When it gets to be Christmas time; my sons become masters at wrapping presents in the craziest way. We have had things totally encased in Duct Tape and looking like semi cabs, strapping tape encased boxes and boxes filled with spray foam insulation. The spray foam was the most recent innovation in the wrapping game. On a scale of 1 to 10 it ranked a 10 in how long it took to actually get through the foam and to the gift. What my son did not realize was that the foam would dissolve the baggie he put the gift card in to protect it. It took at least 5 ml of Lemon essential oil to clean the sticky off that gift card! A few years back this same son, being a woodworker, also put a state park annual pass in a wooden gift box that had to be sawed open to get inside. This box was complete with a wood shaving ribbon. Like I said ……innovative. All three sons are firm believers in the use, or over use, of Duct Tape and strapping tape. I am wondering if their theory might be – if you can get into that package without a box cutter, it isn’t wrapped correctly.
Sometimes it seems that life hands us packages that are hard to open to get to the blessings inside. I have many friends, who at this time, are walking through some very tough places. When you are in those valleys it is very hard to see how in the world God could ever turn this time into a blessing.
Eleven years ago on Mothers’ Day, we began a walk through a dark season. Our youngest two were in an accident on the way to church. Someone had pulled out in front of them and they ended up flipping and rolling the car seven times and landing on the far side of a small creek, upside down. We were in church waiting for them when all the EMT’s in our church took off. When our sons did not answer their phone we just knew. They were air-lifted to a hospital with a trauma unit. They both turned out fine but it was a long summer spent in physical therapy, doctor appointments, and a couple court dates. The wonderful bright spot in that summer was our oldest son’s wedding. It was such a blessing to see all three guys, looking great in their tuxes, in the front of church.
Looking back it is amazing to me how God prepared us for that summer. I had been invited to join a Moms In Touch group at our school. For those of you who wonder what that group is: it is a group of moms who come to school once a week and spend time praying for various concerns of students, school families and teachers. Taking part in that group gave me a firm anchor for the summer ahead. We also had a great group of friends who gathered round and took care of us during those days.
And now you are wondering, how in the world any blessings could come from such a thing. First and foremost it deepened our dependence on God and His people. Another huge blessing: we got to keep our sons here with us a while longer. It made us appreciate the moments we are given with our families and realize that time can be cut short from one breath to the next. Life becomes something to be cherished when you come so close to losing someone. My oldest son often comments that because of that summer he got to really know his little brother (they are 6 years apart) as a person and realized what a sense of humor he had. The three became more than brothers, they became friends.
I guess my message to those who are working their way through the wrapping and packaging of hard circumstances, and looking for the blessing inside; is this: Take time to breathe, take time to look around and appreciate how far you have already come on that journey. Don’t close yourself off; but open yourself up to those who are there to help you. Sometime just OK is good enough. Sometimes the blessings seem small, but in looking back you will see the thread of blessings that lead all the way back to the event. Life can be hard but don’t forget to live while you are alive. If you know of someone struggling, take the time to reach out and encourage. You don’t even need to use words…..just be there.
I found this quote when googling hope and encouragement and absolutely loved it. (I also love googling stuff!) I love how it reminds me I don’t have to be free of fear. It reminds to dig into that package and search for the blessing.
Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God
gives us to control our fears,
not to oust them.
– Vincent McNabb