The Hilarity of God

I had to throw my head back and laugh.  We have been in the bayou 10 months and the “promising” job that brought our family here was downsized.  For weeks, hubby has been applying, submitting resumes, and networking.  Multitudes of promising conversations and no offers.  Two offers finally did come through, one risky and out of his field, the other within his job description and back home in Virginia.  We were preparing to move to another home closer to his office.  Rent paid, boxes packed.  The offer that somehow made the most sense was in Virginia.  I knew God would provide.  He carried us here and blessed us beyond our imaginations.  We knew job offers would come, but we just wanted to make the right choice.  Why would God want us to return home if he had just brought us here?  Eventually, we wanted to come back.  Our family and loved ones were there.  We had just not envisioned our return would come so soon.

TRUVYThe great sage Truvy from Steel Magnolias (filmed in Natchitoches, LA – pronounced na-codish, you’re welcome) said it best, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  In Genesis 18, Sarah laughed when God told her she would bear a son when she had spent her entire life grieving over her barrenness.  Pregnant at age 90. God is hilarious.  Sarah laughed.  I laughed when we decided to pack up and move back to Virginia.  I laughed when moving back would put us within 30-90 minutes of our family. I laughed because I fail miserably at being able to figure God out.  He is hilarious. Always keeping me guessing, I can see God chuckling to himself.  “Child, why do you waste so much energy trying to understand me?”  Nothing about this life is predictable, nor should it be.

Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”  I wept prior to our move here.  I can’t sugarcoat that reality, but my sadness didn’t hold me back from finding laughter.  My mourning didn’t hold me back from dancing.  I laughed here in the bayou.  Celebrating life with bizarre parades and loading into the car with a crazy amount of loot.  Hot dogs and fireworks on Christmas Eve and swimming on Christmas Day.  Driving around Houston, late at night with a bunch of mamas in my minivan, laughing through my exhaustion, praying I didn’t wreck or get horribly lost.  Then nearly falling asleep over my pizza as the 90-year-old man at the table next to us had more energy than our whole table put together.

The most ironic part of it all, my current sadness is that I didn’t get enough time here. When I squeeze the necks of girlfriends, tears flow because God is so very good.  In my sadness, in my mourning, God sent me the most beautiful, hilarious women.  Women who understood my struggle, but never failed to surrender me to a fit of giggles.  Being in their presence was sure to lift my mood.  I would have never imagined the handfuls of friendships God would bring to me in less than a year.  How is that even possible?  I knew no one, yet will leave here feeling more loved and blessed than I ever have in my life, friends in church, friends in my neighborhood, friends at my children’s schools.

God wants us to laugh and dance!  We must move beyond our mourning and tears to see the blessings in our life that move us to pure joy.  Had I stayed in my depressed funk, these women and their smiles would have gone unnoticed.  My life has been forever changed by the joy they have brought into my life.

My tears will subside soon.  There are beautiful blessings to come, beyond the bayou.  I love my family and am elated to be so close to the friends I had left behind in Virginia.  I eagerly anticipate squeezing the necks of my loved ones I haven’t seen in a year.  I am already awaiting the laughter and dancing God will bring through the birth of a dear friend’s baby girl near my own birthday.  I eagerly anticipate stepping foot into my church and seeing the faces of those I have held so close to my heart while I have been away.

Don’t get stuck in your mourning and grief.  There will be dancing and laughter, don’t miss it.  God is hilarious, He really is, even beyond the bayou.

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In Pursuit of God’s Heart – Part 4: Be Still

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

“Sit down”

“Calm down”

“Eat your dinner”

“Sit up”

“Legs down”

“Feet toward the floor”

Parenting feels like a broken record, repeating the same requests, yearning for the day where a family dinner can be completed with each child sitting upright and eating their food appropriately.  My two older girls quickly learned the rules of the dinner table. Fidgeting was short lived and family meals became a peaceful existence until the boy arrived.  Our boy came wired completely differently from his older sisters.  The girls sat and contently played with Play-doh or colored.  They knew how to be still, to complete a task. The boy has had to learn things differently.  Our family meals have become a time, for him at least, to see how many different positions he can sit in his chair.  On his stomach, on his back, turned around, occasionally feet are even in view. Adding a fourth child to the mix has made dinner time more entertaining, as she often follows her brother’s lead.

I could easily let meal time go believing, they will eat when they want and they will learn to sit eventually.  While being still is more challenging for some, I still believe, for our family, it is something that needs to be expected, modeled, and taught.  Money, time, and energy was spent preparing a (somewhat) healthy, nourishing meal.  Our children should be expected to eat the meal that is placed before them.  Consequences for not being still long enough to complete their dinner results in going to bed hungry and a heated over plate the next day.

I admit being still is challenging for me.  There is always so much to do, dishes to be washed and laundry to be folded.  If I am sitting, my mind is distracted, as I am watching TV, reading a blog, or skimming through social media.
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The latest fidget toy craze makes us believe that it is okay NOT to be still.  That we have to be doing things simultaneously.  I do not pretend to be a child psychologist, perhaps fidget toys are a benefit to some, however, encouraging the art of “has its benefits too, perhaps even more.

Psalm 37 was written in King David’s much later years.  Chronologically, it falls after the time he anointed his son Solomon as king and prior to his own death.  I feel as though the wisdom of this Psalm was written for Solomon’s benefit as well as our own.  King David gained wisdom by being still as well as faced hard consequences when he wasn’t. As a shepherd, David learned to be still in order to focus on his sheep.  The livelihood of his family depended on his ability to be calm, observant, and watchful in order to care for the flock. This position wasn’t given to him because he already possessed these characteristics,  but the task fell to him because he was the youngest of his brothers.  The lowliest task was given to the youngest child in the family.  Learning to be still was life or death for himself, his family, and his flock.  Once David became King, he inquired of the Lord on multiple occasions, waiting on God’s response before attacking an army or conquering more land. In 1 Samuel  25, David was preparing to take over Nabal’s land after being treated disrespectfully. His ability to yield, observe, and listen to Nabal’s wife Abigail prevented David from killing all of the men in the area.  God ended up dealing with Nabal later on, but many lives were saved due to David’s ability to just be still.

I am so thankful for David’s example to us simply because he experienced failure as much as he experienced success.  The times David failed to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently” had severe consequences.  In 2 Samuel 11, David was unfocused, irrational, and forgot the art of stillness.  He saw a beautiful woman and hastily impregnated her despite her being married to one of his soldiers.  Upon finding out she was carrying his child, he had her husband killed.  Although David realized he had failed the Lord and repented heavily, God allowed David to face severe consequences through the death of his child and multiple offspring who were rapists, murderers, as well as one son who tried to kill his own father in order to gain the throne.  A little lapse of stillness and focus can cause a legacy of pain.

I want to consistently practice being still.  I want to teach our children to be still, be patient, and *gasp* BORED.  If our minds are constantly engaged, we will miss God’s voice and the beauty around us.  We will miss out on connecting with those around us who need to experience God’s love.  I challenge you to make it a daily habit of going somewhere quiet, if only for 5 minutes.  Take a deep breath, close your eyes and let your mind be still.  God is waiting for you in the stillness, there is so much he wants you to see.

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