“Did anything surprise you?” my husband asked.
“Not really,” I answered a little too quickly. “I know myself pretty well. I could have told you where I’d end up without answering all those questions.”
Pause. My husband wisely waits me out sometimes.
“Well, I guess one thing surprised me. For the past 21 years, I’ve been immersed in the area of my absolute weakness. Do you know I scored a zero – A ZERO! – in the Motivator category?”
“It’s what I do every day. Every single day. Motivate. Encourage. Find hope. Seek good.
“A zero. Not one single point. And this, this is where God chose to place me for the past 21 years? No wonder I’m exhausted!”
For the past two decades, God has been chiseling away at my stubborn independence, sanding off my “I don’t really like other people” edges, teaching me to make eye contact when I’d rather just walk on by, encouraging me to step outside myself where I can be very content, and placing me in a household of ever increasing population.
And I’m not a people person. At all. I struggle with small talk. It actually makes me sweat. I can carry on a four-hour conversation about something that touches me deeply, but put me in a room where I need to converse casually and there is suddenly not a thought in my head. Not one. It’s embarrassing, my inability to chitchat, something I’ve struggled with all my life.
Enter five kids. And homeschooling. Add one mom who adores the quiet, the still, time alone to read, write and think in full sentences, and you get a glimpse of my life for the past two decades.
Deep and rich and good. Full and busy and peopled, spilling over with jackets and shoes and phones, laughter and tears and a crescendo of words, sometimes late, always worth it.
Yet for one who relishes time and space, solitude and quiet, who longs to retreat inside her own head, who all too often still has to remind herself to make eye contact with passers-by, to engage with the world at her doorstep, I’ve been stretched and chiseled and pruned by the Hand of God every single day of these past twenty-one years.
And isn’t that just like God?
To gather up the shards of our selfishness and pride and inconvenience? To choose, even when it stings, to winnow and sift?
To wrap His hands around our brokenness, our willfulness, our stubbornness and apply just the right amount of pressure to soften and mold?
To allow us the proper time to cure before sanding and glazing and firing?
To redeem the days, the shards, the years? Weaving the threads of His love into our hearts that we may one day be vessels fit for the King?
Brimful, spilling over, pouring out? To no credit of our own? But all to the glory of God?
Yup. That’s His Kingdom. Upside down and inside out.
Where the currency of zero is always precious tender.