by C. Harmon
Three small cubs scrambled near mama bear on a mountain ridge. A curious cub suddenly raced down to a meadow where he inspected every flower and rock. He paused to look for his family, but he didn’t see them. He searched for them, but they were missing! Frightened and alone, the little guy hollered, “Mama, Mama!”
His mother and siblings waited on the ridge, but the forlorn cub didn’t look up. His calls grew louder. Mama huffed at him and descended the hill, but he couldn’t hear her over his cries. He finally caught sight of his family group and dashed to rejoin them. Mama didn’t cuff her impetuous cub; she just turned and ambled up the hill. All three cubs bounded after her.
Sometimes we launch into a relationship or a project without first looking to God for His guidance. Or perhaps we seek God’s guidance but still make a hasty decision. Nine years ago, I did the latter. Within a three-month period, I retired from working outside the home, remarried, and moved to an isolated spot in another state. What followed was a lengthy period of adjustment. Sometimes I felt like a wandering cub.
I had been a widow for eight years and was lonely. For over a year I’d been praying for the Lord to lead me to a new husband. I discovered e-Harmony, an online spouse search site. A few months later, Joe and I met and eventually moved from the protected e-Harmony connection to e-mail; within about six weeks, he drove to meet me. Several months later we received pre-marital counseling from a retired pastor and then were married in a lovely outdoor ceremony.
Leaving behind all my immediate family members and some friends, we drove the eighteen hours to Joe’s retirement home to begin a new chapter of our lives. I was crazy in love and ready for a new adventure, but I had not anticipated missing friends and relatives so much. Eventually I accepted the reality that visits with them would come about only annually, at best. I rely on phone calls, e-mail, texting, and Facebook to keep in touch. In time, I made wonderful new friends at the church Joe and I joined.
I had moved from the moist, green Willamette Valley of Oregon to the dry climate of eastern Idaho. The brown, steep mountains during the summer and the cold temperatures and snowy roads in the winter were not to my liking. To my delight, however, the spring rains turn those mountains a refreshing green. The mountain meadows are adorned in carpets of colorful wild flowers; I press many of them to make pressed flower pictures for gifts and home décor. The spring, summer, and fall seasons are mostly mild and pleasant, making the cold winters more bearable. I discovered that those snowy roads give me an excuse to stay in my cozy home, working on projects; I am satisfied to let Joe drive me to town occasionally. Our house is miles from a small town and hours from a shopping center or large retail store. Twice a year we drive to “the big city” to shop; most of my purchasing is done locally or online. Living near a two-traffic-light town is just fine with me.
Like most new marriages, ours required some adjustments, including compromises, self-examination, and asking God to help us put the other first and understand that point of view. I grew to appreciate the differences that make us stronger as a couple, such as Joe’s skill at math and mine at remembering names. I’ve also found great benefit in looking for the good in him and others, praising more than criticizing.
I have heard it said that periods of transition create abnormal phases in our lives, and we’re wise to recognize that this abnormality is only temporary. Fortunately, God has given us tremendous ability to adjust to changes, establish new patterns, and move on. Such has been the case for me, regardless of my three major transitions back to back.
Close friendships with a few women and my husband’s dedication to the Lord have encouraged and challenged me to continue to grow in my walk with Jesus. I’ve also had the time to spend an hour a day in Bible study and prayer, learning new truths and finding fresh joy and strength in the Lord.
I joined others to start a local pregnancy support center. I’ve found working there gratifying, as well as helping at the Salt Mountain Pastoral Retreat, and serving in our church’s women’s ministry. I began writing devotionals for publication and joined an online critique group. From each critique of my writing I gain tips and techniques that make me a better writer.
I’m so thankful that our Father knows what is best for us. He provides wisdom from the Scriptures and godly friends. Kind of like that little cub, when I looked up to God, I found Him waiting to lead me deeper in this Christian walk. He overlooked my impetuousness and is further developing my trust and dependence upon Him. I rejoice that God continues working all things together for my good, including expanding my service for Him during my senior years.
Photo Credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie
Scripture Addition: New Living Testament