Isn’t it amazing how two little words can brighten your day? Last Saturday, after a discouraging week in which my youngest son came down with a sinus infection for the sixth time in six months and the doctor and I discussed having his tonsils removed, my family was scheduled to have a picnic on the mountains near us and take some pictures. We had a really awesome photographer lined up (the same one who took my author pic in The Matchup) and were excited to go. Why would we be so stoked about a simple day trip? Well, it isn’t so simple. Because of health reasons, I haven’t been able to drive up on Mt. Graham very often in the past few years.
But we decided to drive up about halfway where the scenery is still nice and the weather is slightly cooler than the little valley we live in, snap a few pictures of the fam, and perhaps even hand-pick some apples at the Angles Apple Orchard while we were there.
As I was putting the finishing touches on my girls’ hair and gathering shoes for the little ones, my photographer, Katie, texted and said her husband had been on the mountain just a short while ago and it was raining. I looked out my bedroom window and, sure enough, she was right. A monstrous monsoon storm cloud hung over the entire mountain. It hadn’t been there even an hour beforehand. We watched the cloud carefully, hoping for some divine intervention. Instead, the storm cloud moved into our little valley and thoroughly drenched it! The storm came and went all in an hour’s time and ta-da! Blue skies again! But our plans were ruined.
That evening, I was feeling down about our wasted efforts. I had wanted this so badly, not only because it had been such a very long time since we’d had any professional family pictures taken but because my birthday’s coming up and this was what I wanted as a gift. My husband isn’t terribly fond of pictures but he was willing to do that for me. And when our plans fell through, he was genuinely sorry.
Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize this as a gift in itself and wallowed in my despondency. Later that night, after talking the day over with Rob and feeling marginally better, I happened to log onto Amazon and find a brand new review of The Matchup by a woman who said, “Really good”. That’s it. That was her entire review. And I thank her for it!
But it gets better. I then looked up my first book, Pierced by Love, and saw a review from the same woman. Again, her review contained only two words: “Great book” with a side note about how she’s read it out of order but it didn’t matter. I was astounded. These two reviews were the first and only reviews I’ve received on my books over the course of this summer after heavily advertising them. And they came on a day when I really needed them, when I needed to know that my efforts are not wasted but used for purposes other than our own, and that sometimes blessings are delayed but never withheld.
I know this was not a coincidence but rather a tender mercy from the Lord. He knows our hearts. He knows when we are downtrodden and discouraged. He knows when we need His help. Most of the time, He waits until we ask Him. But every once in a while, He sends His comfort just for us in the one moment when we really need it.
I continue to be in awe by all that He does. That wonderful hymn we sing on Sundays, “I Stand All Amazed,” keeps floating through my head at all of the many tender mercies that come my way, especially when I look for them. Another favorite hymn, “I Know that My redeemer Lives,” comes to mind. I love the simple yet profound testimony of that song!
Because He truly does comfort me when I am faint. And He will comfort you, too. Know that your efforts aren’t wasted. He loves and cares about each one of us. And I am indebted to Him for His tender mercies.