This weekend I was texting with a friend from MAPP class, who is also adopting. “Can you believe how much has changed in just a year?” I asked.
At exactly this time last year, we were in our final adoption-licensing class. I’ll tell you more about the whole thing in another post, but suffice to say that that morning, I was not capable of comprehending that in one year, I’d be waking up at 5:45am to drink coffee before getting kids off to our local middle school, trying to remember to make them dentist appointments, and deciding how much to push a cherub who is not excelling in one academic subject when s/he is a rockstar in the others.
Life has changed SO MUCH.
It makes me think of another conversation I had 6 or 7 years ago with a different friend. She was new to Christianity, but had been exploring faith for just long enough that the initial, “Wow, this explains everything!” feeling had worn off, and she was looking for more tangible life improvements. We all go through this, I think: Jesus promises abundant life, so we look around and ask, “So, um, where is it?”
(By the way, I think this is a totally fair question, and Jesus can handle the pressure of being put on the spot about His promises.)
“Give God five years,” I told her.
She looked at me like I was nuts.
“Here’s the thing,” I said. “Sometimes, God comes through before we even have the chance to ask for something. We all love those moments. But other times, He needs to move some things around. In us, around us, in people we haven’t even met yet, or places we’ve never seen. God has both short and long game, and we don’t always know what’s what. But give Him five years. If you really want your life to be different, I believe it will be.”
When I offered these earnest words (after which I thought, “Well Jesus, I just bought you some time. It would be great if You came through…”) I had no idea how intensely they’d apply to MY life, as well.
I thought things were pretty well established back then. Sure there were a few areas of disappointment. If my life was a house, I kind of knew it could use the equivalent of a paint job and some new windows. Instead, God tore it down to the studs and started over.
God has changed EVERYTHING over the past five years. Aside from Steve, my contact lens prescription, and one favorite pair of jeans, every part of my life is different than it was in 2010:
-I live in a different house
-in a new town
-with two new people.
-I have THIS DOG instead of THAT DOG.
-Steve works for a different company.
-The publishing world is rebuilding after a bit of a collapse, so I’m encouraged.
-We’re rebuilding our church family after a bit of a collapse, so I’m encouraged.
-I’ve used the treadmill we bought more for running than as a hanger for clothes, so I’m encouraged.
All in all, it’s pretty groovy. But it’s taken a full five years.
Here’s what I’m learning: if you’re looking at Jesus today and thinking, “Hey, whatever abundant is, I don’t think THIS is it,” that’s okay. (Snarky, frustrated prayer = still prayer).
Think about the things you’d like to be different; the places you’re discouraged, or have lost hope, or see happening around you that seem out of reach. Or just take a couple of things you’re furious about. Whatever. Give Jesus five years. Mark the calendar. Tell Him this: I’ll do what You suggest, I’ll go where You lead if You make Your instructions clear to me. You promised that you’d light up my path and guide me, so I’m taking you up on that promise.
It’s not the quickest path, or the flashiest. I mean, sure, seeing people miraculously healed and lives miraculously transformed is incredibly cool. It’s great to not feel shame about my treadmill. But let’s be honest – following Jesus? Socially awkward.
Still totally worth it.