I read the chapter out loud to Becky in Texas. We sat at her kitchen table, screen door open to birdsong and breeze. Backyard pool and palm tree and so much sun, and all I could see was vacation – and all she could see was WORK. Tasks undone and plants not growing and nothing finished. She’s all apologetic and I’m laughing out loud. You need to see what I see!
We’d been talking nonstop since my arrival, so much catching up. No trouble picking up on life and friendship, joys and struggles – years of stories of kids who were toddlers when we lived in the same state. Now adults and teens. My own family expanding and growing and all that’s happened. We’ve both had our share of hard, but God has been faithful. We know.
So now I sat at her table and I read this chapter from Dekker’s book. The Forgotten Way. And I told Becky about how even the title is just what I needed. He’s taking me back to a Way I once knew. Dekker describes two kingdoms – one of this world and one eternal, and we live in them both.
Imagine for a moment that you are a child standing on a wide beach with brilliant white sand…
We’re building sandcastles. Here, now, in this earthly kingdom. This life is simply the sand. And Dekker reminds us – the child at the beach doesn’t fret about water and waves. It’s just sand. And I get it. I get it! – and I want Becky to see it, too.
Everything that is seen with your earthly eyes is the sandcastle…perishable, yet what a gift it is.
I confessed it to Becky. How anxious I’ve been defending my sand.
A few days later and I’m back on Minnesota soil. It’s only February, but it feels like spring, and I’m still savoring Texas. Surprised at what a gift it was. I’d been conflicted going, thinking about all the things I should be doing, and other places I should travel. Kids in Iowa and a brother in Wisconsin – and here I am flying off to Texas for my own vacation. But now in hindsight seeing God’s provision. This trip a chance to soak up His Spirit and relish His presence. To hear His voice.
I have been hearing. His voice has been clear. He’s leading me back to the Way I’d forgotten.
And then Wednesday happens. It’s the first day since coming home I’m not working at church, and it’s time to catch up at home. I start my day happy, reflecting. There are piles of laundry and I’m thinking of sandcastles and it’s working. But then.
I’m not sure what happens, or why or when. But something changes. I’m feeling offended. Too much too do, and too little help. The penance for going on my little vacation, and I’m in over my head. My day interrupted by scheduled appointments, and I’m overwhelmed trying to fit it all in. Boys come home with so much stuff, and quickly my efforts at cleaning are swallowed up in a trail of food and notebooks and jackets and garbage. And I stomp around like THIS IS MY KINGDOM. And I’ve forgotten. Again.
Next day, I’m reading more from Dekker, and it’s like he’s here in my house.
If your sight isn’t clear you’ll see darkness, and offense, and grievance… Indeed the fruit of the fall IS grievance.
Offense and grievance. No kidding.
So I confess it again, and God knows I mean it. He knows I’m trying to live in His Kingdom. And He’s all Grace and Patience – the God of Do-overs. He’s teaching me slowly, and I’m glad to be learning by trial and error. His arms are wide open – His Kingdom still welcomes me in.