From an August 2016 Instagram post:
It is the very nature of being human to want the best seat, the highest and clearest vantage point.
I am slowly learning the gift of simply clinging underneath.
Underneath the umbrella of His care, comfort, and protection.
I don’t have to see everything coming.
I am grateful for all the ladybugs that have landed on me or crossed my path over the past four months.
If God designed ladybugs to bear spots, I know He undoubtedly covers my life.
I had to pause for a moment to determine the significance of four years ago.
It was during the days following my husband Carl’s cancer surgery and the diagnosis four months prior.
Despite his family history whispering a warning for a decade, we didn’t see it coming.
My Dad was diagnosed with cancer a year later, we didn’t see that coming either.
Nor did we envision his passing before his birthday which always escorted us to Thanksgiving, if not a shared date.
Reflecting on these social media words caused me to exhale my abiding belief in these words and discover them even truer today.
It is easy and tempting to post platitudes and shiny sentiments only to discover their elusiveness when life is revealed as tender, fragile, and raw. Now in the midst of feeling tender, fragile, and raw, I know God’s covering is beyond what I hoped or could foolishly attempt to conjure.
If you know me or have read this blog for a length of time, you are aware of my love for ladybugs.
If there is such as a thing as spirit insects, then the ladybug is mine. Ladybugs have always landed within my sight during times when I needed to be reminded of God’s presence. It’s been the sweetest wink from heaven to me. Maybe I have just gotten good at spotting ladybugs but I will counter by saying if you don’t look, you won’t see.
One chilly morning, I swept away golden and brown leaves that had found their way into the warm confines of my parent’s entryway. It’s a chore that needed to be done but it was also a way to keep busier than my mind which continued to replay a loop of Dad’s final days. It seems I can’t fully access my memories until my mind fully absorbs the speed of his decline. The word whiplash becomes a common descriptor during those early days of loss. I donned headphones to listen to a podcast, another distraction tactic and in my attempt to capture debris within a dustpan, a speedy messenger came my way.
I grab a paper towel to keep my visitor in the frame of my phone camera. I think better of trying to swoop up my red dotted friend and run upstairs to show my Mom because I doubt my ability to contain it.
I quickly texted this blurry photo to a friend who recently asked about why ladybugs were important to me.
In the midst of the mundane, God broke through spectacularly. Despite ground hardened by snow and grief, life remains, bearing the tiniest of imprints. A small insect sought refuge from the cold and warmed a daughter in the process.
I am not the first to express that there is the thinnest thread between the natural and the spiritual, between heaven and earth. Even on days when a veil of tears is present, I am treated to the precious gift of new sight, looking equates to trust. Perhaps this vision has always been present and simply ignored. Or perhaps when we are the most greedy for a sign our eyes open wide enough to experience wonder.
This past week, Carl and I began the second season of His Dark Materials. Later in the evening, I opened my Kindle to read a few pages of a book called Wintering. I have nearly a half dozen books I am “reading” right now and although I prefer paper to screen I chose this one. I hadn’t read very far when the author begins writing about The Golden Compass (one of the books in Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials series of books) and many of the characters. Abandoning my chair, I head towards the kitchen to read the passages to Carl while he fills the water reservoir for the next morning’s coffee.
Is this a coincidence?
A phenomenon we do not know about?
Or is it simply a reminder of how God enters our days and nights in seemingly insignificant ways?
But it isn’t insignificant. He knows the skin in which I dwell and how my heart swells with joy and bleeds in sorrow.
He helps me not feel as if life is full of random occurrences but actually fraught with divine connecting points.
I will keep looking as if attempting to uncover treasure plunged to the deepest depths.
I will also leave room for all that is designed to be hidden from my view.
Because I don’t have to see everything coming.
Lord, help me to always rest in Your marvelous covering whether fully sighted or not.