Momma’s sniffles could be heard through the phone, “I don’t know how we’re going to make it through this, your Daddy kept me up all night…” She coughed. “only through God.” I could hear Daddy heaving in the background. “I gotta go. Your Daddy needs me.”
I’d infected them during Christmas, and now it was January 7th and they were still sick. I booked a flight home, arriving on the 8th.
It was an exhausting week, running between the two of them, awakening in the wee hours, preparing meals, and taking care of their pets. One night, I sobbed in the shower, pleading for my Daddy’s life as he laid limp across the bed staring as if defeated.
By the evening of Friday, the 14th, the coughs quieted, Momma puttered around in the kitchen, and I knew I could safely go home.
God had spared them.
Praying for His Favor:
I slumped in my aisle seat on the plane at the Norfolk airport.
“Lord, if you could give me a gift tonight, please keep the seat next to me empty.” I prayed silently. I just didn’t want to be elbow-to-elbow with anyone. I needed space before returning home to my own children’s needs.
I buckled my seatbelt while passengers shuffled down the aisle checking their seat assignments, bypassing my row, until suddenly a shorter gentleman stopped.
“I am here.” He said in a thick French accent pointing to the seat beside me.
The middle one.
The seat I prayed about.
“Oh, Okay.” I unlatched, got up, and let him in. The window seat remained empty.
I sighed. Oh well. Maybe it was too much to ask, I thought with a bit of sarcasm.
The seats filled up one by one, and the last of the passengers meandered down the aisle. My seatbelt hung open, knowing I’d have to jump up any second, as there weren’t many seats left.
Then the last passenger passed us by, and the flight attendant closed the door. The Frenchman glanced over at me and shrugged before sliding over by the window. “Give us a little more room.”
I smiled back. “Thanks.”
I imagine God winked and said, “Gotcha!”
Recognizing His Favor:
This is a tiny example, of many I could give, when I’ve felt His love for me in something as small as an empty seat, and oftentimes when I least deserve it. We tend to shuffle through life not recognizing His favor. Part of living an abundant life is living in full spiritual awareness of His presence and His grace.
When is the last time you recognized His love in the small things? Sometimes, we can’t see the beautiful forest for the ugly trees.
While caring for my parents through Covid. Momma asked my brother Brandon every day to fill her bird feeders with seed.
“The birds aren’t gonna die Momma,” I said rolling my eyes.
“I enjoy watching them, and they need their seed.”
She turned to look out the window, the feeders still half-full. The sun shimmered through her silver strands, no longer the dark mahogany of her youth. I remembered her… my young momma, keeping up the house….
Seeing the Forest Beyond the Trees:
“Come Momma!” I tugged on her arm.
“I can’t Tammy. I have things to do.”
“But you have to see this.”
She put her hands on her hips, looking down at me.
“Please Momma,” I pleaded.
She set down her dust cloth and grabbed her coat and boots.
My siblings and I had been playing deep in the woods for months, and she had yet to see our playground. We feared she’d scold us for wandering too deep into the forest. Now that autumn had arrived and painted the leaves bright oranges, reds, and yellows, I wanted her to witness the magic of our wonderland.
I pulled her through the wall of trees in our backyard, lifted the briars for her to pass under, helped her jump across the creek, and dragged her up the large hill that provided the best view of the creek, pond, and clearing below.
From the top, I swept my arm across the landscape. “See?”
“Wow! This is where you play? No wonder it takes a while for you guys to show up for supper.”
“There’s the pond. It has crawl daddies. We wade in it.” I tugged her arm. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
“No. Wait. Just a minute.” She knelt, and laid her belly on the leaf carpet, resting her chin on her fists. I did the same. We laid side by side not caring our jackets were soaked by the dampness. We quietly watched the leaves drift like mini parachutes in the breeze before landing softly on the forest floor.
“Isn’t God wonderful?” Momma broke the silence. “He’s so good. Thank you, Lord, for giving this gift to my children.” She turned to me. A strand of long dark hair slipped out of the handkerchief she’d tied around her head. “He must really love you to give you such a place.”
The thought made my cheeks warm. “Yeah, He does.”
“It’s important to always take time to see it,” she said. She took in a deep breath of sweet woodsy air. “Thank you for bringing me here.”
I smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“Whelp,” she hopped to her feet and brushed off her clothes. “Show me these ‘crawl daddies.’”
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or perception, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” Romans 8: 35 and 38-39 (ESV)
God’s Unmerited Favor
With the chaos around the world, the isolation, illness, loss of loved ones, and anxiety, it’s become more important to recognize the good things….no matter how small they are, that point to a loving Father. The small gifts that reveal God’s grace. God’s unmerited favor, sprinkled like manna throughout our day.
Daddy’s joy in watching the snow fall.
The red bird that lands on the bird feeder.
The sun that finally shines.
A yellow bloom sprouting on an awakened tree.
A girl’s giggle while dancing with her father.
A subsided cough.
These are a few of mine lately.
What are some things in your life that indicate God’s love for you? If we don’t remember to take the time to see them, we may forget His presence in the difficult seasons.
Spend some time today thanking Him for His love and for those little things that show His big love for us.
Even if it’s just a place to put your elbow.
Till next time…
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House and the host of the new podcast series Abiding in the Vine: Hearing the Voice of God. When she is not writing or taping, Tammy loves to spend time with her husband, Jay and four children, and painting in her studio. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida.