The flag bracket for the flags that herald the seasons and moods of home beside my garage door – it fell to the ground, too.
When the rains came yesterday, we put buckets on the floor to catch the evidence of a family room roof leak.
These growing up challenges my boys to men face, there are broken things there, too – I’m supposed to be teaching them how to fix them – and sometimes, the lesson is a mess all around.
My kitchen table, instead of looking how I know it can look, is mini-piles of many messes. It’s more than a dinner table. It’s a work table, a business desk, an art table, a celebration table, a lecture table, a prayer table – and I just can’t seem to make it what I want – a neat, tidy, polished harvest table with 3 white pottery cups filled with zinnias.
There is so much evidence of the outside-of-myself brokenness.
For a moment tonight, a long moment, beyond a pause, a lie tried to slip into my mind – and, if it were to slip into my mind, it would try to drip into my heart where it would try to crowd out all hope.
The lie? Oh, it’s an old lie – like ants in the summer sneaking from the outside in, the lie tries to sneak in when I least feel equipped to handle it.
Standing in the kitchen among the near-last clippings of zinnias in mason jars, pottery cups and vases, and a green tin bucket of tomatoes that needed to be cooked, the lie, it crept in, uninvited, unwanted.
I wrapped myself in a quilt and crept out to the porch. In the darkness, I wished for a real-live, on-earth dad who would have made me feel awesome about myself, who would have fought for me, hugged those old lies away.
The Father, though, He didn’t leave me out there alone. He came and sat beside me, reminding me, “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me” (Isaiah 45:4)
Though you do not know me, like I know you, He says.
I don’t know how to fix the bell or the flag bracket. I can’t fix the roof or patch the ceiling. That kitchen table with its mess – what do you do with the mess? I can’t even fix my children’s growing up challenges. All the things I really, really want to do – I seem to be coming up empty of what it takes.
“I have chosen you and have not rejected you” (Isaiah 41:9)
I sat there, blinking at the star, listening to the neighbor’s dog and the katydids, wrapping the quilt tighter in the crisp coolness.
“I equip you, though you do not know me” (Isaiah 45:5), He reminds me.
“Listen to me – Listen Close, ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me” (Isaiah 45:5)” – His word pursues me, reaching out to pull me close.
You are equipped, He tells me – nothing you are going through is a surprise to me. Nothing your children are going through is a surprise to me. I made them. I made you – and I equipped each of you for each journey, each challenge.
You are not fatherless, success-less, you are worthy of first-class dreams that I put inside you – that is why those dreams are there – because I put those dreams inside you before you were born.
I knew the challenges the boys would face. I made sure you were equipped to handle them – I knew about them before you were born. I knew you wouldn’t give up on them – I put that inside you to – that not-give-up-ness.
You just don’t always know my plan for your life. You have to trust me. I don’t reject you. I chose you. I named you. One day, you will hear me say the name I gave you – and you will love it! I gave you the best equipage available in the universe to handle the precious responsibility I gave you – you lack nothing; you have the best of everything.
Don’t believe the deceiver’s lies. Know me more. Trust me better.