If you ever want to develop some maturity and personal growth, I would be happy to lend you my 14 and 9 year old sons to play a round of Skip-Bo with. Our dog also has to come along too though, with his ball, as it's all part of the process. Also if you ever have a tree fall on your house, they are good for a few hours of work. The long and the short of it is, having children is a good way to learn the true meaning of perseverance.
So yes, a tree fell on the house, as you may have heard it's been a bit windy around these parts here lately. Billy and I were both working from home and felt the whole house shake as it crashed on to the roof. As we met in the kitchen, both of us were thinking the same thing, "Which child will we have to sell in order to pay for the damage?" Lucky for our 3, they all get to stay, as God somehow gave us a miracle. It's as if our guardian angels flew out seconds before it cracked and just gently set the thing on and against the house as it split apart from the large trunk. The only damage was to the gutters, which bent back easily into place.
The excitement doesn't stop there, no, in fact it only gets better. Will had a birthday this past week! He turned 9 years old, and we celebrated with his buddy Coleman one night and a couple of school pals the next night. He requested blueberry pie, instead of a cake, to which Billy literally cried tears of joy and delight. Thank you Sprouts—you make a darn good pie for $3.99. Will is our unexpected gift in so many ways, and although he certainly gives us our share of opportunities for growth, Will's life makes ours more joyful.
Will woke up the day after his birthday and informed me he felt "shaky", to which I replied, "I bet you are okay bud". Then we worked in our yard 3 hours, cleaning up a tree. I was taught hard work (aka slave labor) is the cure for everything that ails you, in case you were curious. After the tree was cleaned up, we headed to Will's basketball game. Nothing like running off a stomach bug, am I right? So Will killed it—made a basket and played D like never before. At half time, he motioned to us from the sidelines the international sign for "I'm about to puke". We all quickly gathered our things and left. With a real quick stop at the bathroom. Then a few more times at home. Today he's on the mend, but hasn't ventured past saltines and sprite. And lucky for me, he was well enough to join me and Jack for a little Skip-bo. It does a mother's soul well to see the light coming back into her little boy's eyes.
And to top off our weekend of fun, we just had a visit from the Little One we are hoping to adopt sometime in the near future. She runs from the kids to the dog, with some trepidation at first, but by the time she has to leave, she's on all fours not getting her coat on with a happy heart. This time she didn't see much of Will, as he kept all his germs confined to his room. But Jack and Faith kept her plenty busy, as did our dog, so happy to have a new best friend. As she gets settled in her car seat to drive away, she waves and blows kisses, telling us all goodbye in her own sweet way. It just doesn't seem right that she isn't staying, but somehow we know this is out of our hands, and we continue to wait with hope.
Isn't life funny? I've had so many ups and downs in recent days, and even though I'd rather have the ups, it's when I'm in the downs that I really grow and learn. Yesterday when we were about to begin cleaning up the yard, I couldn't help but feel there was an analogy in all those dead branches spread out over every inch of our yard. At first there was so much, it was overwhelming, and they caused us to trip and fall. There was pain from time to time, as the dead wood poked us while we shoved them into the trash. Then as we narrowed our focus, and got serious about clearing the debris, we saw progress. We could walk without falling. We centered ourselves gathering up the small pieces so that we could move the larger logs without plunging to the ground. And after several hard hours the job was done. The yard was spotless. The success was palpable, and the reward was apples and peanut butter.
How perfect and fitting that my family requested fruit for all their hard work. God gives us the same thing, the fruit of His blessings when we walk closely with Him. As well a renewed spirit. I'm so thankful for the beautiful reminder to keep stripping away the dead wood in order to get to the lifeblood. Face the hard stuff, work through it even when it hurts and you fall. Keep at it, even when there are snags, interference, and distractions coming in on all sides. Strip away the stuff that doesn't belong, and cling to the Vine. There's no secret formula, and God can't be put in a box. Trust that He sees the whole tree, broken branches, and dead wood, yet still loves, and ultimately desires that we reap a harvest of good fruit.
Thank You God for reminding me no matter what comes our way, You never give up on us. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Yes Lord, You are good.