The Lord moves in mysterious ways. Earlier this week my twelve year old son and a pal got into my tequila. And then filled it back up with water. (Trust me he reaped his own "reward", I barely had to say a thing.)
Anyways as it turns out it was just as well I had to empty the diluted remainder down the sink, because yesterday was such a doozie I'd have been sorely tempted to chug a large proportion of it myself. Instead, I stood painfully and resolutely sober in the face of seeming hell.
I sometimes feel my life over the past six years has been a spiritual game of Whack-a-Mole. No sooner do I almost get my head above the ground than a great lead pipe smashes down upon it. I was so shocked by unexpected news about our circumstances yesterday, that momentarily I couldn't think of anything at all. Even now I'm in denial. How can the Lord possibly be asking of me still more change? Is this really Him, or is this the enemy whacking me down?
Either way, at the moment there is nothing more I can do about it except watch and wait. And pray.
When things get ripped out from under us in our lives, I believe we have two options. The first is to look at what's left and neaten it all up into a smaller pile, a smaller order. OR, once you've regained your breath and sufficient balance, to push forward and MAKE MORE LIFE.
Yes, messy life, sometimes smelly life, unexpected/unknown life, nourishing life, creative life. To create life you must also, inevitably, create mess. Any parent can tell you that. But I would rather have mess and more life, than order and less.
Right now, rather than looking at the giant holes in my metaphorical garden and smoothing them over and keeping them neat, I'm going to look to plant something else. Something more. And that means plunging forward to be willing to get even dirtier, rather than holding back and cleaning up from what has been taken and sitting in that emptiness. Maybe God is calling me to reconfigure my garden all together.
What can I do? Dig a literal veg patch, paint a picture, make a meal I've never tried before, dance around embarrassing my kids, pick a posy - even if they're pretty weeds, write a song, make up a song in my head then sing it loudly everywhere. Defiantly show the devil by how I respond to trial that he hasn't got me. That God is still in charge even when I have no clue how this can work to good and perhaps I myself have made a mess of it totally too. That's why they call it grace.
Embracing new life/getting dirtier is an act of worship and the biggest two fingers you can raise to the devil. Old poo-head can't bring me down, because while I'm alive I will always have the capacity to create MORE LIFE. "You want to take this from me, you old devil? OK, let's see what I can make NOW!"
And here's the other thing. When the waves of your life are crashing over your head, you always need to climb to higher ground. Take the higher ground. Stop putting up with that! Stop drinking salt water which will literally drive you insane (haven't you watched the movies?) Climb up onto that Rock which is the only immovable thing in your world and stand UP. Look DOWN on those waves. At most now they can only lap around your ankles and you can pretend that really they're quite refreshing if you look at it the right way (which'll piss off the devil too).
I remind myself: God sits enthroned over the flood, not in it. Whatever I'm facing, it is NOTHING to God. He is totally concerned for my good in allowing it in the first place. (If you don't stand on that unchanging truth, you will be drowning in salt water.)
So my recommendation - to myself and, if I may, to you - would be don't tidy up and expect less/be less/do less.
SURGE FORWARD AND GET DIRTIER.
TAKE THE HIGHER GROUND, DIG DEEPER, PROCLAIM THE TRUTH.
By so doing, we are shouting that in all these things HA! we are more than conquerors. And not because we're willing ourselves to believe that. We are operating in that truth and so nothing can stand in our way. Then let's get on with it!
This is what I am living today. And now you must excuse me while I go and dig in all my new tomato plants nonetheless. Mud under my nails, dirt on my face, water sloshing into my sneakers, washing up not done, vacuuming be damned.
Remember this: NEVER THE LESS, God is GOD.
He's got this, whatever it is. And He's got you.