a dramatic neurotic basket-case, but safe

So I have realized that I have been rather dramatic lately.  Dramatic in my writing, dramatic in my processing, and even dramatic in my cleaning.  Just the other day, Paul and I were frantically cleaning every inch of the house to get it ready to go on the market.  I definitely had a strategy to my madness.  I was working from one end of the house to the other.  There were flowers on the table that were ready to be pruned and picked down and redistributed to a smaller vase.  My plan was to attack that when I literally got to it on the table in my evenly horizontal sweep of the room.  Even though it wasn’t as high a priority as the dirty dishes in the sink it made sense to me to work in this way.  When my mental red line, that divided the half of the room that was done from the half that was undone, reached the vase, it was time to deal with the flowers.  I did the same when I came to a bowl of small oranges.  Some needed to be discarded and some could be saved and arranged into something that would look pretty.  Having the citrus arrangement wasn’t on the to-do list from our realtor.  But it made sense to me that when I got to the bowl, taking care of the oranges at that moment was just the next thing to do.  This didn’t make a whole lot of sense to Paul and he gently suggested that maybe I not get distracted on the things that weren’t top priority.  I did not respond well.  I really let it get the best of me and my cleaning all of a sudden became an emotional, personally defining thing.  It was a lot of drama.   I couldn’t really understand myself and all this emotion.  Our lives have been crazy and I have been storing a ton of emotions right underneath the surface of my skin, but haven’t even had the time to recognize that they are there.

So here I am, sitting in front of my computer—my church bench of perspective.  I have been absent from attending this place with the Father.  I have avoided it’s hard and cold form—it’s intimidating blank white screen.  I have kept myself busy with obligations and hurriedness to keep from feeling the things I hate to even consider.  How often do we hide from the One who knows all.  It’s so silly and foolish.  So here I am…let’s get it over with.  I’m ready to feel it all, to finally process all the change that’s ahead of me.  Let’s strip back the skin and peel off the layers to uncover where all that drama is coming from.

My first emotion is sadness.  We have been in Buda for close to 8 years.  It is the longest amount of time Paul and I have lived in one place since having met back in college.  Three out of the four of our children were born in Buda and little Judah just celebrated his first birthday here.  The Well is the only church our kids know—the only church family they have ever had.  The people who visited us in the hospital at their births, witnessed their baptisms, came to birthday parties, and babysat in between—these are the people we are leaving.  The people are our community and our family.  The past 8 years we have sacrificed time, energy, finances, birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, and lots of emotional outpouring of our hearts for and with these people. They have been our purpose, our mission, and our life for the past 8 years.  We have walked through pain and suffering with each other.  We have shared in joy and celebration.  This has been a hard decision.  It’s not easy to leave all who we treasure so dearly.  This isn’t a career choice or simply changing jobs.  What is being asked of us is to relocate away from dear family and friends.  We like The Well.  We love The Well.  We genuinely like the people and have fun with them.  But God, in His gracious mercy has made it abundantly clear that the best thing for our family at The Well is to make room for new leadership and a refreshed approach.  It is out of love for The Well that we leave.  It’s like the parent who knows that what’s best for their son or daughter is for them to go to an out-of-state university or college that offers the best program for the desired degree.  Mothers don’t want to have their children far away from them, but know that the growth and development acquired during that time of distance provides maturation, independence and a wealth of knowledge.  Then there is just the simple fact that we feel called.  We feel through the Spirit that God is asking us to go.  He is asking us if we are willing to leave our mother, father, sister and brother, to follow Him.  Following can be sad.

My second emotion is awe.  We also see how God has prepared us in our 8 years in Buda for the tasks at hand in Katy.  We have walked through our own cycles of repentance and restoration, that we have grown and matured in ways we could never have forecasted.  Living in our independence from our own works has strengthened our dependence on Jesus.  His provision, His restoration, and His vision for us has brought us to a place where it is just so obvious that we can do nothing apart from Him.  We see through this move, the same message of dependence on Him for both The Well and Crosspoint.  Jesus has so much for us.  We just have to get our idols out of the way.  Isn’t this the struggle for every believer in every situation?

