The Bus Still Comes….

January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

When I first moved here back in June, I was excited to find out that the elementary school bus came directly to the top of my street to pick up the children.  It’s so close I can see it from the bottom of the cul de sac where I live.  I thought this would be great because where we live now is a bit off the beaten path.  It’s not too terribly far to drive them to school but it’s also not super close.  At least not compared to our past living situation.  So I knew this would definitely save on gas as well as help me out quite a bit especially on the days when it is a bit harder for me to drop them off or pick them up.

And the kiddos I’m speaking of right now are my younger ones, Charlotte and CJ.

On a side note (and to catch you up on my others)….Savannah is in college at UTSA right now and turning 19 this month.

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Annabelle is in the 8th grade and just turned 14.  She’s currently homeschooled through Liberty University Online Academy.

 

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That eliminates me having to worry about how my oldest two get to school! So back to my younger two.

I can’t remember if I showed you their Fall School Pictures.  Charlotte is in the 5th grade and CJ is in the 4th.  They almost look like twins, right?

But they’re about 15 months apart.  Maybe 18 months. (After 4 kids, my brain is a little fried.)   But it’s something close to that 🙂

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So I was happy to find out that the bus would pick up my younger ones right at the top of my street only a few houses away.  But my kids had never really taken the bus before.  Have I mentioned my exceedingly neurotic tendency to be overprotective?! So I admit we were all a bit nervous about it.

As it turns out we are the first people on the bus route.  That means my kids are first to be picked up in the morning (which makes for a long ride) and the first to be dropped off in the afternoon (Which makes for a short ride).  That works out great in the afternoon but in the morning it’s not quite the case.  If you’re the first pick up in the morning, you end up riding the bus for about 30 minutes.  And riding the bus in the morning when you’re still tired and your stomach might be queasy isn’t so great.  Especially if you just ate breakfast and the bumpy road makes you nauseous.  The first week that my kids rode the bus to school in the morning– they both threw up.  It was new to them.  They weren’t used to it.  And they didn’t like it.  Coming home in the afternoon was no big deal to them though.  So we decided to just ride the bus in the afternoon.  I decided I’d go ahead and just drive them in the mornings.  That way we didn’t have to worry about it.  And we’ve been doing that for the past 6 months.

This week, however, I had to put my car in the shop.  Unexpectedly they weren’t able to finish working on it time for me to pick it up in the same day.  So there I was going to be without a car the next morning.  I had to decide what to do.  I could ask Amanda to drive them.  I could have them ride with one of the neighbors who drives their children to school.  But then one of my kids suggested they just ride the bus.

Are you sure?” I asked.  After all, they hated riding the bus in the morning 6 months ago.  But they both agreed that they would actually enjoy giving the bus in the morning another try.  Plus it would be fun for them ,they said, since they have friends on the bus who would be surprised to see them there in the morning instead of just the afternoon.

And it was only one morning so why not?

But here’s the problem.  My kids are the ONLY ones that ride the bus in this neighborhood.  Which has actually been kind of nice because many times the bus driver drives them straight to our front door in the afternoon anytime it’s a little wet or a little too cold.  I have always thought that was extremely thoughtful.  Since they are the only kids riding the bus in this neighborhood she can do that.

But there is also a drawback.  Since they don’t ride the bus in the morning, she has no reason to still come to the bus stop.

And since they hadn’t ridden the bus in the morning since August, I knew that she was not still doing a pick up for the morning here.  I called the school to double check and they told me that if there are no children getting on the bus at that stop then the bus driver doesn’t come.  However, they said they could put in a request for her to resume that if they had enough advance notice.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough notice as I was calling last minute.

