The clouds to the north built into black and blue mushrooms. The kids on the playground laughed and squealed. I wondered if we would have to move inside the church a little earlier. The storm looked like a serious one. I mentally counted the kids in my class. They were amazing. I enjoyed teaching them, hearing their thoughts about God, and the powerful connections they had made to the Bible stories and concepts in our class. I breathed in deeply and sighed. Vacation Bible School never fails to nourish my soul. Closing activities would include songs, laughter, and dancing.
Micaela let out a loud cry. I wheeled around. She had fell again. Angry and exhausted, she held her hands to me. I scooped her up. The breeze brought the smell of rain. Adela sprinted to my side.
"Mama, are we going home soon?" Her brown eyes were full of fear and worry. A few years ago she studied natural disasters in school and my smart little girl has never befriended storms. Micaela continued to cry in my arms.
My lips tightened. "There is only half an hour left, Adela. We're fine."
Adela reached up to grab my free hand. "Is there going to be any tornadoes?"
"No," I snapped, and switched Micaela to my other hip.
I stood there, both my girls upset and increasingly melting-down. I have no idea what shifted in my soul, but suddenly I just wanted to put them both in the car and to get away. There was only half an hour left and my responsibilities as a teacher for Vacation Bible School were over for the day. The kids in my class were playing. Other teachers stood and watched and talked.
Micaela tightened her grip on me. I shrugged, "I suppose we could. go. Micaela is so tired." She had got fitted with new orthotics that day and I knew she was especially weary. Perhaps I was, too.
I hated doing it. I entertained a thousand thoughts about what others would think when I left the church early, before the closing exercises and songs, but Micaela still sobbed in my arms and Adela had a death grip on my other arm. Annoyance filled me as I gathered up my things and packed them and the girls into the little red car. Ashamed of my early retreat, I let the church leaders and another teacher know before I set the wheels in the direction of home.
I gazed at those clouds. They loomed ahead of me. The sheets of rain were the deep hue of a night sky and moving toward us. I blinked. My stomach did a little flip. Rain drop began to pelt the windows and I ramped the speed of the wipers up another notch.
By the time we reached our little farm, puddles were beginning to form. The rain soaked our clothes as we sprinted the few feet to the door. It poured for a good hour. It rained so hard here at the farm and the surrounding area that the draw swelled and filled, covering the road until it was impassable. It happened so fast that if I had not come home when I did, I would not have made it home in our little red car.
Wow, God can truly use anything for His purposes. He used the unreasonable melt-downs of my daughters to get me in the car and home. My perfectionistic tendencies make shirking responsibilities very difficult. I want to do everything and do it completely. However, that day, I gave in and gave up, because my daughters' fear and exhaustion.
I have to laugh. God is so creative.
So, the next time I think a situation is a disaster, I am going to remember this day when God used melt-downs to protect me and my family.
When has God surprised you by turning a disaster into an unexpected blessing?
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"...and God was already there with me."