Between dusk and dawn my spirit quieted, like a dove settling into its nest, and I woke this morning knowing again, all will be well. All day long I felt humbled by Yahweh’s goodness, in spite of my fear, doubt and faithlessness. Sometimes I want to crawl out of my own skin and flutter into the air like an invisible butterfly, watching from a distance what God will do next. Emily and I escaped the noisy cafeteria to get some one-on-one in her room and she reminded me how, late one night, shortly after our move, we had made some specific requests to our Lord, how He’d clearly begun an answer the next night and now, looking back over the months, my breath was knocked away by how beautifully He’s been answering that same prayer since. Emily is a faithful prayer warrior, swift to bring everything to her Father’s throne and faithful to remember and recount each answer. I arrived at Amber’s on a Jesus high. “How much sugar have you had today?” she demanded, shaking her head. While she took an important phone call, I filled her camera with hideous faces. I have a decided talent for making hideous faces. I just get tired of trying to be beautiful, and figure I might as well do something I’m actually good at. Silky-coated Baby, who normally vanishes with the arrival of visitors, slinked in to see me, purring slyly to show that she’s accepted me into the family. I threatened Judy with a roll of contact paper and was rather pleased with my ability to inspire fear. “I didn’t do it!” she exclaimed, throwing up her hands. “Honest I didn’t! I thought about it, but I didn’t!”
Josh escorted me through the inner maze of DHS to meet Eileen, Lizzy’s mom. I slipped on my best undaunted mask as I sat down across a big desk from her and tried to find a good place to put my hands. First they crept under my crossed legs, but that lasted only as long as the crossed legs. How nice. Here’s the little girl, ma’am, that you’ve never met but wants to steal your daughter for a day every week. She’s a bit odd, ma’am. Wears dresses over her jeans, pulls her hair back in two tails at the back of her neck, refuses to date and she’s short. Oh, excuse me. She’s about your height, ma’am. As she talked with me about her goals for Lizzy, my heart warmed. “We’re not doing the dating thing,” she added. “In fact, there’s not even going to be any of this ‘alone together’ with a guy stuff.” Well. So that’s that. I’d thought she was unsure about the idea. Apparently we’re on. Now I just need to meet Lizzy. Daunting.
Gone excavating in my ancient journals, in search of a missing link for something else, I discovered something which had completely vanished from my current memory system: the draft for a letter—the only letter I’ve ever written a guy. At sweet sixteen. Aw. Not. This one was hard core, all rough edges, blunt phrases and no nonsense. The gist of it was “You need to know that you are a flirt and that’s not a fair way to treat your sisters in Christ.” I cringed as I read it, half embarrassed, half amused, half in awe of the fiery little prophetess of yore. “If this letter ruins our friendship, well, I’m sorry,” it finished with a flourish. “But that will tell me something about your heart.” Oh, but the post script. We mustn’t forget the post script. “Don’t bother writing back. I read all my letters to the family, and I’d rather you didn’t anyway.” To his credit, we’re still friends. I’d like to imagine I’ve picked up a little seasonable grace since then.
In the middle of feeling small, overwhelmed and hating Judges, I found myself shamed by the beautiful lessons the Lord had for Gideon. Hiding in a wine press to beat out wheat, Gideon hardly resembled the “Valiant Warrior” Yahweh’s messenger greeted him as. In fact, the title fit him worse than Saul’s armor fit the young David. “I’m a nobody,” Gideon protested Yahweh’s plan for him to save Israel from Midian. “Not only is my family low on the social ladder, but I’m the baby as well!” Afraid of others’ opinions, he followed the Lord’s instructions to destroy the altars to Baal—at night. But Yahweh wasn’t through teaching Gideon that little is more than enough. Obedience is all Yahweh needs for victory. Sometimes I picture Yahweh shrugging. Or shaking His head nonchalantly, as if to say, “I really am bigger than you think.” After Gideon had gathered an army 32,000 strong, Yahweh told him, “You have too many men.” Wave after wave of men were dismissed until only three hundred remained. Three hundred. To fight a battle as odd as any ever fought. The secret to Gideon’s success lay in the message the angel had given him while he beat out the wheat in secret. “Yahweh is with you, O Valiant Warrior.” Not that Yahweh was with him because of his valor, but that he would be valiant because Yahweh was with him. Striking down public idols might have seemed frightening. Driving out the Midianites might have seemed daunting.. Waving torches and shouting might have seemed ridiculous. Don’t you get it, Abigail? That’s the point. Being vulnerable might seem frightening. Discipling a girl I’ve never even met might seem daunting. Living Yahweh’s way certainly seems ridiculous at times. Yahweh is with me. How about that, little nobody? Why don’t you try “Valiant Warrior” on for size?
Lord, the torch Thou gave me smolders,
Thou hast bid me to be bolder!
Thou hast bid me smash my vase
That I might light up Thy face.
Thou art big enough to raise me,
Naught on earth should daunt or phase me.
Thou puts the powers of dark to flight—
Ignite in me Thy holy light.