Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11: Portrait of my daughters

5:22 p.m. Today's project was to greet Heidi on her 27th birthday, give her her card and a kiss, and pray that the rain would lift for her special day at Sea World with her fiance.
1984 and 1986 were two amazing years: Heidi was the first grandaughter on the Kruckenberg side, whose birth triggered joyfulness beyond measure for Steve's mom. The late "Grandma Orange" even went with her sister Auntie Doris to the Germantown section of Anaheim to purchase a tiny dirndl. My friend Libby made a gorgeous christening gown that both Heidi and her younger sister Heather wore when being dedicated to the Lord at Harvest. We thought we were finished having children after Sean and Kriss, because we were contented with our boys, and Steve was actually between jobs! But Heidi saw things differently as she made her presence known within my womb!
Heather's story was quite the opposite. After miscarrying an unplanned baby I'll meet one day in heaven, God changed my heart. I began to urgently pray for another child, and before long, Heather came into being. I cannot imagine my life without them, born two years, one day and one hour apart--both amazing young women who made their way in God's timing, taking unconventional paths into my generally well-planned life! However, over decades of walking with the Lord, and seeing His ways in my life, I realize more and more how shortsighted I am compared to Him!
"For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
I once asked my late mom when I was little, "If you were married to someone else, would I look different?" Mommy, a pharmacy major in college, was prepared as always for my posers, so she said, "You would be someone else entirely," and tried to give me a little lesson on genetics. I've asked myself at times, who would that baby be who stepped aside for Heather? and what if there had been no Heidi? Only God knows, as Deuteronomy 29:29 declares: "The secret things belong unto the LORD." My curiosity and speculations are fairly pointless, only serving to send a little shiver down my spine when I realize the split-second timing of God's creative hand, and but for the grace of God, I might never have known these beautiful young women!
The Lord had a special treat for me today when I dropped off some product to Heather's mother-in-law, because as we pulled into the driveway, we saw Nick's Corolla, along with his parents' vehicles. And there in the living room were Heather and Nick, his sister and parents, just back home after taking Heather out to lunch! After a quick little visit, Steve and I went on the rest of my business errands, cheered by the sight of the cross on Mt. Rubidoux in clear view, and looking forward to our annual joint birthday dinner at the house on Monday night, which will include their brother Kriss and his wife.
This year finds me in a more pensive mood on the girls' birthdays, because Heidi is getting married in June, and unbelievably, Heather will have been married for three years in August! Their walks with Jesus are strong, they dedicate a large part of their time to youth ministry and giving to the community, and I could not have chosen better mates for them. Again, God's creative work was at hand, one "chance" sighting at a time--Heidi and Pavel spotted each other at a Ravi Zacharias lecture at Calvary Costa Mesa years after meeting one another at the University of Redlands; Heather and Nick went to different high schools, but through MySpace and Riverside Community College, became friends.
What will it be like for Steve and me once Heidi moves away to begin her new life? I cannot even imagine having an official "empty nest!" Our youngest one, Steven, is still unmarried, but lives 6 hours' drive away in Fresno. Sean and Kriss live reasonably nearby, but we don't see them more than once or twice a month. The kids are all ready and willing to help me with their dad, but we are not really at the stage of Alzheimer's where physical assistance is needed, and the Lord has provided professional assistance for me. I suppose I'll be asking, like many of my friends who have reached this point before me, "Will they come see me? Will they miss me? Will my girls want to do anything with me?" I'm tempting to fall into more of that useless speculation, and have more need to trust the Lord for His provision, lovingkindness, and a more wonderful future than I can even imagine!
As I wholeheartedly celebrate my daughters' lives, current and pending marriages, and our family's God-ordained future, I'll take Ephesians 3:20a to heart: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" and remember the assurance of Jeremiah 29:11, that God has a future planned for me, for my husband, my children, and for you too, fellow believer!

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