Something very hard went down last fall, which largely pushed me to go ahead and get Lucy. I needed a big change, I needed the companionship, I needed someone or something to take up some of the free time that seemed to be in excess.
When I first started house training her, I would spend a lot of time hanging out in my backyard in the cold, and sometimes rain, waiting for her to poop. I found myself looking up and noticing the stars. Aside from having a dog, I don’t think I’d ever choose to be outside when it’s cold and dark unless I were at the beach or in the mountains. I have this memory of working at a Young Life camp in Colorado during college, and climbing on top of a cabin with a friend and seeing the stars. They have never been so clear as they were that night. But I also haven’t spent a ton of time looking at them.
In Nicole Nordeman’s song The Unmaking, she writes of God “unmaking” much of the life she had built. Sort of like my theory on creating my lovely flower pots and God coming along and dumping all of the contents out because there’s something in there that is poisoning my flowers, poisoning the air I’m breathing. Like mold or something. She writes, “This is the unmaking, beauty in the breaking, I had to lose myself to find out who you are. Before each beginning there must be an ending…sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars.” I thought about that song a lot last year as friends moved, I lost a roommate, relationships were torn apart, I was betrayed, I changed jobs, etc. I thought about the song once more as I wanted to quit all the things and then I stared up into the sky while standing in the midst of dog poop, and I started noticing the literal stars in the sky.
I’m only 29, and in the last few years my theories on how things should work have dissipated. I’m much more slow to speak in black and white, much more likely to let there be gray. God is so very much in control, and he has so orchestrated all things to bring him glory, and he loves us so much. He loves me so much. Nicole Nordeman asks, “What happens now, when all I’ve made is torn down?” I find myself asking that a lot, and I’m nudged towards trusting God, towards waiting. I hate the word waiting. But isn’t that a star in and of itself? Trusting God? The ability to say that I don’t have to know all things?
Last week my Kindergarteners had a Valentine’s Party. There are some fantastic moms who really know how to love on 5 and 6 year olds, and they threw a great party. The idea, of course, is for the 5 and 6 year olds to have fun. Well, one child was getting really anxious and wanting to be in charge of the party, and thus, not having much fun. I stepped into the hall with him to talk about the situation, and the conversation went like this:
KK: “Who’s in charge right now?”
Child: “My mom.”
KK: “Yes, and who else?”
That conversation has so stuck with me. I was trying to help the child see that the moms and the teachers had the situation under control so that the kids could relax and have fun with their friends, but the child couldn’t see it because he wanted so badly for things to go his way.
Adults do that, too, and I think we miss out on enjoying life because of it. God holds the world, holds us, in the palms of his hands, and we fight to tell others what to do and keep everyone else from messing up our plans. What if we could lay down in the palm of his hands and gaze into his face? What if we could laugh more? What if we could look at hard things and acknowledge things are hard, acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, acknowledge that we live in a fallen world and that’s painful? What if we could cry instead of holding our breaths and aiming to not let the ball drop? What if we did more star gazing? Wouldn’t that be more honoring to him?
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”