I was headed to meet my two best girlfriends this afternoon to talk about our new Bible Study: Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. Since the weather had finally reached a temperature in which hoodies were a requirement and coats an option, all three kids were outdoors. On my way, I stopped at the neighbors house where I knew the kids would all be. I call the house "Command." The owners that live there have 5 or 6 six kids, I can never really remember. (I feel like anything over three is more than I can wrap my brain around, and the fact that the mom greets each day fully dressed AND with makeup on deserves total praise.) Command is the fun house of the neighborhood. They have the giant pool, the treehouse that allows no boys, and all the nerf gear that a kid could ever need. When I pulled up in front of Command today, the scene laid out before my eyes was a very interesting one.
I immediately saw my own two girls, dressed in leggings and hoodies, swim goggles covering their eyes, who quickly saw me and yelled "We gotta go!" to their friends. I rolled down my window to tell them they were fine, and that I was just letting their brother know he could go to youth group with the Command house owner's kids.
Beside them, a few feet over were several more kids hiding in the bushes, the same goggles protecting their own eyes. And behind a tree in the front yard, stood one of the oldest Command children, goggles on, gun in an upright position; the orange tip giving it away to this gun loving momma that we may be dealing with more than just nerf here.
With the window down, and as I began to drive away, I heard a high-pitched voice yell, "CHARGE!" I smiled the biggest smile and said a little prayer of thanks on behalf of my children for a childhood of neighborhood kids.
Growing up, I lived on a farm. I could bore you with the tales my father would tell of his own "up the hill 30 miles in the snow both ways", but I'm only 31 years-old and it just doesn't seem appropriate yet. Ask me in another 20. But, I did grow up with no neighbors; no childhood kids that came and played airsoft guns in my yard. I grew up on the back of a horse, with a creek in my back yard. I caught crawdads with my siblings and saw a baby horse born one early morning before church, leading us to fit her with the perfect name: Sunday. There's a safety in growing up on a farm, almost as if you're shielded from part of the troubles of this life when you're out there away from all the chaos of the city life.
I'll tell you...I wouldn't trade my childhood for all the money in the world. In fact, it's the childhood that I would pick for my own children if I could. But, as I headed off to Bible Study tonight, I couldn't help but think about the stories my own three kids would write, about this very night, in their own book of life one day. From the laughter that was still echoing through the neighborhood this evening, I'd say it's safe to say, they may not want to trade their childhood either.
As I chatted with my girlfriends for the next hour over warm coffee, and sweet treats, I couldn't help but think about that feeling of safety. To be honest, I'm struggling with some areas of life right now and I'm having trouble hearing God's voice. My friend, Shelly told me at bible study that "maybe you just aren't listening." Normally, she would be right. But, I really don't feel like that's the case now. I'm listening and I'm constantly saying to him "Hello? Can you hear me?" Ok, no I don't say that, exactly, because that's an Adele lyric. But, dang. Wouldn't that be hilarious if I did start out my prayer to Jesus like that?! Moving on. I am constantly praying lately and begging God to give me direction. I am getting back:
B.) Things I don't like... At all.
I am still waiting for shiny door #3 to reveal a better option. People keep asking me what I want that option to be. I don't even know that. That's how lost I am. But, I know It's got to be better than A and B, right?
I keep coming back to a question I saw on Instagram this week. Leave it to me to find the diamonds in the sand on social media.
If God promised to give you anything, what would you ask for?
The answers that followed were all the answers you would expect. Cancer to not exist, no debt, more money, a lifetime with family and friends, never work again, great health, etc.
Immediately I was led to an answer that I know came from higher than myself. If God promised me anything I asked for, I would ask for a FAITH so great that it replaced the emotion in my brain called WORRY.
What? Who said that? Not me. While I was busy trying to think of what my answer should be, God went ahead and let me know. But isn't that the perfect answer? If my Faith is so great and so solid that I no longer can feel worry, then it doesn't matter what is thrown at me, or how God answers my endless prayers--or even if he doesn't answer them at all! It doesn't matter if my loved one is sick, if there are hard decisions in my future, if I can't find a job (or worse, he calls me to stay home forever), or if I am taken so far out of my safety zone that I no longer remember what the farm looks like, even in my mind.
It's ok. God may take me out of my farm. He may take me away from a horse and a creek and the long journey of "up the hill 30 miles both ways in the snow." It may feel awful at first. I may kick and I may scream. And I can promise you that I have physically done that this week in response to one of his answers.
But maybe...just maybe...he might toss me into a neighborhood. The Lord willing, it will have a house like Command; a place where there are others just as lost and crazy as me, ready to live out the words that will one day fill the next chapter of their book of life; a life that was so full of Faith that it had no room for worry.
"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved."- Psalms 46:5
Whitney B. Cromley
Follower of Jesus.