When they welcomed me in, I was only seventeen.
I’d traveled across the country, cornhusker girl with a heart for adventure and a yearning for “home” that had never been filled. A job as nanny to a six-month old baby girl was just the ticket in more ways than one. I had one suitcase, no idea how to drive, and a spirit full of hope. Though Jesus’ name wasn’t called on in my house, He’d walked right into my soul anyway; speaking words of life through His word, answering prayers, and wooing me close enough that I was never truly alone. Now He was in the lead, and I happy to follow.
Two years of blessed peace lay ahead, as the Lord brought me into a lovely home and a job full of quiet days. But what He had up His sleeve surprised me. The youth leaders’ family had open arms and a daughter just my age, and we became fast friends. While it took her younger brother several years to become old enough for me to marry and make this thing legal, our family-ness happened right away, and I will ever be grateful for that gift.
It hadn’t been easy, getting there.
I thought about this time in my life a lot as I read through chapter four of Dancing–how difficulties I’d faced taught me much about Him. Surprisingly, Deb and I’s friendship was instant, despite our differences. She was confident; sure of what she wanted to do in the future, sure of where she belonged. It was harder for me. I used to say of her that the worst thing that had ever happened to her was that one day, she couldn’t find a scrunchy that would match her socks. And she’d agree. Now, of course, life has added its strokes to her story, too. I took refuge in the words of James:
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”~ James 1:2-4
Yikes. That doesn’t sound fun, does it? And yet there it is; a promise that somehow trials and testing lead to endurance and completion.
Though I had plenty of moments of envy, I knew I wouldn’t trade lives, even if such a thing were possible. I knew even then a certain truth: There were things I knew about God because of the difficulties I’d faced with Him that she had no idea of.
Since that time many years ago, there have been plenty of chances to wish for a life switch here and there! Perhaps with that woman with the bigger house, the helpful relatives, the more organized husband.
Sally talks about it here in chapter four of Dancing With My Father:
“Often it seems we would rather have another life—any life—than our own. Somehow we think if we lived a different life, it would be easier for us to grow in faithfulness and spiritual character. Yet it is in accepting today with all of its issues, in accepting God’s will and training grounds that we learn the secret of joy in His presence. It is in being faithful to our own set of tests that we become mature and fitted for the ministry He has called each of us to accomplish.”
So … how about it, friend? Maybe if we ponder together, it’ll take the sting out.
What attitude might you need to change or cultivate as you look over your response to your current circumstances?