In my time here in front of my blank computer screen, I’ve thought about more than just the past month of intense decision making and busyness.  There are certain times in life when we get those big-picture moments.  I had a friend in college call them “big” moments, when you somewhat separate yourself from living inside the four-walls of your skin and get a glimpse of a bigger work, a bigger picture that is being formed.  I see something being crafted over the past year and a half.

Perhaps the fact that Judah just turned one helps to put this in focus.  I think about finding out I was pregnant and the weighty feel of panic that made my heart sink.  All my dreams and plans for the next year vanished in the few seconds it took to look at that little plus-sign.  I couldn’t imagine life with four kids, with ANOTHER baby, and being “tied down” at home, yet again.  The coming of that little life caused us to sell our house and move to a different neighborhood and into a house with one more bedroom.  It was never the house of our dreams, though it suited our needs just fine.  But it was this new neighborhood and house that made it impossible to attend Buda Elementary and ultimately led us to the decision to begin “Family Rehab”.  This blog being the result of that decision, has led to other encouraging open doors, paths and relationships.  I also over the past year have completed writing and editing a book and it will (God-willing) be published later this summer.  God has done so many things this year that I didn’t see when I was panicking about diaper changing and midnight feedings.  As I look back on the year, diapers aren’t even a memory.  I honestly don’t remember any of the late nights and the struggle.  I simply see God’s hand at work to create a bigger picture.

Having the kids at home and not in school has made this move to Katy a little easier for all of us.  And I look back on the decision to do so and thank God for His foresight and knowledge and for laying it so heavily on my heart.  He knew what He was doing in order to gently care for the hearts of my children.  I could go on and on about how I see God painting a bigger picture of preparation and provision for our family in this move.  It’s just so amazing and it challenges me to trust Him during the times when I don’t see a complete big picture.

My third emotion is fear.  I really run from engaging with this emotion.  I am leaving a place where I have been able to be a pastor’s wife, a mom, and still do the things I love at the same time.  (Not that I don’t love being a wife and a mom…:)  But, I’ve enjoyed being needed beyond the home.  I’ve enjoyed being seen as having purpose outside the home.  I’ve enjoyed it to the point that it’s been a struggle for me to not be satisfied just being in the home.  I should be satisfied.  I should be content.  I should be thankful with what I have and even less.  My identity is found and secure in Jesus and all that He says I am.  I fear living this out everyday.  I don’t want to be naive and think I won’t struggle in this area.  I will.  I know I will.  And I fear the questions I will place on my identity and worth as it is challenged by responsibilities being removed.  I also look forward to having  season of rest.  But, when I’m all rested up, let’s face it: I’m going to miss being needed.  I’m going to miss the joy and fulfillment of using my gifts and talents to serve Jesus and others.  I am confident God will continue to use me.  It just might look different.  And I honestly need help to trust Him in this—to really believe He knows what is best and indeed has my good and the good of the Church in mind.

Finally, (although I’m sure there are more hidden somewhere inside) the last emotion I feel is excitement.  I have been and currently am so tired from the past 8 years.  It’s been hard work.  And I know that there is hard work coming.    I feel as though all of us, even the kids, will be able to identify what specific things God is calling us to—what things we are to focus on.  And I really do believe that whatever He reveals those things to be, we will have the ability to spend more time and energy focused on fewer things.  I really do feel like we will be able to grow because we won’t be spread so thin.  It’s exactly what my desire was for “family rehab”.  I wanted us to take away school to be intentional and focused on our family.  I feel like this move is an extension of that initial calling to rehabilitate.  I am excited to see where God takes this and what He does with it.  I’m excited to see how my children grow and are challenged.  Even though I’m fearful about all the time I will have on my hands, I’m excited to see how God molds and shapes me and draws me closer to Him.  I’m excited to see where we are going to live!  Because right now, we have no idea!

