When He’s taking FOREVER to show up…

by Kari on July 5, 2013

barefoot

I shifted positions on the sand, looking over my shoulder again. Where was he?

The tops of my thighs were definitely red--that sad white space above the shorts-line exposed in early summer when we bravely (and a bit reluctantly) don bathing suits. I tried to hold my small paperback strategically to block the sun, glancing back again. Where WAS he? 

We were having a fabulous anniversary weekend. 10 years. Though my heart had felt unsettled on the way over to Bend, Touching Godliness had deeply stirred my heart, and I knew the word submit was to be my banner for the next season of life. But, I’d asked God, Submit to what? 

In a half-second He spoke to my heart:

  • Submit to embracing the primary role of wife and homeschooling mama.
  • Submit to serving the people right in front of you.
  • Submit to obedience in the small, silent stuff, where no one sees but God.
  • Submit to joyfully serve, honor, and respect Jeff, believing the best about him above all other human relationships.

Oh, that’s all? (ha!) Ok, ok, I get it. I’m taking notes.

And of course, every lecture needs a lab. God’s sanctification school is no different. So I figured this weekend was a good place to start practicing.

So, we were lounging on the sandy beach beside te Deschutes River. It was hot. Really, really hot. Dozens of people were walking by with inner-tubes, putting in to float down the river to the Old Mill district. We thought it’d be fun to do the same, and Jeff knew his mom (in whose house we were staying) had tubes. So he, seeking to bless and serve me, said that he would take all our stuff to the car, leave me to relax on my towel, and he’d drive to her house, grab the tubes, then come back so we could float down river.

Perfect.  Even though he’d already run a half-marathon that morning (under 1:37 I might add!) he was still willing to run the errand so I could relax. Good man. So I handed him everything, including my phone.

It was 12:30pm, and she just lived a few miles away so it would be a quick trip.

“If I’m not back in an hour then I’m in wreck somewhere,” he jokingly added as he walked away.

I settled in on my towel, happy to relax. I wasn’t sure how much time went by but it seemed he was gone quite a while. I swam in the river to cool off. Then sat back down, glancing back periodically to see when he’d arrive.

People came. People went. No Jeff. I heard someone say it was 1:30pm as they packed their kids up to go home.

People came. People went. No Jeff. I heard someone hollar, “Hey, it’s 2pm, let’s get home!”

That’s when my thighs started getting red.  I shifted on my towel. Adjusted my book to shade different body parts on rotation, pulling corners of the small towel up and around my legs. The family next to me called to their kids, “It’s 2:30, we better get going.”

No Jeff.

I laid down and closed my eyes. Where WAS he? 

All of us wives are prone to react in different ways:

::Some assume catastophe: “He must be dead!”

::Some assume irresponsibility: “What is that idiot doing now?” 

::But some believe the best: “I bet whatever has happened, he must be doing something awesome on my behalf.”

By the grace of God, on this particular day, I believed the best. Though I couldn’t figure out on what on earth would take him so long (and didn’t hear any sirens so I wasn’t concerned about safety), I figured something worthwhile was happening, and asked God to protect me from skin cancer.

So I sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And kept glancing back over my shoulder, looking for a glimpse of inner tubes.

And then, to my everlasting surprise, as I sat gazing out at the river, my eye caught something strange:

What? There’s a man kayaking UPstream, towing a paddleboard behind him!  I squinted and looked longer …

It was JEFF!

I stood up, and I must say, it was kind of “scene-from-a-movie-ish.” He was dripping sweat towing this paddle board upstream and I jumped off the beach and ran into the water.

I yelled, “What are you DOING?!” (But I was smiling when I said it.) He told me the story. He thought he’d surprise me with an awesome adventure–bringing a kayak and a paddleboard so we could each paddle our way up and down the river together. He loaded both huge items by himself, but when he arrived back at the beach, there were no parking spaces ANYwhere near, and he couldn’t get close enough to leave the car and alert me. So he had to drive all the way to the end of the river run, downstream, haul both the kayak and the paddleboard himself, tie them together, and paddle all the way upstream hauling the paddleboard, in order to rescue me from the beach.

