Today I was reading the blog of a friend of mine. She is only 17, but already yearning to know God more while struggling to understand this world. She wants Jesus, but also wants a boyfriend. She is yearning for patience, while crying out against the need to wait. That is always one of my struggles... things that I want now, the idols of my heart, the things the world says I need, the many many wishes that my heart sometimes feels are necessities.... And yet, there is a sweetness in waiting, a surrender and a peace that is unattainable elsewhere. And there can be terrible consequences for not waiting - permanent damage, physical pain, emotional shattering. Believe me, I know.
I am getting better at waiting. Granted, I sure had to go through a lot of trials to get here. I've actually had some Christian friends say that they are a little jealous - they've had more even lives and wonder if my story isn't just a little bit more appealing with all the turmoil. Hm. I'm wondering if it just means that I am quite seriously flawed and above average stubborn that I needed so much ironing out ;) But you know, I'm not better or worse than anyone else.. and that is a great comfort. The playing field is pretty even when God steps into the picture - no one man or woman can stand out when you have God as a measuring stick.
So what are my idols now? I wish I could say that I have none. I think I have less than I used to, but I'm not certain that that is saying very much. Health and intellectualism have been trimmed off a bit. Pride in my house is difficult to maintain when I am living in an abandoned house (with the owner's permission, of course) (Oh, did I mention that? I'll have to write about that later....). Yet the photo above brings tears to my eyes. I want to keep this. My grandmother gave the shell to me in high school - it is edged in gold, very beautiful, but mostly I love it because she gave it to me. And the necklace - it is tarnished now, but when it is all polished it is beautiful - silver and diamonds. My Grammy gave it to me when I was a child. Keeping it has been like keeping a little bit of her - my rock through turbulent childhood years. Giving it away is almost like tossing my balancing stick away while I walk on the tightrope. I can do it, but I don't want to.
I went through my jewels on the porch of this abandoned house yesterday. I would love to keep them but when I opened the bag, I could feel it - the house - my allergies.... my throat closed (physically, not emotionally ;)), my head congested... and that was while I was sitting outside with the wind blowing! Wow. I thought I was done crying over my stuff, but there was just this last bit to go through. So many memories - antique pins from my grandmother, wooden necklaces carved by a little Vietnamese woman in New Hampshire, corgi pins carved in the likenesses of my dogs, a ring from my husband (the topaz is somewhere in the woods, but I kept the setting), bracelets made by my children, each piece has a story, each has a tiny place in my heart. I am thankful for these tears though - they show me yet another tiny bit of my heart that I have been holding back, yet another place for God to fill. I will not cry about these earthly jewels anymore. I will count it all as joy - yet another step towards my Father. He will make me shine brighter than any jewel that I can obtain here on earth. I will hand on my jewels and accept what wisdom the Lord sees fit to throw my way. I am not so different from that 17 year old. We both have a long way to travel yet. But we have a goal in mind, the only goal that matters.
On that day the LORD their God will save them,
as the flock of his people;
for like the jewels of a crown
they shall shine on his land.
(Zechariah 9:16 ESV)
“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
“From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
“God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
(Job 28:12-28 ESV)