It was June of last year. The kids were both in bed, quietly drifting off to sleep. The sky was turning from hazy gray to black as dusk settled over the street. I sat on the newly carpeted floor of our cozy living room, staring out the huge, single-pane window that overlooked the neighbor’s once farm field. It was filled with trees and tall grasses. I sat alone. My husband, Pat, had already left several weeks ago to begin his new job here in Wisconsin. I stayed back with the kids to show the house, hoping and praying for a quick sale so we could join him and settle into our new lives up north. It was a time of wondering and waiting. Waiting on a buyer. Waiting on a new house to buy. Waiting for God to heal my heart.
As I sat looking out the big window into the dusk of night, my eyes filled with tears. When my husband first approached me with the thought of moving back home, (we were both raised in Wisconsin,) my heart sank. I loved it in Missouri. I loved our little town. I loved the relationships we had built there over the past six years. I loved our church and the way it had stretched and grown us. I loved our house, small as it was. Both of our children had been brought home from the hospital to that house. They had taken their first steps there. And the warmth of Missouri! Oh, I loved the warmth, having been raised in a much colder climate. I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to stay in this place I had grown to love so much.
But yet, God was clearly leading us to a different place, and I was going to have a choice: I could fight it, or I could obey and follow. As much as I wanted to cling to the present, I chose obedience. My walk with the Lord during the time we lived in Missouri had grown enough to teach me that when God calls you, you need to move…. this time, literally. So we prayed for God to open up a door for a job for Pat if he wanted us to move back. Sure enough, that door opened quickly. The next thing I knew, I was packing boxes and temporarily raising two kids on my own while we waited for all the other details to fall into place.
But that night, as I sat staring out the window in the quiet of the evening, my heart was grieving. I had acted in obedience, but my heart was still clinging to the present. I did what I knew God wanted me to do, but I still longed for our lives to stay as they were.
And then I saw them.
The tiny creatures that God uses to brighten up the sky before the dark night settles in, little bearers of light: fireflies. Our family loved watching the fireflies on summer nights. Our daughter, Bella, would often ask us if she could stay up past bedtime and sit on the porch with one of us, anxiously waiting to see the first ones begin to glow. Then we’d run off and catch them, put them in a jar, and watch them up close. After the “show,” we’d set the jar on the porch, lid off, to let them venture back into the night when they were ready. On other nights, Pat and I would watch a hundred little bugs glow from that big living room window, our eyes darting from one spot of the field to the next as they each lit up.
God knew this memory was precious to me, that I would find comfort in it. It brought my heart joy. It was as if he was telling me, “I know how you feel. You’re sad. You’re anxious. You’re waiting for me to act. But keep trusting me, child. I know what’s best for you. Let me be your light and your guide and I promise, I will do amazing things.”
I couldn’t help but smile as the fireflies flickered their light. God knew just what I needed. He heard my heart even when I hadn’t uttered a word. And he sent his love in such a personal way that I can’t call it anything other than a gift from God. It reassured me of his love.
God kept his promise. Today, we live in a wonderful house. There’s a big front porch with a swing that beckons us on summer nights. And if we wait patiently, we see God’s gift here, too. There is comfort is his light. There is peace when our hearts are anxious. There is reassurance of his love.
And there are fireflies.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
In joyful surrender,