He finished his story, breathless, and handed me a water bottle, “And I made you a limeade slushy to drink.”

photo 2

I slurped the icy goodness and shook my head. ”You’re amazing. Thank you so much.”

We pushed off from the shore, and paddled up and down the river in the slanting afternoon sun. In the quiet float downstream, I leaned back, reflecting:

When God is taking a long time to “show up” in my life, how do I respond?

::Do I assume catastrophe? God must not here! He must not be real! He must not love me! Everything must be falling apart!

::Do I assume irresponsibility? God must not know what He’s doing. I better take care of things. How dare He treat me like this? Poor me, having to wait all this time while God goofs off.

::Or do I believe best? I have no idea what’s taking so long, but I know the character of my God. And I know that whatever is going on, He must doing something awesome on my behalf.

With tears welling up in my eyes, I looked up into the blue sky, “Lord, when You’re taking forever to show up, help me to believe the best.”

{Someone precious and beloved person NEEDS to hear this today. If it’s you, be encouraged! Believe the best, and wait. He loves you and is working up a crazy sweat doing awesome things on your behalf. Thank you for reading!}

PS Teresa is the WINNER of the free copy of Touching Godliness–WOOHOO!

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Kintigh July 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

I am the person who needed this today. And this next week. And this past year, really. Thanks for the reminder.

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Sarah July 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

I needed to hear this especially today, and this last week and these last 2 months. I have assumed the first two when I should be eagerly expecting the third. Thanks Kari!!!

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Debra July 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

A.maz.ing. Beautiful story. Awesome man you have. Poignant tie in and reminder HIS best is in all ways better AND for the better. I must keep my ear to the path and listen patiently. Thanks Kari. Glad I washed my make up off. Tears. Happy day.
Really a lime slushy too!

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Sarah July 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

Love this! Thank you so much! You’re such a dreamy couple and one day I hope to obtain the level you both have ;)

P.S. Mark and I saw Jeff running the Freedom 5k at the 4th!

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Cassidy July 5, 2013 at 11:56 am

This one hits close to home (pun very much intended!). But on a more serious note, thank you for this encouragement and truth. Even as the illustration is so vivid because it’s in my “backyard,” the lesson is powerful because it’s the one God’s having me learn. :)

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Sandy Kundert July 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for the reminder to be believing the best while I’m waiting! I needed it! Love you, Kari!

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Kelsey July 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm

You don’t know how bad I needed this… I am prone to react like the catastrophe example. You pretty much typed out my thoughts. Thank you for sharing and for your beautiful words!

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Kerry July 6, 2013 at 5:21 am

Kari- Thank you so much for writing this. I struggle with remembering that my husband loves me. I know it sounds crazy but it’s one of those places in my life where the enemy definitely works on me. I needed to hear this and I need to remember that he loves me and He loves me. Thanks again.

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Mark Allman July 6, 2013 at 8:17 am

Printed this out for my daughter for she needs to cling to third option in regard to finding her love for life. She was engaged once and her fiance messed that up and since then she has been going between option one and two most of the time. She needs to stay the course and cling to his is planning something awesome for her.

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Jodi Nairz July 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

Thank you. I did need this today, both in regards to my husband and to God. So much comes down to our heart attitude doesn’t it?

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Marvin Baker July 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I. Will. Not. Cry.

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Kari July 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm

:) we love you two!!!

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Emily July 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For showing weakness that we all have, and being transparent to your readers. I read this more than once and will be marking it as one of my favorites. Thank you for letting God speak to others (me) through you!

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Julia July 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thank you! Like many other readers, I’m one of those that NEEDED to hear this. Thank you for speaking God’s truth to my heart. I needed this encouragement today.

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Emily July 8, 2013 at 8:34 am

Thank you for sharing this, Kari! I can so relate, as I often think the worst instead of believing the best, of both my husband and God. Such a good, timely reminder (as usual!).

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