My kids were actually a little disappointed because they had decided they wanted to ride the bus.  I suppose 6 months of riding in the afternoon had made them more adjusted.  And now they were kind of excited at giving it another try.  I was talking to Amanda about having her drive them (which of course she was happy to do) but then she mentioned to me that she thought the bus was still coming in the morning.  She lives a few houses closer to the top of the street than me and you can hear the bus when it arrives.  It makes that “beep…beep….beep” sound as it backs up.  She wasn’t totally sure but she said that she believed she still could hear the sound of the bus in the morning.  And maybe it was still coming.

We all had our doubts.  I mean even the school had assured me the bus doesn’t come if no one is there.  There’s no reason to.  After all it’s been over 6 months since my children have ridden the bus in the morning.  Why would someone come every single day to a neighborhood where no one rides the bus in the morning?  And it’s not like we live in a regular area either.   I mean you really have to make a bit of an effort to get to someone’s house out here.  It’s not just right around the corner.  It’s a little bit off the beaten path.  So I knew that there was just no way that bus driver was coming to my neighborhood every morning to an empty bus stop with no kids.

But on the off chance she did, we decided to give it a shot anyway.  If she didn’t show up, I’d have Amanda drive them.

We walked to the top of the street together.  It wasn’t very far but it sure was cold!  For a few minutes we stood there in the dark saying to one another…

“She’s not going to come”

“This is stupid.  What are we doing standing here?”

“There’s no way she’s showing up”

But then we saw it.  The headlights shining down on us as she turned onto the street and into our neighborhood.

Beep….Beep….Beep

The sound of the bus backing up.   Amanda was right.  She still came.

As she opened the doors of the bus for my kids to get on, I expected for her to say something to me.   Like…..

“What are you doing here?!  Your kids never ride in the morning!”

But she didn’t.  She just opened the doors, smiled and said Good Morning!!!

So I asked her this question, “Why did you come this morning?  Did the school tell you that my car was in the shop? I called to see if you could still do a pick up because I don’t have my car right now but they said it was too late to get in touch.  I was sure you didn’t come any more since there are no kids that ride the bus in the morning.  But I thought I’d try anyway.

You know what she said?

She said, “I never stopped coming.  I come every morning.  Just in case.  Even though your kids are the only ones that ride the bus in this neighborhood and they never ride in the morning, it doesn’t mean that one day they might not decide to show up.  So I still come every morning.  Even if no one is here. Because I thought maybe one day they would need me.  So whether they show up or not, I’m here. “

For the past 6 months, this bus driver has been coming to my neighborhood.  To my out of the way, off the beaten path neighborhood.  Every single morning at 6:50 AM she comes.  Even though no one is ever there.  Even though my kids are the only ones in the neighborhood who ride the bus and she knows I drive them myself in the mornings.  And yet every single day she still comes.

I added it up.  For about 160 days, this bus driver has been making a point to drive to the top of my street and wait for my children.

JUST IN CASE

She is under no obligation to do this as the school already told me that if no children are riding the bus at that stop they aren’t required to go there until a parent requests it.  But she cares for my children.  I know that she does.  Because she goes out of her way to drop them straight at the front door some days when it’s a little cold or a little rainy.  And she doesn’t have to do that.

Never once has she mentioned this to anyone.  Not to me.  Not to the school.  And not to my kids.  She just comes by every morning.  Just in case one day they need her.

And on this day we did.

As I walked back to my house in the dark and the cold, I could not help but feel how reminiscent this is to me of God.  How God has promised to always be there for us even when we are not there for Him.  How God offers us His Hand even when we turn it away.  And in spite of how we often feel that He is not there at all—He is.  It’s just that we may not be looking.

I had no idea that every morning for the past 160 days, our bus driver was still coming for my children.  Every single morning without fail.  How would I have known? We are still in the house at the bottom of the cul de sac.  Not looking.  Not noticing.  And not walking to the bus stop.  But just because we did not go to meet her at the top of the  hill does not mean that she wasn’t there.

It’s true that we often go our own way.  Travel our own path.  Thinking we know better than whatever God’s plan might be.  I know I’ve done that.  And many times, I feel that because of those choices God has given up on me. Maybe he’s stopped coming around.  Perhaps he’s grown tired of it and decided to move on.

