Yesterday was a good day. Wally, the girls and I got out of Clarksville to spend the afternoon at our favorite mall in Nashville. We visited the ABLE store and ate at our favorite new-to-us pizza place, Nicky’s, in the Nations neighborhood. After a stop at local coffee shop, using the GPS on my phone I checked the traffic on I24 and we headed home.
I felt good. It had been a great hair day. I was excited about the deal I had gotten on a new sweater. Treasuring the time away from my studies and work, I found my heart full of gratitude for all the blessings God had so graciously given to me.
Then she noticed.
Piper couldn’t find her mini-backpack purse. She knew she had left in the car while we ate our yummy coal-fired pizza. Neither Wally or I could remember locking the car – something we both ALWAYS do. We pulled over, searched the car, called the restaurant and concluded someone had taken it. Someone had gotten into the car, left her iPhone, the girls’ Kindles, Wally’s sunglasses, Eliza’s bag, and took Piper’s purse. Thankfully, she had left her wallet and house key at home, but her Nintendo Switch, her extra controllers (in case her sister wanted to play too), her 6-7 games, her AirPods, – were all gone.
There were a few tears and lots of apologies. Instead of going straight home, we went straight to Target to try to replace a couple of the taken items. Her older sister graciously gave her a brand new set of AirPods she had received when she had gotten her new laptop for college. Wally wisely reminded us that it was only “things” and we thanked God that He had provided resources for these unplanned purchases from the electronics department.
Piper handled it with grace and maturity. She said she was looking for positive things and she was finding them. But I literally felt nauseous. When the physical discomfort slowly subsided, the emotional knots inside my chest ached a dull ache and burned with unsettled, discomfort. Even this morning I was struggling to name the identities of these feelings that I had both gone to sleep with and awoken to this morning.
Listening to Wally softly snoring beside me, I began to pray, trying to give God these feelings. I began by telling God about the theft, the injustice, the feelings that weren’t subsiding, and then I prayed for the snorer beside me, our daughters, our church, our pastor and whatever/whoever else God brought to my mind. I’ve found this to be a way that I can give God my issues – praying over them and then praying for other things, trusting God to take care of whatever is troubling my heart.
Wally woke, showered and headed to the church as is his normal Sunday morning routine. I began mine, praying God would prepare my heavy heart for worship. As I showered God began to answer that prayer. His Spirit brought a verse to mind that I had memorized 25+ years ago ~
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
The thief in the verse is not the culprit who got into our car, went through our things, and took our daughter’s stuff. The thief is Satan and the weight of what I was wrestling with was heavier than taken belongings. My theology, my understanding of what I know about my God was intersecting with yesterday’s brush with the fallen world within which we live.
I understand that my God is sovereign and ruling and in control. While the events of yesterday afternoon were unforeseen to us and left us all feeling violated, He knew and He allowed it all to happen. I know that He is a just ruler and will deal with fairly, in His way, in His time with whomever took Piper’s things, and with them, my false sense of security.
I didn’t even realize that I had trusted in a false sense of security – I had, once again, become complacent, forgetting that my life, my abundant life isn’t in things that can be stolen from a car or from a house in which I might feel safe.
As I brushed my teeth, Spotify played Toby Mac’s song, The Goodness. The first four lines spoke straight to my heart ~
“You made the rain, so, when it falls on me, should I complain?
Or feel You’re calling me
It’s all on me to stay and really catch what You’re showing
It’s my roots that You’re growing, ’cause life is more than this moment”
I know that my God has a reason for our family to experience this craziness. He is actively growing and teaching each of us different things. He wastes nothing.
As the girls and I drove to church we shared some of those things – we are grateful for what we do have, for the time we had together yesterday and for the ways God protected us. Things could’ve been so much worse. Reading the headlines this morning and watching the news tonight should be all the reminding we need that God’s grace alone protects us from so many other injustices and tragedies. He is indeed good.
Piper talked about being humbled by losing all her progress in various video games and again the Spirit pricked my heart. I have been humbled too in all of this. Who am I to complain? Who am I to even pretend like I could’ve controlled or prevented this from happening? As a parent, I want to protect my daughters, making their lives as pain free and easy and far away from “bad guys” who would take their things.
I could play the “what if” game. I could dwell on my regrets. I could bemoan the expensive monetary lessons learned. I could allow bitterness to fester. But – this is NOT the abundant life that Jesus came for me to have. He does not intend for me to live in shame. He does not want me to stay angry with the crook for stealing or upset with myself for not better protecting. He does not desire for me to let Satan steal the joy of everything else that He has given me this weekend.
As Piper, Eliza and I pulled into the church parking lot, we were all singing along with Chris Tomlin, thanking God for “keeping us humble and picking us up when we stumble, and although we change, He stays the same. And we don’t say thank You enough.” (From “Thank You Lord”).
I followed them into the building also thanking God for answering my early morning pleas. He had prepared my heart for worship. He had helped me untangle the emotional knot yesterday’s drama had left behind. He had reminded me that He is doing a greater, spiritual things at work within each of us.
He continues to pour out His grace to show me these things. He did come to give me an abundant life. No thug in Nashville, nor can Satan himself, steal my joy or take that life away.
Yes, even with how the afternoon ended, and the heaviness of my heart at bedtime, I can still say, yesterday was a good, good day and we have a good, good God.
A Good Day
Yesterday was a good day. Wally, the girls and I got out of Clarksville to spend the afternoon at our favorite mall in Nashville. We visited the ABLE store and ate at our favorite new-to-us pizza place, Nicky’s, in the Nations neighborhood. After a stop at local coffee shop, using the GPS on my phone […]
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