One Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, Bryan, the kids and I were driving home from Renton along the beautiful May Valley Road. Green pastures backed by dense forests one right after the other. Horses grazing. A red barn. Picturesque to the utmost. We have been talking about wanting some acreage, and started chatting with Amelia about what it would be like to live on a farm, taking care of the animals, the chores we would all have to do. Bryan and I looked at each other and smiled. He said later that none of that sounded like work. This is how we dream together.
The next day I was feeling a little discouraged that we don't know when we'll be able to buy a home. It's been a good season in some ways, forcing me to ask God for patience every day and to cultivate gratitude. But every once in a while I just feel sad that we're not able to start the next phase of our lives: the garden, where we'll plant tomatoes, arugula, chives, basil, sunflowers; the chicken coop, from which we'll gather our eggs each morning for breakfast; the yard, where the kids can run free and explore; our front porch, where we'll sit in the cool of the evening sipping red wine and chatting with our neighbors; and the tiny attic room where I'll dream and write and breathe.
It's a beautiful dream, and I am full of both anticipation and impatience. I was sitting on my turquoise velvet settee in the dining room looking out our picture window when I decided to open up my Bible app on my phone to read the passage for the day. Just before it opened I asked God to speak to me, just to whisper some hope into my heart, and this is what I read:
"Yes, weep and grieve until the spirit is poured down on us from above and the badlands desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests. Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will build a home in the fertile field. And where there's Right, there'll be Peace and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust. My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood, in safe houses, in quiet gardens. The forest of your pride will be clear-cut, the city showing off your power leveled. But you will enjoy a blessed life, planting well-watered fields and gardens with your farm animals grazing freely." Isaiah 32:15-20
Did you see that? Did you see what He did? "I hear you," He said. "I know what your heart desires. I'm here." How beautiful is that?
That night at writing group, we all wrote a word or phrase on a slip of paper and put them in a pile, each of us taking one at random to serve as a prompt. My phrase, from Bridget, said "Diminutive imagination cannot…" This is what I wrote:
Diminutive imagination cannot fathom the seemingly paradoxical experience of trust and discouragement. Robust faith, however, can be tempered by circumstantial uncertainty, but the mature believer sees not the fickle nature of a disinterested deity, but the intimate shaping hand of a loving God. In the book of James, the author discusses the difference between trials and temptations, the former being testing grounds for faith, maturity, and relationship. Like a parent desiring to shape and prepare a child for adulthood, we experience trials in order to gain wisdom and to learn to rely on God's strength instead of our own. As I wait to live in the home of my longing, the time is not wasted. I pray each day for patience, and I cultivate gratitude for what I have in hopes that I will be entrusted with more. I am aware that even this part of my story is just preparation for the finale, all of which will showcase God's intimate interest in my life and the life of my family. I am anticipating watching Him work. No matter how it turns out, I want to be part of His story, which is always better than anything I could dream up.