A great invention, those strings that sew shut bags of animal feed! For years I have fumbled my way from one end of the seam to the other, trying to find the magical string among the bundle that will, with one quick tug, untangle the stitch all the way across the top of the bag. But it has to be the RIGHT string; no other will work. And then, voila, the bag is open and the contents are available.
In writing the story of the farm, I feel like I am opening that feed sack once again. How to find the right string? How do I untie this story so that the contents will be available to the reader in quality and quantity?
So many ideas have crossed my mind as I go from the front, to the middle, to the end of the story of life here on Kitten Creek Road. Should I start with the people? Should I start with the plan? What about the memorable events that have brought joy and life changes? Or the special landscape, buildings and spots that have been the backdrop for all of the life that has gone on here in this little part of the world?
There must be the perfect string that will begin the story so that it will all tumble out in a nice orderly and captivating story, just the way God revealed Himself: not all at once, not immediately evident, yet sometimes startlingly evident.
Sometimes there are epiphanies. I may be standing at the kitchen window of our new house. Across the gravel road I see my two grandsons gleefully sledding down the hill on the white snow away from the farm house, barreling toward the gravel road. I hold my breath as they come to a safe halt. It was only a blink away when my own children were sledding down that same hill. And watching, I recognize the over-arching plan of my Father, as He allows me to see the same scene repeated in the next generation. God did this.
Or, I may be standing among the large group of costumed cast as we meet at the foot of the cross and my son leads in the devotions before we begin the evening event of Bethlehem Revisited. Tears well up in my eyes as I look around at the joy on the faces of those who will soon be at their appointed spots, and the program will begin. I remember the early days when it was just a family and neighbor event around a couple bales of hay. Today, BR, as we have grown to call it, is a walk-through, forty-five minute guided tour of the prophecy, life, death, and resurrection of the Christ Jesus. We have grown to about two thousand who come the first weekend of December to experience this. As I look around the crowd I see, scattered among the many, my daughter and her husband (who oversees the tech crew); most of my grandchildren in various rolls; my son, Dan, who so reverently and prayerfully writes the script and directs the cast; and my dear husband who is the networker and community relations guy. And God did this.
God is the string that unties the story and allows all of the goodness, the surprises, the twists and turns of lives lived here on Kitten Creek to be turned into something beautiful. There was a time early in the first year on the farm when we needed some kind of assurance from God that we were on the right track, that we had actually heard Him and were not pursuing our own folly. God gave us a well story, the story of a well gone dry. The verses he gave us were in Isaiah 41:17-20. These verses quieted our hearts, assured our steps, and pointed to the reason for his blessing: “That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
So . . . in writing this story we will begin pulling the string that tells of the well that went dry.