Friday, May 17, 2013

Hold Us In Your Hand

All people will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.
Psalm 64:9

"It'll never make it, all the way across the country.  I told you it's been acting up, like the engine cuts out.  I was supposed to have it looked at next week.  I have an appointment."  The woman was packing clothes into a duffle bag.  Clothes that would get them through the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully.  Thank God it was summer because shorts take up less room, she thought with a pang of humor.

"You could stay here."

There it was.  That choice.  Stay, and live with the threat, the worry, the constant looking-over-her-shoulder.  Or go.  That had been the plan.  She and her daughter could go and they could be a family again -  across the country where her husband was stationed.  It wasn't even a choice.  It was a must.  He knew it - just voicing the option clarified their decision.

No more living in fear.  No more paranoia - seeing her ex-husband's car parked down the street from her home.  No more death threats.  No more calls from the school about having to give her daughter a shower, at school, because she'd come from his house with unwashed hair, stinking of smoke.  Her daughter would finally not have to navigate that divided life she'd been living - different sets of expectations - different temperaments.  It took at least a day, every week when her daughter got back, to lift her up again - to psychologically massage that head-down shuffle out of her walk - to help her child find joy again - the joy she had kept in the secret place her father couldn't destroy.

It was time.  It was past time.  The permission part had not been easy.  Her ex-husband had fought hard in court - had tried to force the judge to make her stay.  But in the end, in the end...

They had just received the verdict.  Mother is allowed to proceed with her child forthwith...  It was 5:00.  They'd been waiting for a couple of hours.  Her ex-husband had also been waiting.  He was here, in this town, waiting, like a spider.  He was unstable.  She and her husband, her husband of nine years, her steadfast soldier - had decided that this town, this place, at this time was not a safe place to be.  Forthwith.  Now - you have to leave now - before he comes after you - before he tries to make good on his threat.  Urgent.  Impatient.  Now.  Forthwith.  So they were packing - enough for a couple of weeks.  Enough to get them across the country.  Away.  They would worry about packing the house and the rest of their things later.  They needed to go.  Now.

"It'll never make it, all the way across the country."

"Let's get out of town.  If it goes down, what's the worst that can happen - we have to use a taxi?  We get it towed somewhere and wait for it to be repaired?  At least we'll be away."  Always the voice of reason.  Her husband was such a practical man.  She whispered a prayer of thanks for this man - who was her protection.  Her clarification.  She whispered a prayer of entreaty - Keep us safe,  God, hold us in your hand.

Well no matter who you are
And no matter what you've done
There will come a time
When you can't make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you're not the only one
Prayin' "Lord above, I need a miracle"
I need a miracle

And in your hour of desperation
Know you're not the only one
Prayin' "Lord above, I need a miracle"
Lord above, I need a miracle

We drove three days.  The car never failed us - even in the three-hour construction traffic going through Arkansas.  In June.  When we reached our new home, it started acting up again - the same issues I had seen before our trip - engine cutting out, difficulty starting, misfiring.  My husband ordered the parts to do a complete tune-up on the car that had taken us across the country safely.   I'll never forget him walking into the kitchen to show me something - a handful of spark plugs - soaked in oil.  His face told the story.  Disbelief.  Awe.  He said the car had been running with one clean plug.  One.  For three days, it had run perfectly.  No lagging, no misfires, no stalls.  Just enough to carry us to our new life.

I believe in miracles.  I've seen them.  Big and small.  God doesn't have to show his presence through shock and awe.  He is by our side in all of our little moments as well.  In a judge's decision.  In the urgent choice of words - leave forthwith.  Even in a three-day trip to a new life.

Thank you, God, for miracles.  All around us - thank you for your presence with us. 


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  2. What an awesome testimony to God's love and mercy! He knows our needs and will make a way!


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