Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
- TITLE: Next Spring
By Pauline Carruthers
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I’m sitting at my desk in front of the study window, contemplating a blank screen, several attempts at writing already deleted. Insignificant little raindrops meander lazily down leaded panes, disappearing below the sill in relentless obscurity. The thought enters my mind that I’m like those raindrops, but I think of Jesus and almost feel His smile as He takes it captive and reminds me that I’m not insignificant. The dark red leaves on the flowering plum tree sway gracefully, mingling in stark contrast with the blue green of the conifer. For a moment my spirit is dampened by the bland grey sky of approaching winter, until I recall those precious words given over twenty years ago.
In faith we had uprooted our family, moved to the other side of the country and were renting a house just a mile from the Bible College where David was studying. My hopes of studying with him fell by the wayside and my heart burned with unfulfilled dreams and disappointment. The old familiar feeling of inferiority re-surfaced and those words ‘lacks confidence’, that had always appeared on school reports, blinded my eyes to the truth of who I was in Jesus. Acute shyness had always stolen my dreams, snatching away all hope of achieving my innermost desire to write. A Bible correspondence course lay on the top shelf in David’s study and though I was aware that the Lord was showing me this was His way for me, I could not overcome the feelings of always accepting second best. A tiny part of me desired just a glimpse of the limelight, but God in His wisdom and with gentleness, kept me on the subs bench. His words, ‘next spring’ burned into my heart and hid in my memory.
After our year of preparation, we were suddenly thrust into life in a Missionary Headquarters. David was ecstatic with anticipation at the new opportunities for working out his faith in practical ways. For me it was the realisation that I was actually content to hide behind his outgoing, exuberant personality. Yet God was, as always, gracious and integrated me gently into our new and challenging lifestyle. Though I often prayed that He would bless me with a different personality His answer was always the same.
“My child, some of my flowers can only grow in the shade.”
Twelve years later God called us to uproot our family again to set up an independent Christian Printing Press, using the diverse skills we had acquired as part of the mission’s Press Team. It was a long, arduous prayer filled journey, but one glorious September day, when the scarlet summer sun was setting over green fields, we walked up the driveway of our property. Equipment and stock already in place. Miracles do happen - but that’s another story.
We were in all things two halves of a whole and worked well together. David was, as always, the front runner, whilst I slid easily into my role as backup, in mission, church and in our work. He was in every way a leader, the best husband, dad and granddad.
On the 27th October 2012, the Lord took David home. I felt like half a person, unable to function without him. But Jesus has been my comfort and strength, constantly reminding me that He gave David to me for a time - the best time of my life.
I have always been a bit like a caterpillar, munching my way through life, hidden amongst the leaves, sitting on the back row out of sight. Growing in the shade. But Jesus has been showing me that I am not a caterpillar anymore, but a chrysalis starting the struggle to emerge as a butterfly. He has reminded me of the words given so long ago, ‘next spring’.
Making a promise to David in his final days led me to begin writing and to discovering a place where I could develop God’s gift. A place where I could be challenged and gently critiqued, helped by the writings of others. A place where it doesn’t matter if I don’t make it into the top three, five or even ten. Where I can enjoy and congratulate the success of others without feeling a failure.
It might be in the autumn of my life but His timing is perfect and with Him I will strengthen my wings and fly. I hear His voice and I know that ‘next spring’ is coming.
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