Last Sunday I shared a farewell lunch with Math Artist. We met in February at a women’s retreat and bonded quickly over our love of farmers’ markets. Since then, most Sundays we’ve gone from church to the best local market and wandered, sampled, bought and talked. Her PhD in an incomprehensible form of math/sociology/engineering completed, she’s heading overseas for a post-doctoral fellowship.
The subject of her upcoming 30th birthday raised a question, “Are you at all worried about being intimidating to guys now?”
She laughed, “Well, I don’t really look like an engineer and I can describe what I do in lots of different ways. Really though? No. I told the Lord a while ago that I trust Him. I know that He can satisfy my need for relationship and I trust that, even if it doesn’t look like what I expected, He WILL satisfy me.”
I was so struck by that. Jrex had challenged me (lovingly and very gently) that I might need to let go of my perception of motherhood. Bemusedly, I commented to Math Artist, “Jrex told me to let go, but I didn’t have a sense of what to go TOWARD. What you say gives me a better direction. The Lord made me with a gift for mothering and it will get expressed. In the meantime, I may need to let go of my idea for how that’s supposed to take place.”
At another point she said, “I asked the Lord if my life, particularly the last six years, really had to be this hard. He said ‘yes’. I knew he was right. I would have never, ever let him into the deep places in me to break me and heal me without all this. I wish I’d been made bendable instead of strong and stubborn, but I’m much more pliable now than I’ve ever been.”
This morning, I read a post by Joe about not defining how God is good. It’s a long post, but a compelling read. He’s been sick since he was a teenager and has some interesting thoughts--some are parallel to questions I’m still trying to sort through.
Here’s the thing, both Math Artist and Joe have been through years of pain and trauma. If they said the same things without suffering to back it up, I would nod and smile and keep right on walking. To assert that God is good in the midst of confusion and darkness makes me listen. Hearing it from a young friend who hasn’t been battered yet? Call me in a couple years.
I look at my life and ask, “Did it have to be so hard?”
I haven’t welcomed the process, but I wouldn’t trade who I am now for the zealous, cartwheeling 20-something version who gleefully declared she’d give EVERYTHING for God. Now I know how hard I clutch, yet what freedom I find when I let go and trust goodness in the middle of all that confuses me.