Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Faith in All Things

Faith in all things?

You may well wonder, what is she talking about?

When we first decided to move to Fayetteville -- a decision made in 5 days around last Thanksgiving -- we did it solely on faith and the evidence that this was the only option God was showing us. In the near-year we've been working on this, we've had plenty of opportunities to wonder about the wisdom of this move.

Each time we came back to the same stubborn answer. God had shown us this path, and ONLY this path. God had promised us that everything would be all right. He would make it so.

Now, I realize that there are those among you who react negatively to such blatant assertions. I am not trying to evangelize. This is just how it happened for us, and you'll have to ride along to see how it all turns out.

Each time we reminded ourselves of His promise and pushed forward in our plans, we made progress. Obstacles allowed themselves to be overcome, things worked out, and we got closer to North Carolina.

Right up to the day we arrived. Nine-plus very long hours driving from Nashville in a 1-truck, 2-car extended caravan. Actually, Dave and Kelsey went first in the truck. Michael drove Katelyn's car with Kacey. Mack and I took the vanful of animals (2 dogs, 7 cats). In a year with record heat and no air conditioning in either of the cars, this was a spectacularly memorable journey. We stopped frequently to hydrate human and critter alike. Mike had never made this trip, and Mack and I needed help with the animals at stops, so we stayed close together. Dave and Kelsey arrived at the house first, Monday evening, August 20th.

Everyone needed to stretch out, and we planned to unload the next day, so naturally everyone went exploring. Kelsey went down by Little Cross Creek, which meanders alongside and then through our heavily wooded yard. At the opposite edge of the property it cascades down a small falls and through our neighbor's yard on its way to meet up with Cross Creek. Dave and I met this neighbor -- named Dana -- one time when we were looking at the house. She and her husband make a very nice couple, with children a little younger than ours. They'd been very welcoming to us and given us some insight into our new home.

As everyone was roaming around that first evening and checking out the features of the new house -- 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3 fireplaces, a 2-car garage -- the likes of which we'd never had before -- dark was descending. A quick head count revealed 1 missing: Kelsey.

Kacey, her twin, was pretty nonchalant about her whereabouts. "Kelsey went down to the creek a while ago," she said.

Now, beyond the creek is a small but full woods that traces the stream from its source at Clark's Pond to where the road crosses over it. We didn't know exactly what lies on the other side of the woods, or what all the neighborhood is like.

"Kelsey?" I called from the back porch. "Kelsey?"

"I'll go get her," Mack volunteered, his own excuse to go down to the water. He jogged toward the causeway where the water drops about four feet before heading through our neighbor's yard. Across the causeway is the woods.

I went down the steps into the yard, calling Kelsey's name occasionally, just in case she'd wandered to the other side of the property.

"Kelsey!" I heard Mackenzie shout. "Kelsey!" There was the sound of someone moving through brush, and then a strangled cry, "Kelsey!"

"Mack? What is it?"

He called his sister's name again as he turned toward me, his face white, his hand holding something in front of his chest.

"Mom! She's not there! She's not there! I found these -- Kelsey!" he cried again .

I trotted towards him. He was holding her sneakers.

"Oh no," I thought. "Not now, not here. We did not come all this way for this!"

I spoke out loud, "Mack, where were those?" He looked so panic-stricken.

"Down there, on the landing." He pointed toward the bottom of the causeway where the water spilled out. Two streams shot out of two pipes and flowed over a stone platform. With the drought, the space between them was dry, and that was where he'd found the shoes.

We continued to shout for her. Around my head went the litany, 'We did not come here for this; God you promised! ' I had to keep coming back to that: He'd promised us this would be all right.

As Mack and I started back for the house, still shouting, one of Dana's children walked up from their yard. She watched us intently, and when she was close enough, she called out, "She's over here!"

Which she was, strolling along the yard with Dana who said she'd 'kidnapped' her and shown her her roses. We walked back towards our yard, Mack and me teasing Kelsey, discussing the new house with Dana, smiling in the dusk at her children. God was keeping His promise.

As we left Dana and her children and walked up toward the house, a cacophony broke loose from behind the Witch's Woods, the 50 or so trees behind the A-frame we dubbed the Witch's House. Something like 4 or 6 owls hooted amongst themselves, probably complaining over the noise we made seeking Kelsey. A dramatic welcome to Fayetteville.

God often asks us to do strange things, things we are not comfortable with or that we don't understand. It's easy to doubt His hand is involved. But, once we have put our lives in His hands, and especially when we have been assured that He will make everything right, we must cling to His promise. If we doubt, we must rebuff that doubt by reminding ourselves of His promise to us. And, for everyday circumstances, for every circumstance, we must remind ourselves of His overall Promise: abundant, eternal life.

God keeps His promises. We must have Faith, in all things.