Can I quote a reader's email to me and call it a post? Because it's so rich, and she's so good to share, having walked this mothering road before me by 20 years. In response to the bouncing we've done, from homeschool to private school and back home again, and the courage I'm mustering, Margo wrote this:
Dear Wendy….I hear you loud and clear…we all want a smooth ride.
I remember when our boys were young we had space and the option to keep some rabbits. What fun for the boys and I! We had trouble with a couple of the bunnies fighting, however. Did some research and tried what was suggested. Put the two rabbits together in a cardboard box for a drive on a bumpy road. This disturbance required them to take comfort in each other and thus became a bonding experience. It worked! I'm sure you can make some spiritual applications for yourself with this whether you are bonding with each other or bonding with our God Who is so trustworthy.
Absolutely! Thank you. And Yes Please. We need this picture of how God purposes our bumpiest roads, to land us closer to His heart, and the close knit heartbeats of our loved ones.
Another reader sent me an email after that same bumpy post, saying that her family had also hit another patch of rough. But they landed on the beach for an overnight camping trip. Close together as a family of four. Round the camp fire, then cuddled up in a tent. Bonding. And because I know this woman personally, I know each bump rocks and tosses her closer to The Lord as well. Camping out with Him.
Bouncing closer to one another,
and smack dab into the palm of His kind hand.
The two most comforting places on earth.
But how we hate the bumps, nevertheless. And we fight them. But fighting only intensifies the pain.
Let us give into the pain, like we do during child birth. When we know it's time to push, and we press down hard, saying "this is going to be excruciating, but I'm going to ride it to the other side". And there, past the pain, is something beautiful.
God's doing something as we labor through hard. As we lean in and relax and trust, amidst the searing pain. He's developing in us perseverance, and character, and hope that will endure long after the labor is done. And that's beautiful. That's the bouncing hard but landing soft experience of God's faithful hand.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Again and again I'm turning to these thoughts of hard days and seasons, illness', diagnosis', my own weakness' and life, with a joy filled perspective, because I see that God ordains each bump for our good and His glory. Much of it we won't understand until we see it from His vantage point.
But today I remember, His Vantage point is love.
Sitting here today, considering bumps and joy, wishing I could pour you a cup of tea and keep this dialogue rolling.
I'm so thankful for your comments and emails. Because we learn in conversation.