So where were we?
Clear back in early July when I last wrote, my life was 'crazy-busy,' (as my kids like to say).
I remember one summer when our children were small when we were home only long enough to do laundry, change what kind of clothes we had in our suitcases before heading out on the next adventure. That summer we went from a Mission trip in Alaska to a Children's Choir tour in Southern California, a family vacation in Palm Springs(complete with a day in Tijuana, Mexico), home to wash clothes and attend a family reunion in Oregon, then off to Alberta, Canada for a basketball camp. We finally slept in our own beds just in time to round up school supplies and get the children out the door for the first day.
But I wouldn't change that summer for anything because what we experienced together.
The things God taught me.
You wouldn't think I'd have had time for much of anything during a time as busy as that. My children were 11, 9 and 7 that summer. Those are busy ages. And I was responsible for larger groups than just our own family that year: the mission team in Alaska, the Choir tour in southern California. Somehow those were on my shoulders. But they weren't really on my shoulders, they were on mine and God's. That was one thing I learned. I learned that when I tried to take control of things alone, I could make a huge muck of things. When I gave those same things over to Him, there might also be mucks (we do live on a fallen planet, after all) but the muck didn't bother me. Didn't make me feel worried or guilty. He'd show me the way through. Give me the words to lead others through. Pull back the waters, so to speak.
And in the end, while we were at the basketball camp that demanded all of Beve's attention, gave our children plenty of playmates and allowed me unexpected hours to read, pray and contemplate, God gave me a picture for my--even our family's--future. I look back on those two weeks in Olds, Alberta with joy and something like longing because He met me so fully.
Fast forward to this summer, this wild and woolly summer. Right in the middle of this summer, it's good for me to rehearse what God taught me years ago. It's always good to do such things--the Psalms teaches us the value of re-telling our past and HIS faithfulness as a foundation of our present circumstances. So what about this present summer?
There has been a lot of out-go this summer, a lot of pouring out. And there's also been a lot of sharpening, a lot of suffering, I think. There's been pain FOR other people, pain BY other people, pain IN my own physical body. (Okay, there's been in-come, too, particularly in the last week. Let me be clear about that, but these words still come when they come...so bear with me)
Yesterday morning I woke up with the given thought (I say given, because there was such a strong sense that HE gave it to me!), "The safest place you'll ever be is in the womb. Only there is there no pain or suffering." Once born, pain comes. However, only born, only when we're breathing OUTSIDE the womb is there opportunity to meet, know and love Him. We cannot stay in the womb. We were made for our own lives. Yes, with birth comes pain (as God told Eve), but with birth also come LIFE in all its glorious possibilities.
And with re-birth comes pain at times, too. but with it comes the greatest joy of all, the joy of know Christ Jesus. So there really is no choice. The womb, though safe, is finite. A whisper. A moment. Who wants that kind of safety? We are meant for life and life again. There is no life without suffering. The only question is how we will respond to that suffering.
So today I choose life. With JOY. No matter what it brings. Life with pain in it, because it's Life with HIM in it. I would love to also choose it for those around me who also suffer, but I cannot. It is theirs to choose. It's this easy---
As Joshua challenged the Israelites (Deuteronomy 29: 19-20), "See, I set today life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, that you and your children shall life and that you may love the Lord you God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life..."