In the Face of Too Good to be True

Each time I was pregnant, I took multiple pregnancy tests, peeing on a new stick over and over again, just to make sure it was really, really, for really real, true. Each one showed me two pink stripes, and yet an hour later, or two weeks later, I insisted on taking another test.

Unti I could feel a baby kicking inside me, until I started to outgrow even ‘the rubberband trick on my jeans,’ I couldn’t believe it was true. It seemed too good to be true.

Actually, I sang that song to my boys when they were growing inside me. “You’re just too good to be true. Can’t take my eyes off of you. You’d be like heaven to touch, and I want to hold you so much…”

Even as I lean into what I believe is a gift of faith, I seem to be a girl who needs reminding.

Is it true? Still true? How about now?

Within the last year, a promise has been spoken into my life, multiple times. Something is coming. I know more details than I am writing right now, and I’m sorry to be vague about this. But that’s just how I’m going to be.

Each time, I am affirmed for a few hours or a couple of weeks, and then I begin to feel like I dreamt it all, made it all up.

Is it true? Still true? How about now?

Last week at The Greenhouse, we talked about the verses in the first chapter of James. The words that say, if you lack wisdom, if you need more of it, ask God. He’ll give you more, every time, and he’ll give it to you generously. And he won’t mind that you asked, and he won’t criticize you for not knowing on your own.

But there’s a catch: you have to believe you will receive it. The verses say, believe and not doubt. Because she who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. The verse tells me that if I ask but I don’t believe, then I am double minded.

(A word that James made up, historians say, which gives me hope for the word ‘tarbled’ in my book manuscript.)

Double minded.
To have two hearts, or one divided.
To reach in two separate directions.
To ask for Plan A, but create Plan B.

It’s so much easier to teach a principle than it is to practice it. Oh, my great day. Of course, God, in his mercy, would call me to claim the very words he gave me to speak.

In my asking and asking – “Is it true? Still true? How about now?” – I’ve been double minded. I’ve asked for one thing, believed for a moment that it is mine, and then asked God to confirm it yet again.

In essence, it’s like I’m saying just like I did years ago, “Give me another pregnancy test. The last one has faded in my mind.”

I think I’m supposed to put all my eggs in one basket: His. That’s what it is to ‘believe and not doubt.’ I think that’s what it is to trust him, no matter what, and to move forward in a promise without asking him to repeat it again and again.

As it is, it seems I have three baskets.
1. Please, God. I put my faith in you. Here is my every hope and dream.
2. I think you’re legit, but just in case you don’t come through, I’m keeping my options open.
3. In case you need help fulfilling your promise in my life, I’m happy to step in at any time and make things happen on my own.

Noah built an ark when there was no rain.
Mary grew a baby when she had never been with a man (and that was before the days of pink stripes on sticks).
Abraham packed up his wife and started traveling, without a map or clear destination. He just knew: go.

Faith isn’t the absence of doubt, just as courage isn’t the absence of fear.

Doubt and fear like to climb into the backseat, pretending, assuming, and encouraging each other that they are accepted as passengers for the journey.

God, please help me to believe.
Give me an undivided heart, that I may know you better.
And please forgive me when I think I need to buy another proverbial pregnancy test.
Your stripes are enough.
You’re always enough.

The Greenhouse: This Thursday, April 11, 2013

 

Greenhouse
I have a love/hate relationship with the book of James.  I love it because it’s just so practical that I can’t miss what I’m supposed to do; I hate it because it’s just so practical that I have no reason not to do what I’m called to do!  When I read the book of James, I feel like I’m listening to a task-minded parent giving a Saturday morning lecture to his kids: “Listen.  No more messing around.  Here’s what you’re going to do, starting today.”  There are no wasted words, no breaks in the conversation, no wondering what he meant to say.
Beth Moore said, “If I were James, I’d tend to want to chat a while before counting it all joy when life pitches you into the food processor or breaks one foot and sprains another.  If I were going to say it at all, I’d probably save it until the end.  Not James.  He wrote like a mans cared of running out of ink.”
He minces no words, and he grabs me by the wrist and jumps right into the deep end.
Join us on Thursday evening as we dive into James’ words about wisdom, how it’s different from knowledge, and one-stop-shopping for all your wisdom needs.

Bring a friend – don’t miss this great event that’s cultivating community among women of every age and stage. Forward this invitation, share with your girlfriends, and meet us on Thursday night!

As always, childcare is available with registration.
If you’re familiar with The Greenhouse and you’d like to share something delicious at the buffet table, please shoot me an email.
Loving you girls and praying for you this morning!