Ten years ago I thought following Jesus meant waking up early to read the Bible. Going to church twice a week. Praying more than just before meals. Not walking away from my marriage even when my bitter heart already had running shoes laced up & ready to go. Carrying the banner of my son's degenerative epilepsy like a martyr's identity.
My little faith took a beating.
I shook my fist at God. And my husband. A lot.
And then we moved out west, and hung onto our marriage, and God surprised us with our 4th child, so we got all weird & had three more. Found a church family that loved beyond the masks, right down to the icky-nitty-gritty. Went further into debt, considered bankruptcy, took a leap of faith & built a crazy-straw-bale house, & paid off all the debt with the equity. Watched God heal my boy.
My faith still took a beating. I shook my fist at God.
And looked at Him in wonder. My husband too, actually.
Isn't that just life, tho? This crazy roller-coaster journey of ups & downs & loop-de-loops. Tearing me down, building me up.
So, you know, still in process. Maybe with a little more faith, a teeny bit more wisdom. Definitely learning to listen more, & speak less, & stifle that fist-shaking thing. Cause it sure wasn't bringing me any kind of hope or joy or righteousness.
And now Jesus has us veering off down this really bizarre path.
As if we could get any weirder, right?
So, a couple of weeks ago we finished up the home study, and signed all the paperwork, and got all officially certified for foster-to-adopt.
And the next day I broke out in hives.
At first I attributed it to the sushi we had on Wednesday afternoon with my girl's group. Maybe too much wasabi? An overexposure allergy to ginger? (love it!!)
But despite taking Benadryl, & Zyrtec, & vowing to never have sushi, wasabi, or ginger ever again...I'm still randomly getting hives.
And all that goes with it. Generally acting like a raving-lunatic; high-pitched-nagging, rushing-late everywhere, whining, middle-of-the-living-room melt downs complete with the ugly-cry.
It wasn't the ginger.
I think, perhaps, it goes a bit deeper than that.
Like serious anxiety, psychosomatic, Jesus-following-phobia kinda stuff.
I want this Jesus-following path to be strewn with rose petals, and lined with daffodils, covered over with sweet-smelling lilacs...
But it's not.
It's just dang hard.
Somewhere deep inside, there's a little girl, stomping her feet, pitching a fit: "but I don't wanna go dat way!!!!" And since I'm trying to stifle that gripe-at-God thing...I end up griping at everyone else. And covered in hives. It's like my true self, that petulant little girl, trying to scratch her way out....
Nope, I don't have a tidy ending for you. This morning was hard. Didn't wanna get outta bed. Cried myself to sleep last night cause I'm so dang mad I can't afford to get on a plane & go to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and rescue little Benie. Her face haunts me.
Yesterday someone mentioned the extra seats in our 11-passenger van, and I choked up, with fury and heartbreak and petulance...thinking of little Daria, wherever she is. Wishing I could fly to Kazakhstan and find her.
And all the while, I fire off complaint after complaint at my husband, yell at my kids, and stare apathetically at the dust-bunnies piling up in the corners of my bathroom.
I mean is this really it? All this waiting, and work, and drudgery?
I thought following Jesus would be full of romantic, book-worthy adventure; epic tales of risk & travel & lives transformed.
Jesus beckons, right up the path, smiling, loving, patient, encouraging. I trudge on.
And the hives rise up on the back of my hands, and cry out, "No, it's too hard! I want the easy way; forget about these briars of patience & endurance! Stop pruning me already! And this path is too steep anyway...and...and..."
Blah, blah, blah. Cry me a river, right?
'Scuse me while I go find some sandpaper...