I all but collapsed in the bed, exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally.
I had made a rookie missionary mistake earlier that day, one that cost us 3,000 liters of precious rainwater. Three. THOUSAND. Liters. In dry season, no less.
I had opened the upper tank valve to fill our cistern in an effort to prevent the pump from going dry as it often times does when it gets low. I was trying to help Richard, who was walking to town to get groceries in the sweltering heat because our motorcycle had been stolen, to check one more thing off the to-do list. In all my busyness, I completely forgot I had opened the valve until who even knows how many minutes later when Elliott came running in, “Mama!”
“Wait, son,” I quickly replied, trying to carry on a conversation with an indigenous friend who was over.
“Mama….” He said again, more persistent.
“Elliott, just a minute son,” was my answer, still not sensing the urgency.
“Mama, there is water back here.”
“Elliott, I said just a…. Wait, what?”
That’s the moment I looked out and saw our precious drinking, bathing, everything else water pouring out, watering the dirt on the ground.
It is possible you have never seen someone run so fast.
As I uttered words of disbelief and shut off the valve, I climbed up to the top water tank to see the damage. Just as I suspected, it was nearly empty. Wasted.
My efforts to alleviate one more item on the to-do list turned into a stern conversation with the kids that if they so much as LOOKED at a sink faucet without asking first, there would be consequence. And don’t even THINK about flushing a toilet unless prior approval is given.
When Richard got back, I broke the news. His shoulders slumped and he let out a sigh.
And then he said, “Oh well.”
He let it go. Just like that, he let it go.
I had just spent the last hour beating myself up and wondering how in the world I could forget something that important. I was thinking about how it had not rained for days and who knew when it would rain again and how we would have to conserve every last drop and… he let it go.
Because you know what? What else can you do? We certainly couldn’t stir up some rain clouds to refill our tanks. And we could freak out and talk about all the ways that our life just became more difficult. And we could regret mistakes and get frustrated and angry, but what would that do?
So I let it go, too. I stopped beating myself up about it and guess what: it rained last night. It didn’t rain because we let it go and we didn’t let it go because we knew it would rain. But it made the rain that much sweeter knowing that God knows our needs.
And even if it hadn’t rained, He has our back. He allows us to make mistakes like that one so that we can learn the practice of letting things go.
I am trying to apply this to other areas of my life as well. In little things, like when our son spills ANOTHER glass of water on the floor, I let it go. Or bigger things, like when our plans for the holidays are potentially changing again, I let it go. When a fellow missionary says untrue things about us, I let it go. When I am tempted to get stressed out about the future, I let it go.
If I say with my mouth that God is sovereign [Phil 2.13] and that he plans our days before they even begin [Psalm 139.16] and that He is loving and trustworthy even when we don’t understand the ‘why’ of our life [Isaiah 55.8-11], then I need to let those truths filter into my life. And that manifests itself in letting things go. It is exhibited by not getting so worked up when things don’t go ‘my way’. It is expressed when my children see that Mama and Daddy don’t get all up in arms when life gets stressful (or when it seems life is always stressful).
So today I am thankful for spilled water and reminders that life is better when we let it go and trust the Lord.
We are just walking on this beautiful, messy journey and we can do so in peace, knowing He has this whole thing figured out. And He will be sure to send the rain when the time is right.
Thankful Thursday posting began when I worked full-time outside the home and I always dreaded Thursday... because they stood in the way of Friday! So I began blogging what I was thankful for to help give a positive spin to the day. After a couple years of absence, I decided it was a good habit to pick back up. What are you thankful for today? Post it below or link up to your own blog! I'm happy for you to join me.