My oldest girlie had a friend over from school the other day, they wanted to play in the barn but my girls have always found it a little too scary in there. I told her since it was nice outside, why didn’t they open the barn doors wide and let some sunshine in? Light would wash the scary things right out, they would see.
I sat on the back porch, watching them, thinking in pictures like I always do. I was right, sunlight turned the dark corners bright and you could see what was really in there. The girls weren’t afraid, they walked right in and stayed for a while, playing with buckets and hay, flitting in and out like chickadees do in branches of these young aspen trees, never tiring of the wonder of their freedom.
I held a green ink pen in my right hand, my thumb unconsciously working the cap back and forth while I watched them and thought. I wrote in this black Moleskin, my prayer closet really, how I had just been looking at places for sale an hour or so from here. If we’re tight with our money for a few years while we’re here, maybe when Doc is done with this job we could move to a smaller town, where his work would be quieter and we could live on a couple hundred acres of heaven. We could get some cows and some horses, have the place all to ourselves and just walk for hours in God’s creation that has never stopped pulling my attention to Him.
I was writing about this week’s fantasy because I realized that just last week I was dreaming of being a midwife, like I’ve wanted to be since high school. I would save lives, daily, and exhausted mamas would look at me with gratefulness. I would be the sage advocate for women and their babies, known for miles around. The week before that I was going to be a famous author, because there’s too much that goes unseen and unsaid and I was going to say it all, dang it.
But it came to me, watching that ordinary metal barn as it opened wide to the light, that I’m no rancher’s wife, getting to play in the dirt like I love to. I don’t save lives every day with my mad skills and there’s no scholarly Wikipedia page dedicated to my revolutionary writing style. I’m just an ordinary housewife, planted here in this acre of brown grass with four other people, who nobody is ever going to make a movie about.
And it took realizing that for my thoughts to find momentum, because it struck me just as hard that I don’t really want any of that.
I don’t really want any of that.
And here’s why:
If for the next few years we put every spare dime of our money toward our dream farm, and bought it, wouldn’t our hard work and money be so tied up in that place that our hearts would be, too?
If over the next few years I put every spare hour of my time into apprenticing as a midwife just because I want to be one, and I could eventually work on my own, wouldn’t I love my accomplishment fiercely, because I had given a piece of myself to get it?
I could say the same about writing, raising children, anything.
If I’m going to give my effort, my dreams, my hard work, my sleepless nights and restless soul over to something, I want it to be Christ.
Not good causes, not beautiful places, not peace, not rest, not children,
If for the next few years I give all that energy, all that drive and love to Christ, then won’t that much of my heart be one with what’s important to Him?
If taking up my cross means walking next to Christ, then it’s going to take every piece of me just to take one step.
There’s nothing that I can withhold, not without falling behind.
Not my wanderlust, my dreams, my energy, my family, or my acre of brown grass.
It’s going to take every piece of me today.
So maybe someday walking with Christ will mean training to be a midwife, maybe it will mean periods of passing through things that I love, and things that I don’t. But maybe it won’t. I don’t know, but I can’t know yet.
Without faith it’s impossible to please God, and I’m beginning to think that it’s because we can’t fully give ourselves to Him without it. And we can’t carry a cross with only half of our hearts. It’s a walk to Golgotha, a walk to the resurrection of our souls. And that takes everything.
So if I’m serious about this discipleship thing, and I am because I know that God is real, then I’m going to work towards what’s important to Him. Only then can I be more like Him, which is what discipleship is all about, right?