For When it All Falls Apart

The fridge goes first, warming instead of cooling the food inside.

Then the car, with smoke pouring out from under the hood.

And it all happens suddenly – no one is prepared. One day the milk is ice cold – the next day, I reach in and grab hold of a jug that pours out lukewarm and soured liquid.

I’m reminded that there’s no preparation for when everything begins to go sideways. Just when one begins to think that everything is moving along smoothly, that all four kids have been playing peacefully, the neighbourhood is quiet and calm, the car will get us from point A to point B with no problems…that’s when everything begins to fall apart.

Can I write here, how much I loved my fridge?

Because I did.

It was the fridge that I had always wanted with almost all the bells and whistles that could be had.

Tony had purchased it as a surprise and grinned from ear to ear the day it was delivered.

And when it started to go – when I discovered how much the repairs *could* be on this bells-and-whistles-fridge, I began to wrestle.

Because no matter how much one has let go of – there’s always more.

Even a fridge can become an idol.

And so on the evening that our car broke down, the evening before the repair man was coming to assess the cried-over fridge, I sat in my green chair in the dark and the quiet and I prayed.

I knew we couldn’t afford this repair on top of the car – and I knew that holding on to the illusion of control was only going to make things worse and so I opened my hands and let it go.

Kneeling before Jesus, acknowledging Him as Sovereign over all things, coming before Him as a child before her Father, I lifted up our needs before Him. The fridge could go – it really could. Just a plain simple white fridge would do. I was done with fancy.

I have a print hanging in our dining room that boldly proclaim the words of Matthew 6:25-26

Therefore I tell you, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-23308B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-23309C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-23309D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Are you not of more value than they?

As I went to bed, leaving our needs and my dependence on possessions at the feet of Jesus, I fell asleep thinking of those verses.

Morning came and Tony woke up to a text on his phone, letting him know that a rental had sold and the buyers didn’t want the fridge – would we like to have it?

Tony’s mom texted, asking if she could drive over the mountains and stay at our home for a couple of days – and there was relief knowing that by the time she arrived we would have a working fridge and food of the right temperature to feed her.

Only, she had a surprise of her own…

Even before our car had broken down, even before she knew about the uncertain future of our vehicle, she had wandered through a car lot after seeing a flyer with the words, “Matthew 6:33” printed on it. She had written down our story and handed it in with the hopes that maybe a donation could be given.

And it was – Because God knew.

So she drove that car over the mountains and in the middle of the girls soccer game, she smiled wide and told us that car parked in the back was ours and then waited for that realization to sink into our weary heads.

There’s the temptation to feel foolish writing this down in light of loss of tragedy and pain all around me…all around the world.

And yet.

I go back to the early years of our marriage, when I would begin to panic over all the “what-if’s” that could happen, the hypothetical scary things that would keep me awake at night. In those moments, Tony would go back over all the ways that God had shown Himself faithful in my life, in his life and in our life together, and my heart would slow and I would nod and those moments of His faithfulness became strongholds for me to cling to.

Because the moments of shock and pain and devastation were sure to come, and they *did* come in huge and unrelenting waves, but because of Christ’s faithfulness, His steadfast love that He made evident over and over, I knew that He was trustworthy and sure.

So, yes, it’s just a fridge, just a car, in some ways. But in the other ways, in the ways that matter most, it’s a demonstration of His care for His own, His provision for His children who are learning what it is to be dependent on Him. It’s another marker to look to when more moments come that threaten to undo my faith.

They are two more tangible gifts that lift my eyes off of the fleeting and uncertain moments of now and lock them firmly onto the beauty and greatness of the Most Holy God Who calls me daughter.

And grace becomes just a little bit more understood.

11. ice cream on the porch before bed
12. arms aching from the painting
13. hearing our four laugh with their daddy
14. the way Tony determinedly gives thanks when everything begins to fall apart
15. the friend who steps in to take care of animals when the car has broken down
16. the way Jesus tenderly lets me wrestle
17. a fridge!
18. a car!
19. moments with Nana
20. teasing Liv
21. afternoons at the farm
22. those crazy tall sunflowers
23. picking peaches
24. even when everyone is overheating
25. even when everyone is crying
26. even when we have to drive another hour
27. front porch meetings
28. golf cart afternoons with him
29. Olivia’s last night being 8
30. breakfast birthday cake tradition and how everyone looks forward to it, year after year.

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