Friday, July 31, 2015

Truth Telling, Light Shedding

This summer is flying by.

Late at night a few friends of mine and I sat outside our favorite restaurant next to the train tracks here in town. We talked about honesty, raising kids and living our faith. So much of what is said by Christians can often be boiled down to "God just wants you to be happy" and "If you do x you will reap a great reward." Yes, but also - no. Not at all. Just as I feel it would be less than truthful to tell a young couple that their married life will be filled with nothing but joy and love, I can get uneasy with how so much of life is portrayed by well meaning, lovely people. Having babies is a joy, but it's also hard, lonely, exhausting - and sometimes those rewards, they don't show up the way you think they will. Having a lot of babies is all that and more - but the stresses are also more abundant.

My dearest friends are those who give voice to the difficulty - not because it is negative, but because it is truthful. And without truth, the stories we tell each other are just fairy tales. Truth isn't negative. Truth is light.

God is good, always. But is "good" always what we think it is? 

I think there's a fine line between telling the good stuff and telling only the good stuff. Life through a rose colored lens only gets you so far and is a disservice to those looking to you to see what life really looks like. It's something I've been challenged with a lot lately - do you tell people the truth or what they want to hear?

My cousin Libby says "Yes, God promises to give us the desires of our hearts - but maybe that only comes when our desires are aligned with His for us." I can feel the truth in that just like I can feel the strange peace that comes when I learn over and over again to hand over control. Like the smoothing of a pebble tossed in the waves, like silk in your hand.

A year after my husband loses his job, a year packed with getting back on our feet, an unexpected pregnancy and subsequent delight at welcoming another wonderful person - his team at his new job is being dissolved. Looking for work again after less than 12 months of employment. I have to say, it was hard to muster tears this time. Despite saying it out loud while holding a 2 month old baby in my arms - "I can't. I can't do that again. I can't do it," I had a strange feeling. This time is a little less desperate. A little less fearful. A little easier to shoulder the stress. Not just because I have seen how it can all work out, but because relying on God is a daily exercise. I feel stronger than last year because for the past 365 days I've loosened my grip on my life. On my desires. And yes, on my dreams.

The truth isn't that everything is going to work out the way you want it to. Believing that is the path disappointment, anxiety and disillusionment. No, the truth is struggle allows each step outside your comfort zone to evolve and adapt you, to change your perspective and challenge your limits. Not because it will be easy, or even satisfying. The rewards may never be tangible or immediate.

But God promises that our struggles here will yield perseverance, and if I look closely, I can see that growing here, in me.

The truth is - peace is a Person. And the closer I cling to him, the more I hand over the reins of my life here, the more I trust He works it all for good - the more I have.

It's a daily practice, this truth telling. But truth sheds light, and the brighter my vision, the more I can see Him working it all and ever for good.

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