This is what obedience looks like for me today. Stunning, right? I mean in this Passover season, it’s not exactly the cross, the blood on the door… or followers waiting in the upper room. It’s more like the blind beggar quickly shaking off his tunic to run towards the Savior. You see that, right? Obviously.
That was a test. Don’t you dare nod your head. I don’t need charity lol. In fact, that is what this is a picture of. The last vestiges from my garage, seasonal floral stems, about to go on the trailer and head up to Good Will. The last of five flatbeds to make the same trek to the missionary barrels of my city and the last of three flatbeds that just went straight to the dump.
Now, I know my stands of flowers aren’t exactly Isaac on the altar and we shouldn’t pretend they are. The purpose of this post is not piety or admiration, it’s illustration and education. I’m a teacher not a saint, and a pretty poor one at that or I’d offer something better than forsythia. But it’s been a week, so we get what we get… anybody know what comes next? That’s right, well done class. “And we don’t throw a fit.” Not even when we are moving, and fits would be entirely understandable.
We are moving. Again. The eleventh major move of my seventeen-year marriage. Too many to count in my lifetime. We have done it all kinds of ways–down the street, across the state, across the country. We have moved glad, sad, and mad–shaking from the sobs and shaking off the dust. We are movers and shakers. This one was more of a surprise than anything else. Of all the major change we have seen in the last year, this was not on my radar. It was like the Hunt for Red October (sigh… why aren’t movies good anymore?) when there’s nothing… nothing… and then, “Boop. Boop. Boooooop!” and then Seaman Jones is yelling, and the sub is close! The sub is on us, Captain… TORPEDO IN THE WATER! That’s this move.
We don’t have an address yet and we close on our house the day after tomorrow. Praise the Lord for weekend speaking engagements or I’d be homeless. Come Sunday night, I will likely join my children and husband in a one-bedroom apartment on a futon or some sort of inflatable (mattress is a tad generous, we all know they aren’t), or I will cozy up to my beloved… in a full-size bed. I’m going with raft. He’s 6’5 and built more like a Samson than a stick. We have gone in waves, arriving a little excited, a little nervous, a lot scared. Like Normandy without the heroism or death. Dang. Another military reference. I didn’t see this becoming a war metanarrative, but out of the heart the mouth speaks.
This wasn’t a move that we planned, but it became apparent very quickly the Lord was asking us to move. The thing about asking for clarity or peace is that when you get it, you have to respond to it. At Christmas, the Spirit showed plainly. We had been asked to visit a church, the whole time thinking, “Nah… probably not. That wouldn’t make sense for us right now.” That night in the hotel, Andy and I knew it was more like, “Absolutely.”
“What do we do, Babe?” We prepare to obey quickly. Ugh. What an unfortunate time to be writing a book about “Almost Obedience.” Come on, man. Precious Lord, I mean.
There were a few tears, a couple glances on the internet for houses, more tears… followed by a phone call to the kids. And then a cheeseburger to cope. Finalized in January. Andy moved in February. Our son went before spring break. Our daughter after. I came home to pack and work. Now it’s my turn. Out of the boat boys… or at least mutts. Bella and Waffles Francis are easy travelers. Boudreaux Boudin Johnson? Less so. That’s why he’s on a long-haul truck for three weeks, somewhere on the east coast. Dead serious. He’s a small horse. Lovely, labby disposition. Nonetheless, breaker breaker one nine. Rubber Duck, here. Or whatever. My context is seventies country music.
Moving just sucks. No two ways about it. Corporate? Suck. Local with friends and pick-ups? More suck but followed by hot wings. Leaving your family in one city, driving home already weary with deadlines, dogs, and a back end of boxes? So much suck. Alamo levels. I needed to address the chaos that is our garage. Boxes floor to ceiling all the way around, middle too… many unopened since the last move. And the one before. Big house, little house. Had a game room and upstairs, didn’t the next time. Leave it in boxes. You might teach again… leave it in boxes. We will get to it later. Boxes. It’s the seventh level of Hell. A car parked in it once. In five years.
I had an event last weekend. And here comes Monday. “Mrrrrrr…Pogchdshkkk!!!” Not sure about the spelling on that. But you were seven once, throw your hands up and make the sound of mortar fire. Y’all, I’m no sissy. I’ve seen things. I grew up hard (not at all true.) I made it to exactly the third box before bursting into tears. Kid’s toys. Craft projects I was in the middle of. Serving pieces, I didn’t have room for. Every box filled with things from a life put on hold and never unpaused. Those seasons now gone or over. The last move was hard, really hard. We were ejected from our lives like a cannon, into the unknown. But God was so clear, so good. There was such peace, so much so I really thought I had processed all of it. Until the box of boardgames that never got played again. Ages 8-12 are gone now. It would be pointless to keep them now.
“Mrrrrrr…Pogchdshkkk!!!” I felt robbed. I felt angry. I felt scared that in a matter of days, this sweet season of our lives would go into boxes and be forgotten again. Shelved and stored, right into irrelevance or death. Fabric swatches from curtains I didn’t get to make. The windows now gone. The rooms gone. The house gone.
You can believe something is God’s will but still be mad at the people He used to accomplish it, right?? “Shut up, Joseph! No one asked you or your stupid coat.”
Confession was needed. “Lord, I’m not mad at you. You have only been good. You are being good now. You will be good tomorrow. But I had plans. I had friends. We don’t have house. We are leaving everything.”
Hey Salty Lady, here we are. The road between sin and safety, ruin and rescue. Whatcha gonna do? Resent? Hesitate? Disobey? Turn back and become a pillar of pride? Maybe when I was young. But I am older now. There has been beauty these I eyes have seen… (that’s a little nod for those that know.) And He has more than proved His love for me. Let go. Release… Hey Salty Lady, Run! I don’t know about houses or money, boxes or neighborhood grocery stores, who’ll cut my hair… but I know that He spoke clearly. I know He leads lovingly. I know He said, “be lean.” I know that “obey quickly” requires shedding and casting aside all that hinders a full-on sprint towards the King. I used to be an interior designer, when I was young and dumb. I still enjoy it. I enjoy creating, planning, making things beautiful. But Jesus is better. I don’t have time or room for things that do not have my heart right now. To the curb you go, high-quality florals. I would choke if I added up the cost. So, it’s best not too. Mimi the Great taught me that.
I’ll be seeing some of you in New Mexico this weekend. And hey, if you’re up for it, I’ll be at FBC Collinsville, Texas in April. And will likely be wearing the same outfit in both places. This is what obedience looks like today. The anchor holds. Outta the boat, boys.