Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hurry up and Wait

Me on the far left with some of the VBS team I’m privileged to work with at LifeWay

I like to plan. I may have a messy house but I’m a happy person if I have enough clean clothes in my  closet and enough meals in my fridge to last me through the week.

And I can go with the flow and pick up the slack and keep my cool in an emergency … unless someone knew it was going to happen and forgot to tell me so I could plan ahead. Nothing boils my blood faster.

I suppose that this fact is making God chuckle at me a little this week as I wait to close on my new home (eeek!!!! Momentary ecstatic freak out over being a first time homeowner!) It was supposed to be on Nov. 15. Then on Nov. 26. Then the 27th. But Monday they told me it would be Thursday the 29th.  As I write this to post on Thursday, who knows if I’ll be a new homeowner as you read it? Or not?

And that kills me.

But it doesn’t, God reminded me today, not really. It doesn’t kill me at all. I have a warm, dry place to stay with cousins who are dear to me and have graciously opened their home (and their delicious food) to me for as long as I might need it. I have a marvelous new job at LifeWay Christian Resources that I feel excited about every morning. So much so, it kind of feels more like they’re letting me in every morning to come and work on VBS materials, instead of making me be there for my working hours. Everything seems to be going really well right now, a true gift from God.

It’s just not how I planned it.

And what it really comes down to in the end, God pointed out very convictingly today, is whether I trust him to take care of things, to make them work out, even if it wasn’t how I wanted it. Do I trust him to care enough for me enough to take care of me? I haven’t always. I often don’t. But I’m trying.

More than anything, I want this home to be God’s, to honor him, and to be used to welcome people and remind them of his peace and comfort. And if it’s going to do that, it really needs to start off this way, held loosely in my hands and tightly in his so that it will always be used just the way he wants it. May it always be so. And God forgive the impatience that continues regardless of these realizations!

Unmaking

Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly…

Once upon a time there was a caterpillar. She hatched from an egg that had been abandoned under a leaf and crawled away to find a place for herself in the world, a safe place, a place with food, a place she could survive.

And she did survive. She grew to be a larger caterpillar, if plain, without some of the vibrant markings of her kin. She survived, and continued to live, day after day, seeking her safety and sustenance, taking it where she could find it.

Then, one day, it was time. Time for what, she couldn’t have told you. She only knew that it was time for something, something different, something beyond surviving, something that would change her life.

It began with the stiffening. She found herself unable to move, something new building up around her, against her will. She could no longer live as she had before, seeking out food and safety. She was bound to this place, and if there was no food, no safety, then she wouldn’t survive.

She struggled, but it was no use. The shell continued to build around her, as if she were back in the egg from which she was born. There were no doors or windows, no escape left for her. Soon, as the last section closed, near her head, she couldn’t even see the sky.

“Skyfather, Skyfather, help!” she cried. “I’m trapped, I can’t move, let me out!”

The Skyfather answered her with a soothing croon. “It’s alright, my daughter, I’ve got you.”

“If you’ve got me,” she asked, “Then why am I here? Why am I trapped here, away from the sunshine? Have I done something wrong? I tried to be a good caterpillar!”

“You’ve been a very good caterpillar,” He answered. “And I’m taking care of you. This is only for a Little While, and then it will be Better, Better than you can imagine.”

“How long is a Little While?” she asked, getting frantic. She couldn’t get free and already missed the breeze and the sunlight. “And what do you mean, Better?”

The Skyfather chuckled softly. “Even if I told you what Better was, you wouldn’t understand it. It’s bigger than your mind can hold right now. And a Little While is Long Enough.”

“Long Enough for what?” she asked, quivering.

“Long Enough for everything to be made Better, including you.”

She was quiet for a time, thinking that over in the darkness. Then something new started to happen, a sort of tingling in the skin of her sides and back.

“Skyfather, Skyfather!” she cried again. “Something new is happening! What is this?”

“It is the Unmaking, child,” he said, gently.

“Unmaking?” she asked. “I’m being unmade? But then what will I be?”

“You will be Something Better, my child. But before I can make you that Better You, the Old You must be Unmade.”

She trembled quietly, then asked, very softly, “Will it hurt, being Unmade?”

“Sometimes,” the Skyfather answered. “Sometimes, when you’re too used to Old You, it is hard to let go and be Better You.” He sounded sad.

“If I am Better Me, will I still be me?”

“You will be more You than you have ever been,” the Skyfather promised quietly.

It was quiet again as the caterpillar thought about that, and felt bits of herself come undone. “It is hard,” she said at last. “Waiting Long Enough. Is it Long Enough yet? I want to be Better now.”

The Skyfather chuckled again gently. “You haven’t finished being Unmade yet, my child. It will be a Bit Longer, and then you will be Remade. Then you will see what Better is.”

She waited, feeling the Unmaking. Sometimes there was a twinge, when she panicked and tightened, trying to keep everything as it was. Then she remembered the Skyfather’s words, took a deep breath, and let it go.

Soon she felt like she was floating in her shell, not quite sure who or where she was. But she trusted the Skyfather and knew He would make her Better, even if she didn’t know what Better would be.

Slowly, she felt things tighten as they came back together in a new way. It was uncomfortable and a bit scary, because some parts of her she’d always had were gone, and there were some new parts that she didn’t understand. She felt strange, and she couldn’t see, here in the darkness of her shell. But she clung to the promise of Better, took a deep breath, and did her best to obey the Skyfather.

“Almost done,” He said gently. “You’ve done very well.”

She blinked, then realized that there was a pale green light around her. Her shell was thinning. She felt excitement well up. She was going to come out, and she was going to be Better!

The walls around her finally split open, and she crawled out to cling to the twig she’d been anchored to. But the new parts of her, the parts that were supposed to be Better, were wet and crumpled and ugly. Suddenly she missed the darkness of her shell. Now she was exposed, where everyone could see how dirty and miserable she was.

“Skyfather, Skyfather,” she sobbed. “How is this Better? This is Worse! I still can’t move, and now I’m ugly and everyone can see me! I wish I were still a caterpillar!”

“Trust me, my daughter,” He said, in a velvety voice that soothed her fear and shame. “I’m still here, and I’m still Remaking you. You will be Better, I promise. Just trust Me a bit longer.”

She didn’t see how anything could possibly be Better again, but she made herself wait a bit longer. Skyfather had cared for her for all her life; surely she could trust Him now?

Slowly, slowly, her New Parts started to dry and straighten. She flicked them a few times, then looked back in awe. Her New Parts were wings! She’d waited, and now they were beautiful! They were blue and green and black and shimmered in the sunlight. She flicked them again, and then she did something she never imagined that she would do.

She flew.

As she soared and fluttered across the bright blue sky, in the sunlight and the breeze, she and the Skyfather laughed together in delight.

 

I’ll be back with Rebekah, Sara, and the rest of the Girls of the Covenant next time!