Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

She was worried.

Again.

Even after being assured that Jesus was taking care of her as a husband cares for his wife.

She believed Him.

But she couldn’t see how He would take care of all the many things that needed to be taken care of.

And she couldn’t figure out what her part was.

So she worried.

What was she supposed to do to make sure her roofing contractor did a better job than all the horror stories she kept hearing from people in town who’s contractors did bad or incomplete work?

What was she supposed to do to make sure mold wasn’t secretly growing in her house? She had already asked several companies to check and had gotten answers from totally mold infested to no mold at all.

What was she supposed to do if her car’s extended warranty company wouldn’t cover the transmission her dealership said it needed?

What was she supposed to do if there wasn’t enough money in savings for all the house and yard repairs that insurance wasn’t covering?

What was she supposed to do about her son?

How was she supposed to get everything that needed to get done finished when there wasn’t enough time to do it all? Who was she supposed to disappoint?

“God,” she prayed one day as she took a walk. “I know You said You were taking care of me. I just don’t understand how. Someone has to make phone calls and set up appointments and budget spending. How do I not stress about all this when I’m the one who has to do it? How does this “You taking care of me” work? I’m so tired. I’m ready to give up. But then nothing would get done and I’d feel even worse living in my house in the condition that it’s in…” she trailed off as weariness and depression filled her.

But then something caught her attention. Something white in an area where white didn’t belong. She stopped to take another look. Yes, there was definitely something white on that tree. She went over to investigate and found that someone had wedged a painted rock in a knot hole. She couldn’t believe it. She had looked for painted rocks for a year without finding one. And now, without looking, she had found one. And not just any painted rock. She had found a rock painted with a message straight from God.

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Her heart raced as she took His gift and hugged it to her chest. God was listening. And God understood her worries. Yet, He was gently reminding her that she didn’t need to worry because He was in control and working out everything for her – even down to getting someone to paint that rock and have it hidden in time for her to find it at that exact moment.

“Thank You,” she told Him, her heart swelling with gratefulness. “You give the most amazing gifts!”

Just Happened To Be (Rachel’s Story, part 1)

Rachel just happened to be at her doctor’s office for her regular check up when the crisis began.

“Your blood pressure is quite high. We’ll wait a little while and take it again,” the nurse told her.

But the second one was just as high. So instead of letting her go home, she had to stay to have some lab work done and for her unborn baby girl to be given a stress test, which she passed with no problem.  Bored and hungry, but not really worried about her blood pressure because it had been high before, Rachel was left in the examination room to wait for the results of the lab work.

Finally the doctor came in to talk to her.

“So we’re still hoping to delay this birth but we need to get your blood pressure down so we’re going to hook you up to an IV in a labor and delivery room at the hospital to monitor you.” The hospital just happened to be across the parking lot from the doctor’s office.

The doctor motioned to a nearby wheelchair. “Sit down.”

“Now?”

“Now.”

“What about my car?”

“It’ll be fine in the parking lot”

Tired of the games her blood pressure continued to play, she sighed and sat down. For IMG_20180623_220720815 (2)years her blood pressure had caused her problems, but now, with the pregnancy, it was getting increasingly hard to control. Her doctor, who just happened to be the one on call that afternoon, pushed her across the parking lot and into the ER entrance.  She was taken to the third floor maternity ward and, once settled in her room, texted her husband.

“Don’t panic. They want to monitor me again.”

“Ugh,” Aaron texted back. “OK, fine. Are you OK?”

“Yeah, no hurry. Just bring me some food when you come.”

Two hours later, after receiving more medication in her IV, her blood pressure lowered a little but was still dangerously high.  Her room was darkened to reduce stimulation and she was given a steroid shot to mature her baby’s lungs just in case their efforts to reduce her blood pressure didn’t work. Rachel lay in her bed, not allowed to do anything, and wondered why the drugs weren’t working. She spent a little time praying, knowing God was there with her, then zoned out to pass the time in between the vitals checks the nurses performed every thirty minutes.