As I look back on the emotions I listed above I see something…maybe a big picture kind of something.  Out of my emotions—sadness, awe, fear, and excitement—I see that I am safe.  I might feel like I am a neurotic mess, but I am safe.  I am safe in the Father’s hands.  I am safe and secure in His plan, His purpose, and His provision.  I am covered in His love, His faithfulness, and His grace.  Now I am reminded why I started coming to this blank screen church of mine—this keyboard confessional.  In the silence of the typing keys and by the soft candle-like glow of my laptop, Jesus has met me where I am—an emotional basket-case.  He reminds me that I am safe.  I am secure.  He speaks His unwavering words to me in this time of change:

But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:8-10, ESV)

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22, ESV)

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:14-18, ESV)

An abundance of Water

Life has been crazy!  There is just no other way to say it, and yet it feels so understated and overstated all at the same time.  The raccoon has had ear infection after ear infection.  Last week, I attended a worship conference and was out-of-pocket at home.  Our weekends have been packed with all kinds of stuff and so the school week has been more recovery time than school time.    I have to remind myself that’s one of the reasons we are in Family Rehab–to recover.

A few weeks ago, Paul and the kids planted some grass seed in the backyard.  We have been in this house for a year, and finally, we got around to planting some seeds in the dirt wasteland of our sad backyard.  As luck (or God) would have it, the next day after sowing the seed, it rained.  It rained twelve inches.  The backyard was a swamp and those seeds were now floating and riding the flash flood waters.  As the water receded over the next couple of days and the sun eventually dried things out, we were amazed to see where new bright green grass was growing–in the front yard, next to the street curb and even across the street!  I began to wonder if the water could have defied gravity by flowing uphill in some areas.  It was amazing.  Cullen Country can thank the Goeke’s for supplying the block with some new grass.

Now, in the backyard, there was only a little grass growing under the hammock.  There was still a lot of dirt after our seeds had been displaced by the storms.  So, Paul went back to the store and sent the kids back out to sow.  The bluish-green seed sprayed against the muddy dirt did not look very promising to me.  And would you know it?  The next day, it rained again.

Today, as I look outside the window into the backyard, I actually see more bright green grass than dusty dry earth.  The second rain was just enough to soak the seed and nourish it, rather than send it to the neighbors.  Thank goodness.  When that second round of rain hit, we were sure we had wasted more money on seed.

All of this has reminded me of the parable of the sower.  So I went to the book of Matthew and read it again for a quick refresher, and this time, there were a few things that stuck out to me.  When Jesus tells this parable, He is sitting in a boat close to the shore.  This is interesting to me to think about the scenery as He was talking.  It sounds similar to the scenery of my water-logged backyard–water everywhere, no grass, just sand and dirt.  Why in this seascape setting, does Jesus talk about sowing seeds?  He told many parables throughout the 3 years of His ministry and on many occasions His “lessons” were hands-on, or used the setting or situation He and His disciples were in. It’s at least interesting as I read the story now, in light of our floating seed that He told His parable in the abundance of water.  (Hold on to that thought.)

He goes on to tell how the sower scattered the seed on different types of soil–the path, rocky ground, thorns, and good soil.  The seeds didn’t thrive due to birds and the plants didn’t survive due to shallow soil, the scorching sun, or the choking weeds.  Nowhere does Jesus mention torrential downpour.  So, I start to think that there is no lesson to be learned from our deep-shade-grass-seed and our abundance of water.

Then it hit me–abundance of water.  The issue with our seed, was not a disparaging soil situation.  The issue with our seed was an abundance of water.  We have good soil in the backyard, and apparently in the front yard, across the street, and up the mounds of construction dirt nearby.  The seed was having no issue taking root, being eaten by woodland creatures, or being overrun by thorny bushes.  The seed was thriving–just in the wrong place!  Or, should I say, in the wrong place according to me.

God’s divine plan goes outside the fenced boundaries of my backyard goals and desires.  He has given me seed to plant–the story of His love.  He wants me to sow without discretion–to spill over with blue-green Gospel.  He doesn’t want me to worry about how much money has been spent on seed, because His supply is endless.  If I am faithful with the seed He provides,  He does the work of sending it where it should go.  On the floodwaters of His Holy Spirit, He carries anything that I have to offer, to the places and people He wants it to go.  There is a lot of good soil out there.  There are a lot of people with hearts that ache and yearn to be unconditionally loved.  The question for me, the lesson for me, is am I willing to let God take His Gospel where He wills it?

