Sunday, September 29, 2013

God's sign returns: another deer encounter

I am beginning to learn that what is extraordinary to me is really just God's ordinary. His imagination is so much greater than mine. His ideas leave me in awe. But to Him it is all in a day's work.
Case in point: I had another deer encounter.
Again, my deer appeared in Chagrin Falls - the place I tend to need reminding of God's faithfulness. Don't get me wrong, Chagrin Falls is a little slice of heaven. It is a step back in time to old time America where kids met up outside the local candy store and you walked to get a gallon of milk. Church bells ring on the hour and any time the fire department is called out to an emergency the whole town knows - trust me, you can't miss those sirens. When I am here I feel like I've stepped back into a black and white film minus all the men in sports jackets and ladies wearing heels in the kitchen. Just replace those characters of your old time movie with both guys and girls in jeans  and little dogs on the ends of leashes. And then your picture will be complete: Chagrin Falls in all of its glory.
Despite all of its appeal and charm, Chagrin Falls has still been a hard place for me to adjust to. I love my childhood home. My Mom is my best friend. I like the familiarity of being in Erie where I know everything about the town and feel like I understand my place in it. But here I am thrown into a new environment and I must start over. I have to define my reason for being here and carve out my place in this world. In Erie that work has already been done. But not here. In Chagrin Falls I am a newbie, just trying to figure out where I fit.
More than anything, I find myself lonely. It isn't always fun living by yourself. Sometimes it has its perks. When you are feeling like being silent and quiet it is perfect. But when you have something to share with someone, an exciting tidbit of your day you want to discuss, there is no one right there to hear it. You have to pick up the phone - thank God for technology. Still, it isn't the same. The phone is just a substitute for the actual presence of a person who can respond with facial expressions and physical touch. Through the phone you are on a one dimensional plane. Living alone makes you miss the more intimate aspects of relationship that can be taken for granted when you have never had to go without it.
But enough of all that! Back to the deer encounter.
This afternoon I came back to Chagrin after a quick 24 hour trip to Erie. Although it was brief I still had a difficult time wanting to come back here. It doesn't take me long to feel settled in my Erie home. But I bucked up and drove back to Chagrin Falls. I knew that once I bit the bullet and made the trip back I'd soon get over my initial reluctance to do so. I just had to do it. So I didn't delay.
And thank goodness I didn't. I pulled into the driveway and started to unload my bags. First came the groceries from Trader Joe's. I put them away and then headed back out to get the second load and there she was, a magnificent deer running through my neighbors yard, into the trees. I was stunned, rendered motionless and frozen. My sign from God was right next door, running with a delicate ease at the exact moment I was walking out of my door. Had I been a moment later I might have missed her. Had I decided to stay back in Erie for another hour she might have moved onto another lush garden to snack on. But I was just on time and so was she.
A stately deer has been my God wink since I have moved to Chagrin Falls. Repeatedly He has sent a deer in my path at moments when I have struggled with loneliness. Never before have I seen deer at such close proximity and in such populated areas as I have here, in my personal deer encounters. Each time they show up it is in a neighborhood when no one else is around. Sometimes they stop and look at me. But today she didn't. Every time, without fail, the deer does run. And when she does it is beautiful.

God never ceases to amaze me. I never prayed for some kind of sign to show me that I am not alone. When I drove here today I didn't say any prayer at all. Yet, God knows my heart. He knew that my spirit was weak in the midst of anxieties and loneliness. I didn't have to beg Him to show Himself. He was already there and He already knew the condition of my heart.
This is how our great God works: He shows up in miraculous ways, ways that we don't expect or imagine. We might be stuck in our struggles, doing our best to remain steadfast in our faith, remaining obedient and dedicated to our Savior, and He will come down and bless us in our struggle. When we diligently seek to please Him and live in accordance with His will we are able to see the majestic way in which He works all the time.
Today my cry to God wasn't audible. It wasn't even a silent prayer in my mind. It was knowing that I had to do the right thing and that was come back to Chagrin Falls. I did so in faith, knowing that God has brought me this far and that He will not abandon me. His deer was just more proof of that truth. He is here with me, living in my little dream house. I am not alone. I have the deer. But more importantly, I have the presence, protection and company of a Savior who loves me enough to send me nature's most precious creatures to remind me that I am His beloved and that He is mine.

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