God is good and I'm tapped into Him. His Word is speaking to my heart and I'm impacted by it. But life?? Ah, life. I told Shelly the other day that life these days is like trying to organize the pantry shelves while I'm in the washing machine on the spin cycle. Ummmm . . . yeah. I actually really like organizing - but right now? Even if I could reach things, I'm really not sure which way is up! Plus I'm all wet, and I'm not feeling very well either . . . Yep, it's exactly like that.
Sooooo . . . I will save the story I'm working on for another time, and today? Today I'm telling you this: things at my house are uber-tricky right now. Some of the challenges are nothing new - homeschooling, 4 boys, Leukemia, medical school, etc. Oy! But there are other things too. Things I am not at liberty to share freely about here; persistent, ongoing things that have been weighing down my heart in ways I never knew it could be weighed down. There's also heartbreaking, head-spinning news from, not just one friend, but now from two?! Things are simply not always what they seem and people I love are being crushed. I feel wary, sad, and somewhat undone by this reality as it continues to exert itself around me. I feel shaken; weak. And oh so weary. I lay next to my husband last night and just wept because I couldn't help it. It's too much, Lord! I can't take it!
It's. Too. Much.
We are continuing with a mild school schedule through the summer, largely because for the first time - ever - I feel up to it. Ironic given the above, I know. When asked I say it's because it's so hot out we might as well be productive while we're inside, but I realize too that it gives some graspable structure, not only to my banshee boys, but also to their mother (who does not care for the spin cycle at all!!). We start each day with prayer, Bible reading, devotional study, and "Grateful Books" (thank you, Ann Voskamp!). I was not ready to surrender this magical time with my growing Oaks of Righteousness just because it's summer!!
Today we asked the question, "Does God have a purpose for the wicked man?" It turned out to be pretty heady stuff! All my black and white thinkers jumped right in there: "No way!!" but a couple of us weren't so sure. Proverbs 16:4 tells us. "The Lord works out everything for his own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster." As we unpacked this a little bit, we talked about the miracle of Joseph being sold into slavery and then rising to power in Egypt to save countless lives - including those of his brothers who had hated him and sought to do him great harm. We also looked at Romans 8:28 where we receive the assurance that ". . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." All. Things. There's good fodder for this discussion at my house. Cancer. Difficulties of medical school. Lots of other yucky stuff. Did God want Daniel to get cancer? No. Can He bring good from it? Absolutely! Should we trust Him to work out His plan even when we simply can't understand it? Yes, we should. I sure was preaching that sermon to myself today! I told the boys how it was for me when they were babies in need of vaccinations. Did I want them to get poked with those big mean needles so they would hurt and cry and get a fever later? Of course not! Did I know that it's better to get a poke today rather than Polio tomorrow? Oh yes. They didn't understand the need for shots, but I did, so because I love them I allowed it. I even drove them there and held them down during the worst part! Then I held them and loved them and administered Tylenol. That is SO how God deals with me.
There are some seriously BIG waves breaking over our little bow these days, but my God is the God who can say to the waves, "Peace! Be still." He is also the God who says to me, "'Be still and know that I am God.' Do not be afraid, 'though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.' We have had more than a few mountains fall into the heart of the sea at our house, but even so, there is never any reason to fear! Somehow I keep forgetting that.
I was touched by Nathan's very serious question during our conversation: "Wait, Mama. Does God work all things for His good or for our good?" I'm so grateful that God's answer to this question is . . . Yes!! I really do want to be about His Kingdom business and most of the time the thing I want most is for God to be glorified. Still, I have those temper tantrum days when I just want it to be about ME for a minute! Or a year would be fine. It is then that God reminds me, "I haven't forgotten about you! This will only hurt for a little while but it is so important. Will you trust me? I love you and I'll be right here with you the whole time."
In serving this amazing God, I am regularly reminded that it only feels like "too much". In reality, it's just what the Doctor ordered - and He can be trusted.
Even when it feels like the spin cycle.