You guys, God keeps rocking my world (and my heart) here in Texas, and although it is making me uncomfortable, I like it. I'll be writing more about it over the next few weeks as I go through Rhinestone Jesus (which by the way, I'm in, so if you know me, you should buy it and read it).
I mean, I really am in it, but you shouldn't buy it just because of that. You should buy it because it will rock your world. Like Kisses from Katie rocked my world. Like One Thousand Gifts rocked my world.
But let me back up.
You all know by now that our hearts have been touched and changed (as have so many) by Ben Sauer. That little boy accomplished more for the kingdom of God in the five short years that he was here on earth than many people do with 70+ years. I am so profoundly grateful to his incredible, faith-filled mama for allowing thousands of people, many of them complete strangers, into their story, a story that continuously glorified God, regardless of the circumstances.
I've been thinking a lot about my own relationship with God, and I had to face the ugly truth that I didn't know for sure that I would be so rock steady in my faith if He chose to call one of my children home sooner than later. Which probably means that I wouldn't be steady at all.
It's always hard to come face to face with ourselves, isn't it?
And as I've been reflecting on that, I received my copy of Rhinestone Jesus in the mail from Kristen. As I began reading her stories, some of which were familiar since I follow her blog and others completely new, I grew increasingly uncomfortable.
Because I was being reminded of the girl I used to be. The girl I really still am, at my core. The girl who got buried under the daily mess and struggle of motherhood and life in general.
Last night, N and I had a conversation about vacations. He mentioned that he would like to take me to Hawaii one day. We sort of laughed about it (because right now, it's not even a pipe dream). Then this afternoon, in a rare moment of quiet togetherness (because, let's face it, the to-do list is a mile long, and then some), I sat in his lap at the dining room table, and we heart-talked.
I said, a bit hesitantly, because I didn't want to sound ungrateful for his desire to take me on a vacation (something we have never done to date), "You know what, honey? If we did have the money to go on a real vacation, I don't know that I would want to go. Because I think I would be spending the whole time thinking about all the people we could have helped with that money, whose lives we could have changed. And it just doesn't feel like it's worth it."
Without missing a beat, my sweet husband replied, "That's my Hannah. That's my Hannah who I fell in love with and married."
My eyes filled with tears as I realized that I haven't allowed THAT Me out in a long time. I've been so selfishly consumed with all my needs in this season of exhaustion that it has been all too easy to not think too hard about those with much, much less.
It's hard to live in a way that allows for immediate "Yeses" to happen when God calls, to hold everything loosely.
I can't even begin to express how my heart-home of Africa is always on my mind, even when I'm not specifically thinking about it. For example, shopping and fashion isn't pleasurable for me, because I'm always wondering where those clothes are being made and at whose expense they are being sold for at such low prices.
And I think of the woman we bought our vegetables from in Cameroon, living in her little hut constructed of aluminum sheets and mud with her five children, raising those babies on her own. I feel guilty for not wanting to go through the trouble of growing any
vegetables in my backyard garden, because I
don't want to be bothered with going out there to water in the midsummer
I struggle with teaching my children gratitude, because we live in a relatively affluent area, and it's hard to continually fight the battle of not keeping up with the Joneses.
Tonight, B was poking at his dinner, and I asked him what he was doing.
"I'm waiting for this to stop being yucky," he replied.
I struggled between a desire to laugh and an urge to lecture him about being grateful (especially since I had cooked and served something he had requested).
Then I realized, this is how I am with God. I ask Him to grow me and stretch me and use me. But then I sit there in my comfort zone, only doing minimal things, not really having the courage to take the leap of faith to live a radical, sold out, free-of-baggage life for Him. And at the root of it, I'm really saying, "I'm waiting for my life circumstances to stop being yucky, and then I can help do Your work in this world."
How selfish is that?
And how faith-less is that?
B ate his entire bowl of dinner. He even liked it.
I want to rediscover that girl inside, the one who said "Yes" to God when He called me to come to America from Africa, leaving behind my home and my family. The one who said "Yes" when He called me to Virginia after college, even though there was no earthly, logical reason for me to go there (I now know, among other reasons, it was so I could meet my husband). I know from past experience that when I obey God, even when it seems like the path He's calling me on is yucky (uncertain and out of my control), in the end, I will like it.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner