From Free Fall to Soft Landing in God’s Safety Net

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 14: A Washington State Ferry bound for Seattle passes Mt. Rainier in Washington's Puget Sound December 14, 2005 in Seattle, Washington.

By Amanda Witt Published on January 16, 2016

AMANDA WITT — Twelve years ago we moved from Lubbock, Texas — where all my family lived — to Seattle, Washington. It was a big and disorienting move, especially for the kids, and I immediately set about trying to get them involved in various homeschooler activities.

One such activity was the National Geographic Geography Bee. My kids (ages 6, 8 and 10) were excited; they loved maps and had never competed in public before. For weeks they studied, practiced and quizzed each other.

The big day arrived.

And our car died. It wasn’t just ill — it was stone cold dead. And it was our only vehicle.

“Call someone from church,” my husband said.

I thought: Back home having only one car was never a problem — if it was in the shop my parents, my brother, my sister, in-laws, friends, neighbors, all kinds of people would loan us a vehicle or run us around doing errands. People knew us. People trusted us. It was home.

But we haven’t been in Washington long enough to know anybody at all well, and I hate to impose, and of all things to call a near-stranger out of the blue and say, “We need a ride or a car — all five of us — RIGHT NOW.” I can’t do that.

But I didn’t know what else to do. Skip the Bee? Call a cab? Could you even get cabs for five people at once? Would we have to call two cabs?

No. Did I believe in the concept of “church family” or not? Or did I only believe in it when I was on the giving end?

I picked up the phone.

“I’ll bring you my van,” Melissa said immediately. “Rick can pick the girls and me up at your house on his way home from work.” She had known us for a grand total of two months.

So we drove to the Geography Bee in Melissa’s big van, and the whole way I was trying to shake that free-fall feeling you get when you’re accustomed to being part of a net of many hundreds of strands, holding and being held, but have been pulled loose and now are trying to weave yourself into a new net that might or might not ever be sturdy enough to catch you.

Because Rick and Melissa had come through for us — but what if they hadn’t? What if they’d been unavailable, or busy or reluctant? What if we’d run through our very short list and in the end come out lacking, unconnected, alone? Surely that was the more likely outcome; surely we’d merely gotten lucky, this one time.

We arrived at the Bee, and the competition began. They questions were hard. My children were doing well.

Then it was my ten-year-old daughter’s turn once again. She walked across the stage to the microphone and stood waiting for her question. And the emcee, reading systematically through the list of prescribed questions, asked my child: “The city of Lubbock, located on the Llano Estacado region of the high plains, is in what state?”

The other children on stage blanched, glad somebody else had gotten that question. My daughter laughed aloud, so long and hard that she almost ran out of time to answer what was, for her, the easiest question in the world. She’d spent the past nine years in Lubbock.

And I was both relieved and ashamed. I had felt like I was in free-fall. How could I forget the safety net of God’s faithfulness?

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:9-10).

 

Amanda Witt, Ph.D., is a homeschooling mother and the author of The Red Series, a four-part thriller set in the near future.

 

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