September, 2013

My friend Sarah says that appliances talk to each other in secret and make plans to go on strike together. If this is true, our appliances must be especially ruthless, because the dishwasher and washing machine chose the week we had a family of seven coming for the weekend to conk out and flood their respective areas of the house.

So rather than cooking and cleaning to get ready for guests, I was out shopping for appliances. I was told there was no way to have them delivered before the weekend.  Great. 12 people for a weekend in a house with no dishwasher.  But I bought paper plates, and extra underwear and figured we could make it.

But on Friday afternoon, just before our guests arrived, the sink backed up. I called our plumber, who is great about weekend hours, and made an appointment for that evening. But he called back to say he was in the hospital.

Our guests were gracious, and helped us make dishwasher assembly lines, after meals, which stretched from the kitchen, down the still-soggy hallway, and into the laundry room. At least that sink still worked.

By Saturday evening, the plumber got out of the hospital and came straight over. (See why we like him?) I would have hugged him, but he still looked pretty sick. He found some plastic down our drain, which nobody claimed. Running water, at last.

But there was no water running in the broken washing machine. By the time our guests left, our laundry chute was backed up to the second floor and spilling over. I dragged everything to the laundromat and did fifteen loads, hoping to begin the work/school week with a sense of normalcy.

God had other plans.

On Monday morning, I’m pretty sure God stood over my section of town and dumped a God-sized bucket of rain, all at once. We got 5 inches of rain in one hour, and our basement flooded. So as the new appliances was being carried in, the Service Master people were carrying soggy carpet padding out.

They set up giant blowers under the carpet, which make it look like a giant rippling carpet lake. At least one part of our house looked peaceful. The rest looked like the basement had thrown up. Things were randomly stacked everywhere.

Also, on the day of the great flood, I accidentally drained our pool. The rain water had filled it to overflowing, and I wanted to pump off a few inches. But I forgot, and left it running all day. As if we needed another 12,000 gallons of water pumped into our yard that day!

Service people came in and out for days. The fans under the carpeting circulated rotten-smelling air throughout the whole house. I was told that this is just how wet carpeting smells. Really?

On Wednesday, of all things, we had scheduled for new living room carpeting to be installed. I almost cancelled, but since our house still looked like someone turned it over and shook it, what was a little more chaos? To prepare for the carpet, Ken and I dragged all of the living room furniture into the kitchen, which meant there was now officially no where to sit down, eat, or relax in our house.

 As soon as the carpet installer arrived, I split, leaving him and the service people there to trip over each other. It didn’t seem productive to stay and pace between tipped couches and stacks of books, holding my nose.

I can honestly say that I’ve never enjoyed the peace, dryness, and sweet smell of the library more than I did on that day. I opened my Bible, there in the quiet, and here is what I read:

Who shut in the sea with doors, and prescribed limits for it,

[Who] set bars and doors and said, “Thus far you come, and no farther”? (Job 38:8, 11)

Who nails down water, and keeps in in place? God does.

I had just spent the week becoming acutely aware that water (among other things) is not something I can hold in place.

I can’t nail it down.

I can’t push it back.

I can’t keep it out.

I can’t.

But amazingly, and wonderfully, God can. The water listens to Him.

If you’ve read my blog much, you’ve heard me refer to myself as a Control Girl–someone who struggles with control. And what I heard God whispering, in the midst of all my misplaced water, was: Shannon, you are not in control. You never were. But I AM. Every drop of water on the face of the earth is held in My hands. And so are you.

Friend, are there things you’re realizing you can’t nail down or hold in place? What is creating chaos in your life? Won’t you entrust those things you can’t control to the One who can? If He holds each drop of water in its place, surely he’s also got room in his hands for the things which trouble you, today.

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