Her delivery was imminent. The baby’s large head was crowning and I could tell my patient was starting to lose her focus. “Breathe.” as I squeezed her hand and looked deep into her eyes as she blew off the last of the contraction. We were gearing up for another, she would involuntarily start pushing again as her body was now telling her what to do, “Listen to me. Keep your eyes on me, I am going to help you breathe as the baby is delivered. It’s important to stay calm, breathe, and listen to what I tell you as the baby makes her way to you. It’s going to happen fast so stay focused. And then when she is delivered it is gonna get crazy in here. Don’t get scared of the craziness, we are all in here to keep you and the baby safe. As the doctor lifts the baby onto your chest, you just focus on her, your treasure. Soak up this moment and don’t let what we are doing distract you from your first moments as a mommy. Focus on your treasure.” She smiled at me right before the next contraction rolled the pain into her like a tidal wave. She was ready and as the contraction took over she took a deep breathe and begin to push her daughter towards life outside the womb. We delivered a healthy, crying baby girl to her chest. The doctor and nurses begin to do what they do after a delivery, the hustle and bustle was there, we shuffled equipment in and out of the room but I knew the mother had listened to my words. In the delivery bed with her new infant daughter she was unaware of our scurry in her room, peacefully she held her naked daughter on her chest, her eyes were on her TREASURE.
My youth leader had made us memorize the verse for Sunday school class one week:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Memorizing that verse then just didn’t have the meaning as a 14 year old girl that it was now meaning to me in my adult life. But it had been tucked in my heart long before I needed it. I was learning that walking with the Lord would make me richer than anything else in the world, and having this verse hid in my heart was reminding me to open my eyes to his treasures. Focusing on what God treasured would give me a meaningful and purposeful life. But, God was about to GROW me big time in learning how to see Him, see treasures, and truly receive his gifts (the ones that we don’t normally see).
Ronnie drove me down the interstate towards the appointment with the man who owned the house we were going to look at. I read the treasure verse I was mulling over. And then I told him the story of my patient in the delivery room that had happened a few years earlier. He looked at me surprised, “You never told me that story.” “I know, I am telling you now.” as I winked at him. “I think if this all works out we are gonna be in a ‘delivery room’. It is gonna get crazy, scuffling from here to there, lots of outside voices talking to us, decisions to face, and logistics to work out. We just can’t lose focus, we can’t take our eyes off God and what he is doing, we keep our eyes on Him, and the wonderful treasures he is putting in our life.” Ronnie smiled and told me I was a “smart cookie” and since I am a humble gal I refrained from reminding him of how lucky he was. 😉
As we neared Wallace the car got quieter, we drove down Highway 41 and approached a little white farm house. He pulled the car into the grass driveway. “This is it.” I didn’t even need to look inside, peace flooded my heart, the same peace I had felt ten years before when Ronnie and I had found our first home. A treasure hidden in the woods of the mountains. A house not even on the market, similar to this little white house not even listed as a rental.
We put an offer on our first house in the mountains before we had even been inside because we knew it was ‘home’. And I knew that searching for a home in Wallace would bring me the same feeling when we found the place we were meant to be, even if it was just a temporary rental home. God had a place for us, the perfect place and he made it known as we pulled around the back of the house. Two men stood waiting for us to arrive. We got out of the car and shook their hands. Mr. Ernie and his brother owned the land and rental properties. They had grown up in this house and now rented it out, sitting on the family farm it was special to them. As he talked I noticed that his mouth did not move symmetrically. This man has a story and my curiosity made me wonder what his life had walked him through. He was so nice and kind, I felt like he took his role as a landlord more serious than most. No wonder he didn’t advertise the rental, it was a sacred family possession and I could tell than it wasn’t just old rental property. I got it. As Mr. Ernie walked us through the house it didn’t take much guessing to know this house was O.L.D. 😉 The small and only bathroom was located in the living room. Five people in my family, so of course I had lots of questions for God. “Are you sure, God? Here? One bathroom? We just finished potty training #3!!” But I kept feeling God’s peace wash over me as I walked through each room and listened to this nice gentlemen tell us the stories of the house. There were plenty of bedrooms, and I loved the kitchen sink. That was enough right? 😀 We could make do with one bathroom for a while. Quick thoughts bounced through my head: ‘My kids could use some humbleness and this bathroom will do it.’ 😉 Maybe momma needed some bathroom humbling too.
After walking out the back door we stood outside and told Mr. Ernie the pieces of our story so far. Ronnie hadn’t accepted the job yet but the man was telling us he was holding the house for us, he didn’t even want a deposit. “Oh God, this is happening isn’t it?!” my heart skipped four beats as I watched my husband shake the man’s hand. He shook mine too and when he did, he covered the top of my hand with his opposite hand, and said “God bless.”
