Strength for Today & Bright Hope for Tomorrow

  • By Brenda Buckingham
  • 18 Sep, 2012
One of my favorite hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness, has the words “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”  I always enjoy singing this song and the peaceful feeling that comes with proclaiming those words.  But I wonder, do I truly live as though I believe those words?

Over the course of our nearly 22 years of marriage, we have had some big challenges and some times where our faith was shaken.  In the early years, there were countless nights I would stay awake at night wondering how we would pay the bills before our electricity or gas was shut off.  But God always saw us through.  There was my little Dillon, not even two years old at the time, thought to have neuroblastoma, a nearly always fatal type of cancer.  But God saw us through and we believe did a miraculous healing on Dillon.  Over the next two decades, financial issues continued, it seemed all vehicles and appliances broke down if we even dared to look at them, I developed very severe sinus issues that led to countless sinus infections, many bouts with pneumonia and two sinus surgeries.  The same summer as I had my two sinus surgeries I also had a ladder collapse from under me while picking cherries at a nearby orchard, leaving me terribly bruised and sore and giving me a concussion and shattered cheekbone that required yet another surgery.  

With three young sons, we dealt with everything from skinned knees to broken hearts.  The pains of watching one be teased or bullied and the frustration of seeing one of them not heed our warnings or discipline.  We have seen them make choices we have hated and endure pain we would do anything to take away.

My Dad in his 20s . . . with his beloved  1947 Plymouth!
My Parents the summer before they got married
 . . . Mom is already raiding Dad’s billfold!

As I write this, our truck is broken down . . . it has been since June.  In June we spent $1000 replacing the fuel pump, redoing spark plugs, and I am not sure what all else, but after all that, it was still not drivable.  We now need a new transmission and apparently there are additional “issues” with it as well.  The truck has nearly 200,000 miles on it, so it is hard to want to invest the amount of money it will take to fix it, and yet replacing it will also be expensive.  So for now, it has become the large red elephant that takes up real estate on our driveway each day.  Because of this, I drive my husband to work each day.  He has to be at work very early as a paramedic supervisor, so my days start at 5 am each morning.  Our dishwasher does not work, which is something I have adjusted quite nicely to . . . especially when the boys do the dishes!  LOL!  The overhead light in our kitchen just “stopped” working one day.  An electrician friend of ours thinks we need to replace a junction box and rewire most of the kitchen.  The shower in  our master bathroom is now down to a trickle and no longer usable.  Ron believes the pipes are full of iron deposits and sediment, something we found lots of when we re-plumbed much of the basement after the flood.  We are noticing the shower in the main bathroom, the only one we are all able to use, is now decreasing in it’s flow as well, meaning it too is probably filled with iron deposits.  The lights in our laundry room and an outdoor flood light only work “occasionally” giving us reason to believe there is yet more wiring issues.

The old refrigerator that came with the house, doesn’t stay shut and it is very tiny for a family of five.  I shove our garbage can against the door to keep it shut.  The interior light “dangles” as it’s casing seems to be broken and anything that goes too far in the back of the refrigerator freezes.  Our friends gave us their old refrigerator when they moved.  While it is about 20 years old, it is very deluxe and very large.  But, because we have the old original 1898 doors, they are very narrow and we can’t fit the frig through the door, so it remains in our shop.  These old doors are very drafty and need to be replaced as well and hopefully enlarged at the time so we can fit the frig through the door.  Upstairs, are two old original windows.  They do not stay shut and are very drafty and cold.  They too need replaced.  We get a lot of wind here on the prairie.  I am not talking sweet, blow the wind chimes type of wind, but rather the type of wind that removes large tree branches from our old trees, makes adirondack chairs fly through the air like they are styrofoam, and makes our roofing come off in large chunks.  After a “good” wind storm, Ron and I can often be found out in the wheat fields, searching for roofing to re-nail to the roof.  This roofing was applied very poorly with staples and the prairie winds simply tear it away from the staples every time they blow.  Our roof is another project that needs to be dealt with, but it too, has become our pet elephant.

Our boys are all at cross roads.  At 20, 19 and 17 the world is their oyster.  We see them make some great decisions and we rejoice. Then we are heartbroken over decisions that we see that are not what we want for them.  We pray for them to each grow up to be Godly men, men of purpose and honor.  I stay awake at nights, pray often and worry more than I should.  

The hard times financially have taught me so many things . . . through these times I have learned about stewardship and the importance of it.  I have learned to be content with less and realize that things such as dishwashers truly aren’t “needs”.  I have learned to work hard, to try hard and to stretch a dollar farther than I ever knew it could stretch.  I know how to make do with very little and turn trash into treasure.  It has caused me to be creative and resourceful.  It has made me see that the true blessings of life have very little to do with our finances.

