Friday, April 13, 2012

God does not tease

Today's another Random Journal Link-up, and, because there are enough things impossible to control around here, it would be nice to have the rhythm of making Fridays the day I dip into my past and be reminded of the truth that sometimes our "very present help in a time of trouble" is the One who has been faithful in our past.
To read the words of others who are discovering similar truths, check out these :fellow journal keepers

Interestingly (or amazingly, if you're inclined to look at things in such a way, as I am), the edition I grabbed to day was closer to the left and on the cover, merely says "INDIA". I tried to take a picture of that, but my many attempts didn't work. You'll just have to trust me. Most of my journals are labeled by season and year. "Spring 2001," for example. There were, of course, my early being-a-Mama years when one blue composition book lasted about three years, partly because I was also keeping separate journals for my babies. Ok, enough preface.

Today's "Hectoring", as the Beve would put it. He and his buddies used to go up to the university campus and go through the dumpsters just after the students left for the summer. They'd find the most amazing treasures--sometimes ridiculously expensive ones, like TVs and stereo systems. So this is my day's  "Hectoring" through the India journal to find what treasure is waiting for me (Not a bad metaphor, considering the enormous piles of garbage we saw everywhere we turned in India!)...Anyway, the India journal looks the same, but is seriously NOT!

Oh wow, what a moment this journal opened to (though, perhaps because I've read it a time or two before...or thousand!). I almost couldn't write it, because it's fraught with import. But then I couldn't for the very same reason.

Tuesday, December 20
Awakened before 7 AM when a handful of papers was put beside my pillow. Shuffling through, I discovered a familiar C2 letter. It's funny, but I had a feeling as I was praying last night that [Beve] would write me a note today. His note turned into a letter and it really tumbled my heart. It was good--VERY GOOD--but in some ways very confusing. I read his words but get lost as to why he wants to invest himself in me unless he really cares. I know he does care...but what is he thinking? 

This letter was the tipping point for Beve and me, though I was afraid to admit it. It was the beginning of us becoming who we are today, though the conversation didn't come for two days.

But here's the story (hang on, it's a bit long), for those of you new to my blog (and perhaps some of you very familiar with us, even). Beve and I grew up across the street from each other. We were in the same class, and had the same circle of Christian friends.   He was in my father's Scout troop, I ran through his yard to get to my closest friend's house. We went to Young Life camps together both near and far,  walked home from Bible Studies together, once drove all the way to California together--we both remember singing every song in the Young Life songbook together on that trip while the others on the trip were gazing out the window or trying to sleep. My point in, until we graduated from high school, we were always--ALWAYS--in each other's faces.  But we were never interested in each other. Not even close. It just never occurred to either of us.

Eight years later, while I was traveling through Europe and he was living in Finland, I spent a week in Helsinki with my girlfriend (who is of Finnish descent and has relatives all over that country). And during that time, my feelings for Beve began to change. Really change. However, I refused to believe those feelings were any more than him simply being a familiar person in a non-familiar place. He represented home to me--even when (and this is a kind of spooky, only God could do this thing) one night I actually dreamed we got married. I woke up in a fright and took a VERY LONG walk before I could even face him that day.

After the trip, Beve and I wrote long, self-revealing letters and I began to realize that my feelings had teeth. Then, the next fall, through circumstances that only God could pull off, we each ended up in Holland at a DTS with YWAM, where we were, once again, in each other's faces. By then, I was hopelessly in love. And I do say hopelessly, because I was also certain it would never be, because of my hopelessly terrible 'luck' with romance. See: broken engagement, shattered heart!

Then, again through only God's hand, we each went to India for our outreach, though I was pretty worried about going if he did, and even talked to a DTS leader about it. But there we were, in New Delhi for Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1983. And God was busy. Oh, so busy. I look back on all that now and think. OF COURSE. But then, I really didn't imagine this life with Beve. Couldn't dream God would answer Yes to my deepest hopes.

And my response to the letter Beve wrote that early morning of December 20 bears out my insecurity. Beve was really laying out his heart, and I was misunderstanding at every turn because I was so afraid of being wrong.  To wit: The next paragraph in my journal says this:

The facts from the letter:
1. He cares about our relationship enough that he wants to see us grow, and he's willing to work at it. He thinks about it and seeks God about it.
2. He's willing to become more vulnerable. He wants to step out of where he's safe and comfortable and reveal more, confront more and encourage more.
3. He cares about me. He wants to affirm me, to help make me know the Father more and to encourage my strengths.

Yep, we were already in a relationship--one that led to marriage just five months later--and it took just a single conversation two days later (we were in a busy YWAM ministry) to clarify that.  I'll just give you a couple of sentences from the entry on December 22, 1983.
"The world tipped over at a Lebanese restaurant and when it righted I felt a peace I haven't felt in a long time. Maybe ever.  As Margaret (a woman in the house) told me the other day, God does not tease."

Talk about a treasure from my Hectoring dive.
This is why I keep I have--and will always have, and my children will have--such moments. Even if I follow the path of my mother and lose my ability to remember my own name, these journals will give my children my life. And that, my friends, is good enough for me.


Elle said...

I wish I had the patience and self-control to keep journals! I guess I'm just not the journal type of person.

Modern Day Disciple said...

Oh, that is rich. God does not tease is a thought to ponder I do unlike us and yet why do we expect or suspect He is like us in this way? I know I have been guilty of waiting for him to pull the rug out from unlearning this! Your story sounds somewhat like my story with my hub...thank you so much for linking up and taking the time to share your heart authentically!

Recovering Church Lady said...

Oh my goodness, this is so wonderful! wow, you got me! I just got home and was going to let this Random Journal Day thingy slip on by, but you have inspired me! It really is a beautiful thing to look back and see what God has done.
Helps me think that maybe He is doing MORE now than I can see!
Thanks for this post!

quietspirit said...

"God does no tease," a very rich statement. Rich in faith.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

I'm so glad I looked at my own blog tonight and discovered your comment there, which led me to your blog and this post! How marvelous! Isn't it wonderful to know that God is ALWAYS working behind the scenes of our lives...working ALL things together for our good...WHY? Because He loves us, that's why! Thank you for opening your world to us.