Long before Christmas, almost every store sees a rise in activity. To avoid the crowds, Keith and I keep a supply of items on hand and store them in our basement pantry. We plan but don’t really know what’s in store for us in this life.
What does God want us to store?
When Keith and I walked the mountain land with our contractor in the spring of 2010, marking the driveway and house site, our minds envisioned the completed scene and pondered future projects: landscaping, maybe a pond for Keith, or a root cellar for me. Where would we put the root cellar, I wondered, maybe outside the basement door, under the deck? Every-so-often in the past several years, I’ve raised the root cellar idea again. But, due to poor soil, limited sunlight, and deer, we grow very little other than fresh herbs and salad vegetables in our fenced square foot garden. What did I have to store?
In the Bible, manna was food provided to the Israelites during their travels in the desert. Gathered daily, manna is sweet, but leftover or hoarded manna is wormy and stinks. Was I a hoarder? And, as in the parable of the talents, didn’t God give me gifts and expect me to grow and use them for His glory and to benefit of others?
We never built the pond or the root cellar, though we do have the pantry and stock up for winter in case we get snowed in. Still, I know that, rather than store, God wants me to trust in Him and put my talents to good use, to plant and grow.
What is in store for us in life?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up, planting seeds among my students, but had only a vague idea of what my life might be like: career, marriage, children. God blessed me with all three, each of them coming in two’s—two rewarding careers, lasting love in a second marriage, and two healthy children, plus a third by re-marriage.
All parents hope, maybe expect, their children to be healthy, able to grow skills and use gifts. We’re often surprised when bumps in the road happen, though we shouldn’t be. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “We must stop regarding unpleasant or unexpected things as interruptions of real life. The truth is that interruptions are real life.”
In her memoir The Shape of Normal: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability and Embracing a Different Kind of Perfect, Catherine Shields writes about one of her three daughters, born with mild cerebral palsy. I cannot imagine what being a mother of a disabled child would be like. Thanks to a few women I know who are in this real-life situation and Shields’s frank and well-crafted story, I have a better idea—and I’m glad I do. I have learned that loving an “imperfect magnificent child” is possible, and that showing empathy to the child’s caretaker is the most loving thing I can do.
What is in store for us in the future?
Speaking about “doing,” many of us identify with what we do rather than who are—I certainly did. I’m a teacher, mother, wife, daughter, sister, neighbor, friend. Only in the past few years have I figured out who I really am.
Recently, I stumbled upon a life formula: origin + destination = route. As a child of God, I know my origin and what is in store for me, my destination. While stewarding my life with what God has given and blessed me, the route I take guides me to that future. Though I often fall short, God is good and merciful. Jesus is my Savior. I cannot think about His birth without remembering destination.
What is in store for us? As the choir sang in church yesterday, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.”
I wish you all a blessed Christmas.
Linkup with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2023/12/14/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-store/