When my tiny little boy was thought to have a deadly illness, I rested in God.  I was not able to bring myself to the place of praying “whatever your will.”  I could not pray that prayer, fearing God’s will might be to take him from me.  But I could just rest in God and let my wonderful friends and family surround us with prayer.  God knew I needed to just rest in him.  I wasn’t able to be a warrior at that moment and that was okay.  Instead, I was His little girl and during those three weeks of waiting, I spent many hours curled up in the arms of my Daddy God.  God saw us through this and granted us the miracle of healing.  We believe he truly was healed . . . we had many Godly people praying fervently over us and our sweet little boy . . . and his severe symptoms simply “disappeared.”  When the results came back three weeks later, we knew this was just confirming that the God we serve truly is the Great Physician.  I have often wondered what I would have done . . . how I would have responded . . . had God not chosen to heal Dillon.  I will not pretend I would not have went through anger and confusion.  I would have . . . I would have doubted and feared.  I might have even yelled at God.  But I know, in the end, this would have been the life God gave me to love . . . and in the end, I would have . . . even through the tears.
My Daddy breaks my heart.  No longer is he a strong independent man.  He is frail and unstable.  He is easily set off balance and his depth perception is off, making him think curbs and steps are bigger and steeper than they are.  He gets confused and forgets details.  I see the frustration in his eyes and it makes me so sad.  I see the heartbreak of my Mom, who has been my Daddy’s soul mate and best friend for almost 55 years.  She loves him with all her heart and would do anything to give him back his independence and confidence.  My Dad was a great artist, painting beautiful landscapes and supporting his family for many years as a commercial artist.  Now, he can hardly scrawl his name and has given my Mom power of attorney to sign all documents.  It is easy to question “why” . . . to ask God why my Dad can’t just live a full and productive life until He sees fit to bring him home to heaven.  But I already know.  I need to just love my life . . . and love my Daddy’s life.  This path, though not what we would have chosen, is the very path God has always known my Dad’s life would take.  From the beginning of time, God knew my Dad would be where he is today.  Perhaps it is to help Dad lean more on God, knowing he can’t do it alone.  Perhaps it is so my Mom will lean more on Him and will focus these last years on cherishing the blessings God has given her.  Perhaps it was so I can slow down and take time with my parents, shopping with them each week and getting to visit them and be reminded how important they truly are to me.
As for the elephants we seem to be caring for . . . our broken down truck, flying roofing and iron clogged plumbing, we are learning the gift of waiting.  Waiting to hear what God wants us to do.  Waiting to see what God will provide, waiting to see what is a need and what is a want.  I love the song Casting Crowns sings,
 “I’m waiting, I’m waiting on you Lord,
And I am hopeful, I’m waiting on you Lord
though it is painful, but patiently I will wait.

I will move ahead, bold and confident.
Taking every step in obedience.

While I’m waiting, I will serve you.
While I’m waiting,  I will worship.
While I’m waiting, I will not faint.
I’ll be running the race even while I wait.

I’m waiting, I’m waiting on you Lord, 
And I am peaceful, I’m waiting on you Lord
though it’s not easy, but faithfully I will wait.
Yes I will wait . . . 

I will move ahead, bold and confident.
Taking every step in obedience.

While I’m waiting, I will serve you.
While I’m waiting,  I will worship.
While I’m waiting, I will not faint.
I’ll be running the race even while I wait.”

Did you know that the word “Amen” means “Let it be so”?  So today I prayed that I would truly learn to lean on and seek God more, as He uses life’s heart aches and struggles to grow me.  Let it be so!

Darling, today you may be sad, angry or overwhelmed with you life.  You may be asking “why” and not understanding why life has to be so hard.  Choose today to love this life . . . this terribly imperfect, not what we would have asked for life.  It is the life that God has given you . . . a life you can choose to use to honor Him with and to show others what it truly means to trust fully in God.  A life “given over” and laid down at the cross.  A life filled with heartache and pain, but a life that, because of that heartache and pain, is also filled with hope and a future. Thank God for the life I get to lead!
With Hugs & Blessings,

P.S. . . . We will be having a “Happy Fall Y’all” Sale here at Past Blessings Farm on Friday, October 12th and Saturday, October 13th from 9 to 5.

My shop is absolutely stuffed to the gills with primitives, antiques, hand painted furniture and more.  And, I might be a bit prejudice, but there is hardly anywhere prettier in the autumn than Past Blessings Farm!  Don’t miss it! 


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