They say hindsight is 20/20. And I guess whoever "they" is, well, they're right. This time last year was a sweet sweet time in my life. This very day, a year ago, was the Tuesday before my wedding. And this week held so many emotions last year. It has been really good for me to look back over the past 12 months and see how gracious God has been to me. Many of His little sustenances given during that week were hidden from me then, but looking back I can see how kind He was. Last year on this day, due to my Mimi's generosity, I was able to fly down to Jacksonville, FL to the Mayo Clinic and spend the day saying goodbye to my Papaw. For the majority of the day I was sitting standby in the airport, continually missing flights... but the last flight available the Lord allowed me to catch. I was emotionally distraught at this point, but oh so thankful for His provision and goodness. I sat by a man who asked about my wedding and I was able to share the joys of wedding planning... and when he asked why I was headed to FL instead of KY... that one question may or may not have triggered the tears that I had been holding back all day. As I managed to explain my circumstance, he offered his condolences and then quietly asked... "When my daughters are upset, they watch Twilight... Do you want to watch Twilight with me?" Little did he know that I just finished the first book of the series and would have loved nothing more than to actually not talk and be whisked away into another world. At my nod, he broke out his computer and we watched Twilight the rest of the way. His kindness was exactly what I needed at that moment and looking back I can see how God, in His sovereignty, had put people in my life during that journey to minister to me in the simplest, yet very profound, ways. The free coffee I got at starbucks, being able to skype with a sweet friend while waiting at the airport, the kindness of people I met and chatted with. I like to think that all of them were designed, by a kind Father, to take part in ministering to me.
I had such a sweet time with my grandparents. The look on my Papaw's face when I walked in will forever be etched in my memory. The sweet sad smile stated it all. I'm so thankful for my bosses who allowed me to take time off and say my goodbyes. So thankful for their kindness and once again, God's provision in my life.
I remember the flight back, knowing that I would not see my Papaw again. I remember praying that the Lord please sustain his life until the wedding was over because I didn't know whether or not I could get married the same week my Papaw died. I then prayed about whether or not it was wise for us to go on a honeymoon and after talking about it with friends and family I felt a peace about going. God graciously answered that prayer and not only sustained his life throughout the week, but He sustained his life until the day I got back from my honeymoon.
Then I remember on my drive back from the airport being ran off the road into the median. It just so happens that I landed on the only part of the median that had a stretch of grass instead of trees and a cement blocker (whatever those things are called). And a kind man pulled over and checked my car for me while I sat in my seat, shellshocked. He crawled under my car to make sure everything was ok underneath and he pulled out all the weeds that had gotten stuck. Another provision. I could've crawled under my car and done all that, I'm perfectly capable. But I think the Lord knew my frailty at that moment and sent the man to help.
And then I remember that night catching another flight to Kentucky & being picked up by excited in-laws (another kind act of God, because unlike many, I actually LOVE spending time with my inlaws :)). And I remember walking into our church that evening, which had been turned into a reception hall, and seeing my church family laboring hard making our church beautiful for the mister and me. And I remember being so grateful for my KY church family who loves me and my family so much. Another gift and provision for me and my family. And from that moment on, I felt the freedom to celebrate, to be excited, to thoroughly enjoy our wedding.
And I did - but you'll have to wait for that post. It's coming. :)
I remember on my honeymoon finding this hat burried in the sand which if you knew my Papaw, you know its significance. And I remember stopping, taking a picture, and thinking "He gives and takes away, my heart will choose to say, blessed be your name." And I was once again reminded of how death is reminder of our humanity and God's sovereignty.
This week, last year, God was guiding my steps, protecting me, providing help, and gifts of joy all week long despite a tragic circumstance. And at the time, I was too caught up in my emotions to notice. But looking back, I can see His goodness in every step, every smile, every tiny act of kindness and I'm reminded of these verses in one of my favorite books of the Bible, James 1:
"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures"
My prayer is that you see His goodness today, in the simplest of things. And if you can't see it today, reflect on times in your past where you can see His hand, kindly guiding you, protecting you, and providing. Know that regardless of whether or not you "feel" it now, we serve a God from whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.