Matt and I traveled last night a seven hour drive to visit my family. We planned the trip, though money was short. I worked for a week pre-baking and freezing gfcf meals though time was overbooked. And just as my energy and faith were waning, as so often happens, God sent refreshment. Two hours before we left for the trip a Christmas card arrived from a friend with a check large enough to more than cover our travel expenses.
After a few potty stops and one discipline stop (Ok, that's it! I'm pulling the car over...), the children finally drifted to sleep. Matt and I were left driving in the beautiful snowy silence. "I found my old Rich Mullins tape," he mentioned. "I don't even know if it will work anymore."
"I don't think we've ever even used the tape player in this van," I replied, "but we can give it a try." I had to draw a deep, slow breath as the familiar opening notes to one of my long-ago favorite songs filled our van. Matt and I both smiled as the day's tension melted. We had listened to that tape a thousand times before and after we were married, but it had been at least six years since we'd played it. The song transported me back before Toby, and Emma, and Hannah, and Naomi...before losing our jobs...before Cono...before Wheaton College and a never ending PhD that wasn't to be...back to the shores of North New England, back to carefree newly-wed life, back to playing Chess on the ocean lawn and watching amazing double rainbows over the Atlantic Ocean, back to chasing each other, laughing, through the endless halls of a nearly-haunted mansion where Matt workd as a security guard, back to when whole-hearted trust in God was so much simpler, so much less painful.
It strengthend me to remember, and to hear Matt singing with all his bruised heart as Rich sang:
I see the morning moving over the hills
I can see the shadows on the western side
And all those illusions that I had
They just vanish in your light
Though the chill of the night still hangs in the air
I can feel the warmth of morning on my face
Though the storm had tossed me
'till I thought I'd nearly lost my way...
...and everything that could be shaken was shaken
and all that remains is all I ever really had
So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to you
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home
The pain and the homelessness we face here keep us longing for our home. Our weakness keeps us trusting Christ for each step we take. I am continually amazed at his provision, at his gentle way of encouraging our spirits. "For when I am weak, then I am strong." It is a good place to be on Christmas Eve.