Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kitchens have a nasty habit of growing smaller the longer you are trapped in them. Mom and I spent the day cooking. I managed to escape the kitchen now and then—for a bit of drumming while my meatballs burned and stuck to the pan, a run to my room to write down a phrase until the timer on my pumpkin bread called me back, for a walk while everyone else ate lunch, to clear out my head and eyes and enjoy the beautiful woods God made. Frankly, it is my firm belief that cooking and eating nearly classify as wastes of precious time. Yet, sadly I must confess, that I do both very well at times.

While in the woods I discovered a large cat paw print. Larger than a house cat. “No worries,” I told myself, and myself raised her eyebrows. “I’ve faced down a wildcat before.” Myself chuckled back, recalling the day so many years ago when I came face to face with a bobcat as he hunted in our old woods back home in Kansas. As we stared at each other, two fireballs of fur and fear, I stood up to my full height and began barking at the top of my lungs. The bobcat retreated in haste and I continued my walk. I was still chuckling to myself when a crash came from the woods and I jerked my head up in time to see three enormous white tails bouncing down the side of the hill.

Sleeper joined us for supper and to pick Nick up for the holidays. Papa surprised us all with a pop quiz on Christians and the Mosaic Law. I missed more than I care to confess, and we all enjoyed a hearty discussion of the matter, followed by some good teaching and some great quotes. I am grateful to be under a Law of Grace, by the blood of Jesus Christ. I am also increasingly aware of how little scripture I know by heart and how little I can draw upon when in a pinch. The foundation for my life is in that book—how can I hope to live a life pleasing to the Lord while so ignorant of His Word?

The disjointed ramblings I scribbled down last night--the workings of an exhausted mind, are beyond my own comprehension today. I cried myself to sleep last night, weeping for the others and myself and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a train. Slowly I opened my eyes to discover they were not swollen, and then climbed out of bed to fix an early breakfast, pondering the many times I've been told no. As I worked, the thought came to me: No is not a punishment. The force of this simple statement hit me with such amazing ferocity that it nearly stole my breath. No is not a punishment. It’s not a divine spanking when the Lord says “no”. It’s not something to be dreaded. His plans always work out—for the good of those who love Him. For Him to answer my prayers with a “no” should not cause me tears, it should not disturb me or make me miserable. It should bring me peace, knowing that the Lord has heard and answered. And whatever He has is better. Don’t say it tritely. Really listen. I thought what I wanted was good. The Lord said, “no, I’ve got something better in mind. Because you are called according to My purpose.” Where is my cause for sorrow? Where is my excuse for depression? Where is my reason for pitying myself? When the Lord says “no” it is not a punishment, just a redirection. He’s simply blocking me off from the wrong direction and heading me in the right direction again.

Chains fell off my heart and mind. For the first time in a long time I felt completely freed of a burden I’d been carrying, which had grown heavier and heavier of late. Anything to which the Lord says “no” is simply not what He has for me, and I can accept that joyfully as His loving protection. The rest of the day I floated around on the joy of knowing I am a daughter of the King and my heart is like water in His hands, to turn wherever He wishes.

Later, I passed a picture of a much younger Abigail, reposing placidly on the bookshelf in the library. “Little girl,” I sought to advise the innocent-eyed child. “Life is hard. Living is dangerous. Loving is risky. The only true reward is in the Lord. Pursue Him.”

Lord, may I ever, always be
Content to know Thy will for me.
And when I know Thy will in full
Pursue it gladly, heart and soul.

And when Thy will seems distant still
Remind me, waiting, is Thy will.
And when Thy will is dim or worse
Remind me to pursue Thee first.

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