The Young and the Reckless
It’s been an odd two months.
I’ve hardly watered a houseplant.
I’ve shared laundry duties.
I’m not the one who locks the door at night, or turns off every light, or starts the dishwasher before bed.
I haven’t written down when a single library book is due in 2 months.
I’m not always the choice for bedtime-story-reader.
I haven’t done nearly as many dishes. (You could even say my sink doesn’t runneth over. Dare I even write this blog anymore?!?)
Maybe I should call it a vacation. It’s been a month of Sundays since I ran a household. We aren’t home after all. A man I’ve never met lives in our old home. I haven’t been back since the day we left.
But mostly I’ve felt unraveled. I’ve wondered. Was this whole plan to get out of our little house wise? Is it of God? Is it crazy? Was it impetuous? Was it wrong? When I look back at these months, will I be able to say we followed God on this crazy venture, or ran reckless in the opposite direction? It has been a challenge.
Homeschooling is hard when you’re not “home.”
Mothering is hard when you’re in your own mother’s house.
Marriage is hard when both of you have been uprooted from your traditional head and heart roles.
Meal times are hard when someone else cooks differently than you would.
Relaxing is never quite relaxed.
Sometimes following God does look reckless. Ask Noah, who built a boat where there was no water. Or Moses, who told off the most powerful ruler of the world with just a staff in his hand. Or Mary, who told everyone she was pregnant with the son of God.
But sometimes reckless is just that, reckless.
Where is my heart?
They say hindsight is 20/20. I’ve certainly learned things that way. But Sarah, the wife of Abraham, didn’t have the benefit. She couldn’t walk through the hallowed archways and see pictures of faithful who came before her, because she was one of the first listed in the hall of faith. She must have wondered too. A lot.
God had promised her husband he would have descendants. But she hadn’t given him even one yet. It was the one thing on earth Sarah wished for more than anything. A son. But years had passed. Sarah’s arms remained empty.
True, with no child tugging on her skin or waking her through the night, Sarah remained youthful and beautiful. She had no stretch marks or pregnancy weight, no hormone crashes, no sleepless exhaustion hanging under her eyes. Far past menopause she still turned the heads of kings. Manual labor was delegated to her servants. Her job as trophy wife to a rich man was simply to supply an heir. But she couldn’t. Twice her husband allowed her to be taken into other men’s harems. Maybe it would solve both their problems if she simply disappeared. But God always stopped it.
Finally, in desperation, Sarah came up with the only solution she could imagine. She would give Abraham an heir all right. Just not from her body. Sarah didn’t have the ability to get pregnant, but she had power. She could force a surrogacy. She had a servant, a nice girl, healthy and promising. Culture dictated this was perfectly legal.
Abraham himself was 85 and getting a bit impatient. When Sarah came to him with a thinly veiled broken heart and an open proposition, he was enticed. He took her up on it. And finally, Abraham had a son.
But it wasn’t the son God had promised. Abraham and Sarah had to wait another fourteen years before God reiterated His promise again. Finally, they believed Him. Finally, Sarah got pregnant. From that child of promise, she and Abraham became the parents of millions, the whole nation of Israel.
But from that other son came nations too. Throughout the millennia since the two half-brothers were born, their descendants have fought each other. That one time Abraham listened to his wife rather than waiting on God has cost many lives and much heartache. It was expensive impatience.
I hope I haven’t asked my own husband to do that.
Not that we have harems around here, but…
I had wished so hard for a bigger house. But it seemed like the one thing we never could have. My husband was content to wait; little houses do cost less than big ones after all. I was finding it harder. Every morning I woke up on the pull-out sofa in the living room. In the little house, even one thing out of place made paths wheelchair inaccessible. Entertaining was difficult when little ones were always napping in all the rooms upstairs, and even our own family overflowed the dining room table. It felt like a losing battle. I wanted a new house. I didn’t think I’d be happy till I got one.
At least it felt like it.
But I didn’t want to be reckless Sarah.
Once she ran reckless after her own heart and did the practical thing. But it only brought sorrow. She could have had kings for husbands. They wanted her. They might have given her princes for children. She could have raised her servant’s child as her own. He went on to have 12 princes out of his own descendants. She could have made something of herself.
But I wanted to be righteous Sarah.
She was the one who made it into the Hebrews 11 hall of faith. That was the Sarah who followed bravely after God when He led her husband into the wilderness. It was that Sarah who believed God could make her pregnant with a husband as good as dead. (And you thought yours had issues!) That was the Sarah who didn’t make something of herself. God made Sarah. When God singled out a nation as an example of His grace to all humanity, He chose Sarah to be its mother. The very son of God would be her great-great-great-great (a bunch more greats) grandson. She could have birthed princes. But instead, from her came the King of all creation.
Sarah’s first god was too small. It was years – decades – before she realized how big her God could be.
I look ahead as far as I can see and tremble. The mountains look huge. Insurmountable. The responsibility of two mortgages… A big impending tangle with Ben’s faceless insurance world… Long demanding work hours owning my husband’s time… I feel overwhelmed. That’s when I forget my God is big. He doesn’t always take us the practical, well paved route. I still wonder if this is crazy. But maybe, just maybe, I’m not being reckless.
So I fall again on my knees and beg God to keep me from making far-too-small plans. He has big hands. Big plans. Don’t let me try to make something of myself, Lord. I’ll only make a mess. You Yourself make me.
I’ll have to wait and see how He does it. And let the houseplants rejoice that I’m not in charge.