Monday, January 6, 2014

This Cloud of Witnesses

I had occasion today to step out of the mold on my other blog, just rambling on about whatever came to mind.  And you know what?  I enjoyed it.  So much, in fact, that I'm going to try an experiment right here, where you usually find a very brief post with a picture.

I do like matching words with paintings.  Maybe I'll even find an illustration to go along with.... well... with whatever tumbles out as I click away here on a keyboard, determined to make this a ramble of whatever comes to mind.

Which is a scary thought indeed.  I feel like an acrobat performing without a net (note to self:  look for a painting of an acrobat performing without a net).  

Let's see.  It's cold here today.  Very.  The snow that fell overnight sits right where it landed; it isn't going anywhere at these temperatures.  Nor am I, for I don't go out much anymore in snow.  I had to drive through it, however, back when my children needed rides home from school.

It was during one such drive when God let me know (again) that He loved me.  Inching my vehicle through a sudden snowstorm, I panicked when the car's back started to fishtail.  I panicked anew as I watched a school bus skid through a stop sign and spin totally around in the intersection.  

I had a small child waiting for me eight miles from my home, but could I reach him safely?  My toddler, meanwhile, sat beside me, humming happily.  In those days, little ones could ride in the front seat with Mommy, in regular seat belts.  And in those days, cell phones were far in the future. 

Totally lacking in driving-confidence, I was pretty hopeless in snow.  But my husband drove in anything - he could make it through a storm like this.  He'd have to leave work to help us out, but that would be better than my plowing our little ones into a tree.  Realizing I needed his help, I pulled (slid) into the parking lot of a pizza restaurant.  Only to see, in the window, a sign.

"Restrooms for customers only.  No public telephone."

I did what any sensible "me" would do under the circumstances.  I sat in the car and cried.

And then I felt guilty about crying, and hopelessly un-adult, and most of all lacking in faith.  I mean, I trusted in God, I knew I did, and I believed He was watching out for us, and He could get us through anything, and this was just snow after all.  It wasn't a famine.

But I was a failure.  I was, I just knew it.  I didn't have enough confidence to keep on driving.  I felt I was failing my children, myself, my husband, my God.

My tears turned out to be an asset when I finally slogged into the restaurant with a three year old in tow.  I was allowed to use the non-public phone and then go back to the car to wait for my husband to round up us all.  As my toddler ("Frankie") sat oblivious to my lovely pity party, he continued humming, thankfully unconcerned.  

I, meanwhile, was praying.  Not aloud - this was happening inside my heart, where I was apologizing to God for not having enough faith to keep on driving, and where I was feeling embarrassed, and even secretly asking God how (if) He could possibly love a scaredy cat like me.

"Mommy?"  Frankie's little voice interrupted my silent confession.  "Mommy, Jesus loves me!"

Yes, He indeed did, I said to my little one (who'd been humming "Jesus Loves Me" all this time).

"And Mommy," Frankie continued, this time with emphasis. "Jesus loves YOU, too!"

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes.

It is now years later, and I have made my peace with snow.  And with the truth that God loves me, even if I can't make myself drive when the weather is bad.    

And notice the painting I found to go with this ramble.  There the lady stands, perched atop the high wire, which obviously isn't all that high.  One stumble and she'd be in the arms of the people all around her. 

One stumble, and I find God's love waiting for me.

I need not fear reaching even for so marvelous a goal as holiness, for all around me are the saints of God.

"Since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead."  (Hebrews 12:1)

Painting:  Forain, The Tightrope Walker 


  1. this is so vividly raw and real that I am in tears; it touches my deepest soul, my deepest desire to be in God, to live in the middle of that cloud of witnesses- wonderful

    1. Melanie, thank you. "You started it," as you kindly passed along the sunshine award and I rambled on the other blog. I've been feeling like "journaling" into this blog more often; it felt like a direction (in addition to quotes and pics) for the new year. Thanks to you, I tippy- toed out onto that wire, and this dear memory came right out. Thanks for starting it - it felt good to remember!

    2. This was so vivid in my head not a lot of writers can do that for me it touch my heart too.

  2. Oh my! Please ramble more often without a safety net, Nancy! You are a wonderful story teller. Sometimes we are led where we wouldn't think to go by just setting out and writing whatever comes to mind. Anyway, I did enjoy this story immensely.

    It is always helpful to see the wonderful words of the saints on your blog, together with a magnificent image. It is just as good (would it be right to say even better?) to see your own words because you are here right now, sharing this experience with us. Your stories have the personal touch.

    "I need not fear reaching even for so marvelous a goal as holiness, for all around me are the saints of God."

    It's been a very long time since I last saw proper snow (more than 30 years!) I hope you're keeping warm!

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! I might just ramble a bit more often, on one blog or another. (depending on available time :))

  3. I loved this "daring" approach here! And what an amazing story to pass along. Have a blessed week, Nancy!

    1. Thank you, Patty! Yep, I'm pretty daring these days..... :)

  4. Thank you for remembering here that little "God moment" in your life. I, for one, need to read again of His presence to those who love Him, and even those who forget. They speak of the "dark night of the soul" occurring to those strong of faith, but not all of us are as strong.

    1. I was surprised and pleased when that God moment popped right back into my head. Which it most likely did because I was glad I didn't have to get out and drive (I used to fret about it all winter long when my children were in school). I felt anything but strong back then, but that God moment was a genuine turning point. I actually stopped feeling so guilty about after that about my "snowphobia"!!

      Thanks so much. I'm glad you stopped by!

  5. A very thought-provoking post. Thanx Nancy. When we least know it, God is always there for us.

    God bless.

  6. Wow, Nancy! I loved your "ramble"! If we ask you nicely will you do it again?

  7. Thank you, Mary!! I'd love to do it again, and was planning to do more "rambling" tonight. But it has been a busy, busy, busy day and I am much too wiped out to think. So I spent a bit of time looking for paintings..... and now am falling asleep at the computer! Such is lifezzzzzzzzzz......

  8. Lol ... I'm rather fond of zzz's myself!