Sometimes change can happen over time, like the constant force of a wave over a stone on the edge of the shore. Yet, sometimes change can come within a matter of months, days even, and you find your life is completely different than it was yesterday morning when you woke up. You never know what God is doing behind the scenes of your life, but you can rest in the fact that He knows what He is doing and has a special plan for your life.
That rapid change entered my life and things have been a little out of the ordinary ever since. It all began a few months ago when my husband told me he was feeling like God was calling him to take over the sound ministry at church because the gentleman who was in charge at the time moved away to a new job. My husband had been helping this gentleman in the sound booth so he already knew the ropes, but having complete responsibilty over the entire ministry was a different story.
Now, some of you readers may be thinking that working the sound is not a big deal, I mean, really, how hard is it to turn a microphone up and make sure all the listeners can hear the pastor clearly anyway? "Ha!" I say, "Think again!" This job goes a lot deeper than you can even begin to imagine. It is kind of like when I was that costumed character, Mogul Mouse, at Smuggler's Notch so many years ago. I cannot count the number of times that people would come up to me and and make some remark about how easy my job must be and that I must love it because I never had to say anything! Oh now, that was not the case for the worker underneath all that fur! There was much more to it than meets the eye.
More often than not, we are the first ones in the door at church and one of the last ones to leave when the building is dark and cold. Many evenings I have stood waiting for my hubby to come out of that little booth over the platform as he fiddles with his dials and makes cds of the messages. I have become what I call 'the sound ministry widow.'
Not only is he constantly reading manuals to the soundboard and all the doo-dad equipment the sound booth holds, but he has now taken it upon himself to watch little clips on Youtube about how to set the dials correctly on the soundboards or other helpful hints about speaker placement and other fun stuff every night in bed as I try to read. It is kind of hard to unwind from a long, busy day with a Smartphone talking beside you, as well as the strange tone apps he found so he can call the cats from all the way across the house. The cats may like the high pitched, ear piercing shrieks of sound, but it makes me want to dive under my pillow! I am a sound ministry widow.
I do not mean to complain here, really, I am not. I am simply stating the facts of what goes on beyond what you may see when it comes to a specific ministry. I must admit I am perfectly at peace where God has placed us and it is all good. Especially when it comes to laughing....I have had some good chuckles over some of the terms that I have learned from looking over his shoulder. I saw the word 'mixer' one day and another word 'gain.' I asked him if he was looking up one of those many new fangled diet plans that are out there, and he simply replied that the 'waist-band group was out of tune.'
Another evening he told me he was going to go 'repink' the room. I gave him a funny look. "The room was never pink in the first place, so how can you repink it? Are you getting some cans of pink paint?" I could not understand why Pastor would even think of putting pink in the auditorium (unless it was for a women's conference). Besides, my husband shuns pink when it comes to him and the boys wearing anything with a hint of that shade.
With a laugh he explained, "No, it has nothing to do with paint. I am just learning about the fader of the audio, with the cardo of the stereo so I can record the mastery of the mixer so the speakers can all line up with the decibels of the volume control."
Right. It all sounded good to me too.
Yet, in closing, I must admit it is all good. I like being right where God wants us to be. Knowing we are safe in His will brings peace to my heart and mind. Even if it means I sit husbandless at church more often than not. At least I know he sits behind the window over the platform watching with his careful eye at what goes on below, completely understanding the terms of what he does, even if I do not. And that is how God sees me...though we cannot see Him we know He is there, watching us with His careful eye, knowing exactly what is going on below, turning up a knob here, lowering another one there, so our life is exactly in tune with what He desires for us. We just need to be willing to pick up the tools He has given to us, using them for His glory, and let Him completely control our lives.
I can still remember the day when we first met her: I was pregnant with my second child and we had decided we needed to upgrade our family car to a minivan. We had sold my beautiful Saturn Coup to one of my sisters, and I could not fit behind the wheel of Joe's Saturn anymore, simply because my belly had grown quite large and I felt like the size of Montana. So, we drove down to the nearest Dodge car lot and asked if they had any minivans, with just the basics, because we could not afford any extras, except maybe air conditioning. They had a red van, a little brighter than I really wanted, plus the fact that I had heard that red cars were stopped more often by the police than any other cars simply because of their hot shot colors. Yet, it was all they had that fit our price range and so we decided to go with it. Baby JJ colored and played at our feet as we went through the endless amount of paperwork, credit checks, etc, but we drove away that day owners of a minivan; a Caravan to be exact, and she was certainly special because she had my name personally inscribed on the back: Cara's Van. :) She only had 12,000 miles on her and she was a great car for our little family.
It was a great day when we finally paid her off about five years after we purchased the van. She saw us through two accidents, one minor and one pretty extensive, but the Lord protected us through twelve years of travel in that van. God has also certainly rebuked the devourer many times when it came to our vehicle.
