Friday, May 16, 2008

A Loving Reminder from God

Don’t you love experiencing God in the midst of the ordinary? Those moments when He speaks through a beautiful sunset, a friend's encouraging word or a vibrant rainbow, and you just know it was something He meant especially for you?

One of my favorite of these such moments occurred several years ago. My husband, Tom and I were both in the midst of some challenging situations at the time and were feeling particularly overwhelmed. Among other things, there were major difficulties going on at work for Tom. In addition, several months prior, we had joined the youth staff which meant each of us were caring for our own small group of 8-10 middle school students. Although our hearts were willing, we were completely out of our comfort zone in this new and unfamiliar territory. (Our own son was just then in middle school for goodness sake!) There was much we didn't know. Add to this, one of our biggest challenges was helping to look after Tom’s elderly Aunt, who lived next door.

God had divinely placed us here for the purpose of helping to care for Aunt Helen. A widow with no children of her own, she had practically helped raise Tom and his sisters, and she had always been so good to me. Being nearby to help her was truly a privilege, yet it could also be quite a challenge. She was 81 years old at the time and though her petite frame suggested frailty, it spoke nothing of her legendary determination. She took great joy in doing something challenging (and often dangerous) just to prove to herself (and to you) that she could.

It was January or February in one of those winters where we kept getting snow, just a few inches at a time, for what seemed like weeks. Shoveling the driveway became almost a daily task, in an effort to keep Aunt Helen from slipping and breaking a leg or hip, should she take a notion to walk outside (which she often did).

We tried everything to keep her off that driveway…we got her newspaper early each morning, we got her groceries and we picked up medicine. However, since Tom and I were both working, there were often hours when no one was home and the mail was delivered during that time. Despite our pleas, and offers to bring her mail as soon as we got home from work, many days we returned to find her mailbox already empty, because she insisted on walking that driveway and getting it herself. 

And so…with every snowfall, whether a little or a lot, we were over there shoveling and salting like mad. With everything else that was going on at the time, this typically minor chore grew to be a bit of a thorn in our side. We were long past enjoying its beauty. In fact, every time it started to snow, we would find ourselves groaning.

Well, on this particular Sunday, I woke up very early – well before my alarm. It was still dark outside and I realized Tom was already up and out of bed. When I didn’t see him anywhere in the house, I peeked outside and spotted him (yet again) shoveling snow next door. (We had gotten around an inch overnight.) I made my way through our garage and opened the side door just a few feet away from where he was working. "Good morning," I said…He greeted me with a smile and said, "Grab a flashlight and your coat and come out here…I want to show you something..."

A few moments later, I returned as instructed. He took my hand and led me to the end of Aunt Helen's driveway. I turned on the flashlight and there, in the peaceful silence of that early Sunday morning, this is what we saw...Now a logical person might assume it was pure coincidence that these tire tracks (probably from the newspaper delivery truck) formed two hearts. Instead, what we saw was a blessing from the Lord, spoken straight to our weary souls saying, "I know your struggles, I see your faithfulness, I care about what burdens you, I love you and I'm right here with you."


It's hard to put into words the encouragement that flooded our hearts that morning, truly when we needed it most. We stood there for several moments, not saying anything, just taking it in and thanking the Lord. Then I went to get my camera to capture this moment I didn't ever want to forget. It still encourages me every time I look at this photo. I pray it does the same for you this day.

...May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)

19 comments:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

How wonderful that you had a camera handy! How could you have known at the time what a blessing it would bring to me today? God moves our hearts in so many ways. How I pray for the eyes to feel him and see him when he leaps onto my scene to let me know of his love for me.

peace~elaine

Joyful said...

Hi Tracy,
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment.

I LOVE this post for serveral reasons. One, because it is a beautiful reminder that God cares and is aware of every situation. It is such an encouragement to me today as just yesterday I found out that the Christian bookstore where I am employed will be closing in mid-August and therefore my job will be gone. This was not a surprise to God, and I can trust that He knows and loves me.

Second, your post reminded me of something that happened in my life. One day, a few years ago now, I was really having a difficult day. Felt forgotten. As I was vacuuming around the office in our home, my vacuum hit the desk where our computer sits. Upon impact, for some reason, my computer came on and a screen appeared that I had never seen before. It asked, "Do you wish to connect?" Because this was unusual, I said 'yes'. When the computer connected it began receiving one e-mail. The message only had 2 words, "Love ya". God was reminding me of His unconditional love.

