One of the recurring questions I am asked is how we kept hope during Daniel's time of unemployment. When you understand that 250 pastors applied to the job Daniel now has, and that we heard numbers that high at every church he applied to, you can see it is not an unreasonable question.
The truth is, we did get down.
The truth is, we felt fear.
The truth is, we investigated other options, because we wanted to be prepared.
But we did not lose hope.
I told the following story at a woman's Bible study last week where I was asked the same question. We all had tears in our eyes, especially me, by the ending.
The week Daniel left the church was Mckenna's birthday week. We faced sudden unemployment, and serious hurt and pain from how that happened. We un-invited everyone but family for Mckenna's party, and we asked for help with the food. Of course our families pitched right in.
Gabe consistently made an odd request that week: He wanted Cheez-Its.
Gabe is lactose intolerant, not a big fan of Cheez-Its, and rarely persistent about any food other than fruit.
But his request, and knowing I could not fulfill it, made our situation very real from the start. We were buying only necessities, and eating the same thing all week to save as much money as possible. Cheez-Its are not really on my approved list anyways, and they were a luxury, therefore I could not buy them. It made me feel horrible.
My Mom arrived early for the party, and brought the food she had told me about--some canned vegetables and fruit to fill out our pantry and fresh fruit for the party. We had discussed on the phone all she was bringing. I had never mentioned Cheez-Its--like I said, that's not the kind of food I feed my kids, and we did not need it.
As I unpacked the brown grocery bags I felt extremely thankful for some provisions to help see us through as we figured out what life would really look like. I felt thankful to God and to my parents.
And then, there, in the final bag, was a red box.
A big red box of Cheez-Its.
I can only imagine how my face looked at the moment, but it was too private, too much between God and me to say anything.
Later that night I cried as I told Daniel what had happened. Tears ran down his face too. God loves us so much He provides for a child's desire, and brings peace to a Momma's heart.
It set the tone for the trial ahead. As we made decisions, as we packed our beloved home, as we sold things, stored things, and moved things; as we said good-bye, as we left somewhere we loved, we had peace that God was in the details. He not only knew what was in store for our lives, He cared down to the details.
It's funny how something like a box of crackers can show Love. But in that moment of pain turned to wonder and joy, no writing on the wall could have told me any clearer: God loves me, He will take care of me, and He knows what I need. Amen.