by Leslee Clark
It is 7:03 AM.
I hear a little knock on my door.
I lie still, hoping my silence will be a deterrent to the three year-old on the other side.
“Blella? Blella, are you up?” comes the little voice through the door.
So it is, that my first choice of the day is before me — to open or not?
I pause, not quite ready to get out of bed, not yet ready to begin my day.
However, the little boy on the other side of the door is ready! Just before his arrival, he had been in his bed all night. After waking up, he had looked toward the dresser where his clock sits, waiting for it to post 7:00 in green highlighting. Once he’d spotted it, he had called, “Mama!! Mama!!” Then, he had been retrieved from his bed to be released into the day. His first stop was outside my door, ready to go, to start the day, inviting me to join him…
Hmmm….I am just not so ready.
Not so sure that I have seen my “green light” turn on yet.
While that is not the typical way I begin my day, it has happened many times, and especially in the early days, just after my arrival to the Clark home on July 11, 2016.
You see, before that time, I had spent the better part of two years abroad, working, ministering, traveling, adventuring—
with very few children.
With many adults.
In beautiful places.
Starting my day when I was ready…
So, waking up in Huntsville, Alabama, in the middle of the sauna-like summer, to the coaxing voice of my grandson, well, that had just not been part of my recent experience.
My recent experience had included wonderful reminders of how to not get in the way of what God is up to.
You see, trying to be the Holy Spirit just hadn’t been a very successful venture for me. Sure, I could see the problems, I had ideas of how to fix them, I had plans, I had…
Well, never mind what I had. Because instead of my wisdom, instead of my plans coming together, there was this repetitive cycle of them being smashed and dashed and befuddled.
Yep. And as I stood there, repeatedly, in shock and awe, it became clear that the Lord had other things in mind and that those were the things that were happening. They were the things that would be accomplished.
So, instead of my plan, in 2014, to head off on my own to Asia to teach English, the Holy Spirit had other ideas. Instead, He orchestrated an incredible set of circumstances that culminated in two of my four children heading off to South Africa with me, where we would live on the same YWAM base.
“Huh?! Where did that even come from ?!” was what I found myself saying in wonder, on many occasions. My wonder, my amazement, was because of what had happened in that sweet season; for surprises had awaited us, in our preparation to depart, as well as in our time in Worcester, South Africa. Stuartt (19), Laurrel (21) and I were given abundant opportunities for redemption in ways that I could not have anticipated, imagined, or created. Indeed, I had recognized the brokenness, the woundedness, that made up the strained relationships of our family, but that was about as far as it went.
My plan was to go solo, to travel and teach abroad, so that trying to address such messiness–let alone working through it and experiencing healing–had not even been on my radar.
However, something different happened. I took steps into an unknown territory, a place that said, “OK, Lord, I will follow you, just help me be ready for what is next…” When I did that, I was able to see something new. I was able to see how very gracious, how very creative our loving Father God is, and that He doesn’t use us, but he invites us to join in what he is up to. Whoa!
When we ignore that invitation, of course He is still at work, but we are the ones that miss out. We miss out on being amazed, on living in wonder. And before long, life like that can become very hard, very fast: we lose heart. But when, instead, we are intentional about walking with eyes open to what is happening all around us, about seeing that God is in the now, about recognizing that He is up to things all the time — well now, that is adventure as I see it!
Does that happen in the middle of a place that is not beautiful? In a place that is hot and humid, hectic and full of ugly, noisy traffic? In a place where I have yet to discover real charm, or delight to the eye? Or how about in a little house, with morning traffic all heading toward the one bathroom?
Ahh, now that is the question, isn’t it?
Because if looking for what God is up to, if walking in wonder with him, only works in the beautiful, only in the peaceful, only in places where I can be around people like me, well then, I will certainly not be adventuring for long…
I stretch, take a deep breath and call in reply,
“Good morning, Charles!”
Leslee Clark travels the globe with a keen eye for wonder and delight. She is the mother of four adult children and two grandchildren who affectionately call her “Abuela” in honor of her paternal hispanic heritage. She launches in 2017 from Alabama to Taiwan unless God leads her in another unexpected direction. No matter, she is sure to find delight!
(Photos courtesy of Stephanie Casto Clark)