Sometimes the beginning is the most boring place to start. The beginning to my day certainly was no exception. RussVegas was crowded, busy, full of people and all that goes along with such things. I experienced my first train, cutting right through the middle of town and stopping traffic for four lights back, and keeping us stopped through six light changes. Congestion refers to more than just a head cold.
I knocked on the Dobies’ door shortly after eleven, and then stepped to the side to hide. I seem to have a nasty habit of hiding in, around or behind doors. When Judy opened the door, she stood there, quietly gazing out onto the empty porch until I popped out and said, “Uh…boo!” Inside, I did Amber’s hair while we all laughed and talked, then the two of us girls headed out for an impromptu picture shoot with an impromptu photography lesson. We wound up by looking at First Corinthians eleven—the head covering passage—followed by John chapter five. Sadly, twenty years have passed since I left Amber’s house, and I can barely remember what Jesus spoke about: His witnesses—His works, the Holy Spirit, the Father and Scripture and John. Amber is beginning to desire to read on her own again, and I need to be a bit more forceful in confirming that.
TCBY slipped in and out of my mind as I headed for Lauryn’s house, so I pulled into the drive-through to order an ice-cream cone—a super rare treat. “May I take your order?” came the polite albeit crackly voice over the intercom. First I requested a White Chocolate Mousse cone, but it was not meant to be, due to the popularity of the item. “Do you have the eggnog, then?” I asked. Once again, I seemed to have good taste—if popularity defines good. “Let’s try the strawberry cheesecake,” I offered. “Okay! Come right forward to the first window and we’ll have that for you immediately.” Slowly I pulled forward to the little sliding, glass window. How long does it take to dip up a cone with frozen yogurt? I sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Inside I could see workers scurrying madly about, but no one appeared at the magical window. Confused, I wondered if I’d driven to the right window. A car pulled up behind me, circled around past me and disappeared around the side of the building. “They must know where they’re going,” I thought, feeling blonde, and followed—clear around the building—to see them parked and talking placidly to a worker outside. “Well, that wasn’t right.” I shrugged, shifted into reverse and backed back around the building to the original window, still waiting empty and forlorn. Just then a TCBY guy came scampering around the building from where I’d just come, waving an ice-cream cone. “Was this the right window?” I asked, rolling down my window. “Yeah,” he said. “Very sorry about that. We’re just running super busy today.” He handed me my cone and backed away. “This one’s on us. Enjoy!” I did, of course, but if I’d known ahead of time I’d have ordered a waffle cone.
The blessing was an interesting one to ponder. I have desires. Natural, usually. Innocent, mostly. It’s not wrong for me to pursue my desires, providing they don’t conflict with the Lord’s word. But often He says “no”. Sometimes even several times. Does it mean what I asked was wicked? No. Does it mean I should give up? No. It means I should seek Him and keep pursuing desires that He’s not closed the door on, praying that He will give me His desires, trusting that what He has in mind is better. I should even pray that He would close doors on desires that may not be His will. Was the strawberry cheesecake cone better than the White Chocolate Mousse one? You bet. It was free. It might sound ridiculous to pull spiritual lessons from an ice-cream parlor, but I think the Lord would have everything remind me of Him and His truths. Was it God’s will that I have a free cone? Honestly, I don’t believe God cares what flavor of ice-cream I eat, but He does have lessons for me, in everything, if I will keep my heart open. And thanking Him for the special, little gift is undeniably appropriate. Somehow, it was also precious to me, in light of immediately following events.
I arrived at Lauryn’s house and dove right in, helping her with the darling Christmas ornaments she was decorating for her Junior High girl’s class. We’d not been working long when she began to share what was happening in her life. And here, in the fashion of classic British literature, I draw the curtain over the ensuing scene.
During supper dishes, the Lord reminded me how I had made a request which He had answered in a very specific way today. A huge burden lifted from my heart as I realized my prayer had been answered. It never ceases to amaze me how faithfully He answers, if I only am alert to recognize His answer.
Mom walked in to my room, demanding a fine for the clothes she picked up off my desk chair after my hurried departure this morning. They were sorted last night, and awaiting ironing. All sorts of sharp comments about late fees for the grocery list she was stuffing into my pocket as I walked out the door slithered about my mind like snakes. I bit them back and paid her, feeling humiliated somehow, as always. Perhaps it’s because I’m twenty years old, and still must bow to my parent’s standards of a clean room. As soon as she left, I burst into tears. Huge sobs that racked my whole being set me trembling from head to toe. Awash once more in the feeling of worthlessness, the lies that I am not good enough, so completely, undeniably alone after an emotionally charged day, I cannot deny myself the relief of tears.
Two truths I know: I know that God does not cause temptation or evil. And I know that He causes all things to work for good to those who love Him. To those promises I cling, knowing that He is at work, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. In Him all things hold together.
Lord, Thy holiness holds true
In everything Thou’ll ever do
Thou will not cause this child to fall
And Thou wilt hear my every call.
And Thou dost work my circumstance
To write Thy own divine romance
That everything my life may bring
Will drive me to Thy arms, my King.