Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The God Who Holds All Things Together

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

Sometimes, I bask in the glory as I truly experience God's care. I am aware with every fiber of my being that He is gracious and compassionate toward me.

Sometimes I feel lost in the storm and I just have to hang on to the Truth that He cares about my life and all the details, even when I see no evidence in this situation at this moment.

And then sometimes, God just gives me a little glimpse into His tender care for all that concerns me.

I've had a few of these "moments" lately.

I mentioned in my last post about the story of TE's graduation table. It's quite a story. Let me back up and explain a few things.

At the Graduation reception, each student gets a 6 foot table to display whatever they want. Most graduates have a tri-fold project board with pictures mounted. Then they display any trophies, jersey's, projects, accomplishments, etc. on the table It's a neat way to express who they are and what they've done.

Since we are an engineer-ish family, and one of TE's main hobbies has been 3-D paper modeling, we chose to mix things up a little bit. We decided to use some tiny bookshelves (think 2' high and 1' wide) to display some of the intricate models he has created. Steve mounted some plexiglass on the front so that no little hands would reach out and touch his delicate artwork. Between the two bookshelves, on the back side, we placed some foam-board with his name and a few (4) of his senior pictures. All was ready for the graduation display at least 2 weeks in advance. TE picked out his most fantastic models to show off. The crowning piece of this was an incredible model that he spent the past 4 months carefully crafting. (It's some creature from a video game.)

For those of you who have no idea what paper modeling is... Think about how you would make a cube out of paper....Now imagine how you would make a person out of paper. First, TE prints the pattern out on cardstock. (Don't ask me where he gets the pattern.) He carefully uses an X-acto knife to cut out each portion of the model. Every edge that connects to another edge has a tiny little tab. He creases the paper and glues gazillions of tabs one at a time. In the end you have something amazing like this.

This one started off as 13 pages of patterns (347 pieces to be glued together). It's 12 inches tall and actually stands up. Did I mention it is made of paper?

Back to my story...

So, the time is 4:00 on Friday. I'm scurrying around cooking, cleaning, preparing for the party, checking lists, making sure we have everything ready to go for rehearsal at 7:00. I asked the boys to load up the car with the stuff for the display. After they finished, TE approaches me, and says in his most pleading voice, "All the other kids have like 100 pictures on their tables."

(This is one of my proudest moments. I did not reach out and strangle him. :-D)
I calmly said, "Well, you have until 6:30 to go through the pictures and upload them to Walgreens.com. We'll pick them up on the way home from rehearsal and you can work on putting it together tonight."

With that, I turned to say, "I've got to go pick up Cupcake so we can grab dinner and run to rehearsal.

Cupcake had spent the afternoon visiting a friend in a nearby apartment complex. As I enter the complex, I hit a speed bump - not at full speed.

I hear a sickening, crushing thud in the back of the van.

The sound was exactly like a bookshelf falling over and crushing paper.

I feel the blood drain from my face.

I pray that the sound came from an old grocery bag. I begin hoping maybe he hadn't packed his models yet, or if he did, surely he put them in a rubbermaid.

I stop at the apartment. I peek in the tinted back window. I see a shelf sideways with paper models under it. I can't bear to investigate further.

The next moments are surreal as I pick up Cupcake looking like I'd seen a ghost.

I call home, through broken words and stilted sentences, I explain what happened and asked Steve to break the news to TE.

I have just crushed his life's work, his magnum opus.

I spend the two-minute drive home, wondering how he's going to take it. I contemplate the tough life-lesson he's going to learn about taking extra care of things that are valuable to us. I grieve over the loss of something that can't be replaced. I consider our options for his display table, which seem pretty limited at the moment.

When I pull into the driveway, Steve and Sugar are waiting for me. TE slowly comes out and I check his face for signs of distress. He looks worried.

We open the hatch...I wish I had taken a picture.

The shelf had indeed fallen over. The paper models were indeed under the shelf.

As we lifted it up, we found a miracle. Out of the 15 or so models that were in the back, 2 had damage, and the damage was minimal. His senior project, the delicate, intricate one) had a few pieces popped off at the glue joint. And poor Zelda got the worst of it.

But the amazing thing is that NOT ONE PIECE WAS CRUSHED!!!

I cannot tell you how relieved and thankful I was. I cried tears of joy! God surely protected them with His mighty hand. I have no other explanation. He is the God who holds all things together, you know.


TE managed to order some pictures. We picked them up after rehearsal. He worked into the wee hours fixing his big paper model. I had compassion on my son, so I nearly pulled an all-nighter mounting pictures on foamboard. In the end, the display turned out pretty well.

Blessings to you,


Laurie said...

Oh, how sweet! God was so kind to you all---I love when He shows us such grace!

Kim said...

What an awesome display and his work is amazing!!! I'm SO thankful that none of his pieces were ruined...God is SO good for that. You know how to intertwine real life things...that's such a neat gift! Way to go TE!!! Momma J...you're quite the "jewel"!!!

DFNY said...

Whew! I can breathe again. What a relief that his pieces were not crushed. They are excellent. And what an beautiful display. Way to go, TE (and Mom)! Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes.


PS Julie, you're an excellent writer.

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Oh my, you had my heart pounding with this story! His models are amazing! I'm so glad that they were able to be fixed. God is good in even the small things that are so big to our children (and the mamas who love them). The display turned out so wonderful. What a great way to honor the graduates.

God Bless,