Monday, February 8, 2016

grace means goodness

I woke up and found the pot of leftover, homemade spaghetti sauce from last night still sitting on the stove. Failure and waste waved its hand good morning at me.

I stumbled around fixing coffee, tired after a stormy night. Two children had cried out for comfort when the thunder boomed and woke them up. Now the dog was whining aggressively at my feet with a ball she wanted thrown. 

A vintage typewriter loudly clacked away as one kid practiced spelling every word related to toilets he knew.

The kids had every light on in the house and it was so bright I thought I was going blind.

Someone punched someone else for sitting in his "spot". Everyone had 2,754 things to tell me. I was spreading Nutella for one kid before I had the chance to take my own cup of coffee and learn to be human again.

Can a girl get a redo at 8am?

I was pretty sure it might be an Airstream kind of day.


On Airstream days I shop for cute vintage travel trailers online. I calculate how much money we would have to save to live a nomad life, camping at beaches and on mountainsides all over North America. I imagine homeschooling under the striped pop out awning after collecting shells at Doheny beach or pine cones in Banff. Since it’s a fantasy, the kids are obedient and love to do all their schoolwork. I have perfectly toned arms and really amazing hair in these fantasies, too, because why not? For an hour or two, I pretend a family of six could comfortably and peaceably live in a tiny silver bubble without being tempted to drive straight off a cliff when no one gets along.

Airstream days are lovely because my dream seems so good it could actually become our real life. We could cruise away, unencumbered by responsibilities and callings and the expectations people and God toss at us while we swing away like my boys at batting practice. I become part hippy, part nomad, and part Chris Farley ala Matt Foley, ready to live "in a van down by the river!"

Except a promise I made twenty years ago contrains me, binds me, and draws me back to reality. Faith can become a real dream squasher when you've ditched reality in favor of dysfunction.

Jesus asked me to follow Him, and I vowed I would. He isn't leading me to hop in an Airstream and choose my own adventure.

God has led me here, to whiny dogs and bickering kids, to stormy skies and loud clacking typewriters, to a beloved family and a church full of His glory. I live in this house where the leftovers get forgotten, but we are remembered forever by the Maker of all things.

Twenty years of following Him has proven that His goodness blossoms in our willingness to trust and obey. Life makes so much more sense in the rear view mirror. I can see how the darkness that prowled taught me to love His invisible light. I can see how the wounds we suffered drew us closer to Him and to one another. And I can see that I rarely had a proper grasp on how His goodness was overtaking even my own efforts to change the path He chose for me.

The odds are pretty good that His goodness is in the all the mess around me right now, too. It's just hard to detect because of the emotional noise and ridiculously bright lights.

I hope eternity is like an Airstream dream-come-true. We will all of live a happy nomad life on heavenly shores after following Jesus through all the deserts and darkness. Until then, our happiness is bound up in our assurance that God is who He says He is and our ability to follow even when we'd rather run away.

Cheers to Monday, friends. Here's to annoying lights and coffee that takes too long and people who can't get along. Dig in and savor the gospel right in the middle of it all. His grace means goodness.

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