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It wasn’t the first time God has used a piece of wood to speak to me. Years ago, it was the story of His Son hanging on a tree, taking on all my sin, that gave me true hope for the first time in my life, resulting in eternal life. And an abundant one, too.

Part of the abundant life, I’m learning, is celebrating the small but creative ways God personally makes Himself known to us.

By now you know the unfolding story of our upcoming move, Lord willing, to the country. We believe He is leading us to a spacious {not in terms of square footage, but opportunities} place for His purposes and plans. For months, I’ve held fast to this⎯ to the point of purchasing rubber boots covered in chickens. Yes, chickens.

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But we’re not the only couple on the move. About a month ago, Robyn, a sweet friend of mine, posted a picture of her holding a wooden cutout of our state on Facebook, revealing an upcoming move in their near future. I was encouraged by the picture. Thomas and Robyn’s smiling faces reflected their excitement and some of that enthusiasm naturally spilled over onto our story. I daydreamed about hanging our own SC cutout on a future wall, except our arrows would point upwards, towards the foothills of SC.

The following weekend was an especially discouraging one as the to-do’s seemed endless in this hundred year-old house. For the first time, my steadfast chicken-clad boots slipped, and I felt despair trying its best to settle in and make itself at home.

Before daybreak on Monday I asked God if He was still leading this move⎯that I was struggling to stay encouraged⎯almost to the point of questioning everything about it. Quite frankly, I asked Him to let me know in some way if we were still on the right track. {I have no problem asking my earthly dad if I need something so why would I hesitate to ask my heavenly Father, owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and keeper of every bird in the forest?} That quiet moment before daybreak wasn’t anything spiritually dynamic. It was simply a daughter asking her Daddy for an acknowledgement of His leading.

On Tuesday, the following day, Allison Martin, her two children, and sweet mom, Jane Green, drove over from Hickory NC for lunch. I’d not seen them since they attended our writer’s group years ago, or since Allison’s novel Finding Grace debuted in February. As soon as they pulled up in the nearby parking lot I walked over to greet them. We exchanged hugs while Allison continued pulling kiddo things out of the back of her vehicle. As she reached up to close the door she leaned over for one last thing. “Oh!” she said. “My husband handed this to me as we were leaving. He said to give it to my friend in SC.”  With that, she pulled out the loveliest handcrafted piece of art I’d ever seen. Her husband, Ryan, had used various colors and lengths of wood to piece together the shape of my state, South Carolina.

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I was stunned, not remembering if I’d mentioned my desire to have one on Facebook after seeing Robyn’s picture. I asked Allison if she knew the story behind my wanting a SC cutout but neither she nor Jane knew what I was talking about. I could only smile.

In that moment I recognized the wooden gift exactly for what it was⎯a quiet, but creative, confidence booster from my Father. From His heart, through Ryan’s gifted hands and Allison’s willingness to deliver it, God spoke fresh hope into my heart with this gift made of wood, much like he did in 1989.

I’m not sure where you find yourself today but I want to encourage you by reminding us both that the ultimate source of all hope is found in the person of Jesus alone. And through Jesus, and His sacrifice, we have access to the Creator. Not a pie in the sky kind of Creator but One whom knows and meets our deepest needs, as well as our smallest ones.

Is there some way I can pray for you, or someone you know, who is in need of hope today? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section, or if it’s something you’d prefer not to post, that’s fine too. Simply fill out your contact information above under the tab “Contact”.

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. Psalm 50:10,11

 

Want your own state to display? Visit Ryan’s Etsy store, Quaintly Carolina, here.

If you want to check out my chicken boots from Tractor Supply {thanks for the heads up, Melody Crawford!}…

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