Monday, March 15, 2010

Sticky Diamonds

Here is my latest FaithWriter's Entry. Our subject was "Eek!" So, I wrote this devotional using the true story of how Paul and I got engaged. I hope it doesn't come off as sounding too "poor me", especially towards the end where I mention some of the rough things that have come into my life through the years. That's the last thing I want to sound like. Anyway, it did pretty well - it received a "Highly Commended" rating at the Intermediate level. I keep hoping to break through to the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, but it hasn't happened yet! They just changed the rules this week, too, for level advancement. Now, you have to place 1st or be an Editor's Pick (neither of which I've ever accomplished) before advancing to the next level. So, I have a feeling I'm going to be an Intermediate for a long, long, long time...

My friend, Kristi, (who won 1st this last week for her re-telling of the story of the plague of the death of the firstborn (Moses) suggested I send this to the Chicken Soup people. I might do that. One of these days.

Sticky Diamonds

It was a humid August night. I had been walking all over downtown Omaha with my boyfriend and I was tired. My hair was now in frizzy ringlets, my shirt stuck to my back, my feet hurt, and my make-up had melted off hours ago.

I had high hopes at the beginning of the night. I was hopeful that tonight might be THE night. I was anticipating the receipt of something shiny for my left hand, but I wasn’t sure if my boyfriend was thinking along the same lines or not. Occasionally, he would say something that would make me think he might be, but then he’d also say things that made me think an engagement was a long ways off yet.

At that point of the evening, I didn’t even care anymore. I just wanted to go home, take a cool shower, and go to bed. It had been a long day; I was tired and sticky - it was time to end it.

Apparently, my boyfriend thought so, too, because he started to head in the direction of where we had parked. As we walked along, he casually reached into his pocket and pulled out…a piece of candy. He unwrapped it and popped in his mouth. When I saw that he had taffy, my favorite, I made a gesture with my hand that said, “You’d better have one in your pocket for me, too, Buddy!” Smiling while rolling his eyeballs, he reached into his pocket and gave me a square of candy, too. I unwrapped it and as I did so, something flashed in my hand as we passed underneath a streetlight. Peering closely at the candy I had just unwrapped, I suddenly realized that embedded into the back of the square of taffy was a diamond engagement ring! “Eek!” I gasped. I had my hopes, of course, but I was completely surprised at the timing and certainly the manner of proposal I ended up receiving that August night - eighteen years ago this summer.

Remembering that night brings to mind other times in my life when I have squealed “Eek!” Having four sons now, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to be taken aback by their pranks. They still think it’s hilarious to try to scare Mom with rubber snakes, bugs, and frogs. Living out in the country, I’ve encountered my share of mice, and that, too, has usually elicited a hearty “Eek!” out of me.

But there have been other times when I’ve been perhaps silent outwardly, but my soul has gasped with a hearty, “eek!” We’ve all had times like this. Life’s circumstances arise and the first thing we do is to gasp. How could God allow __________? You fill in the blank. For me, it’s been when I almost died in childbirth with my second child. It’s been when I discovered we had been given a handicapped child. It was when I fell asleep while driving and rolled over an embankment. It was when my husband was diagnosed with epilepsy. It was when we were evicted out of our little rental house, just weeks before our third baby was due. It was when I miscarried a baby. And there was a definite “eek” when I discovered that I was pregnant in my late thirties, years after we had given up the hope of ever having more children! There have been dozens of other times, too, as I know there have been for everyone else.

But there is one thing I’ve found to be true throughout the course of the years, as I’ve progressed through life, and navigated one troubling circumstance after another: there’s always a diamond in the taffy! Just as my young husband-to-be hid my diamond ring in a layer of sticky taffy candy, God often hides His greatest gifts in sticky, uncomfortable, and sometimes, downright, painful circumstances. I have never met a Christian yet who couldn’t testify that the greatest blessings in their life came out of the most troublesome times - those moments when their soul uttered an surprised and often anguished, “eek!”

Take heart, peel off the candy wrapper, and look for the diamond. It’s there - I promise!

Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

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