Through it all I am grateful. Grateful that this old house is being, parts of it done, restored. It is a simple 4 x 4 farmhouse, but it is on a sweet piece of property, statuesque in its own grand way and full of memories of the west being settled and the history of farming in our country, and most importantly to me, my family. God has brought to fruition many of the dreams we had when we first moved here 7 years ago; fitting because 7 is the number of completion: new windows and HVAC and wiring and plumbing, remodeled bathrooms and kitchen and finished fir floors, completed basement and attic, refinished woodwork and even a new sidewalk and shrubs.
I have always been a praying person, but as I shared in Bible Study this week, prayer no longer bubbles forth, at the ready for people or situations, spoken, shared or whispered privately. I still pray but the heart-felt and easy adoration I have for the Lord has been hidden or lost somewhere. I am more likely to cry than to raise my hands or face in adoration and I wonder, perhaps cynically, at those who easily say or sing words like, “What ever you want, Lord, take from me. All I have is yours” I wonder at those who give from the extras instead of from the need or the desperate want. Do they really mean it? Would they so easily say those words if their choices were wrested from them or if their money didn’t matter? Would they be who they think they really are if their wardrobe or car or jewelry or haircut or house or money or fertility or career or freedoms were gone? I don’t sing those words as easily any more. Because as much as I have been barely o.k. with my stuff being taken, as old and decrepit and shoddy as some of it was, I’ll tell you quite honestly that I don’t hold my kids or my husband or my family or my friends, or, if we’re going to be honest, my stuff and hopes and plans and dreams and big ideas in my hands as lightly as I think I do. I don’t want them taken or sacrificed or gone before their time. I don’t want to sing, glibly, that all I have is someone else’s, even when that someone is the Master of the Universe. And the reason is selfish; what if He makes good on what I say and takes what is His after all?
I have held these competing thoughts and emotions in my head and my heart all year, loss and gain; death and life; despair and hope; bondage and victory; defeat and success. I’m not good at ambiguity or complexity and I’ve dropped a lot of balls, missed things, lost items and contacts and hopes along the way. And I’m not making excuses, but many days it was all I could do to just do what I was confronted with, nothing more. Even now, I feel confronted, in the New York in your face sense, by demands that are dictated by the season and timing I can’t change and I have lost my kids homework assignments and friendships and a dream or two along the way. I find myself embarrassed, ashamed really, and sad about that too. I wonder if I will ever move beyond the ocean of tears and wracking sadness that has welled up within and overflowed way too often. I know I will. I know that God’s healing and sovereignty will usher in a new season soon enough. Even now I no longer cry in the car when I think of Sue, or in bed in the middle of the night suffocated by tears as I did in December and January and February, wondering in angst if homeschooling and mothering and investing in our family so purposefully has been worth it. The healing has been slow but it is there, sure and steadily growing.
My wise friend Mary shared a story with me just weeks ago. About a group of nuns that had prayed that their service might bring about the end of the reign of Terror in France. For some horrific reason they were slated to die by the guillotine. As they were escorted to their execution, they sang a hymn of praise. One by one they died, though the remaining nuns continued to sing praise to the Almighty. And as their voices thinned, those who had come to watch and heckle the execution joined in. By the end, the audience, rather than jeering and jesting, were moved to praise. And because of the bravery of these courageous nuns the people saw the unjust horror of the Reign of Terror and it was overturned, in part due to the humility and prayerfulness of these nameless women.
I am healed and encouraged by this account. Not that I consider a house fire and the loss of a family member the same as being martyred. But it assures me that there is a story before and behind and beyond the story that I see. My small part to play is just that but there is a bigger drama going on, a drama of intrigue and fascination and healing and restoration. Perhaps my heartache this year will be worth more than just a house re-build. Perhaps it will go further than we know, bringing about in some small way His kingdom or His healing or His purpose. In that I find rest and even joy.
|From my friend Janell's blog. Aren't they lovely?|