I’m sure at times we’ve all felt this way.  That due to our own screw ups and failures, God no longer comes to our bus stop anymore.  He just keeps on driving.  On to better neighborhoods where people actually show up to meet Him.  After all, if you’re the only one in that out of the way neighborhood and you’ve made it abundantly clear you don’t need Him….that you want to take the wheel yourself and go your own way…..then why would He keep coming back?  Why would He keep showing up?

But just like our bus driver, God is always there.  He doesn’t force Himself on us.

But He doesn’t disappear either.

He still shows up ready and waiting for those who will choose to open the door.

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Our bus driver never once said to me…. “Where are you guys every morning??? I’m tired of going out of my way for you if you don’t even care?!

In fact, quite the opposite.  She never mentioned at all that she was even still coming.  And I’m sure the school didn’t even realize she was still coming by here as they didn’t require her to come to a route that has no riders.  Yet there she was when we needed her.  And when she opened the doors, she didn’t say….

Well FINALLY!”  or….”Well look at what we have HERE??? So NOW you decide to show up?!”

She just opened the doors, smiled and said “Good Morning!!” as if we never skipped a beat.  She didn’t even ask why suddenly after 160 days we were riding the bus in the morning.  She didn’t ask why now?  She was just happy to see them.

I believe it’s the same with God.  We often think that when we show back up after a long time gone, He will only be there to condemn us.  To make us pay first before He returns His love.  Or to make us earn our way back into the fold.  But that’s not how it is.  In fact, that’s exactly the opposite of how it is.


But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God.—Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

Our bus driver waited about 160 days for my kids to show up in the morning at that bus stop.  But do you want to know how long God is willing to wait for us?

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For awhile now, I’ve been going through a bit of a dry period in my faith.  The fact that I just said “a bit” might be the understatement of the year!  But I’ve really struggled with a multitude of things that have left me wondering if God is still in this with me.  Or if he’s grown as tired of me as I have of myself! As I have of my own struggles and detours.  I’ve even felt at times that He just wasn’t there.   That maybe He’d left the building, shut down the show and moved to another location.  More inclined to hear from other more faithful followers who were more on their game than I have been.

But on this morning I was reminded that this is not God’s personality.  God has made it clear.  He will keep coming around.  Just like our bus driver who without a word continued to show up every single morning even knowing that no one would be there.  And yet she still came.  Because even though we were never there, she wanted to leave us with that possibility.  That option.  In case one day, we decided we needed her.

Now granted…we have to walk to the top of that hill where she’s waiting in the big yellow bus.  And that’s a lot like God too in my opinion.

I suppose that’s what God means when He asks us to step out in faith.  Like when Jesus asked Peter to get out of the boat and come to Him (Matthew 14:29).  He could see Jesus there waiting but Peter still had to trust Him.  He still had to get out and walk on the water.  And I know that wasn’t easy to do.  In fact on his way towards Jesus he got distracted and began to sink.  And I suppose we’ve all felt that way too at times!  Like we’re really on our way!  And then something happens.  We look around us and we see something that seems more interesting.  So we walk towards that for awhile.  Only to be left feeling empty.  Or maybe we just see all the obstacles in our way and begin to feel less confident.  The way Peter did when he realized that he was actually walking on water and it didn’t make sense.  It seemed impossible and that reality set in.  So he began to doubt and fear.  And that made him sink.

Sometimes I’ve felt that way about this weight loss journey.  I’ve lost so much weight that at times I just wanted to live a little.  I looked around and saw distracting temptations that took me off track.  Only to leave me with regrets.

At other times I’ve realized just how much weight I’ve really lost and how impossible it seems that I could have really done it.  And when that reality hits me, it all seems so unreal. So unreal that maybe I can’t keep going.  That opens the door for doubt and fear to creep back in.  Making me wonder if I can really keep it up.   That what I did was just some fluke.  That it’s temporary.  And that it’s too impossible a task to maintain.  So before I know it, I’m gaining again.  My doubts and fear taking over and once again making me believe more in what is impossible….than what is POSSIBLE.

