Nothing was normal that morning. We were completely out of our routine, and by the time I was ready to leave for our 8:30am appointment to walk-through our newly framed house, my husband had already allowed the children to run down to the bus stop. Somehow, I did not receive the text or voicemail that I normally get from the school district notifying me of a delay, so while we were touring our, albeit cold, soon-to-be new house, my kids were cold and alone trying to seek shelter in a carboard box house that they had worked together to build and insulate with packing paper on our patio!!!
When I realized the mishap, I was horrified...horrified!! If there was a school delay, then where were my kids??? I rushed home, calling the school on my way. I ran down to our apartment, and, upon seeing their cardboard hut adorned with backpacks and schoolbooks, I smiled for just a moment at their ingenuity.
But they were no where to be seen, so I started calling their names. They came out of the storage area where they had gone to get warmer, and they were crying with relief that I had finally come home. I was so sad for them and all of us collectively, and it just brought all the sad/moving feelings up to the surface all over again!
I really felt awful and beat myself up about my failure of my poor babies, but as I've stepped back from it, I've realized that I think the Lord had a purpose in allowing this situation to transpire. He could have stopped it from happening. He could have warned me, as he has done so many times in the past, but he didn't, and in the process, the children learned many important things.
They learned to survive on their own, to work together in a scary situation that they had not considered previously. They shared their mittens with each other. Scarlett shared her lunch with the other siblings. Guy watched over and kept everyone calm and gathered materials to build the shelters as Autumn read books. They prayed together twice for help and peace. As a result they learned compassion for others, as they now want to give their money to help homeless people! Scarlett shared in her testimony today that she knows that when we pray God won't just leave us alone, He will comfort us: another hard-earned piece of wisdom.
I am so grateful that they were all safe and no one got frost-bite. And I'm sure this was a wake-up call for me also to fill in some holes in our emergency plans which we obviously never updated upon moving (such as giving all of the children keys to our new residence, etc.)
Another thing that helped settle my mind about this situation was an experience that happened the day prior.
I had spoken with a new friend of mine who was pretty devastated that a house they hoped to buy was probably going to fall through because they discovered too many repairs that the seller didn't want to fix. I felt compassion for her. Her growing family is getting too large for their current rental, she is about to give birth, they already told their rental property they were moving, and now the house they wanted isn't going to work out.
As I went home that afternoon, this woman's name kept coming to mind. Even as I baked (for my own enjoyment) her name kept coming up. So I texted her, finally, and offered to take her daughter so she could get some things done (or nap~!) She declined.
I found myself accidentally putting too much sugar in my recipe so I had to double it. I suddenly had more than enough Easter bread to share, so as soon as it came out of the oven, my daughters and I raced across town to deliver some bread to her family. The promptings were even so specific that I was to give her more bread than I was planning.
It wasn't a big deal, but we instantly felt a good feeling when we left her house!
In church, she bore testimony today that she knew the Lord loved her and knew her, because he prompted three women in the ward to reach out to her, even with just a text asking to take her daughter, and that she was so grateful that these women followed those promptings. I knew what she said was true because I had experienced it.
The Lord does know her name. I know this because he whispered it to me over and over again until I got the message. He wanted me (and others) to go show His love for this woman.
Because I know He knows her name, I know that he knows mine. And because I witnessed him making things happen for one of His daughters, I know that he could have easily notified me of my mistake missing the two-hour delay...but he didn't. And it's ok that he didn't. It's just one of those things that happens. Sometimes the Lord saves us from mishaps, sometimes he allows us to experience the hard things, because He knows the end from the beginning. There are reasons we experience hard things. It doesn't mean He loves us any less because he allows us to go through hard, even heartbreaking things.
Quite the opposite. It means that He loves us more.
PS - Here's a little look at the inside of our new house. Two of my sisters were so kind to call and make sure that I was ok after my incident with the kids. My younger sister knew I was upset, but she still took the opportunity to laugh at the irony that while my kids were taking shelter in a little carboard box, we were touring our new home. Well, it was freezing there too because there is no power yet, but still! Funny! So, here's a look at our sun room. I'm excited about the view and look forward to moving in mid-May.