Wednesday, August 3, 2005

OK God. If You say so...

“Dear God,
I can handle this. S’all good.
But I’m not so sure an extra two teens is going to work… girl teens at that. And, uhmmm, well You know better than me… but I’ve kinda got a feeling that they’re not ‘church-going chicks’ and whoa. Do you really think having them here is a good idea? I mean… the ratio seems lopsided; 9 kids to 1 parent. Some days I can barely deal with the daily 3 to 1 I have in a fully loaded house– and now You think we should triple that? In this heat? With no flush toilets? And all those hormones? You do remember that I’m just an overweight middle aged woman with no experience relating to 18 year old girls?
You know what’s best. If having them here is Your will, please give me the strength, patience, and wisdom to juggle it all. Amen. But if they decide not to come, that would be OK with me…Amen again.”

I was chatting with God last Thursday, trying to convince Him that my plate was quite full. All the while knowing deep down that He was going to enlarge that plate to a platter.

It all started last February when I ordered my Creation tickets online. “Dear God. I’m excited about this event. If there’s anyone that I should share my enthusiasm with, please let me not be shy. If there are families that simply need me to encourage them to go, please bring their names to my mind. And if there are any teens that You want me to personally bring along, please alert me of who they are. And God – if I don’t ask them, please let them be bold enough to ask me. Amen.”

I prayed that prayer a number of times during the following months and tried to encourage as many people as possible to consider going.

Of course, in the days immediately preceding our excursion south, I regretted my prayer. I was PMSing in a most severe way. My phone did not stop ringing with requests from women who were going to join in the fun but needed my help in transporting an assortment of their supplies. “God? Am I going to have room? Looks like I’ll be bringing an awful lot of crap…I’m gonna havta trust You on this…”

With four days left to go, I was going to take my three kids plus three extra. Which I’ve often done and it was No Big Deal.
Then Clint sent me an e-mail. “Mom. Can Nemo come along with us?”
Nemo was a guy from Stillwood. That’s all I knew.
“OK God. I’m guessing You’d like him to be there. Somehow I’ll make room. Not sure how it’s going to work, with Clint and Clark both having restricted N driver’s licenses… but I’ll leave You to figger out the carpooling details.”

At 5:30 pm, three hours before I’m scheduled to leave my driveway, one of Clint’s friends is at the door.
“Hey Mrs. O. Howzit goin?”
“Gooood…How about with you?” I ask, bewildered. I don’t know this boy very well…
“Awesome. I just got a job at the Credit Union.”
“That’s great… a big boy job, eh? What do you do there?”
“I’m a teller. I get to dress up and wear a tie every day. It’s cool”
That’ll get old quick, I think to myself.
“Is Clint around?” he asks while shuffling his feet.
“Nope. He’s at camp til 8:30 tonight. Then at 8:31 we’re going to leave for Creation.”
“Yeah… about that…” he looks at me with puppy dog eyes.
“Did you want to come too?” I ask.
“Well, not me. But my girlfriend. Could she camp with you? I can’t go. New job and all.. but she really wants to go. And I’d feel better if she was with someone, you know?”
Uh, God. You must know how spontaneous You made me. Surprises like these a mere three hours before I leave are stressful.
“Sure. She’s welcome to join us. But I’m leaving in three hours and am right out of room. Does she have a car that she can follow us in?”
“Oh yeah. That’s not a problem. I’ll get her to call you as soon as possible. Thanks so much…”

At 8:30, the convoy had started to leave my driveway and I was locking up my house as my cell phone rang.
"Uhhmm. Yeah. Jane?”
“This is Tina. Dave said it was OK that I camp with you?”
"Yeah. We’d love to have you along. But we are leaving right now. You’ll have to meet us at the border…”
“Oh. Can I bring a friend along?”
GOD. What are You thinking? TWO girls I don’t know? Are You sure? I’m just one woman, remember? I’m positive no other person, male or female is going to be bringing 9 kids - three of whom they’ve never met. Why me? Is it because I prayed and told You I would? OK. I’ll do this. But, Lord, You better help me out here. I am SO in over my head.
“Sure Tina, that’d be fine.”
“She has to work tomorrow, so we won’t be down til Thursday night…”

By Thursday afternoon, I was settling in with the seven kids under my guardianship. Nemo turned out to be a blessing as he had a full license and was able to drive my fully loaded Durango. Everyone was getting along and I was at peace. Hence my prayer to God to keep those girls away.

They came.
Because God wanted them there.

Clint and Claire broke up at the start of the summer. But maturely decided to both attend Creation with their moms regardless. Despite what could have been awkward socially, they both continued to hang out with their mutual friends who happened to spend most of their time tanning in my front porch area or cooling off in my wading pool.

They were both at Creation because God wanted them there.
On Saturday afternoon, with the temperatures peaking at 41 degrees, I found myself alone with the two of the girls, Lucy and Claire, who were soaking their feet in the shade of my tarp.
“Jane? Can I ask you a personal question?” Claire asks.
“Sure.” I reply, not having a clue where this is going.
“Do you ever regret having only one boyfriend? Like, you’ve only kissed one guy, right?”
Oh My Goodness. God? Hello? What is this? What am I doing here?
“Yeah, Mark was the only one I ever kissed. And no, I have no regrets.”
“But don’t you wish you had dated more guys?”
“Uh. Well. I didn’t think anyone else would ever ask me out. I had no confidence. Didn’t feel pretty… Despite the size 5 body with the 18 inch waist.”
“I’ve seen pictures… you looked OK,” she suggests.
“I know. But… I didn’t think anyone else would like me.”
“Didn’t anyone flirt with you? Didn’t you flirt?”
“I didn’t know how. Still don’t.”
The conversation meandered all over the place. Until at one point, Lucy interjected with,
“I think you’ve done an awesome job of raising your boys. They are so nice.”
“Some days they are…”
“No really. I have never been around so many great guys. All of them. Everyone here. So decent. And wow. It’s really amazing.”
“Lucy? Only three of them are mine. The other 10 that sleep and tan here have been raised by other mothers…”
“Still. I can’t believe it.”
Then she looked at me and said, “You know, I’ve never ever been to church.”
“So I’ve invited her to come to ours. Isn’t that great, Jane?” Claire says, smiling.

Yes. SO great.
“Thank you God for Claire. For her gift of friendship. Thank you that she did her part. Thank you God for Clint. For his willingness to continue to allow Claire to be apart of our lives. Thank you God for Nemo. Who made it possible for me to get all my stuff and kids down here. Thank you God for making my plate just that bit larger so that I could have extra kids here under my care.
Thank you God for Tina and her desire to bring Lucy to a very Christian event.

And thank you for Lucy. You must love her an awful lot to go to all that work and get all of us involved in bringing her to a place where she could get to know You better.

Every year, Creation is a stretch.
Every year I came home burnt like a crispy tater tot, exhausted like a woman who has had 2 all nighters in 5 days, and excited about next year like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Join us in ’06, won’t you?


Anonymous said...

Thank's for that touching story, the Lord is good.

ramblin'andie said...

Jane, you make it all sound so awesome! I can't wait to go with Davey and his friends. We're on the mailing list for next year!

Anonymous said...

Girl, your obedience inspires me! I'll be praying for you and your passell (word?) of kids and their friends. I'm just glad my girl is one of those friends. Hope you are well rested by now. Maybe we can still get a walk in sometime this summer.
Smiles, Lynne

Christine Lindsay said...

No sense arguing with Him. If He says so, it's always good for us. HIdden blessings.