We've all been there. The Clearance section of Target, looking for a bargain that makes our hearts go pitter-patter. Finding the pants with the right fit, a top that flatters in the right areas. You know what I mean. I found myself there a few weekends back, scouring the boot section, on the hunt for a pair of size 8's. They were 30% off and there wasn't a single size 8 to be found on any of the shelves full of boots.
Believe me, I checked three times. (Evidence of my sense of perseverance, no?)
Leaving the store empty-handed, I was already mentally figuring out ways to make what I had in my closet work. And by the time I pulled into our driveway, I was fine with what I had.
Fast forward 2 weeks and Gerard, Laidy & I are in Target again when I spy that those same boot racks are now on sale for a whopping 70% off. I headed over with Laidy in tow and believe it or not, there's a pair of size 8's staring me in the face. Daring me to take them home for $12. Done.
So, what's the lesson there? It got me thinking....
Fast forward another 2 weeks to last night. Laidy went to bed as per usual: books read, teeth brushed, sippy drunk and prayers said. I leave her in the crib as she reads "Goodnight Iowa" to Cookie Monster and Flynn, the teddy bear, and head downstairs. I hear her on the monitor naming all her current friends: "Bob Bob, Lena, Rah Rah, Ben, Lucy, Cole, Bowen....." Then it turns a little more urgent to: "Daddy, Mommy, Papapa, Ooooooma...." to all of a sudden, "Gerard!!" and a guttural scream that communicates fear and pain.
I race up the stairs to find her standing with her leg stuck in the rail of her crib all the way up to her adorably chunky thigh, dressed in Hawkeye footie pajamas. There was no calming her, no consoling, until that leg was free. But the only way for me to get her leg free was to inflict more pain on her. With one arm around her back to steady her, and my other hand pulling her stuck leg, I had to wrench and twist and shimmy it out for what felt like minutes. I'm sure it was only seconds, but when you have a genetically-wired-to-be-loud child screaming in your ear....it was gut wrenching for this Mama. We finally wiggled loose and she collapsed on my arm that was supporting her as my, now free, arm scooped her up to hold her tight. In those quick seconds, she screamed, "THANK YOOOOOOUUUUU, MAMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" And I proceeded to rock her to sleep for the next hour.
So, what does Target's Clearance rack and a stuck leg have in common?
I think it's safe to say that we've all been in a season of waiting: for Mr. Right, adding to your family, a job promotion, Spring, the next vacation.... And what if things don't go according to your plan? I argue that God isn't necessarily saying, "No". He might be saying, "Wait". Or more fully, "Wait, for I have something better in store." It's up to me to rest in that.
To be brief, Gerard & I had a very difficult fall. From the end of September to November, we lost several family members and a classmate in a short 6 week span. By Thanksgiving, it's safe to say I was in a state of shock or numbness that was broken up by fits of crying. When the tears choked me, I would wonder which one I was grieving for-it was just my body's way of processing the immense pain and there was rarely a time that I could control the tears.
But, through this season, I have held firmly to the belief that He has something better in store. And while I won't diminish these deaths to a sale on boots analogy, it was an "every day" event that got me thinking: God might be wrenching and twisting, and perhaps even shimmying, us to freedom. To an end to our pain. And when I can see this season of sadness in the rearview mirror, I will be able to shout, and perhaps scream, "THANK YOU FATHER!!" And the shouts of thanks will be just as loud as, if not completely drown out, the weeping. For I staunchly hold to the truth that just as I held onto Laidy while working the task at hand, so too, my heavenly Father is supporting, dare I say cradling, me while we work out the task of grieving at hand.