In years past, I have loudly proclaimed the entire month of May for myself. I knew going in that I could claim Mother's Day and my birthday as "good days," but generally speaking May has traditionally also come with the arrival of warm weather, flowers planted and blooming, the Atlanta Braves hitting homeruns, birds singing, birthday celebrations for three other much-beloved family members, and the sounds of lawnmowers, "Pomp & Circumstance," and patriotic music for Memorial Day.
Most of those things have indeed happened, and on the very weighty plus side of the ledger, I'd have to add a fun Skittles Camp in early May and the graduation from high school of our tall, good-looking, super creative grandson Luke last Thursday night.
But a few things have put a gray cloud over the month.
For some time now, Steve and I have been wrestling with the decision to create a simpler lifestyle by finding a place to live without a pool (and its constant maintenance) or 2 1/2 acres of grass to mow. We also wanted to be closer to our church (which we LOVE) and the river (an important part of Steve's heritage and upbringing). We started casually looking at houses and taking steps to get ours ready to sell. Several potential homes were snatched up before we could even give them serious consideration. Our offer was turned down flat on another. In hindsight, none of those houses were what we really needed. Just as the calendar turned from April to May, we made an accepted offer, which meant we had to put our present house on the market.
On May 1, our house was officially listed. On May 2, the first potential buyers saw the house. On May 3, shortly before the Skittles were due to walk in the door, we had an offer. Imagine going through back-and-forth negotiations with five lively, happy grandchildren who were eager to be entertained! Now that the dust has settled somewhat, we recognize what a wonder it was that the first people to see our house wanted it. They actually were so eager to move in that we had to put off their requested closing date for a few days to make plans, line up a moving company, and do all the things required when you buy one house and sell another. Currently, the house we're in is slowly but surely being dismantled while we start the grueling process of discarding, giving away, and packing.
The next week was full but less stressful -- a picnic with our Sunday School class, a speaking engagement, and a Sweet Sixteen party for a granddaughter. On Mother's Day, Steve and I left church to go for a much-anticipated brunch at Cotton Row in Huntsville. Just as the first course was served, I got a text from my brother saying that our first cousin had been found dead in her home.
Immediately, we were sad and very upset. She was only 51 years old. We were very concerned about her father who is my 90-year-old uncle. A funeral had to be planned, and I was asked to play for that funeral.
During the last weeks of May, I have learned of numerous friends who have received dire news regarding their health and now they're facing surgeries and pathology reports.
I could go on listing May events, but you get the idea. In the middle of some happy times, there has been stress, anxiety, and sadness.
God has not been absent through these past few days. In fact, He has been our guide, our sustainer, our strength, our deliverer, our shield, our glory, and "the lifter of our head." But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
When I'm in the middle of turmoil and chaos, I need these reminders from Scripture.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16: 7-8
My calendar for June is full. After the move on June 12th, comes a baby shower for my first great-grandchild, a trip with two of our grandsons, and an overnight getaway for Steve and me. But those are MY plans. What God has in store remains to be seen.