A man’s heart plans his ways,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NKJV
On April 8, 1993, I left my 6:00-10:00 PM teaching position in San Diego thirty minutes early to make the hour drive home. Though exhausted – not an unusual symptom for the fifth month of pregnancy – I needed to buy additional items for Parker’s 3rd birthday party on Saturday. The following day, Good Friday, Parker’s preschool planned a party and egg hunt. I had volunteered to supply cupcakes for his class. Easter Sunday we expected friends from church to join us for afternoon dinner. Excitedly anticipating the weekend, I briefly ferreted the grocery store aisles for a birthday balloon, cake mixes and three-year-old party fare. Dragged my body through the grocery store would be a more apt description.
Around 8:30 PM I’d called home during my break to see if Chris had arrived. Carol,* our adult babysitter, said she still awaited his arrival or a call from him. (This was before cell phone conveniences.) He was two hours late, and she sounded annoyed. I couldn’t blame her; it was an evermore-frequent scenario with Chris. The news distracted, worried and angered me. I had hoped it wouldn’t be another one of those nights.
For six months Chris had been working to start an engineering consulting business. Leaving his full-time job at 5:00 PM, he’d rush off to meet clients, sometimes seventy miles away from home. What began as a once-in-a-while event rapidly evolved into more evenings away and unreasonably late hours. A week earlier, barely able to drag my swollen body to the door and craving horizontal contact with my bed, I had crossed the threshold of our home at 11:30 PM and discovered that Chris wasn’t home. I had to awaken Parker, carry him to the car, and drive Carol’s daughter home through a remote, unlit agricultural area.
Chris had wanted me to return to work so we could qualify for a construction loan and mortgage on our dream home. (That decision snapped the thread in our lifeline.) Because of this, we agreed that I’d work nights in order to be home with Parker during the day, and Chris would be home with him in the evenings. With this arrangement only one or two hours of babysitting was necessary during the interval between my drive to work and his arrival home. We were rapidly oscillating further and further from our original plan, and I felt like a perpetually revolving yo-yo. The increasing exhaustion and mounting stress of worrying about both Chris and Parker, and, now, my unborn child, took its toll. Chris and I endured many discussions and hot arguments about our schedules and his timing of starting a business. As his schedule became more unpredictable and unreasonable, conflict mounted.
Just one year earlier we’d completed the building of our dream home, yet numerous interior finish and detail projects remained. Having performed most of the labor ourselves, we needed a break from the toil and strain of all-night construction marathons. The project consumed us, and we teetered close to physical, emotional and spiritual destruction. Yet, here we were again, leaving one project undone and rushing headlong and breathlessly into others. Even though we were stressed to the breaking point, Chris was determined to start a business while simultaneously expanding our family.
Neither of us truly consulted God on any of these matters, or considered waiting patiently for Divine direction. We arrogantly expected God to put His stamp-of-approval blessing on them simply because we worked so hard, with such good intentions. Our timing was lousy, our spiritual lives mechanical and reckless, and we – together, and individually – hung by a frayed emotional, spiritual and physical thread.
That very night the remaining thread would snap.
Next Week: The placenta previa makes itself known in a sudden, deadly way.
Thanks for joining me.
Make it a great week!
*name changed to protect privacy