“There is immense power in stillness.” Streams in the Desert
On a quiet Tuesday night at the farm, the setting sun warm-washed the newly white walls of the barn apartment. For my last task, I unwrapped the shelf liner, then stretched my back. Tension released. I felt spent. So much work stacked into one month—between taping a podcast, starting a new adult small group, and having one month to renovate and furnish a three-bedroom/two bath barn apartment on top of my regular work. Ed, the owner of the space, requested an almost impossible deadline—a completed renovation in four weeks.
Adding to my obstacles, container ships drifting at sea held my leather sofa hostage. How many hours spent on the phone arguing with customer service? Too many. I thought if I called every day and let them know I meant business, they’d send a chopper down to rescue my premium leather and air lift it to me.
“A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety.”
Streams in the Desert
“The sofa is scheduled to arrive tomorrow,” they’d said. Forget grace! I held their feet to the fire. “You’re lying now,” I said. “Blatant lies because you’ve said the same thing five days in a row. Am I going to have a sofa on time or not? I have pastors arriving for a retreat in a week, and if I have to point out the obvious, without a place to sit, it’s not a retreat!”
Her nerves shook her voice. “Um…yes ma’am, we are still in the window of possibility.”
Ugh! I hung up. I was tired of hearing the same thing—“window of possibility.” Clearly, they memorized a script.
The Sickness of Anxiety:
I coughed into the crook of my arm. For all my hard work and stress, I’d earned a cold—the first in two years. I cut the shelf liners and laid them in the coffee bar drawers before closing.
It was finished.
I peered out the window. In the horse pasture, the sky reflected its fire over the surface of the pond. A dark silhouette cast his line into the water. It was my friend, who’s helped me on multiple renovation projects. He’d admitted he liked to unwind by the ponds after work. Without him and his crew there would only be a vision and furniture. I watched as he reeled in his empty line, envying him for a moment.
He grabbed his stuff and started up the hill. Seeing me in the window, he waved up.
I waved back.
“Ironically, this place will minister to fishers of men.” I thought. I thanked God for the help, happy to return to Orlando and to the worn keys of my laptop the following morning.
It was then God impressed the following thought.
“Why did you have to get to the end of you before you turned to Me? Your anxiety made you sick.”
I spun around and allowed my eyes to graze over each piece. The cabinets…Home Depot dropped the ball. I waited hours on the phone for someone to track them down several times to no avail. I received the first one a week after ordering, but the others, they finally admitted, were lost.
Cabinets brought me to the end of myself.
I prayed for a little help.
Just as I decided, we’ll hang the old ones back up for this retreat, the phone rang. Less expensive cabinets would be delivered tomorrow from a wholesaler, saving over $300. I didn’t see God’s hand in that at the time. I just moved towards the next barricade—the sofa.
Two days before I was to reveal the apartment to Ed, and Becky, his wife, the sofa still hadn’t arrived. (Ed had kept the whole renovation as a surprise for Becky.) Jay and I set out to buy the things needed for the bathrooms.
We cruised down the dirt roads towards civilization. I stared out the window thinking about that hole in the middle of the living room and prayed. I asked God to bring me my sofa while we were gone or to help me find one. I felt deflated—as if I’d finished a difficult puzzle, but a large piece in the center was missing. I feared I’d never see the big picture.
I turned to Jay, my husband. “Let’s stop by Rusted and see if they have anything I can use,” I said. “I need a pick me up.” Rusted is one of my favorite small vintage markets in Jacksonville, Florida. We’d already bought several décor pieces from them weeks prior.
When we walked in, right there on the floor was a sofa. I’d never seen a sofa there before. It wasn’t anything like the sofa I had ordered, but would fit in style, color, and size. I flipped the tag over to see the price. It was over a thousand less than the one I’d ordered online.
“You don’t see sofas like this every day,” Jay said, sitting down on it. “It’s comfortable.”
“Let me see how heavy it is.” It passed the sturdy test.
We bought it.
On a quiet Tuesday night in the barn, I realized I’d pushed my Father out of the way, rolled up my sleeves, and became a DIY’er. (Do it Yourself) I shouldn’t have waited to come to the end of myself to ask for help. I’m a daughter of the King. I have His ear no matter how big or small my needs are. My Heavenly Father can airlift a leather sofa from container ships without a chopper. He can make cabinets appear.
My King can put the puzzle together without me, but He didn’t want to because I needed a little renovating myself. Perhaps I needed to be deflated a bit. I needed to feel small pushing against those barricades in my own power.
I had to come to the realization I needed my King even in the small things.
I am inadequate.
I understand this can come across as a rich person problem–I mean premium leather get real, and a bit silly stacked against what you may be facing today… a sick child…joblessness…or mourning a loss, but those are great issues that we are likely to throw ourselves on the mercy seat for.
Why aren’t we inviting the Father’s presence into our daily stuff?
Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk, wrote a book called “Practicing the Presence of God.” I highly recommend it. In it he describes his life as a cook in a monastery and how he directs his intentions on always keeping God at the forefront of his thoughts, no matter what’s going on around him.
He stated, “And it is not necessary to have great things to do. I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God.”
No matter what work we’re doing in the day to day, to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind requires inviting Him to be a part of it. If we want to see God working supernaturally in our lives, we must set aside our anxiety and acknowledge this truth…we are truly inadequate. We need God.
Want to witness God’s immense power?
Continually striving squelches spiritual appointments.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
In the evening, while turning out the lights one by one, I remembered Becky and Ed coming up the stairs of the barn apartment that afternoon. Ed coaxed her to the apartment by claiming I’d asked for a meeting with her.
I was standing outside the front door when they climbed up the stairs.
“What is this about?” Becky had said.
I glanced at Ed. “You didn’t tell her?”
He shrugged and smiled.
I opened the door. “It’s about this.”
Her expression changed from worry to shock.
After the tour, she and I stood alone in the living room, and she studied the completed puzzle that linked together the skills of men and a God willing to allow me to come to the end of myself so He could provide the missing pieces
Tears swelled in her blue eyes. “Thank you so much.” She hugged me. “It’s beautiful.”
On a quiet Tuesday night, I felt peace and gratitude for God’s grace for a DIY girl like me. I recognized my own need of His renovating touch. I turned out the last light and closed the door.
“If the vessel of our soul is still tossed with winds and storms, let us awake the Lord, who reposes in it, and He will quickly calm the sea.” Brother Lawrence
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House. Tammy is happily married to Jay Adams and they have four children ages 22 to 7. When she’s not blog writing, Tammy enjoys painting, leading Bible studies, interior design, and is currently writing a memoir. She’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact her directly by clicking on the “About Us” tab on the homepage.