Hope you're having a wonderful day!
Blessings,
Joy

Tricia said...

Wow! What a great story of God's encouragement during the difficult and trying times of life! Thanks so much for sharing, it brought tears to me eyes. How wonderful that our God cares about each one of us personally, isn't that just amazing!

e-Mom said...

Amazing! I loved this story. Thanks for sharing it with us. :~D

Blessings,
e-Mom @ Chrysalis

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said...

It is things like this that touch my heart...

it is the ordinary that bring out the extrordinary of who God is...

For who He really is....

Thank you for this story.. I just simply love it!!!

Blessings...
Connie

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

It just makes me smile :) The amount He loves us, and the things, big and small He does to show it...when we don't deserve it...simply amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

Becky said...

Oh, I LOVED that! I do love how the Lord sends those messages to us.

Many years ago as a girl, my parents built their dream house. The day we moved in, we knelt around the living room floor and dedicated the home to the Lord. When we were done praying, we looked outside, and saw a double rainbow going right into our pond out front...you could see it against the trees. It was the brightest, most beautiful pair of rainbows I'd ever seen. A benediction, of sorts.

SweetPea said...

Wow! I can imagine you two just standing out there, mouths dropped at first just in awe! Our God is absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you read my post this week on Pity Party, this was stemmed from some God moments. The night before a friend who has faded from my life in the last six months, forwarded an inspirational email to me with a short note attached. I was so shocked and just in awe. During the marital trial since last June, I have had a roller coaster of emotions. My friends were steadfast rocks for me during the first four months, then they slowly faded. I had just wondered why they didn't care enough to check on me with a simple email. I was so blessed with this email. Then the next day an older 'father figure' friend who helped me through this hard time called me at work!!!! Just to say hi and check on me. Then several other people show simple kinds to me that I recognized as God continuing to encourage me with kindness from His people. I think one other thing happened that day but I'd have to check my journal.

Indeed, it is so refreshing to see and hear God loud and clear say "I love you. You are not alone. My children do love you also."

Blessings,
Paula

Becoming Me said...

Simply amazing

LynnSC said...

Thanks so much for sharing that with us.

I love it when I sense God speaking to me through little things around me. One Friday as I went to work... overwhelmed with our financial problems, knowing that I needed to hurry and order my son's math curriculum (homeschool) and just worn out... I looked in my purse for something and found a $20 bill floating in there and got to work to order the math and found that it was on sale for almost half price. Talk about a Glory to God dance that day. I knew that God saw my situation, heard my cries, and bent down to say, "I love you and I care about what you are going through".

Great that you had a camera to capture the moment.

lori said...

I have to tell you...I resisted the temptation...I could SEE that there was a picture but I READ it all...and I had tears and chill bumps as I scrolled down and saw the picture...what an amazing moment you two must have had....knowing and believing that message was from God...That was wonderful!
I'm so glad you shared that!!
You blessed me!
I've got my eyes open WIDE!

Have a wonderful weekend!!
lori

Natalie said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing. At first, I was thinking Tom did that for you. What small blessings God places in our path everyday. What a missed blessing it would have been if Tom wasn't faithful to serving that morning.

SweetPea said...

Congratulations on winning the prize from Elaine at peace for a journey.

Melanie said...

What a wonderful story, Tracy! Isn't it amazing that we seem to spend so much time searching for God and want God wants for us and many times we just need to stop and look at the simple, everyday things to see God.

Have a great week!

Lorie said...

I love this post- I truly enjoy every stop at your blog-
Be blessed,
Lorie

Lelia Chealey said...

Tracy,
I love when God gives us something that is just for us! There is this song called "God is Speaking". Mandisa sings it, also Ronnie Freeman as he is the one that wrote it.
This story reminds me of that song...you should google it & listen to it. It's really beautiful, like your post is.
Blessings,
Lelia

the160acrewoods said...

Isn't God great? No matter how those tracks got there they were a great encouragement!

Thanks for posting! :)

Nancie said...

Tracy,

This is so encouraging and so touching. Thank God for ministering to Tom and you in such a wonderful way. Thank God that He is with us always!

Thanks for sharing this sweet account with us. May God continue to speak to you in many wonderful ways daily.

Take care. Have a blessed week!

Nancie

Phyl said...

I, too, love them love letters from God! This post brought tears to my eyes:).

Many hugs...