It’s been raining a lot around here lately, those deep, soaking kind of rains that tempt you into believing it’s spring already. That somehow you’ve managed to skip through the bone-chilling months of winter. That frozen windshields and snow shovels have been conveniently avoided.
But then you look at the fields and realize the harvest is over. You look up at the trees and realize it is the most beautiful of seasons, autumn, and winter is still on its way.
* * * * *
“I want to get some toys, mama,” our four-year old daughter said.
“Sorry, Abra. You don’t need any more toys. At least not today.”
“Yes, I do!” she shouted.
“Abra!” Maile said, surprised by this unusual outburst from our smiliest child. “You don’t need more toys. You don’t want to be greedy, do you?”
“Yes, I do,” she said, this time in a calculated voice full of reflection. “I haven’t been greeny in years.”
* * * * *
I felt like that earlier in the summer. I just wanted to be greeny. I felt like we had given up so much to chase our dreams, to follow the path that we felt God had put in front of us, and I was ready to collect the reward.
Here I am, God. Your faithful servant. Withdrawal slip in hand.
But rather than getting easier, things got more difficult. I ran out of projects. We didn’t get the house we wanted (at the time). And, as you’ll soon read about in a post I’ve written for Prodigal Magazine, we lost $15,000 in the time it takes to read a short email. What I had thought might finally be the spring turned out to be a deceitful fall day. A winter of the soul rolled in.
* * * * *
“We’re believing God for big things.”
“We know that God can provide what we’re asking for.”
“I know God can help me __________.” (Fill in the blank: “buy that house” or “get that promotion” or “get out of debt”.)
These days it’s hard for me to listen to people talk about God in that way. Not because I don’t believe he provides for us, but rather because I think we’re not usually ready to receive what he has to offer. I know I wasn’t.
This was by far the craziest summer yet. God’s gifts didn’t seem very good. We had gone five months without any meaningful, consistent income. I have no idea how we paid the bills, but we did. And in the midst of this incredible uncertainty, a new sort of trust has grown inside of me. A peace that makes absolutely no sense. A joy in simply living, waiting to see what’s next.
I now realize I got way more than my greeny little heart was asking for.
In Rachel Held Evan’s new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she points out this prayer by St. Theresa of Avila. I’ll leave you with these words on this beautiful fall Friday. Hopefully, even if you’re in the middle of a raging winter, focusing on it will give you a glimpse of true spring:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
* * * * *
What’s the strangest gift you ever received from God?