small group studies
I’m one of those ‘have-to-have’ it all tucked away kind-of girls. I wish I weren’t; I hate that about myself, but I just am. I would bet I am one of the messiest organized people you have ever crossed paths with.
Starting an unexpected new season in my life, things have been a little more shaken up than normal and so have my nerves. I’ve looked through next month’s calendar 100 times, and will do it again.
Have any of y’all been just worn out by planning, twisting, forcing all the right pieces in what feels like a too small puzzle?
I had my life planned perfectly, even more calculated than the color coded blocks of my over-sized planner. I didn’t grow up the best. I never wanted for anything, but my home life certainly could have stood some major adjustments. Without details, I had planned a different life, something different than I had. I had this idea of what my perfect life would look like.
I would be married, cute house, cuter kids, lots of friends with also cute kids that would play on a well landscaped lawn on Saturdays when I had a day off from my perfect job. There would be a dog, okay two dogs, and basically always sunshine. Don’t ask me how the perfect grass got watered in this dream without rain because I haven’t thought that through.
“All things are full of exhaustion; a man can not complete it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing; What has been is what will be and what has been done is what will be done….. and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:8-9
I’m getting to the point, hang in there. Apply just a little context here, and we’re moving on.
Under the sun is a theme in this book of the bible, and has nothing to do with the weather. Under the sun means the world we can see; a materialistic world with no eternal perspective.
NOW, imagine me, sitting here, looking at this calendar book of mine with these colored up pages that represent little of what I had planned on.
In blue and red, I have marked my second husband’s work days. My first marriage failed. My new (because we just bought it) not new house needs unexpected repairs. While my kids are cute, they represent multiple colors on my book- all five of them, Dad’s house this day, mom’s house that one, a holiday here for this kid, oh and yay! Looks like we have them all for that one. Purple is the color of my daughter’s dance class. Yellow is my step-daughters church program.
I have few friends in a not-so-new but certainly not home town, no baby play dates, and I feel like I have more jobs than I do socks right now. My dog is well… kind of perfect, but my lawn is full of leaves all from the storms that blow in when the sun hides.
Two completely different pictures, right?
But then there’s this:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I counted everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:7-8
There was a time that I had what I wanted, what I had planned. I married a guy that gave me the parade proposal, had two beautiful children, built a home that even had good grass because, well, sod. All of my new town girls liked all my Instagram pictures and commented things on my Facebook posts, there was a potential for friendships and play dates. There was no dog, but there was more than that missing from the puzzle.
It was so sunny, y’all. I had that life under the sun and I was weary. Like the man in Ecclesiastes, I could not complete it, could not be satisfied. It was like I tried and tried to get this or do that and it was still so empty. And why? because it was so bright. It was a life full of things I could see for now, and one with none of the things I could feel forever.
Now I have absolutely no idea why the life I planned unraveled into the life I live in. I don’t. Maybe had I stepped out of a life in the sun and into the kingdom, things would have been different. That is not for me to say, but I know that girl with all of those big and bright plans was meant to be scorched by that heat that her own sun packed- and I am so so grateful she was burned down just as she was.
It’s one of those beauty from ashes kind-of thing. God often uses our brokenness to reveal His beauty.
And gosh is He beautiful, are His renovations beautiful.
You see, when I lost all of those things, I was left with the One person Ive always had but never knew. I came to Jesus because basically there was nothing else.
I would lose all over again, knowing what there was to gain in having nothing and everything all at the same time.
Paul said in Philippians 3 verses 7 and 8, look I count it all gone. I don’t even care. Everything else “under the sun” is garbage because EVERYTHING else is less when compared to the infinite value of Jesus.
Paul is right.
I love those red and navy dots. They provide for my family when they are present in those dated squares, and when they’re not that means I get to enjoy my husband wrapped up in bed with me if only for one night before the next red dot appears. I love all 100 of those little baby fingers and toes with every piece of me, together all at once or separate, on the holidays or not. My new-not new home will free up some time for me to pursue my passion for spreading the word and for that, me and my daughter danced in the rain that fell from my closet ceiling last week when it rained. I have very very few friends in my home-but-not home town, but they are literally some of the very best, and those leaves? I love them. Watching them fall to the ground, I am so full of hope because I know that, like me, those dead leaves will get a second chance and then a third and so on, to revive themselves when this season is over because with Jesus, you don’t run out of chances; you don’t run out of love.
Sunny days are beautiful. The things you can see are beautiful but trust me when I tell you with tears in my eyes that there is nothing absolutely nothing more precious than what you cannot see, but can always feel.
The question never concerns the presence of God. He is always there. The question is whether or not God matters.
The very biggest hugs,