waiting, stirring, & my word
Have you ever ordered something from Etsy or Amazon and not read the fine print that it was coming from Malaysia? It turns out very awesome things that are super affordable sometimes originate half a world away, and when they do, they take their own sweet time arriving. Hypothetically, one could wait as long as 6 weeks for something like this, or so I’ve heard.
And did you know that if you put your own address down with one digit off, a package could take three trips before it gets to your door? Idaho-Manchester. Manchester-Idaho. Idaho-Manchester. This is also possible, they say.
Oh, and I’ve also heard that in New Hampshire, “The state’s moose population has made a dramatic recovery since the early 1900’s, when unregulated hunting and loss of forest habitat to agriculture decimated the road.” Strangely enough one can actually live in NH for 25 years and travel through each county in the state in a 3 month period and still never have the good fortune of seeing one. I swear.
Of course I can testify to all of the above. Can’t fool you.
The moral of the story might be:
a. I do my share (and yours) of online shopping.
b. Snail mail is pretty messed up (but in his defense, my neighborhood postal carrier is new).
c. Moose are elusive and shy (and I repel them).
d. When you’re waiting for things to come and you are looking forward to their arrival, it often feels like cold molasses running uphill.
e. All of the above.
My life right now seems to have a theme song:
Case in point, last weekend I decided to make maple cream, because I got a yummy new cookbook and one of the recipes calls for it but I can’t find it in stores. Maple cream or maple butter requires boiling pure maple syrup to 235 degrees, pouring it into a saucepan that sits in an ice bath, and then stirring ’til your arm falls off or until it transforms into thick silky mapley heaven. I was in the mood for scones (again) and what’s a little stirring? I’m strong, right? (Right!) In short, I was properly motivated.
Things were going well until the thickening part just never happened. Because I could never waste 3 cups of pure maple syrup, I decided to whip the syrup into buttercream for the scones – yum. In the process, I made a colossal mess of my kitchen which my perfect husband had to manage because I slipped and sprained my ankle that day, as well. Now I’m, you guessed it, waiting for it to heal so I can wear normal shoes once more.
While I’m looking forward to other things, life happens. There is still work, loving people in my world, serving, learning, and planning but all the while there’s a sense of suspension-mixed-with-tension these days and I know it has to do with my word. My #oneword365 for 2016 is steadfast. It came to me after Christmas and just stuck around.
Having a word for the year is something I’ve done for the past three years (glory/2013, bold/2014, portion/2015), and this is how I like to use my word – I pray for God to grow it in me & reveal it richly. Let it bloom without force. I put it in a prominent place, I scratch it in margins – and once I tattooed it to my wrist, but I can’t do that every year. I could, but I won’t 😉 And God is so, so good. Gradually I start to notice the breadcrumbs he leaves for me to follow on the way to understanding. It feels like asking for a gift I know he wants me to have, and learning to slowly welcome it.
And that takes time. And it can feel awkward.
This new year began without much of a fuss, and I starting hunting for hints about my word in my life and in the Bible. I was seeing steadfast in lots of verses about getting some, like this one:
Good stuff. But God is also showing me already (and it’s only January!) that focussing on the meaning of steadfast is not about me becoming steadfast, at least it isn’t just about that…
STEADFAST: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
…it’s about how he already is.
Psalm 33:16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
If left to my own devices, I’d be tempted to toughen up, wrangle my tools, and become steadfast by putting it on my List – the one that invisibly presses my soul into new shapes with each passing ambition. The great List that gives me worth (I once thought). But thank God, I am not. Through these insignificant but attention stealing adventures in waiting, God has already saved me many wasted hours of striving because the one who is steadfast is HE.
OH, how steadfast he is. His unflinching care, his kind and powerful constant stream of patient love is the true definition of steadfast. I can’t match it. I can’t manufacture it, and I can’t even express it. I want to let the bloom begin, though, so I’ll wait. It is already unfurling and taking form right before my short-sighted eyes.
His incarnation of steadfast will be worth it. Unlike long awaited packages, moose promises, and even maple cream.
I intend to write about steadfast a lot this year – so saddle up and join me
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