Yet, as all good things must come to an end, so must the life of our sad looking red minivan. She has grown very tired and is quite worn out from lugging our family of seven, with two boys as big as adults now and still growing. Plus, often having an extra friend in tow with us adds to that weight and the other day she decided she'd had just about enough. I fear we have taken our last family trip in Old Red, and she sits in our driveway waiting for her final trip to pasture, where she will be able to rest at a "retirement home" with lots of other old cars, talking about their exciting lives and reminiscing about stories of little children dropping french fries all over their floors, spilling juice into the hidden cubbies in the back, getting Legos stuff into the nooks and crannies, and wiping greasy fingers all over their windows. A few stickers will remain, a few smudges and stains permanently set in the rug, plus some M&M's still stuck in the grooves under the wheels of the seat, but it will good for her to keep those fond memories alive so she can retire in peace.
So, it is with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to my Caravan-sad to have to end her faithful taxi service for our family, but excited to see what God may have for our future vehicle. Farewell, Old Red-I thank the Lord for providing us with such a trusty vehicle over the last 12 years. May you rest in peace.
(See the note at the bottom for the latest update on spring!)
I do not know why I had them take hats, mittens, and boots as we headed out the door this morning. It must have been a remnant thought from growing up in the backwoods of Vermont: living on a dead end, dirt road that was full of hills where we often got stuck at the bottom and had to walk the rest of the way home during the many snowstorms? I am sure that is it.
My oldest asked me why they needed all this stuff. "Is this in case we have to walk home?" It suddenly dawned on me that we would probably not walk home if we should go off on the highway, or some far off place, but the old warning that "accidents always happen close to home" rang in my head. "You never know," I answered him. "It doesn't hurt to have them just in case."
Well, the good news is that nothing happened to us while we were out driving the the snow. The snow blew around us as we had the pleasure of listening to Lamplighter Theater's, "Buried in the Snow" (how appropriate!). The way home became quite slick and took much longer than the trip out though. It seemed that the snow had accumulated even more and once again the plows were only plowing the main roads and seemed to be avoiding the back roads, but our old van handled it well. We did not need the extra hats and mittens. God is good!
I do love the snow, but once March arrives, that love tends to shut off and the longing for spring sets in. The idea of fresh air coming through my windows, with soft green grass just outside my door beckons to me. The image of crocuses and snow drops dotting the entire left side of my yard gives my cabin fevered mind a pleasant, much needed rest. Even the Lily of the Valley plants I have on the side of my house yearn to bud forth from the snow packed earth and stretch their bright green leaves and stems. Yes, I am very ready for spring. Seeing that it is early in the month, (I consider the 8th of March still early), I am assuming we can still say, "In like a lion, so out like a lamb." It leaves much promise for a calm end of March - a good start to springtime!
I was very excited to discover that we have red tailed hawks building a nest in a tree near our house. I had seen them around the yard over the last few weeks, but just a few days ago, one of the children noticed that they had sticks in their beaks. I looked around and found the rather large nest in the nook of a tall tree where three limbs twisted up in three different directions. It almost looks like the huge eagle's nest I once saw in Maine, during a family vacation at one of the lakes. I remember floating out toward the nest on my little raft, excited to be going close to the nest, but scared the eagle might get mad and swoop down on me to protect her babies. I was also scared of the crazy loon that kept diving into the water and popping up in totally unpredictable spots. I did not want it to come up under my raft and pop it while I was in the middle of the lake!
I did not get too close to the nest, but we watched the mother and father feed their two babies through binoculars, which was the best, and safest, way to see them up close. I have no idea what to expect with the hawks in our neighborhood, but I do hope they do not eat all my little birds that come feed at my feeder. Yet, having them here will be interesting and thought provoking, though once the leaves grow in on the trees, we will not be able to see them as well.
The other day I came across this verse in Deut 32:11, "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:" and it made me think once again how awesome the creation of God really is. It speaks to everyone around of His marvelous love to each and every person that walks upon His earth. It shows how little and foolish man really is - he has no control over any circumstance that comes his way, no matter how he may try to work every detail out. God is truly in control of everything and once we learn that truth, we can simply trust Him to continue to take care of us. So, stop and take a good look around you; enjoy the beauty of the snowflakes (each flake is different than each other, just like people!), smell the soon to come roses, and focus on the touch of God that fills our lives with wonder everywhere. And just maybe, I will have more interesting things to say about the newest neighbors in our backyard.
I stepped outside this morning and found 50 degree weather, bright sunshine that gave me brief snowblindness, and dripping eaves on roof. I had the spring cleaning bug suddenly strike as I smelled that fresh air so I opened the windows to let that fresh air in. Yes, there is something about the promise of spring in the air. I just know I will see those flowers popping up sooner than later. Thank the Lord for springtime!