Choosing What Could Be

Five Minute Friday: Could

Arms crossed, I glare out the window at the falling snow. Usually the first snowfall is welcomed and celebrated in this house, but not today. At least, not by me. This is all wrong. 

It is September. The eighth of September. September is my favorite month, the month when everything turns golden, when the sky is so blue you can hardly breathe and the very air shimmers with joy. September is supposed to be color and crispness and carpets of leaves, the anticipation of winter with one final wild fling of sunlight and warmth.

Now I watch my flowers disappear under mounds and mounds of snow. The aspen in the yard had only begun to show yellow. Now she is cloaked in white. The joyful hummingbirds, caught unprepared, shiver and search in vain for food and warmth.

This is all wrong. The fact of this snowfall tramps into my heart like an unwanted intruder, overturning everything. 

This snowfall is wrong like so many things in my life feel wrong right now. Mentally I stomp around and kick at the wreck of my sanctuary, at all the things that have been taken from me. Nothing seems to be as it should be. Things we had planned and set into motion have fallen apart, over and over. Decisions I thought were wise seem crazy now. My loved ones are struggling with things I don’t know how to fix, some of them because of my own decisions. A pandemic-panicked world has changed the very way we do life. And now it is snowing. In September. 

I am aware I’m throwing a bit of a pity party. But really? 

This could ruin everything!

And then I watch my daughters laughing and pulling sleds up the hill, delighting in this unexpected moment. They too know this is all wrong, and they are rejoicing in the wrongness of a snow day in September. 

I am miffed because everything is out of my control, and even the things I thought I could control have veered sharply off my well-laid path. I think suddenly of Martha, panicked too in her worry to make everything just right for Jesus. And Mary, sitting with her Jesus who made everything just right for her. 

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, 

But it is the Lord’s purpose that will stand.

What is desired in a man is steadfast love, 

And a poor man is better than a liar. (Proverbs 19:21-22)

We can plan all we want to, and we will, because we can’t help it. But when the unexpected storms in and wrecks the house, our response will reveal much. So much of my “serving” really just serves myself. It keeps me from what is truly worth something—steadfast love. A poor man really is better than a liar, for aren’t we all liars who think we are not poor? We heap up our treasures of time and security only to see them all knocked to pieces. 

In the end, what matters? In the end, what do I want to have lived for? 

Steadfast love.

That’s hard to find when I am clinging to control. 

I’ve begun to think maybe Jesus doesn’t mind the mess much. In fact, He rather expects it, and maybe He delights when I can sit down right in the midst of it and find Him. He is there in it, when I stop to see. And when I see Him, I start to see what could be, if I would let it. 

He could change everything. 

Snow in September could be a reminder of his grace that covers all, and it is all I need. 

The wreck of all my plans could be a chance to let Him do something different, something better. 

A pandemic that exposes all our lies about our control and reveals our true poverty, it could open doorways to find Him.

Yes, nothing seems right and it is snowing in September. It’s all a muddle, and I am poor, poorer than I ever thought. But His purposes will stand, and they are steadfast love. I can stand here and worry about what this all means, about what is going to happen now. Or I can trust that in the wrongness of it all, He is still just right. 

Come on, He says. Come on out and play in the snow. 

13 thoughts on “Choosing What Could Be

  1. We do need steadfast love and the promises of scripture in our upside down world. It seems chaotic, but God is still in control. And it helps for us to remind each other. Thank-you for your honest words!

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  2. I too have seasons I like and don’t like. March is my favourite. 8 years ago my children were teenagers and hubby and I were making plans for down time and our time. God has a sense of humour about plans as although the older 2 have left now and are in there 20’s. it was a shock to be having child number 3. But 7 years on God really does know what is best for us and what we need x God bless. Embrace the show and hope the flowers cope well. Fmf @4

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  3. This powerful post reminds me of the way David composed His psalms – In pain, agony, upset, wanting God to fix everything according to his thoughts and plans, then after pouring out his heart, moves to the place of worship and surrender. I read the post, and thought of David, then did my “heart work” in Kristi McClelland’s wonderful study “Jesus and Women.” As I turned the page, O Holy Spirit, how You do Your work in us, confirming truths we are supposed to take in! She used Psalm 56:8, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your record?” She continued in her teaching of Luke 7:36-50 about the sinful woman who poured perfume from an alabaster jar on Jesus’ feet, “He’s giving us permission to bring our most raw emotions and desires to Him, to pour our hearts out to Him. In the Psalms we are instructed to give the words God has given us back to Him. They are the language of humanity in every condition and in every state — lament, sadness, grief, anger, fear, regret, worry, and so on. The Psalms are a gift because in them the Lord equips us with the language we need to bring to Him in prayer when we feel the full range of human emotion. The Lord wants us to share our hearts, our true hearts, with Him no matter what we’re feeling or thinking. He can handle us. He can handle us telling Him the truth and the whole truth.”

    You, sweet Julie, are a modern day psalmist! And I always await eagerly the next post, so honest, so mindful of pouring out our pain to Him and letting Him give us peace to continue the journey.

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