Ever had one of those moments when you realise that you have a bit of a stubborn old head?
Well, these past couple of days has been a humbling learning experience for me as a believer. The only way that I can liken it to is the latter stages of the Mel Gibson movie ‘Signs’. For those who haven’t seen it, towards the end of the movie we see the main character come to the realisation that as a result of the finer details of his family’s habits things ultimately happen for a reason and for their better good.
Now, you may be wondering why this warrants a blog entry from yours truly? Well because I am hard headed and it took a 3 hour journey and the stress planning it to turn my heart from a heart of stone to one willing to learn how to be thankful.
But… I’m getting ahead of myself so let me start at the beginning.
Since the summer of this year I had accepted to attend a family member’s wedding. Initially I was so happy to know that I could be part of their experience. But over time and as the big day approached, tiny things began to niggle. I’d begun to focus however on the wrong areas of this beautiful day. For example, it was – in essence – nearly 200 miles away from where we lived and a 3.5 hour drive. Whilst I love driving, I was faced with having to plan this out, to take the family, as well as making sure that the last elderly kitty dude (the Resident Kitty) was looked after in our absence. On the face of this, it should have been an easy thing to plan but for ‘overthinking’ me this was straight out of the pit of hell.
And so I did what any post-menopausal woman my age would do – I grumbled, and grumbled. Ruminated a good little while and grumbled some more. Admittedly it was to myself, if it was any consolation, but it pulled me down emotionally. If it wasn’t the time in the year for the wedding (October = high winds and rain) it was the distance, if it wasn’t the distance it was the logistics of who will feed the cat, if it wasn’t the cat it was how will I get down there in my tin can of a car (not much bigger than a Fiat 500). To pile on top of the overthinking it was the itinerary changing every once and a while, which added to me grumbling even more. At the beginning of last week I began to check the weather and saw that the UK was going to have torrential rain over the days of me travelling down and on the day of the wedding. More grumbling. After spending close to £600 to just get us to the wedding venue, I could not even contemplate pulling out as two other family members could also unavoidably not make it.
Those of you who are reading this and who are believers would probably at this stage be thinking, “but she took this to the Lord right?” But no, I didn’t and I feel that God needed for me to learn from this in a profound way. Which He did using the tiniest finest details.
At the last minute, I could feel my anxiety getting the better of me and so at that late stage (finally!) I asked the Lord to intervene and take control. I wasn’t sure how but I needed to let go as I had reached saturation point. By Wednesday, my oldest volunteered out of the blue, to stay back and look after the cat. In hindsight I’d since realised that this was a ‘win-win’ situation for my adult child as she had the whole house to herself. But it took away the stress of relying on a family member who may or may not have remembered to stop by and feed our cat. The day we were travelling I checked the weather one last time and saw that for the days when we would be travelling around, the southern coast had no rain. We even had sun! Hurray! There was no traffic on the roads driving down, and the car made it without any issues (a miracle in itself!). The logistics on the day of the wedding had changed but it had changed for the better – gone was an hour long drive there and back on unfamiliar country roads post evening meal. Instead, all the women & children were escorted by other family members so that we were not travelling on our own.
So, again, those of you reading this would probably be thinking, “Brilliant, so she has finally seen that the Lord’s hand is and has been on the situation this whole time.” But no (I’m facepalming as I write this) the penny only dropped in a ‘Signs’ movie kind of way when I noticed driving through some of the country roads some flood warning road signs. As I also checked in, the hotel receptionist remarked about how we appeared to have brought the weather down from ‘up north’. She went on to explain that up until Thursday, the city had been bombarded with torrential rain but now it had gone. Roads had been flooded and closed but they were now clear.
The day after the wedding and on my last day before driving back home, I took a long walk along the beach taking in the peaceful ebb and flow of the gentle waves when I felt a nudge in my heart about the way in which I had coped with the situation. I had a ‘smack on the wrist’ kind of moment as I had not dealt with the whole affair in the correct way. And in my quiet walk with the Lord, I repented and finally thanked Him for taking care of me and my family.
I realised that all through the process, God had taken care of the finer details. He’d caused a dry couple of days so that the drive could be done safely, my family’s safety was catered for with the itinerary changes. So with all these things taken care of, I really didn’t need to ‘grumble’ at all. I just needed to approach this with a trusting, thankful heart.
I’m glad that I was able to be humbled by this experience and to correct the way in which I had habitually dealt with challenging situations. I’ll conclude with the following quote by William Penn which states:
“The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their trouble.”William Penn