She hadn’t eaten since early that morning and it was now well into evening and she was starving. She asked a nurse and was given permission to eat the food Aaron would be bringing with him after he got off work and took care of their pets. He arrived a couple IMG_20180623_220742262 (2)hours later with a Big Mac and fries. “Are you sure you can have this?”  Rachel nodded and managed to get four fries in her mouth before the nurse came rushing in the room.

“Stop! Don’t eat that!” she told Rachel. “I misread your chart. You can’t have any food!”

Rachel stared longingly at the Big Mac and fries, and then looked at Aaron. “Don’t throw these away. Put them in the freezer. I’ll eat them when I get home.” She saw the look on Aaron’s face, and added, “This is my version of a wedding cake. I don’t anticipate it tasting good. It’s the principle of the thing.”

“OK,” Aaron said, knowing she would do what she would do and there was no sense trying to dissuade her.

Not long after that her doctor came into the room with her lab results. “Soooo,” she began. “You aren’t responding to the medication in your IV which is bad. We’re going to have to start a magnesium IV drip. And we’re probably going to have to have this baby tonight. Vaginal delivery is better, but the magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxer and you can’t really have contractions when your muscles are being relaxed. So I’m thinking we’re going to do a c-section tonight.”

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Rachel looked at Aaron with resigned exasperation while Aaron stared back with the beginning of panic in his eyes. Tonight? They had known their daughter would be delivered early, but six weeks early? Really?

to be continuted

 

What If Statues Came Alive?

“Really?” She raised her eyebrows at him with disbelief. “You mean, for real?”

“Yeah, for real. Want to?” He smiled at her playfully.

“It’s storming outside!”

“No, it’s just raining now. The lightning is gone. It’ll be safe.”

“But it’s…” she looked at her watch, “two in the morning!”

“So?”

She didn’t answer.

“You afraid of the rain?”

“No. I love the rain.”

“So, let’s go!”

” But what if there’s someone else out there? Someone who might hurt us or rob us or something?”

“No one is going to be out there. It’s raining!”

“We’re going to be out there.”

“Yeah, but we’re crazy.”

Reluctantly she agreed. This was probably going to be one of the stupider ideas he’s had. Walking  down a street, in the middle of the night, in the rain?

But as they walked, hand in hand, hair and clothes plastered to their bodies, she had to admit it was fun. Way more fun than saying good bye to him and driving that long drive home.

Laughing with delight in the experience, they made their way to the end of the road, where they came to his church.

“Hey, let’s go inside,” he suggested.

“Won’t it be locked?”

“Nope. They never lock the door.”

“What if someone sees us? We’re a mess!”

“Who’s going to be there in the middle of the night? Besides us, that is.” He laughed again.

So she agree and they went inside.

“We should leave,” she said, looking at the floor. “We’re getting the floor all wet.”

“Don’t worry. It’ll evaporate.”

They walked down the center aisle and looked around at the stained glass and the large statues all around them.

“Just imagine if these statues came alive,” he said.

“That would be spooky.”

“But what if they did? What would they say?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know.” She wasn’t so sure she liked this game.

As they turned around to head back out, a large statue of Jesus caught their eyes.

“I have an idea,” he said. “Let’s imagine that statue of Jesus coming alive and coming down the aisle to stand right in front of us. And let’s listen to what He would say.”

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“He’d probably say we’re being stupid for being here instead of at home, considering tomorrow is a work day, and…”

He cut her off. “Let’s just see, OK? Close your eyes and listen.”

She sighed, but did as he asked.

Within seconds, an image filled her mind. An image of Jesus standing in front of her, looking at her with so much love all she could do was gaze at Him. Then He put His arms around her encouragingly, and walked her out of the church saying, “Let’s do it together.”

“Well, anything?” he interrupted her imaginings.

She shared what she had seen, and he smiled. “That’s pretty much what I got too.. Jesus loving me and holding me in His arms.”

As they left the church,  awed at His response to their silly game., she was filled with thankfulness to the amazing God who loved her and promised to do life with her.  Even in the rain.