We jumped back in the car after telling Mr. Ernie that we would call him with a decision by Monday of next week. It was Thursday. He smiled and lifted his ball cap as a good old fashioned country man does, gesturing ‘see ya later’. There was something about that man that Ronnie and I felt like we could trust. We both felt like we knew him before today, and it almost felt like he was family, only we had just met him.
“He had mouth cancer.” Ronnie said to me as we pulled away, he could see the questions on my face. All I knew so far was that a man named Mr. Ernie, who had survived mouth cancer, was holding his family farm for us until we made a decision, he was kind, but as far as I knew he was a single man living across from the home that we MIGHT move into.
Ronnie looked at me as we drove towards his parents house. The kids had been with them during the hospital tour and the little white house tour. I asked him to drive me around Wallace so we could talk. “I trust you.” as I watched him drive me through straight roads of corn on both sides. Ronnie looked at me with empathy knowing where I was headed. He knew I was about to surrender the decision to him. “You’ve been offered a job, it’s your chance to get your foot in the door down here. I just toured a hospital and felt so much peace there. We just looked at a little farmhouse that will work for what we need right now, and the owner seemed like he could be our friend. I feel peace about the move if it is what you want. God has given you the ability to lead us. You love me and the kids more than you love yourself and I know you won’t steer us wrong. I know you can take care of us and I know my home is where you and the kids are. If you are ready so am I. But I am leaving the final decision to you.” He squeezed my hand and drove me back to his parents house. We both knew where all of this was going but neither of us had the nerve to speak. We pulled into his parents house, his mom still awake we told her how the day had unfolded. Her gentle, quiet spirit didn’t have much to say, she just listened as we shared.
The next day we packed up and headed to the mountains. It was a long drive knowing when we got back we had to tell our family that we sticking a for sale sign in our yard, resigning our jobs, and moving our family across the state. We were prepared for everyone to think we had lost our minds, because we were wondering the same thing about ourselves. But God who formed the world out of nothing was leading us and neither one of us could deny it. My momma had just moved my sister back to Texas two years prior, and my brother had moved to Raleigh the year before, and now I would have to tell her that I was moving too. Heartbreak was all I could feel about having to share this news.
To pass the time I skimmed Facebook while Ronnie drove. Kids were fast asleep in the back after swimming their energy away all week. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. A girl that I was friends with, that worked in the physical therapy department of my hometown hospital was taking a new job and she was selling her entire ceil blue wardrobe. “Almost brand new Carharrt women’s scrubs. 4 sets. Ceil blue. $60.” The physical therapy department wore ceil blue while the hospital RNs wore navy blue where I currently worked so I owned no ceil blue. I heard the manager’s voice echo in my head that gave me the hospital tour in Wilmington. “We wear ceil blue or pink here in the women’s and children’s hospital with white on top.” I quickly messaged my friend, “I want the scrubs. I’m coming to work this week, just bring them upstairs. I will have the money ready.” These scrubs would cost well over $300 paying retail and Ronnie and I weren’t at a place for a whole new hospital wardrobe and while I knew that, the scrubs were about much more than that. God was sealing my faith. I didn’t have a job offer yet, all I had done was toured and submitted an application. But more than likely I would be working three shifts a week in this job, and God had just provided four uniforms. More than enough and for a fraction of the price. And in the exact color that I needed. And from a girl that worked a floor below me. I didn’t have to go shopping, or drive to meet anyone. Ronnie laughed at my excitement. “You don’t get it, wait until he does this for you!!” God was telling me the job was mine. There was one day shift job open in all of women’s and children’s, I knew this was the only shift that would for us as we transitioned our kids to a new life across the state. So after the tour it is the only one I applied for. One job, in a big ole city and God had just whispered a promise that it was mine through a set of ceil blue scrubs posted on Facebook. I could proceed with all this craziness. God was being a faithful father to me and as hard it might be I was ready to be a faithful daughter. Telling my parents, telling the only community I had ever known, resigning my job, sticking a for sale sign in the yard of my home, and walking in faith. I was ready, in his strength I could walk.
The next week she brought me the scrubs and looked at me funny. “Tarren, you wear navy. Why are you buying my ceil blue scrubs?” I smiled and answered, “God told me I might need these soon. I will share more as soon as I can. Thank you for saving them for me.”
God sang over me with words I had helped my kiddos memorize just a few summers before.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all- purpose garment. Never be without it. ”
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
And I ended my shift knowing that God was clothing me for an assignment. Not only a physical one but a spiritual one as well. He was covering every detail, even if it seemed micro to me, it mattered to him. He wanted me to know that he would take care of all of it. White houses, ceil blue scrubs, and even my momma’s heart. He had it all in his hands, just as I had sang in bible school many years before. <3