Have you ever declared you would not do something that in God’s timing you did what you declared you would not do? Writing this story is one of those – “I will not do things” – that alerts my heart like a flashing caution light.
So, I write with hope that God’s children will be more cautious when declaring what we will and will not do, while discerning what God would have us do and not do.
The setting of this story takes place in two closets where two men I love with all my heart hung their clothes, shined their shoes, and shared happy times with me.
The first closet episode erupted in 2010 at Topsail Beach. Preparing to head home to Clinton, I did my routine house check to make sure everything was in order. Before closing the closet door in our bedroom, I stood still with doorknob in hand and memories in heart. My eyes focused on Tim’s blue jeans – the ones he hung on the end of the closet rod on our last trip to Topsail in 2006. All of Tim’s clothes were hanging in place just like he left them… before he left us and headed Home in April of 2007.
Standing still while scanning our closet’s contents, I relished memories and recalled times when Tim wore the t- shirt he brought home from Daytona, his Carolina blue shirt with TCS on the pocket, the old carpenter shorts with pockets galore, his outdated wind suit that sounded loud but kept him warm when we walked on the beach, and clothes that still shared the scent of my beloved.
That moment in time, when I made a verbal declaration not to change a thing, still stings. I closed our closet door while vowing I would never take those blue jeans from the end of that closet rod and Tim’s things would stay there forever. Then, I kneeled beside our bed to pray before loading up and heading home.
It only took four days (from the time of my bold declaration) for the Hand of God to change things in my closet and in my mind. Mr. Fussell, our Topsail neighbor, called to tell us water was running from underneath our house. The hot water heater had burst; everything in our closet and bedroom had to be removed. Clint was still home for a season…and reason. He helped me get through the tough season of making decisions and getting our house back in order.
The process of renovation was costly in many ways; yet, God’s Hand of healing was at work during the lengthy, aggravating, lesson learning, ‘got to go through’ process that continues to remind me that God is in control. The blessings He sent trumped the trials and burdens we endured in a season of pruning, cleaning, and restoration. What I declared I would not do, I did… with a renewed reverence for God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
In retrospect, I see how God brought good from the bad according to His plans for our lives (and the lives of those who helped us)! Clint, my younger son, was home and helped me smile through sorrowful days and unexpected situations that could bury one in pity with a price tag of destruction. Instead of worrying and weeping, I prayed God would grow my faith and bring blessings to us and others. And He did!
Clint stuck by me like glue on the border we cleaned on my walls. We decided to be a part of the process and see it through to completion. Clint’s positive attitude and ‘sunny side up’ mentality made the frustrating process fun. He talked with the carpenters, ran errands, helped me paint, cooked meals with his special touch, shared them with pleasure while watching sunsets from our side porch, walked on the beach with long talks – still stored in my heart, rode bikes in the quiet streets at midnight – splashing through puddles from afternoon showers, played his guitar and sang goofy lyrics that made me laugh, and taught his Mom the power of smiling through sorrows and living out loud in love through all seasons. God was with us, working alongside us, waiting for His perfect timing to teach lessons and tender hearts to beat in tune to His Word and will, while walking in love by HIs Son’s example.
Clint and I shared some mighty good time together while witnessing good come from bad. I realize our ‘together time’ without worrying or hurrying can never be taken away, nor can any amount of money replace the joy we shared during restoration of our home and hearts. God promises in Psalms to bind wounds and heal broken hearts. He is a promise keeper and gives us all time while working things out in our lives. Our duty is to love and trust God through it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
During the last week of renovation, Clint’s blessing came as we worked side by side with our paint rollers putting a new color on my wall and a new season in his life. Clint’s music filled the room as did his passion for enjoying life. God was busy blessing in ways neither of us imagined possible at the beginning of this burdensome adventure.
Clint’s phone rang in the middle of our morning paint party. He rushed to answer; I kept painting. The blessing was unfolding as God was bringing a miracle from a mess. Satan sneaks into our messes with meddlesome schemes that can destroy our lives. He is a liar trying to take us down, tormenting with hatred and horror. The good news is the devil has no power when we are connected to Christ with a relationship that keeps us grounded in faith and stirred up with His love. God plants hope and happiness that blooms into beautiful blessed lives here and in heaven.
Clint quit his job at a television station in Wilmington in 2007 to go home and help take care of his Dad. Two months after Tim passed away from brain cancer, Clint and Cameron took care of me through my battle with colon cancer. Then, Clint helped Angel, take care of The Learning Station while I recovered, and Cameron took care of Spell Insurance. Clint had fulfilled his home duty and was ready to spread his wings and start his career. He was awaiting calls from prospective jobs opportunities while helping restore our home.
Clint talked excitedly as I rolled with wonder. I rested my roller on the paint can, waiting and feeling a stirring in my heart privy to parents! Clint rushed in the room with a grin big as Texas (where he and his wife, Jamie, moved to in April of 2016). He picked me up in his arms and danced around the room with news that made our hearts happy. Clint shared that he had been hired by U.S. Foods as a sales representative for the Topsail area. We celebrated as we finished the job at hand. No words were needed for lessons learned and blessings bestowed. The precious time we shared together at Topsail was a gift from God. Yet, it was our choice to open it and enjoy the time together instead of spending it complaining, whining, and bemoaning our situation and circumstances. God taught me the danger of declaring what I will and will not do.
While rolling on new paint to cover the old, I prayed for God to forgive and give opportunities to use my mouth for blessing others and declaring how great HE Is! Clint and I prayed, praised God for the good He brings from the bad…according to His plans for our lives, and finished our work with a song in our hearts and a spring in our steps. I knew this time together was a treasure.
Next week, I will share the rest of the story and tell you about closet #2!