal light and quietness; the trees taking on the lacey loveliness of an early misty morning. But as I stood there enjoying that memory, my focus was drawn to the image of the strong elm tree at the center of the photo. Full of life at the time the picture had been snapped, the following Spring it was lifeless. Fearing what could happen in a storm, it had to go.
Change. I hated to see that tree taken down. For where it stood, now looks bare. The vista the landscape offers, uninviting. But what I didn’t think on, was the could be.
For my daughter, the could be was that her future at the new private school would catapult her from being an average student lost in the swirl of the many, to receiving at the end of her three years there, the top honor her new school awarded, and unbeknownst to all of us at the time, also equipping her with study skills to graduate Cum Laude from college.
And for me, where the elm stood, the could be awaits. For, Lord willing, in the Fall, we hope to plant fruit trees that when grown, their branches will be strung end-to-end with white lights, announcing many coming celebrations.
Life is never stagnant, no matter how slow it seems to be moving. Why then are we surprised by change? Why the struggle, when by Divine circumstance, we are forced to let go of what we never really held anyway?
I think it’s because we forget that God loves us. Even in the seemingly inconsequential events of our lives we forget that fact. We forget His promises.
~ That He holds our tomorrows in His faithful hands.
~ That His mercies are new every morning.
~ That “…for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we forget to be thankful, and in that, forget to trust Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).
In many ways, in every day, my daughter, now a wife and mom, myself, and any and everyone I know, stumbles in forgetting to freely embrace what God has in store for us. But He keeps pouring into us His grace, and in addition, for my daughter, a wonderful sense of humor—that pretty much keeps us all in stitches—to greet what’s around the bend.
Praying that for all of us,