The week of March 16, 2020, our church was told we couldn’t gather. The same week, my U.S. university-attending daughters bought tickets to Dubai and arrived home the day before the airports shut down. (We loved having the girls home!) After they arrived, only one of us could leave the house at a time with a permit once every three days. At first it was fun, but it’s not easy having five adults locked down in the same house 24/7 with online school in session at various hours of the day and night.
Of course, all of us hoped that things would turn around soon. But then the cancelations started rolling in: retreats, conferences, graduation ceremonies, summer abroad programs, internships, training, and a language immersion capstone year. All of our plans were canceled with a slew of emails.
A dear friend, Mary Katherine, recited this anonymous poem to me by heart. Initially it appeared as a Scottish poem, and then began in 1578 to be included in the preliminary material of most Geneva Bibles.
Here is the spring where waters flow, To quench our heart of sin; Here is the tree where truth doth grow To lead our lives therein;
Fall is a spectacular time for the senses. Our Creator’s glory splashes the world with vivid colors and woodsy smells. It’s also the time of year when I’m reminded that God is in charge of the seasons of our lives. As Christians, we know and trust that God ordains all things and is working out our sanctification as we move through these seasons. So whether you’re resting or wrestling in a season of quiet ministry as a woman yourself or you’re shepherding those in a quieter season of ministry, I hope to encourage you to delight in God’s timing. Jesus told us, “The Father who sees in secret will reward you.” There is much to gain in seasons of serving quietly.
As a woman, I’ve had to wrestle with God through some of the seasons where ministry opportunities took the backseat, where they were almost invisible. Days would go by when the only person who would see my labors was God himself. Those were challenging days. They were challenging for me because I longed to teach and train others in the truths of God’s Word. I wanted to be more active in the life and ministry of the church in a more visible and vibrant—at least to me—way.
If you google the phrase “mom saves child from cougar,” you’ll
find stories of other heroic mamas. One mother used a
camping cooler, and another a water bottle to rescue
their children from an attacking cougar. One brave mom managed to save her
child but died
from her own injuries.
Our family took a
drive up the coast of California one summer. Out of all the beautiful
scenery we saw, the most amazing was the Redwood Forests, home to the biggest
trees in the world.
A redwood tree is quite a sight. The first giant we saw was a famous tree whose girth was wide enough to drive a truck through. As you can imagine, it was huge. But driving through a single tree doesn’t compare to the experience of driving into the redwood forests. Hundreds of towering trees with enormous, deep red trunks surrounded by beds of lush ferns created spectacular scenes that made us feel we had entered into a magical fairyland. We explored in and through the trees, enjoying the quietness, interrupted occasionally by the melodic click of an insect or frog. We marveled at how great and beautiful our God is. He spoke these majestic redwoods into being, along with the hawks that nest in their branches and the chipmunks that run at their feet. The beauty and wonder of the forests must pale in comparison to him.