You would imagine that 47 trips around the sun would be enough time to learn that I cannot be all things to all people. In fact, I cannot even be all things to myself.
This is what I pondered the other day while jogging around the pond. I was crying a little bit, which isn’t typical for me. I usually only cry a few times a year, but the last week has been a doozy, and the crying, though quiet, has been frequent.
Here’s the thing, though. Through the ugly, the pain, and the trials, I feel God pruning away all of my props. ALL of my props. We all have them, don’t we? And not all of the props are bad things. They can be good: family, community, church, work, hobbies, friends. But none of these things are God.
God is so good to prune me. If he didn’t, then I would always be prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love. He is so kind to draw me back to himself, and I am grateful.
I remember 15 years ago, when our youngest was a tiny wisp of a baby, and we had been transplanted to another part of the country. Every Friday, I would bundle up our four children for a trip to the library followed by lunch at Wendy’s. It was a busy and lonely stretch, but the library was like an old friend to me. (Reading is the best.) One day, at this library, I wandered to the spirituality aisle and browsed. I was feeling parched, and something needed to change.
Running my fingers over the books I paused at a title called “The Pleasures of God” by John Piper. I flipped it open and read a page or two. It looked solid, even though I did not know who this John Piper was.
Later that night, while my husband was at his seminary class, and all four children were fast asleep, I picked up my Bible and highlighter and “The Pleasures of God” and dug in. My dried up heart was watered, and before I knew it, hours had passed.
The next week was spent finishing the book, which led me to devouring my Bible, which led me to taking ownership of feeding my own soul. It was a tough season of life, but it was also sweet. I was never willing or fully able to articulate what this book did for my soul, but 15 years later I can see so clearly.
Lately, I have been feeling a bit parched again, and a little sad. What do I need? More time for me? More time to serve myself? A vacation? More understanding? A friend who “gets it?” Nope.
Just an open Bible, a quiet heart, and prayer. Hard times are promised for believers. Tears will come after heartache. But God is pruning, and tenderly caring for me.