My Summer Surprise

Olivia began shuffling her feet, rounding her shoulders and looking down as we approached the classroom. My happy-go-lucky-can-make-friends-anywhere girl was not up for the challenge.  She has been struggling with a recent transition in her life where she has to courageously participate in a program of 6th-8th graders, knowing hardly anyone. And… the two or three kids she does know, may or may not be there on any given session.

Totally intimidating!

I said a quick prayer over her and stated, “Olivia, what if you don’t worry about your discomfort, but rather look for somebody else who needs a friend, and help them feel welcomed? What if God has you here for that very reason? What if God answers my prayer for you to have a friend in this class, by you being a friend to someone who looks lonely?”

Reluctantly, she left my side, giving me one last pleading look with those beautiful brown eyes. I quickly walked away, but not without first noticing how ginormous those 8th graders were!

It’s interesting how much I fight lately with trusting God to prove himself faithful to my kids. So much so, I think I delay the process in their lives because I interfere and/or intervene when God is training THEM to rely on him.

Several times this past week I would be chatting with one of my kids, saying how much they can trust God, and… simultaneously… thinking how unconvincing I sound. In other words, I’m saying all the right things, speaking words of faith while silently begging God to come through for them.

But that’s just it. I have to release my grip, my control, on what I think God SHOULD do for them. His “coming through” will most likely look different from what I want… and even what they want.

So…it’s AGAIN back to the issue of trust.

Can I trust God with my kids?

Or rather…DO I trust God with them.

Do I trust He will watch over Jessica, Cory and Olivia in hard times? Painful times?

Can I stay out of the way and let a personal relationship unfold between THEM?

I don’t want Jessica, Cory and Olivia to have years of struggle like I did, BUT I do want them to have a real, intimate connection with him. I’m their covering in so much of life, but they have to grow in their own relationship with Christ.

An hour later, Olivia was walking toward me. I scanned her face, looking for the first clue of how things went.

She was smiling.

“Mom, we talked about how God wants us to have confidence in him. I think the talk was for me.”

Priceless.

As we reached our car, Olivia turned and waved goodbye to a new friend. “That’s a girl I just met. She’s really nice and a bit shy.”

2 Timothy 1:12  “I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day,”

Entrusted. What a great word. It means to put into the care and protection of someone. I am entrusting my kids to God, in whom I’m believing… AND working on being convinced that he is ABLE to take care of what I’ve entrusted to him.

Olivia turned 11 last week. She is a gift, my little summer surprise, a child we specifically prayed for by name for years. (What can I say… I’m a HUGE Olivia Newton John fan!!)

It is one of my greatest joys to be her mom, and now one of my greatest joys to watch her grow in her faith in God.

Not only am I entrusting her to God, God has literally entrusted Olivia to us— put her in our care and protection. (You can read a bit more of her story HERE.)

I hope your summer has been full of God-given surprises! Just remember this… from a hopelessly devoted Olivia Newton John fan………….

He honestly loves you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slip Sliding Away

Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall…”

Well…

The earth is giving way and the mountain is beginning to fall on our property.

We live at the end of a mile long dirt road which circles around a canyon that is about 70 feet deep and 70 feet wide. With all the rain hammering the central coast this past month, we had 30 feet drop off the last part of our road which is now inches from collapsing.

  Each day as I’m driving out from my house, I come over the hill before the slide, holding my breath and praying the road will still be there.  The first thing I look for are the orange cones. If they’re still perched on the edge, I know the road has held for one more day. It’s absolutely terrifying!

I say that because we have lived through a mudslide in the not so distant past. It was December 23, 2005.  Ed kissed me goodbye and routinely left for work. Within minutes he was calling, explaining the disaster sitting in front of him. Four acres of our neighbor’s property had slid onto our road covering 500 feet of it with debris piled 20 feet high.

There was a secondary access road to our house that was not quite drivable, however, Eddie was able to get his heavy-duty, four-wheel drive truck over it, allowing us to have a vehicle parked on the other side.

Ed then figured out a way for us to hike in and out of our property, reaching his truck.  You read that correctly… we were hiking to our house with only one vehicle parked on the other side of the slide. This was a steep, quarter mile hike, which included crossing a narrow creek on a twelve inch, wobbly plank that Eddie rigged up.

After a couple of weeks we were able to bring in some rock to the most treacherous part of the secondary access road. Even with this bit of improvement, only a four-wheel drive vehicle could get through.

It was a steep hill followed by a perilous, narrow, windy road down a mountainside. I would drive my suburban up to the steep part, put it in four-wheel drive, say a quick prayer and GUN IT! After some spinning out and more prayer, I could make it to the top followed by a slow descent down the scary switchbacks.

We did this for TEN MONTHS!

Within weeks the cause of the slide was easily determined. Four of our neighbors had an old, wooden holding tank for water. Unbeknownst to us, it had not worked right for years—leaking gallons of water each day! After saturating the hillside for so long, it finally gave way.

Those 10 months were long and hard AND… we made it through them seeing God’s faithfulness every step of the way. He brought us the incredible surprise blessing of Olivia smack dab in the middle of it all. Her story is crazy-amazing and I need to share it sometime soon.

I’m sitting here reminding myself that God is always with me and He loves to bring joy out of the chaos of life.

I have these verses underlined in my Bible, dated May 5, 2006, with the phrase “mudslide” written next to them:

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

I have a feeling these verses are about to become a reality to me once again as the cones have now slipped off the road… just minutes ago.

I’m not sure how God can out-do the blessing of Olivia during our last slide, but I’m waiting patiently to see how he will put a new song in my mouth this time.

He is always faithful!!