I am writing outside again, in the cool of a summer evening here in the desert land of Washington, surrounded by my family’s oasis of rolling green pastures and hayfields, woodpiles, flowerbeds, gardens, projects of all sorts, the laughter of happy children in the distance, wind blowing through the trees, not far from an old farmhouse filled with memories and the scent of freshly baked banana bread wafting through, a tire swing perfecting the idyllic scene.
And I wonder, when did it cease to be enough? When did love of father and mother no longer satisfy, as I found myself a woman longing for the love of a man? When did the sweetness of siblings leave my arms empty still, without a child of my own? When did cooking for my family and serving at home only awaken desires for my own home and hearth?
I am a collector of quotes and phrases, with a special place in my heart for poetry and music and words that require a bit of chewing on to fully grasp. And there are two that have been going around in my mind lately:
“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.”
“Acceptance with joy.”
What I have been given today is beautiful. Is it my best dream? Perhaps not. Yet it is a gift. I could sit here and stay stuck on the wondering . . . or I could open my hands and accept it. With joy.
God does not give bad gifts. Today, I have an opportunity to learn some very important lessons. Will I trust that when my dreams do not come true . . . His gifts are better still? Will I trust that He is truly sovereign and good? Will I think rightly about God in the midst of a path I would not have chosen?
Not just believe that what He may choose to give me in the future is a good gift. But that today is also a good gift. This beauty I am surrounded by, the home I am blessed with, the family I am privileged to be a part of – they are all such incredibly good gifts.
If I cannot be joyful in today, no change of circumstances will ever give me joy. Or peace.
In acceptance lieth peace, says a poem by Amy Carmichael.
To borrow her words, peace lieth not in forgetting, endeavoring, aloofness, or submission. Peace lieth in acceptance.
I do not need to forget what I lost or what I long for. I am invited to remember, to accept the memories and the longings – and see them through a filter of joy. As good gifts.
I do not need to cover it up with activity or business, fill my life so full that I have no time to reflect or remember. I can work joyfully, doing the next right thing in front of me, embracing the life that is, but not to hide from anything.
I do not need to stuff away the desires, pretend that they don’t exist. They are real and they are from the Lord – so I may joyfully accept the way He made me as a woman, and choose to fulfill His design for me where He has put me today.
I do not need merely to submit, throwing my hands up and saying “what is the use of longing?”. I may think rightly about God, know Him to be a giver of good gifts, and ask as He invites me to, joyfully accepting whatever He chooses to give.
And in that joyful acceptance lieth peace. For God makes known to me the path of life, and He fills me with joy in His presence, with eternal pleasures at His right hand.
It is such a beautiful thing to be His.