Joyce Suttin is a retired teacher, writer, and frequent contributor to Activated magazine. She lives in San Antonio Texas with her husband and has an on-line ministry excerpting, editing, and writing inspirational material. Check out her blog.
Recently, I was reviewing my past, thinking about choices I made, and I began to blame others for how some things had turned out. I blamed my parents for the decisions they made that affected my childhood. I blamed my school for the insecurities I felt, and how I never felt I was perfect enough to succeed in various areas. I blamed my church for attitudes I had about God that affected my relationship with Him.
It had been a rough few months in the spring of 1972. I desperately wanted a baby, a little one to hold in my arms, to call my own. Twice I had miscarried, and I held these disappointments up before God, shaking them in His face and saying, See what You did when I trusted You to answer my prayer? I just couldn’t move on.
Today I saw a leaf suspended in the air, dancing in the wind and twirling, but not falling. I stopped and watched it for a moment, amazed and a bit confused, until I looked closely and saw a tiny, nearly invisible thread of a spider’s web that attached the leaf to the branch above. Then it all made sense and I could walk on, realizing that it was an amazing feat of nature that the tiny wisp of a thread could support a leaf while the wind wildly spun it around.
I recently saw a ketchup ad for a famous brand that showed ketchup pouring out of a bottle very slowly, accompanied by the song “At Last.” It reminded me of being a child and waiting for ketchup to pour out on my hamburger agonizingly slowly.
I met my friend Laura when I was 13 years old, when a neighbor brought her to our house. We exchanged home phone numbers and very quickly became best friends. Having a best friend was a new experience for me. I was thrilled that someone wanted to be my friend—not a family friend or my older sisters’ friend or somebody I knew from church or school, but someone I could call and talk with and spend time with on the weekends.
When my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, I wasn’t worried, I was angry. For weeks, I held it in, but finally, I literally raised my fist at God and told Him off. “You failed me!” was the gist of it.
Later, I realized I was already a couple of days pregnant when I had ranted. Holding a beautiful baby boy in my arms nine months later, I laughed at myself and my misguided words. I also asked God for forgiveness.
I have such a clear memory of it. I woke up early on a summer morning and looked outside to see only white. I rubbed my eyes, thinking there was something wrong with them, then decided to explore. I stepped out onto the porch and down the steps and was amazed to feel like I was in the middle of a cloud. I walked a few feet and spun around, then I realized that I didn’t know where I was. I was only steps from the porch, but I didn’t know which way it lay.
He lay covered in white hospital sheets, hooked up to a tangle of tubes and wires. As I approached, I barely recognized him—the pasty skin, the sunken cheeks—but when he opened his eyes and smiled at me, it was all I could do to keep from jumping into his arms like I always had. Grandpa, whom I loved more than anyone else in the whole world, had had a serious heart attack.
I love tending my garden, but I have a problem sometimes with flowers. I love to buy a few each spring and enjoy them through the long summer days, tending them and watering them and admiring their beauty. I just have a hard time letting go of them as they begin to turn yellow and die.
There are some verses I’ve had a very difficult time with. One of them is “Pray continually.”1 That verse is often on my mind, and I’ve learned how important it is to pray. I pray a lot, but I don’t pray continually, so I’ve often felt guilty about not praying enough.