Monday, February 18, 2013

A Heart After God's Own

On Balancing the faithfulness of David the shepherd with the radical life of Jesus the carpenter's son:

Tonight when I got home, I was annoyed.

I came home to see my husband (whose Sabbath was today), reading on the couch in preparation for the high school community group he was about to lead. To you this probably sounds perfectly fine, but to my wife-after-work-eyes I saw my husband (who had been home all day), relaxing and planning on the dirty couch in the middle of a dirty messy room which had no prepared snacks or drinks in it and smelled like dog and was about to house 5-8 high schoolers and the possibly judging eyes of whatever parents brought them.

When we first started our married journey together I loooved the idea of the "beautiful mess." Loved is not even strong enough - I idolized the idea really, if I'm being honest. Tons of kids, tons of dogs, tons of times spent at the church or with the church spent at our house, exhaustion as our sleeping pill and sacrificial love as our strength...... nevermind the daily grind of dishes, laundry, family drama, or earning our paychecks. Nevermind the effects of my God-given ADD on our household routine or systems.

Fast forward to this past year, and I hit a point where I was really struggling with the daily grind for two reasons. The first being the most obvious - it's hard for everyone to keep up and it's even harder when you require meds to even remember to take your meds. The second reason, however, being spiritual. I couldn't see how prioritizing my own household and my own chores over the immediate needs of others in my community could glorify God. My thoughts were that the dishes could always get done tomorrow, but the neighbors who need advice for a mentally ill family member, or the church member who suddenly lost their job and needs a meal, or the cases at work that needed extra hours to keep kids out of the hospital - those things are now or never. With only barely keeping our heads above water with chores, there was no way there was any time for extra fix-it projects around the house to make us "home study-ready."

Then God did an amazing thing. He started "dropping babies out of the sky," as we say around here. Within a few weeks of each other we were contacted about 2-3 possible cases of infants becoming available for adoption within the community of people we knew.

But we weren't ready.

God used this time to teach me an important lesson: Even if I don't think I'm worthy of blessing or even worthy of preparation of blessing, it's not about what I think.
But it is about my obedience
Suddenly we were scrambling to prepare background checks, organize closets, purge extra things cluttering our spaces. One by one we started denting our checklist. One by one the babies who had dropped out of the sky became no longer a possibility, but that was ok. We were making progress. Then, recently, a woman met us for lunch and asked us to parent her child. God is so good.

And now God has done an amazing thing in our lives, whether or not the adoption of this particular child comes to completion. This blessing that God gave us is not just the physical little body of a baby in it's first mommy's belly. God taught us how sometimes the daily little things that are just boring routine or blind obedience are actually the building blocks to big testimonies and great miracles. Every sheep fed by the boy David was a building block in a much bigger miracle and a very great testimony.

Nowadays I still struggle with balancing the day to day. Today, for instance, I got a little cleaning done, sat to write this and clear my head, and then I will need to go apologize to my husband for being so sharp. He was honoring God and I had no reason to believe he was not, but my own guilt about the dog-smelling living room was imposed onto his shoulders. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, even about the daily junk like smelly carpets. I'm sure that cleaning and organization will continue to be a struggle for me as long as God chooses to let ADD remain a part of my life, but the guilt over maintaining my household should not continue to plague me. There is a season to every purpose and it is alright for me, today, to pray and know that this season is for the preparation and building of something new.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Places on a Map

Tonight I walked out of the office and breathed in deep the smell of a clear warm night full of restaurant exhaust and car fumes. It is that smell, that city smell, and it transported me to a place on a map. It brought me to a house in a city where 99cent pizzas and sour watermelons were my manna and that smell permeated everything but the smell of my unwashed dishes; where my interests became action; where discussions on couches or in classrooms felt like changing the world because changing the world was at our fingertips; where love was budding and community was blooming and even exhaustion felt like hope and joy because of the people around me.

It's the same way that the smell of fresh baked sandwich bread instantly takes me to a place on a map with sparkling winters and smiling faces. A place on a map that is also a place in my heart, that to me is the warmth of sunlight and the safety of childhood. Where a crisp Sunday afternoon with a beer brat and the Packer game is perfection; where the hot chocolate and scarves and fire places make me feel almost as safe as the entire town of people who all seem to know my name.

And it's funny how these places on a map look no different to the wanderers passing through and marking them off their triptik or GPS. Each holds its own struggles and failures on the timeline of my story. But something about their scent brings only memories that are worth holding on to and brings them so vividly to the forefront of my mind...

I wonder what the scent of this place will bring when I someday travel away from this place.