Historically, I suck at contentment. I married too scandalously young to be discontent in my singleness, but at basically every life-stage since, I've been looking to the next thing. Soon after Chris and I married, I started hankering after a baby. Then because the road to bringing David home was so long and painful, I worried over whether he'd ever have a sibling. When we lived in Virginia, I often longed to live closer to our extended families in Texas. I devoted such vast amounts of unnecessary mental energy to the boys' long term school plans. I was worried about when, precisely, to put Bryan in school - junior high vs. high school - before he even started kindergarten, and with absolutely no idea what our lives would even look like then. Ridiculous!
And now, when things are as treacherous and sobering as they've ever been, I find myself able to treasure where I am right now. It's been a hard summer, but in an unexpected way, it's been good and right. I've had precious time with the boys and Chris; we've had a lot of good time together. My boys have had an exceptionally good summer, in ways I didn't plan or control. They've spent a great deal of time with their grandparents, and in a gesture of love and support I will never forget, some Virginia friends, the parents of David's first friend, invited David and Jacob to stay with them for two weeks. Here are David and Ethan early in their relationship...
And a few weeks ago when their pool skills were somewhat more advanced...
I'm reading through Jeremiah right now and recently got to this passage:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
This has been a favorite passage of mine for years. We even have a kids' worship song with these verses, verbatim, as lyrics. And yet, I didn't notice the context until this recent reading. Jeremiah was writing to the exiles in Babylon. The recipients of this letter were Israelites who were separated from their country and their homes. Things were dismal, depressing and were going to get worse. But,
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease." Jeremiah 29:4-6
God is saying to them, "This crappy, heart-breaking, foreign place where you are - this is exactly where you're supposed to be right now. Now live. Invest. Be there."
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
So, cancer sucks. It's a heart-breaking, horrible place to be and it often feels like exile from normal life. But it's exactly where I'm supposed to be. Not that God wanted Chris to get cancer any more than he wanted the Israelites to go into exile, or David to cheat with Bathsheba or Cain to kill Abel or any of the other devastating and damaging things that have been happening on this planet almost since the beginning of time. But through these words, I felt The Lord affirming - "Yes. This is where you are. Be there. And trust me. I know the plans I have for you, and they're plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."