Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lessons Learned

Even when you are doing what you believe God wants you to do, things do not always go to plan. Recently our pastor asked if I would do a short item or talk on Mother’s Day. My husband and I decided to adapt something our daughter had used in a previous church on Mother’s Day. We decided, instead of making it a monologue to rewrite it and do it as a skit for two. We added a bit of humour in some lines. We had rehearsed it and were feeling good about the item, right up till the day before Mother’s Day.
On that Saturday I woke up with my head clogged with the heaviest head cold. I could hardly stop sneezing and my head was so heavy I could barely think straight, while my eyes were so puffed up from the cold they were like two tiny slits in my face.  It was obvious I was in no condition to be doing anything. I was equally as determined not to let our pastor down and that it would go ahead as planned.  That day I did a few things. First I texted those I knew who could be trusted to pray for me and asked for prayer. Secondly I dosed myself up with cold medications and vitamin c. Lastly I contacted the music leader for that day and suggested it might be better  if possible to get someone else to help leading the singing as I didn’t have enough voice to sing.

Saturday passed as a miserable day with me coughing, sneezing and going through copious tissues. I was thankful it was footy season and at least I had something I was interested in to watch, though I could barely see the screen through my slits of eyes. But I could hear what was happening on the field. And I could see enough to cut out the thank you for loving me cards decorated with pink hearts which went with the talk.
These were for the kids at church to give ether to their mums or to someone else in church who loved them, like a children’s leader, a friend or another relative.
Sunday dawned. I was far from right, feeling weak and headachy but at least the cold had abated to manageable proportions and I had a voice. I’d taken a gluten free fruit cake out of the freezer the night before but forgot to pick up the sliced cake that morning. My husband dashed back inside from the garage and picked it up. We were all set.

It was only as we pulled up at church he remembered that when he’d picked up the cake he had put the script down. No problem as I had one. ‘We can share,' I said. But the cards were with the script. He dashed home while I went it to church and hoped he'd he be back by the time we were due to do our presentation. As I stood in the congregation during the songs, my mind was praying for speed and safety on the roads for my husband. Then I heard a siren. My heart almost stopped in fear. I couldn’t stand it any longer and went out to the car park to see if he was coming. A few moments later our car wheeled in the car park. Relief flooded through me.
We had about five minutes in which to calm ourselves and trust that God would provide.  The talk went well. People laughed in the right places. When my husband gave me a card as a person who loved him, I kissed him resulting in whistles and cheers. The kids happily took their card to give to someone who loved them. After church I was exhausted and so we didn’t hang around to talk to people but left quickly for home, just glad it all appeared to go well.

That week we had to go to Sydney as my husband was going to hospital for an eye op. As he waited to go in be operated on, I sat with him, holding his hand.
‘Are you two newlyweds,’ a nurse asked, making me laugh. She got a shock when I told her how many years we’ve been married.

‘I think it’s sweet to see a couple who still love each other  and show it after all that time,’ the other nurse added. I left smiling. 
That night felt weird sleeping in a motel room on my own while my husband was in hospital. Unused to being part, neither of us slept that well. The next day with him looking like Pirate Pete we headed for home. Home was over three hours away.  It’s the first time I’ve driven that long since I had my back operated on a few years back, so we had to make a couple of stops just to ease the pressure and pain.  With relief I pulled the car into our own garage and opened the door to the house to find the answer machine flashing its blue light and beeping at us.

The message on the answering machine was from our pastor, thanking us for the Mother’s Day talk. He had no ideas of the little dramas that had gone on prior to the event. His message told us how “appropriate and helpful it was for people to hear that message.” But what really tickled me was the way he also commented on how good it is for people to see the loving relationship of a couple who been married so long. That encouragement meant a lot to both of us. I almost hated having to delete that comment from the machine.
So what did I learn from the whole experience?

1.       That when we attempt to do something for God, things may not always go smoothly.

2.       That even when things don’t go according to our plan and everything seems to be turning out a mess, God can overrule. He can still use it and us. He can turn it to good and use it for His glory.

3.       That the world is watching what we do and how we behave. People notice when a couple has a genuine loving relationship.

4.       That encouragement is a vital facet of life and can make such a difference to a person.

Dale writes fiction, poetry and children’s fiction, and has written bible studies and Sunday school lessons. More information about Dale can be found at www.daleharcombe.com or on her Write and Read with Dale blog http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/




  1. Hi Dale,
    Those are good lessons indeed, but I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad cold for your item on Mother's Day morning. I know just what you mean, because we've had similar ones ourselves this last week.
    I remember you sharing about how you it was coming up, and also about your husband's eye surgery. I hope he's still improving.

    1. Thanks Paula. Yes, the eye is all clear now. he is doing really well.

  2. My parents were married for over fifty years and always held hands as they walked to church. I took such shows of affection as normal, until my cousin started commenting. Her parents had a long marriage too, but no public hand-holding. My husband and I hold hands without even thinking about it and people at church have commented, saying our obvious love for each other brings them joy. Such a small thing to have such significance. Thanks for reminding me, Dale, and I hope you feel better.

    1. Thanks Alice. we are hand holders here too. Just come naturally. I am fine now thanks, Alice.

  3. Frustrating often hits when we are keen to serve the Lord and unwellness or other things intervene. However, at the same time it is wonderful to know God is in control and overrules in our weaknesses.
    Thanks for taking us on your journey and refreshing us about God's grace.

  4. Thanks for your comments Ray.

  5. Dale, I'm glad you were well enough to do the item. Thanks for sharing your story with us :)