Today is the monthly Hearts at Home blog hop and the topic is "Love Your Dreams/Goals" and I have to admit I wasn't feeling really in love with it. It's not that I don't have dreams or goals in my life. I have plenty.... probably more than I have years to fulfill them all. I could spend this post writing something along the lines of be sure you have plans and dreams, especially if you are in the middle of you child raising years because you need more in life than raising children. But you already know that. Then this morning came the underwear incident.
I was listening to the little girls getting dressed and G. was having an unhappy moment about her underwear. L., helpfully was telling her, "You picked it, you just have to wear it." G. was shouting, "No, I don't! And the washer stretched it out!" This was curious. J. wanders in to see what is going on and the next thing I hear is J. saying, "G., that's not even your underwear. I don't know whose it is, but it certainly isn't yours. Let's get you some that fits." And I laughed out loud. Up to this point, I wasn't feeling terribly excited about the day. I was feeling as though it was going to be a slog and I was just hoping to get through it. Until I laughed (really laughed) about the underwear. Immediately I felt my mood lighten and my whole attitude took a turn for the better. It felt good.
I've admonished you to be sure to include the discipline of laughter (if you missed it because it was in December, you should read it) into your lives before, but after the little underwear incident this morning, I began to think about it in different terms and two Bible passages came to mind. The first was the line from Proverbs 31 about the wise woman laughing at the time to come and the second was the story in Luke about Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm and the disciples panicking and waking him up. I know they seem incredibly unrelated, but bear with me.
The Luke passage is part of what we studied in my girls' Bible study on Tuesday. We had discussed how could Jesus sleep through what amounted to a hurricane. We came up with two reasons. The first was that he was exhausted from continuously moving around and preaching and healing people and being surrounded by crowds. The second was that He had absolute confidence in His Father to protect Him. When we assured of God's love and care, we can truly rest.
Thinking about this knowledge of secure love led me to the woman in Proverbs 31 and I realized that I had been reading the passage wrong. In the past, I had always assumed that she could laugh at the future because she was so organized and so prepared and so on top of things. She had no reason to worry because she had it all together. Her sense of security and her ability to essentially thumb her nose at the future was because of all she had done for herself. And I think this explanation is dead wrong.
She was able to laugh at the coming days because she is first and foremost a woman of God. Yes, she's also pretty amazing in the organizing and doing departments, but if we only focus on that we miss something important. Some of the things she does, she can only do if she if putting God first. She lives out her faith. We see this in her respect for her husband, in her commitment to the poor, in her kindness in her speech, in the love her children and husband have for her, and that she is described as having wisdom. If you have read the rest of Proverbs, you know that wisdom is always equated with the fear of God. She is able to do the things she does because she has her priorities straight. She is also able to look to the future, not with fear, but with laughter, with joy. She is describes as wise, so she would not be so foolish as to think life will always be pleasant, but even with this knowledge, she has joy.
Joy is a gift, a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from the assurance that we are in God's hands no matter what. We can laugh because we know God's got our future. We can sleep in the hurricane because we know God's in charge. So don't stop making plans, but do hold them lightly because God may have other ones. If you had told me when J. and I first got married that we would end up with 10+ children, I'm not sure I would have believed you. I'm not sure that would have been my plan. It would have been laughable, and that would have been the only reaction I had correct. It would have been laughable, because God's plans are always better, always more unexpected, always (ultimately) joyful.