This summer, I considered getting a summer job. Instead I became Summer Job. As in Job, the Old Testament character who loses everything, seemingly in one fell swoop, minus his faith. May - I do not regret staying in Tennessee this summer, in spite of the heat chamber in which we were locked since May, because my relationships with neighbors and new friends were deepened.
June - I do not regret letting one of my parents drive my car which resulted in me having to buy a new bumper. Because now I understand a fraction of how my parents felt to have their kids break everything of value to them.
July - I regret slightly the morning when I drove my motorscooter into the garage. Of a home that does not belong to me. I wish a little bit that I was a lot bit more careful. I wish that I was not now paying for a garage door that exceeds our monthly rent.
August - I deeply regret, from the most tender part of my heart, that I could not keep our sweet pal Toby from harm's way. But I do not regret how closely the Lord has walked with me this past week. I do not regret how much more I understand how much the heart of God grieves for His children now that I have known the love of this animal.
I do not regret that we are in the process of short selling our Boston home. If you would have asked me five years ago when we purchased the home if I would be fine with selling it at a huge loss, I would have thought the question absurd. The entire experience of home ownership has cascaded from high mountain peak joys to the lowest of emotional valleys. Yet, the spiritual lessons for my family and within my marriage have been significant and I will continue to carry them with me; these lessons are invaluable.
This summer has taught me, chiefly, to encounter and know the absolute goodness of the character of God. In the past, I was mainly concerned with what God did. Not who He was. I gave thanks when He blessed me. I struggled when He tested me. I read the Bible to understand what His children did in situations that might have paralleled my own.
Kendra, Do you want to know me? I know you have trusted me when your checking account was low. When you were walking home from the train alone at night. When you were facing a looming deadline. You trusted me. But how can you trust someone you don't really know? When you are broke and broken, do you just want to see what rabbit I can pull out of a hat next? Or do you want to find me and come to know me and understand my heart and how precious your soul is to me? Do you want to see all of this through my eyes? Do you want to share my view? To see how all of this fades in comparison to the riches and splendor I have prepared for you in a place far better than you can even imagine?
My children have told me they loved me more in the last week than in all of their years and months of talking. My son leaned in yesterday while I was flubbing my way through Super Mario and said, "You're my best friend." I got a phonecall tonight from Baby Girl's sabbath school teacher who was just checking to see if we needed any help, like with her tuition. I've received heartfelt messages from the most unlikely of sources over the loss of Toby.
And I am so thankful. Thankful for trials and losses and sleeplessness and pain, because, as Paul says, in our weakness, we are made stronger and more whole through Christ. Through Christ whom, as I turn the corner on 31 years, I am really just coming to know.
The first chapter of the Book of Job says, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." I used to skim that line, the give, the lose, the blah blah bless God. But now I ponder it. I have experienced times of profit and I have experienced a complete stock market crash on my investments. What I have learned, though, is that God does not call us to worry about profit or loss margins. He calls us to bring Heaven to earth, to seek His glory, to call on His name, to know Him.
Here's what I did over my summer vacation:
Blessed be the name of the Lord.