On this journey, we often get distracted.  We often become afraid of the obstacles around us.  And we sink.  If we stay defeated long enough, we may even begin to think that God has abandoned us.  Just the way I assumed the bus driver wasn’t still showing up for an empty bus stop with no one waiting.

While walking to the top of the hill to meet our bus isn’t quite like Peter having to walk on water—it strikes me as similar.  Either way there is someone waiting for you to meet them.  And someone who never stops showing up.  The only requirement is that you show up too.  And that you take the steps forward to meet what is waiting for you.

It reminds me that even in the dark times, He is there.  Even when we aren’t showing up to meet Him, He is still showing up to meet us.  And He never meets us with condemnation. With the tone of “Where have you been?”  But instead just opens the doors and smiles.  Happy to see us.  Happy to have us back on board.

That’s a reminder I needed.  So maybe you needed it too.

 

PS. Our bus driver’s name is FAITH.  I kid you not!!  That’s her name!

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Wagner January 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm

GREAT post, Holly!!!

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Jessica January 30, 2015 at 5:41 pm

This is really beautiful, Holly! It brought tears to my eyes, actually. You are never alone – although walking this path can feel lonely at times, you are never alone! And that bus driver is awesome! It’s always been such a joy/shock to realize how much other people care about my kiddos. It’s heartwarming, really.

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Shay from Trashy Blog January 30, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Awwww, I love this, Holly! And what great comparisons you made. Just in case!!
Shay from Trashy Blog recently posted..Book Review and Giveaway: What Alice Forgot by Liane MoriartyMy Profile

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Michele January 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Awesome post

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Kiera January 30, 2015 at 9:31 pm

And her name is Faith? Wow.

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Amy W January 30, 2015 at 9:39 pm

I loved this post and it reminded me of the song by Matt Redman called Never Once. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Praise God that He is faithful when we wander so much. I love reading your life journey through your blog even if this is the first time I have posted a comment. Know that I am encouraged by you!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Thank you so much Amy! I love that song by Matt Redman too!

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Jane t. January 31, 2015 at 2:47 am

Your writing just touches my heart. Even in our dry periods He shows Himself to us…many times through those exceptional people around us. Thank you for sharing your ups, downs, and your faith..it means a lot.

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Katie January 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Such a sweet story, thank you for sharing!

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Jenny February 1, 2015 at 4:16 am

I absolutely couldn’t love this post any more! So true – simple truths. Thank you so much for the reminder.

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Pam February 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this! I read your blog but never have commented before, I just want you to know that I love following you, basically because you are real, your faith is real, your struggles are real, and your love for your family is real. In a world full of fake it is really awesome to see to someone being real. This particular post really touched me, it made me tear up at the reminder of good people and how good our God is, I am always saying that He is faithful even when I am not. How blessed are we!! He never leaves and He never gives up on us!! God is good all of the time!

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Kimberly February 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Holly

I’ve thought about this post for days now…. it was right on time. My life has been in total darkness for a few years now. Each day is just a well rehearsed stumbling act in the dark.

It’s nice to know that the light is still there…

Thank you for all that you do…always.

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susan February 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Hi Holly-I love your blog even though weight is not my issue. The reason I read it is because you are so real and honest in your journey and your faith is very inspirational to me.
This is my all time favorite post and the connection that you made to our relationship to God was just incredible.
Thank you for making my day!

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Jamie February 3, 2015 at 10:22 pm

I love this post! It was very well written and made me cry! God is always faithful!

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janice February 11, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Hey holly I have a friend who is compiling a book of devotions and I was wondering if you would be willing to let her use this or some of it in her book. Her name is Faith Estridge she is the director of a childrens camp called Moments with the Master camp in KY.

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