I’m amazed as I see God at work. He’s been working through you, my friends, who have been praying for us and supporting us in countless ways over the past 10 months since Daddy Daniel was called home to heaven.
This past week I was amazed anew; yes, I think that is the best describing word I can find for what I felt as I chatted with a friend I knew well during our little girl days when we lived in Ohio.
Our paths, however, had not crossed in years.
After my family’s move to Illinois, she would sometimes come with her family to visit. We laughed and played, making wonderful memories together; time slipped on, she moved to another state, and our connection dwindled even more. Imagine how elated I was last week to learn that she will be in the area and plans to stop at our house on Friday afternoon.
The moment came at last. She came beaming to the door. Instantly, we picked up in our relationship where we had left off years before. I knew only bits of her difficult life journey, so I asked how she really was doing. I found myself listening intently as she spoke of heartaches she had gone through, and no, there was not even a hint of bitterness! I only noticed absolute acceptance of the unfortunate situations that had been hurled at her. Where there had been deep pain, there was now a depth of total trust in someone greater than herself or her circumstances.
The answers on how God brought her through these valleys were not wrapped in pretty precise papers.
With keen interest, I observed how they had sought the Lord, and he simply remained faithful and provided for her over the rocky years she endured, turning over one stone after another. She still talked and laughed a lot as she did 25 years ago, only now there was an added softness as the love of Jesus flowed through her meaningfully.
Last night I was awake caring for a sick child and pondering over it all; something clicked in a new way.
More than all the right words spoken by someone who cares is the simple presence of Jesus in one’s life.
Without her even telling me that we’ll make it through this valley of having Daniel pass, I knew with a conviction, deeper than ever, that I was not a mistake and that God’s plan for my life is sovereign. She didn’t even tell us these things; she only lived it.
I’m not expecting to get away from trials and heartaches, but perhaps more than I grasp, it’s up to us how they affect us in the end.
The encouragement of seeing God’s love lived out was rich, but so is the encouragement and confidence many of you have expressed in God’s provision for us, no matter what.
Before my friend left, she pulled a bookmarker from her pocket and softly said, “I decided it’s your turn to have this. Remember, you sent it to me a year ago?”
My eyes widened as I looked at it; never would I have recalled that I had sent it to her. It was a little painting of Jesus wiping the tears from a child’s eyes, bearing the verse, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
I was amazed once again. Surely, God has ways of providing for us, quietly and gently.
Okay, as we wrap this up, I’ll leave you with a simple recipe for barbecued meatballs. It’s the recipe my mom always used when I was a girl, and yes, it’s a perfect way to show someone you love and care about them. It’s okay to give something as simple as barbecued meatballs, you don’t need to wait to share until you have the most elegant dish! As Daniel used to say, “You’ll get a lot more done for others if you don’t wait to do it until everything is perfect!
3 pounds ground venison or beef
1 3 /4 cup milk
1 cup quick oats
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups ketchup
3 /4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 1 /2 teaspoon liquid smoke
• In a large bowl, combine the ground venison, milk, oats, cracker crumbs, eggs, and seasonings.
• Mix until the meat mixture is well-combined.
• Shape the meat into 1 1 /2 inch balls.
• Place the balls on cookie sheets and bake at 350°F until no longer pink inside, approx 15-20 minutes.
• Mix ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and liquid smoke together.
• Place meatballs in a roaster and cover with barbecue sauce.