Monday, January 30, 2012

Split Queen

It’s not that I’m inflexible. Well, technically I am, although I was once crowned “split queen” in my 4th grade gymnastics class because I successfully completed a split three ways. It’s true. My crown was made of sparkly gold pipe cleaners and I have three pictures to prove it. But those days are long gone. But that’s not the kind of flexibility I’m talking about, anyway. What I mean is, I can go with the flow (to some degree). I am getting better and better at having my days interrupted.


This morning, when the Coach came running in, saying, “Something’s wrong with the car. I have to take the truck to work. I’m sorry…” and then ran back out the door and was gone with my only mode of transportation…well, I wasn’t feeling very flexible.

I had big plans for today. Little and I were going to go to the grocery store. We were possibly going to pick out a gift for Little to give to her baby sister who will be here sometime in the next 4 ½ weeks oh my word. But most importantly of all, we were going to go walking with some other moms and babies at the park.

I know, it sounds pitiful to get bent out of shape over such grand plans. But my heart wasn’t going with the flow. My heart was arguing with God.

I have been so excited about meeting these moms. I need friends. I am so lonely. Don’t You know I am LONELY???

That’s why, when the Coach called on his way to work, I was already in tears. “I guess God just doesn’t want me to have any friends,” I muttered to my poor husband.

Really, Jana? God doesn’t want you to have friends, so He broke your car. How mature of you.

So after breakfast, I told Little that we were going to have quiet time for just a few minutes. As she colored a masterpiece with a blue marker, I opened my Bible. I promise I was planning to read where I left off last time and not just flip around until I found something “relevant,” but when the book fell open the first thing my eyes landed on was Proverbs 16:1: “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

See, my heart’s attitude was not reacting to the disruption of my plans for the day. No, it goes deeper than that. My heart had lots of plans that are falling through right now.

We moved to this town in October. That’s four months ago. And this is what my heart was planning when we moved…

Oh, I know God has friends for me there that I can connect with quickly…We will surely find a church home before the new year...Little will have tons of opportunities to have playdates and such…We will spend the weekends as a family doing active things like we always have (hiking, biking, etc.)…I will start teaching piano lessons and fitness classes right off the bat…It will feel like home because home is where you make it…

And here is “the answer of the tongue” from the Lord…

I officially have 2 people’s numbers in my cell phone that I have met since we moved. That’s it. And I don’t actually dial them, I just have them. Everyone has their own lives and their own friends and schedules and kids, and I’m not finding a place anywhere for myself…February starts in 2 days and we don’t yet have a church home…Little has yet to experience a playdate since we moved…The Coach has been sick or injured pretty much the whole time we have lived here. Maybe the 2 weekends that he felt ok, it rained…I have one piano student and the YMCA doesn’t need any fitness instructors…It doesn’t feel like home.

You want to know the truth? I worship my plans. I already knew this. Six years ago I found out what an idolater I am when my plans for seminary in New Orleans were washed away by Katrina. I fell apart. My house had been built on the sand instead of the rock, on my plans for God’s glory rather than His plans for His glory. And here I am again. Falling apart because my plans for my family and life and ministry are not the same as His.

I get so prideful, thinking that I know best. God will be glorified in me the most if A, B, and C happen. And when they don’t…well, I cry and say stupid things like, “I guess God doesn’t want me to have any friends.”

Get a grip, Jana. God will be glorified in you the most if you abide in Him. Take delight in Him. Obey Him. Love Him. Know Him. Seek Him. Trust Him.

See, the plans of my heart belong to me. But until I lay them on the altar of humility and say, “Here are my plans, Lord. Now what do You want to do?” then they are not only the plans of my heart, but also the idols of my heart.

So, it appears I am at a crossroads. Am I willing to let go of my plans and just sit at the feet of my Maker? Am I ready to be a student, a follower, a disciple, and not try to direct my own path? Am I going to listen and learn and “go with the flow”?

I am. I am not going to fight this and question why things are not going according to my plans. I am going to accept the answer of the Lord. I am going to be flexible. I am going to be a split queen.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Little Theologian

“Where’d God go?”

This question, voiced from the mouth of my 2-year-old apparent theologian, stopped me in my tracks. Well, not literally, because at 7 ½ months pregnant I neither stop nor go very quickly. But really, it was not what I expected to hear from the chatty toddler sitting in the jogging stroller, munching on her carrots.

I know that kids say the darndest things and all that jazz, but I didn’t think the deep theological questions would start this early. But lately, a significant portion of my conversations with Little have centered around where God is and how she really wants to see Him.

And the thing is, in the middle of these conversations, I find myself immensely convicted. Because if there is one thing that Little can’t quit talking about, it is this…

“Mommy, where’s Jesus?”

“In heaven.”

“No, in the sky.”

“Ok, well, heaven is sort of in the sky.”

“Building a house?”

“Yes, He is building a house.”

“Jesus build a house for me! And mommy and daddy and me!”

That’s right, my 2-year-old can’t quit talking about eschatology. She is ecstatic that Jesus is “in the sky” right now building a house for her and that one day He is going to come and get her (and mommy and daddy) and take us to live with Him. We can’t even get through her 2 minute Bible story at night without her interrupting every time Jesus’ name is mentioned so that she can remind us that He is at that very moment building a house for us.

And that’s where the conviction lies – my toddler is thinking more biblically than I am. Every book in the New Testament is bound by a thread of hope and expectation in our future glory with Christ. Paul can’t quit saying “Maranatha”, or “Come, Lord Jesus!” John ended his Revelation with “Come quickly Lord!” The early church was filled with anticipation over what Jesus promised in John 14 – that “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also!” Maybe today, maybe tomorrow – will Jesus come tonight? Will we be in eternity with Him this time next week? In the house that He is building for us?

But I find that hopeful expectation lacking in my own life. Instead of having that eternal perspective, I get bogged down in the drudgery of everyday life, in the meager expectations that don’t even come close to matching what God has in store for those who love Him. How thankful I am that God is teaching me through my daughter to remember what is real and true and important and lasting. And how I pray that one day I can teach it back to her.

So bring it on, Little. Bring on the deep questions and insights and childlike faith that goes deeper than my grown-up faith. I’m ready to learn.