When the next chapter is a Genesis 19 (aka, these are the golden days)

These are the golden days. These beautiful, slow, ordinary days where I can breathe and write and cook. These days that the cat is tongue-out curled on the couch and dinner is bubbling savory in the crock pot. These days when my husband snow-shovels himself out of a pile of papers. And JJ Heller worships in the background.

These days that our life is so glamorous, so ordinary, and so rich. And I am so aware of this very fact.

These days when the battle is ebbing in my favor.

Because I’m caught in an arena of a daily war, and it’s one of the most excruciating and exquisite battle of my life.

One one side? Discontent. Fear. Mistrust. Apathy. Disappointment. Angst. All fighting against Worship, Thankfulness, Trust, Rest, Courage, Passion.

I wake up to this every day: today, will I choose to trust God with this job – this job that is not me. This job that is life-draining. This job that takes me too far from home? Will I rest and wait and trust as He closes all other doors and holds me here?

This is a golden day.

But there are gray days, too. Days when I tantrum and bang on the doors of Heaven. Let me out now! The days when every rude customer, every conceited coworker, every dreaded commute and early alarm grate on frayed nerves and in a weary heart. 

And you know what?

It’s all been so good.

Remember Abraham, interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18)? He was so disturbed by the threat of destruction. What if there are 10 righteous, Lord? What then?

Usually, we talk about this passage and the power of prayer. But recently, from this arena, I’ve been seeing the story a little differently.

To talk about the power of prayer is to view the story from Abraham’s perspective. But God knew what was going to happen in Genesis 19. God saved Lot and his family and the cities were destroyed. And He never returned a report to Abraham concerning how many righteous people there were or weren’t to be found there. He just did and Abraham had to trust.

In fact, I think you could argue that God’s plan was way more merciful than Abraham’s plea. He saved Lot’s wife and daughters – women who were attached to their sinful city, who would get their father drunk to commit incest. Would they have been counted among the righteous? Would Lot have been?

Abraham’s request, by his perspective, was good. But he didn’t know all the factors, or the whole story.

And I’ve been thinking that I’m so glad I don’t serve a god that bends his will to my every request.

What if there are 10 righteous? What if I shouldn’t be here? What if there’s a better job? What if there’s a faster way to get out of this debt? What if we’d do better off Long Island?

My life would look very different if God bent to my every “what if.”

But I would have missed the battle, and the gray days. And without the those two, I would never find these golden days.

You see, God is stretching me into my true, pure, righteous, holy, best self. The overcoming Jenni. The Christ-like Jenni. I am becoming quieter, more trusting, more at rest, more compassionate, more gentle. The battle ebbs in my favor more often. He is wooing me into this desert and convincing me of his trustworthiness. I can say with more and more conviction, more and more often, that I would do anything for him for any length of time. Just if he asked.

My requests may be good. There might be another job, or a better way to pay off debt, or another place to go. But for now? And for always? Only He can see those factors. I don’t have the whole picture. God can see the Genesis 19 in my life already. He can see the Sodom and Gomorrahs crumbling in my heart, and he knows it is far better and more merciful than anything I could ask for or imagine.

I can only plead for the what ifs. But he is the I AM.

These are the golden days: that I am surrendered to the one who will give us the best, bring out the best, and do the best. Every. Single. Time.

No matter how it looks for feels now. He never gives us second-rate just to keep us happy and appeased. He gives us battles and wars and odd jobs.

Because these are for his glory, and our great joy.

These are the golden days.

credit Brandon Giesbrecht, Flickr Creative Commons
credit Brandon Giesbrecht, Flickr Creative Commons

I am from

My favorite thing about the blogosphere is the trail of community. Follow one blog, that writer does a link-up; go to that blog, that writer does a link-up…and the most fun is when all the link-ups intertwine and the connections between bloggers are numerous. I’m privileged to be a very teeny, unnoticed corner in a web of community that is wonderful enough to include my real-life, outside-of-the-web friend over at Little Did She Know, a blog that blows me away with its beauty all the time, and SheLoves Magazine.

SheLoves, a self-described “global community of women who love,” is currently doing a synchroblog which was so much fun that I had to break my blogger silence not with a usual post, as I had planned, but with my response to their prompt. I love occasionally doing writing to a template: there is something in structure that allows such freedom for creativity. The template this time is based around a poem by George Ella Lyon.

*****

I am from beer bottles become vases and candlesticks,
from piles of unwashed dishes and unhung clothes, from a stack of half-read books.

I am from the end of the last, long driveway,
a terrarium of bugs, a naughty cat, and a constant cup of tea.

I am from the Property, the rocks long carved into a thousand imagined things,
from the long-chained swing and the zip-line I can never do on my own.
I’m from junk-food tree-decorating and chaos,
from a predominance of testosterone and a thick brotherhood.
I’m from a cup constantly poured out and from Stargate

and from teacher’s hands.

I’m from stubborn and independent, and
“As the Deer.”

I’m from chocolates divvied out on Sundays, Lord of the Rings ultimatums, and earth-shaking aspens.
I’m from the West, the edge of the Wild, the governor of Colorado,
from the proud Swiss and the mutts-from-who-knows-where.

From burn-your-tongue-off chili and kebabs off the grill.

The daughter of a father’s father, from a mischief that sneaks out of bed to the beach
during U-boat imposed curfews. From love letters to Japan, an old Swiss pipe,

from my own love-letters in ribbons, from the dried petals of an endangered bridal bouquet,
from that one wedding picture of two kids scrounged from a bad photographer.
From the carefully folded handkerchief in a top dresser drawer that hardly captures
the memories of a Nana’s heart.

I am from distance, from a heart broken into so many pieces
across so many states and into Heaven that one life
can’t put Humpty together again. And I am from hope,

from the promise of fullness, from the Father of the Wholehearted.