Monday, February 15, 2016

Trust, Peace, and Life All In

Another Monday.

It snowed last night, although not enough to elicit much interest from my kids. I get up early to get the house back in shape after the weekend before the workers come back to do more on the upstairs hallway.

Last night my sister in law asked me how it was going, how much longer it would be that we are showering at my parent's house and are sequestered to the downstairs during the day. I told her - I don't know. But somehow I'm not that worried about it.

That is increasingly becoming my answer to questions about inconveniences. Things I used to get quite worked up over just don't seem to topple me in the same way. I don't know if I've given up or grown stronger or am just sticking my fingers in my ears to drown it all out, but it seems to be the way things are going.

If anything, I feel challenged - but not in a bad way. I feel like the lines I have drawn, the deals I thought I struck with God - are being challenged. "Ok, God. I can do 1200 square feet with 7 kids. But that's it. No smaller." Oh, really? How about half that for an undisclosed period of time? Throw in no shower or bathtub access, just to see how ya do. Well...sigh. Fine.

My husband started a job this week that is not what we had hoped for. Again, my lines are being crossed, my parameters breached. The job is "too far." It's not what I ordered. But God says here you go. You prayed for a job. Here.


My bookshelves are falling apart. The downstairs bathroom (the only one we currently have access to!) light fixture decided to stop working. One of the new-last-year tires on the van needs to be patched. On and on and on. That last paycheck hasn't arrived yet. And I'm more than a little tired of feeling discouraged as these things spring up like a never ending game of whack-a-mole.

The rock hard truth on this one is just this: the more stipulations you place on Joy, the less likely you are to experience it.

The lengthier your check list of a good life, the greater your odds are of missing out completely.

Is your joy dependent on a well stocked emergency fund? Watch it deplete when your funds tank. Is it dependent on health? A family-wide bug can leave you down for weeks. If my benchmark of joy depended on a large house neat as a pin, children who never argue and a marriage that requires no effort - I'd live a life of bitterness and disillusionment. I've been there. It's no way to live.

I feel like God is peeling back the layers of my dependency and inviting me to deeper trust. As so many things I thought I needed to have a joy-filled life fall away, I'm presented with a choice. Do I choose trust or fear? You can't hold both at once. Trust is scary. So is fear. But only one carries with it the promise of peace.

Maybe that's the name for how I feel when I shrug it off. When I face the coming days that look quite a little bit like question marks and decide to live all in anyway. At peace with how it goes.

I'm learning that this abiding, this settling in - it's giving me some crazy courage.

And just like that dusting of snow, I wake up to a gentle mantle of joy.

Thank you, Jesus.

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