The seed we planted was genetically altered and manufactured to grow in deeply shaded areas like our backyard.  It was designed to grow where the sunshine is weak and light is scarce.  But, God moved that seed into the bright areas of the street, where there is virtually no shade, no cover.  I like to think that God has created me with specific talents and gifts–that I am created to sow seeds of His love in certain areas, using certain strengths and giftings that He has given me.  But, what if He wants to carry me somewhere else–somewhere I feel I am not made to grow–to thrive?  What if He wants to carry me across personal boundaries into areas that don’t provide cover from things that could potentially scorch me?  What if He wants me to be uncomfortable and away from my hammock of preference?

I am, after all, His little seed in a wide scattering of His people.  I am, after all, created not just with a genetic disposition towards certain styles of growth or purpose.  I am created with the overarching purpose to serve Him, to glorify Him, to sow seeds of the Gospel for Him.  I am created foremost, above all else, to love Him and seek Him.  We love because He first loved us.  And so, I love Him and the people around me, in response to all He has done for me.  I freely give Him my life, my devotion, my control.  I say “freely” not because it’s easy to do so, but because I don’t “owe” Him anything.  He gave His life for me not so that I would be indebted to Him to do what He wills.  He gave His life for me freely, and so I give all that I have to Him freely.

Even though it is hard to put aside my own plans for a lush backyard oasis, with a hammock, some shade, and the occasional margarita, I can trust that what He has for me, where He moves me with His Holy Spirit, comes from the same love that provided me with all that I currently have.  If He loves me enough to give up His heavenly oasis, to come to a dirt-filled wasteland, on my behalf, He loves me enough.  He gave up a heavenly throne, to be a king that was mocked and spit upon.  He gave up His righteousness, to die for my sinfulness.  He gave up so much of His divine giftings and talents for me.  All so I could have access to an abounding source of grace–a sower’s seed bag overflowing with grace.  There is so much that it can be spread over and over again, after sin-filled flood after flood, and take root in my heart time and time again.  His grace is unending.  His love unfailing.  His mercy everlasting.  If He wills through the waters of His Holy Spirit to push me up mounds of dirt, defying the laws of physics–my self-written laws and limitations of my personal capabilities–then I can remember that His grace is sufficient.  His provision to give me deep fertile soil will not go away.

Back to an abundance of water…(still holding that thought?)  He does not leave me.  In the same way that there was an abundance of water as He told the parable from that boat, and in the same way, that there was an abundance of rain on our drought-forsaken land, He pours an abundance of the Holy Spirit onto every situation.  He doesn’t command me to scatter seed and then turns His face from me.  He provides the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It might be rocking my boat at times.  It might be carrying my plans down the street and out of my control.  But He doesn’t leave me.  His Spirit is not just an all-consuming force that changes my plans.  His Spirit allows new things to grow and thrive.  His Spirit provides direction for new paths and plans, that I would have never imagined on my own.

As Jesus was telling the crowds the parable of the sower, He sat in a boat that was floating on abundance.  Most likely, as the people listened to Him talking about seeds and thorns and dirt, they weren’t thinking about the need for water to make a seed grow.  But, we all know water is necessary in the process of seed germination.  Most likely, the people were not looking at Jesus on the water, and seeing the abundance that sat before them–the never-ending supply of salvation and restoration found in Jesus.  He was watering them with the “secrets of heaven”.  When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, this was His answer:

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. ”

Not everyone in the crowd understood that Jesus indeed was their Savior.  Not everyone who saw Him in the boat that day, understood that right there, in front of them, was grace overflowing.  I don’t always see the water over the plans of my heart as grace abundant and provision of the Holy Spirit.  I don’t always get it.  I don’t always understand what Jesus is explaining and how He is moving.  But, occasionally, I do see that His overwhelming flood waters that stir up my backyard plans, are providing growth opportunities in unexpected areas.  I see the movement in His kingdom and the power of His love being revealed to people who don’t ever step foot into my backyard.  He doesn’t long for any of us to stay in the dark.  He wants us all to know Him and to receive the abundance that He has for us.  We all need Him.  We all need his unconditional love.  Whether we admit it or not, we all desire to understand it–to get it.

“Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear.  Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.  Hear then the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.  This is what was sown along the path.  As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  As for  what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it.  He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

My prayer is that the seed of grace is firmly rooted in my heart, and in the hearts of those around me.  I pray that I don’t miss the abundance of grace that is flooding my world, no matter how far it scatters my plans.  I pray that I allow for the Holy Spirit to guide where the seeds I have been gifted with are planted, and that I willingly let them go where He wills.  I pray that I trust His provision and sufficiency, that no matter where I fall, He has the power to bear fruit in and through me.  I pray for those who are stuck on a path where the Truth is stolen from them.  I pray for those who are living with shallow roots and falling away because things are getting hard.  I pray for those who are living among the thorns of worldly success and striving for financial gain, because those things choke out the only thing that can really satisfy.  I pray that God sends His flood waters to move all the deeply shaded seed to good soil–that He nurture and feed and cause new life to grow in all of us.

headphones and the artist’s angst

Monday at lunch, the raccoon was up to his normal mischief.  When Paul rhetorically asked, “What are you going to be like when you are a teenager?  Are you going to drive too fast and always see what kind of trouble you can get in?”,  Ava didn’t miss a beat: “Or date too early!”  We laughed.  She said, “You know, he’ll be one of those teenage boys who dates too early and wears headphones for no reason…”  What a little social commentator we have!  Thank goodness, she’s got some wits about her!

Yesterday, we celebrated Columbus Day by searching for materials to use for our Texas Explorers unit.  The girls will be making their own Native American costumes.  They both have chosen to do their best to emulate the Karankawa Native Americans who lived on the coast of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.  They also have both chosen the explorer, Cabeza de Vaca, to research.  (I think their decision to pick the same explorer is solely because Helen is trying to ride on the coat tails of Ava’s research.)  Their costumes will double as their Halloween costumes.  We are combining several areas of study: how to research, historical narratives, map making, art, and Texas History.  They will research Cabeza de Vaca and make a map of his journey to and in Texas.  They will gather some facts about his discoveries and his relationship with the Native Americans he met along the way.  They will then write a historical narrative that includes facts they have gathered, but is written from the perspective of their personal characterization of the Native Americans.  On Halloween, they will have a green button and a red button taped to their arm.  When someone presses the green button, they will start to recite their historical narrative.  When the red button is pushed, they stop, mid-sentence even.  (We are trying to make it as fun and silly as possible.)

We found imitation suede, leather, and feathers for the costumes, and we bought some dowel rods for spears.  We also bought some raffia to weave some baskets.  On our field trip last month to the Bob Bullock Museum, the girls had noticed all of the baskets in the Karankawa exhibit.  They thought it would be neat to weave their own and then have it to collect all their Halloween candy.  Yesterday, when we came home from the store, we went to work weaving their baskets.

Now let me tell you, raffia is thin and it has the tendency to split.  Making a basket that is woven tight enough to hold candy was dang near impossible.  We spent all day on this project.  Raffia was all over the floor and we spent the majority of the time wrestling it away from the raccoon and the cat.  We didn’t really have a plan, and so we created as we went.

This is usually how I function.  I cook this way.  I clean this way.  I paint this way.  I mold clay this way.  I sew this way.  For those who always use a cookbook, a system, a template, a model, or a pattern–I’m sorry.  I know that people like me make people like you uncomfortable.  When people with a plan see people like me pull out the paints without drawing an outline in pencil first, they wince.  When people with a plan see people like me add more salt and then scan the contents of the refrigerator for something else to add to the pot, they usually speed dial the nearest pizza delivery.  When people with a plan see people like me whip out the scissors to a yard of freshly bought fabric just laying on the table, they usually say a prayer.  When the shape of the painted bird wing is too long, when the sauce is too thin, and the armhole too large, I improvise.  I get creative.

So yesterday, when the raffia was too thin, the weave of the basket too loose, and the circumference of the bottom too small, we got creative.   As I watched Ava and Helen chuckle at the baskets as they appeared more and more haphazard, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Just wait.  We’re not done yet.  You’ll see.  It’s gonna be something.  I don’t know what, but something!”  And as we mutually twisted and tucked, pushed and pulled, the baskets began to take on more shape, more form, and more strength.  After we finished our attempt to just miraculously weave Native American baskets without guidance or directions, we happened to find ourselves with some pretty realistic and authentic woven goods despite our lack of premeditation.

photo

What was intended to hold candy, will now hold spears for Helen.  For Ava, she will just have to also carry an extra bag for when the contents of her candy basket overflows.  At least my seemingly foolish unplanned projects result in something.  At least there is more purpose to them than wearing headphones that aren’t plugged into anything.

