My main OBSESSIONS: Our sons: John, Philip, Edward and William, My husband Jay, Our niece/daughter Olivia. Missing is my precious daughter-in-law, Hannah (her plane was canceled for this gathering when I graduated from nursing school).
Those of you who know me know that I sometimes I get so excited about something that I pretty much drive everyone else crazy. I hate to use the word “obsessed” but it probably fits. I want everyone to love said “thing” as much as I do! Last year, it was a video of the Pentatonix (an acapella group) singing, “Mary, Did You Know?” I played it constantly – made everyone I know watch it – a particular fun memory is driving my kids and their GFs/wife home from a wedding last December, blasting this song and having everyone join in as we sang all the way home. Mary, Did You Know? is actually my ringtone at the moment! I know Christmas is long past, but I can’t give it up. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE)
Another obsession of mine is children’s books. I love reading them, I love the illustrations, I love just the thought of sharing them with my yet unborn grandchildren. For a long time, I thought that I shouldn’t spend money on children’s books with no children to whom I could read them (that grammar sounded very strange but I think it might be right). But I got over that – I’m building a library! One of my favorites is The Day the Crayons Quit, by Daywalt and Jeffers. I’m not even sure that kids would enjoy it that much – because there is too much copy on a page -but for Mom, it is adorable, clever and just plain fun.
Back to the point, my current obsession is Jennie Allen’s book Anything. This is the third blog post about it! It is that good! She has so many cool things to say that make so much sense. The main premise of her book is the idea of praying to God that you will do Anything for Him and then see what happens. It just so happens that when Jay and I found ourselves with an empty nest, when William left for college in 2007, and we were not feeling all that thrilled with the sudden quiet, we prayed this very prayer. We were surrendering to God and prayed that we would go anywhere, do anything, give up anything – He just needed to lead us and He needed to speak loudly and clearly enough for us to hear Him and recognize His voice.
Now, I know this is sounding crazy to those reading this who are not Christians. And I really want this blog to be relevant to everyone so I kind of try to avoid the Jesus-speak but I do believe that God is real and can fill us up and lead us every moment of the day. I will write in another post exactly why I feel that all of the God-faith-Jesus stuff is true.
Don’t you find that looking back on your life things seem so clear that you wonder why you didn’t “get” it at the time? As I look back on the few years after Jay and I prayed that prayer, this is what I see. We took in our niece and guided and loved on her for four years and now she is a happy freshman in college. Jay wrote a book (!), Men in the Church, Is there a Future?, and I became a Registered Nurse at 59-years-old. Wow! That prayer has power. It doesn’t mean God is going to lead you to sell your house and all your belongings to move and be a missionary to a lost aboriginal tribe (it might but I would venture to say usually not). It means if you allow God in, He will lead you to amazing places – maybe not easy but SO worth it. I wanted to quit nursing school just about every day. It was hard, it was stressful, it was NOT fun. I called my sister constantly to whine and complain. But….I felt God, for some unknown reason, wanted me to be a nurse. He wanted to hone my nurturing tendendencies to have professional credibility. I am still not sure why. But that doesn’t matter so much. In nursing school, I had a million people ask me why? Why do you want to be a nurse? Why at your age are you doing this? Why would you choose to do something so hard? Why? Why? Why? I will tell you….because I felt it is what God wanted me to do. I get it – that sounds so weird to most of you. I also get that most people can’t afford to just do what they feel lead to. I am blessed that I could go to school and not have to work for a paycheck. But God is not going to let you starve. And, let me tell you, there is no better feeling than doing what you feel God wants you to do.
I asked my niece (another one) who is a young mother of two adorable kids, if she had read Anything yet. She said she had it on her bedside table but she was scared to read it. She likes her sweet life in a beautiful home in a sweet neighborhood outside Columbus, Ohio. She loves taking care of her little ones and working on an amazing yearly fund raiser to give foster children Christmas presents (the Cole Collection on FB). She doesn’t want to give God the chance to tell her to give it all up. But here’s the thing. God will take your good life and make it amazing.
So, here, now, is God at work. There was a quote in Jennie’s book that I have been searching for, so I could share it with you, for three days! I was so frustrated, I was starting to think God wanted me to use something else. So, I just this second picked up the book to share the “something else” and there was the quote I had wanted. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I think God just winked at me.
C.S. Lewis has our bottom line today:
“Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Don’t be “moderate” ladies – how boring! Jennie Allen says this about her decision to pray the Anything prayer:
“I originally thought we were going to have to be such martyrs, to suffer for Christ and pour out our lives unto death. I was wrong. ….We were just following an all-knowing God whom we completely trusted. And it was all turning out to be fun and full of life and joy.”