It’s The Little Things

Jane Kirkpatrick, a favorite author of mine, shared these thoughts in her newsletter this month. This photo Lance took of an incredible Iowa sunset as he drove home from visiting me seems to fit the concept Jane addresses.

I too, have experienced some signs of God’s steadfast love through the situation I’m in right now. They don’t have to be huge…what we often call God-winks.

Adapted from Jane Kirkpatrick:

Theologian Frederick Buechner tells the story of a time when he was most discouraged, maybe even despairing, certainly his faith was on a cliff’s edge. His daughter was gravely ill. He was going through other challenges and he’d taken a drive on a rural road and pulled over at a crossroads to pray.

“Give me a word,” he asked. “Some sort of sign that I can hang onto.” After a time, through his tears, he saw a car coming at a great distance. As it came closer and then passed him by he could see the license plate. It was one word. “TRUST.” He held that word to be his sign and let it guide him through the uncertainty and pain. And so it did. Years later he shared that story and a man in the audience came up later to tell him he had been the driver of that car. He worked for a securities and trust company.

It didn’t matter that the “trust” word that helped lift Buechner from his despair wasn’t about faith but about banking. It was the word that Buechner needed to see at that moment. I hadn’t been thinking about a word or a sign when I entered the room where (my husband) was hospitalized for a serious infection. But someone had left a sign beneath the board listing the doctor’s and charge nurses’ names.

Everything is going to be ok.” I like that. 

Did it mean things wouldn’t get rougher? Did it mean treatment would take care of his infection? We weren’t sure, and he ended up having surgery last week. Still, we hang on to that hopeful message.

These linkages may seem a stretch for some, but for me they are gifts of “trust,” small gestures that appear in the universe to remind me that I am not alone, to trust that in the end, everything will be ok.

 If it isn’t ok, well, that means it is not the end.

I hope you discover some of these little gifts of confidence in your daily life too, whether you’ve prayed for that word or just paid attention. Perhaps we can take our signs from the ancient mystics like Dame Julian of Norwich who reminds us that “Our Lord did not say, ‘you shall not be tormented, or troubled or grieved, but that ‘you shall not be overcome.’” I’m trusting in that.

16 thoughts on “It’s The Little Things

  1. So true. God has surrounded us with reminders that He is always there, the creator, savior, comforter, and when we need a most, a message directly to us.
    Hope your husband is doing well.

  2. Ok, have to clarify that this is Jane K’s husband she’s writing about —I’m the one who’s in the hospital here! Sounds like they can use prayer, too.

      • GGDear Dear Gail, Thinking of you every day, and saying a prayer for a complete recovery. I’m so inspired by your story (your friend’s story). One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” But, as humans, we seek for that sign! And when we get it, it gives us courage to take the next step.

        • So true. I know you’ve been through plenty of pain yourself, and I just love that story, as well. Nice to give it some more traction to encourage so many who are hurting right now.

  3. Gail, We know God is in control, so we can trust him to see you through your current situation. Jane reminds us to pay attention. We think of that as listening, but paying attention to what we see–actually absorbing what we see–is equally important. We see birds at our feeders, but do we absorb the vision to the extent of identifying them? Are they robins or are they crows? Do we note the differences in a blue jay and a tiny blue bird? To absorb details of what we see gives us a deeper understanding of God’s gifts to us.

  4. I am sorry to learn you are in the hospital and pray you soon will be strong and well. I remember your visits to my home and I follow your blog regularly, and read your books. I thank you for them. Jane Kirkpatrick is a favorite of mine. I just finished her The Daughters Walk. It was so interesting. I always look for the after remarks about the real life persons she fashions her stories around. Get well soon Gail. Leone

  5. I’m so glad you like Jane’s writing, too. Yes, her stories are unique b/c she bases them on real-life people. The Daughter’s Walk is SO unique…at one point, a conversation there stood out to me so vividly–so applicable to my own life at the time. So I’m quite close to you right now…getting the feel of Osage, which is a good thing. Such a strong hospital staff here!

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