I like to think of my lack of directions, recipes, and preparation as a necessity for an artist.  I rarely find joy in following a pattern.  But when I can hold up a dress that I made from scratch, knowing all the pain that it took to get there, all the dresses that ended up in the scrap bin along the way, there is such an overwhelming satisfaction.  I’ve been told that if I just followed a pattern I could avoid so much of the frustration, so much of the waste.  If I just started with a pencil, I could avoid all the crumpled up paper in the basket…I’m killing trees after all!  But to me, it’s not waste or trash, rather it’s all valuable trial and error that holds irreplaceable lessons. The angst of solving the problem is like completing a puzzle without looking at the picture on the box: I believe there is no other way to live life!

If ever there was an artist, none could argue with the magnificent art of God.  From beautiful sunsets to animals that are so colorful and abstract they hardly seem real, He created them all from scratch.  I like to think that God is working His artistry in and through us as well.  He might not sit down at his craft table with a bag of limp raffia and start haphazardly weaving a Native American basket for Halloween candy.  But- I think he sits down with a limp me every morning.  He stretches out my frazzled ends and lays me out next to a bunch of other messed up people and starts to weave us together.  Through out the day he wraps and winds together our seemingly stray and loose ends into something that looks to us rather haphazard and misshapen.  Months and years sometime pass as He continues to work more and more people, experiences, and places into His great masterpiece.  I would argue, that while God knows everything and knows the end result, He is an artist who works in redefining ways with those of us who resist staying in the weave.  He has angst over those of us who have colored outside the lines, not with disappointment, but as an artist, who finds a new, creative way to adjust the painting.

Right now, I have days where I know without a doubt I am acting like that darn piece of raffia.  I come to the craft table too thin, too weak, to wily.  I refuse to follow God’s plan.  I push against the weaving of his giant loom.  I try to control the paintbrush and end up spilling the water over everything.  But, the artist that He is–He blots the dripping water and reshapes the running colors.  He gently tucks and pulls on my stubborn straw-like nature, and I start to take shape, have more form, and have more strength.  He reassures me, “Just wait.”  While things look haphazard and down-right ridiculous in my world right now, He’s not done yet.  One day, I will see.  He’s doing something.  He’s making something.  He’s got a plan.  He may not be using a pattern, or sketching lightly in pencil first.  He is wandering through the pantry and the spice rack looking for something to excite and dazzle the senses.  He’s an artist.  I am so thankful that He is the potter and I am the clay.  I appreciate the angst and the tension He has over me, as He works out the kinks and chuckles at what is becoming of me and my plans.  He delights in me, His creation.  I am excited to see what He does, where some of the crazy paths before me will lead.  I pray I can continue to hand over control.  I pray that I stop trying to draft a pattern for Him, stop suggesting more salt, and stop looking over his shoulder as He works His magic artistry.

I pray that I stop wearing spiritual headphones on my ears that are plugged into silent pockets of nothingness.  I pray that I stop acting as if I’ve got His plan in there, and that I am tuned in, when really I am just ignoring all that is going on around me.  I want to be more aware, more keen to His great tapestry.  I am engulfed in it.  It is all around me.  From where I am, if I keep my eyes up, and not worry about how odd or ridiculous I might look, I might catch a glimpse of the Great Creator overhead smiling and working all things out for my good.  I might realize that my spiritual headphones actually have a purpose when they are plugged into the sounds and movements of the Holy Spirit instead of my static-filled expectations.  I can stop being uncomfortable like those who have observed me going straight to the wall with a hammer and nail without measuring first.

I can trust the ultimate artist.  Who am I kidding?  I don’t find joy in following a pattern.  And while it may take less time to do so, I’d miss the satisfaction at the end.  So, why can I not give that creative freedom to God?   Go on, God!   Put together the puzzle of my life without looking at the picture on the box.  When You put the last piece in, I will be ready to stand back and marvel at what you have put together.  I wouldn’t want to live life any other way!