I should stop being surprised. This week has felt like it won’t end. I texted a friend letting her know I was praying for her test today, thinking it was Monday, because everyday this week feels like Monday. It is not Monday. It is Thursday. Oops.
This has just been a bad week. Elle is getting over a gross contagious sickness and Jay just started it yesterday. D and I are holding our breath, praying that we wont get it and it seems like we have yuck all around us. I went to a doctor on Monday and he gave me news I did not enjoy and tomorrow I get to meet my second opinion to hopefully get news that I can be happy with.
Tonight it all caught up. It always does. I’ve been trucking with the laundry and the sanitizer and the scrubbing and then D called to tell me he’d be later than expected and it started a snowball of not good. With the kids in bed, the tears started rolling. The “red alert” texts started to some of my people that my sanity was teetering and I found myself in front of a devotional I recently decided to finish from a year or so ago.
Let me back up a minute. I have mentioned the If:equip, if:gathering, If: stuff a couple times on the blog before. I picked up a book by founder, Jennie Allen, called Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and my Soul. The whole premise of the book is her story of what happened after she and her husband decided to pray together that God could have anything. They’d do anything, go anywhere, give anything, etc. The book was not an incredible read but it left me pondering what I’m holding back, and what keeps me there. Stuck. Clutching. Grasping.
Its a tricky thing, being a bit of a hypochondriac. Its pride in the worst way, obsessing about yourself and your health and wondering when the things you worry about will come true. It is truly sickening to deal with this, to feel like God can have anything but he has to give me my future, for the length of time I want it. I will adopt, and give away, and share, and advocate, but don’t let me miss a single dance recital, lacrosse game, wedding of one of my babies, date with my man. God you can’t have those. I won’t.
So fast forward to the last few months. I’ve been having crazy migraines. Every day almost for a few weeks. Just debilitating, wake me up at 3am migraines. They’ve stolen precious time with my kids, made me irritable and impatient, probably caused D to wonder why in the world he married me, an evil woman! I asked for prayer from my church’s prayer team and had such a wonderful experience. It had so little to do with my migraines but I felt like in those 10? 20? who knows how many minutes some crazy walls were broken when God let 3 people in on some of my junk. Just put it out there and healed some ugly. But here we are. The night before my second opinion appointment and it feels like the old everything. So I sat down to this devotional. I didn’t even want to, I wanted to watch some tv but we are having a mouse issue so I really cant stand to be anywhere but my bed once the kids are asleep (because clearly, in my world, mice cannot go upstairs. Obviously.)
I pick it up, date it, because I’m me and read the scripture preview. Genesis 22:2 “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'”. So the whole scripture reading is Genesis 22:1-19 and it goes through Abraham taking his son to the top of a hill to sacrifice… his son. He’s waited for this son, prayed for him, agonized and he finally has him. Vs. 6 always makes me sob, I dare you to speak it out loud in my presence “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together”. Excuse me. No.
Spoiler alert: He takes him up to the mountain and an angel stops him from sacrificing (BURNING) Isaac on the alter and tells him how pleased he is to know his devotion to God. So here we are. This portion of scripture has haunted me from the moment I met it. I remember crying over it when we were trying to get pregnant with Elle and it just was taking forever and we thought we’d never get to meet her. I remember crying over it when all I wanted was to get married and I felt like God wouldn’t let me have D. (clearly I must not have cried that much over it then since I was married at 22.) I remember crying over it when I didn’t think I would be able to stay home with Elle when it was all I wanted. Every time I had some huge desire that I wasn’t willing to give up, I see this verse. So like I said, I shouldn’t be surprised. I read on in the devotion to a poem she wrote entitled “Trust Me with Your Isaac”. (I hope that link works, pp 96-97). God’s not so subtle.
“For every Abraham who dares to kiss the foreign field where glory for a moment grasped Is for a lifetime tilled…
The voice of God speaks not but once but ’til the traveler hears, “Abraham! Abraham! Bring your Isaac here!”
“Bring not the blemished sacrifice. What lovest thou the most? Look not into the distance, you’ll find your Isaac close.”
“I hear the tearing of your heart torn between two loves, the one your vision can behold the Other bid above.”
“Do you trust me, Abraham with your gravest fear? Will you pry your fingers loose and bring your Isaac here?”
“Have I not made you promises? Hold them tight instead! I am the lover of your soul- the Lifter of your head.”
“Believe me, O my Abraham when blinded by the cost. Arrange the wooded altar and count your gains but loss.”
“Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes until unveiled you see– the ram caught in the thicket there to set your Isaac free.”
“Perhaps I’ll send him down the mount to walk right by your side. No longer in your iron grasp but safer still in mine. “
“Or I may wrap him in the wind and sweep him from your sight to better things beyond your reach– believe with all your might!”
“Look up, beloved Abraham. Can you count the stars? Multitudes will stand to reap from one dear friend of God.”
“Pass the test, my faithful one; bow to me as Lord. Trust me with your Isaac– see, I am your great Reward.”
So here we are. On this journey, to find my “Anything” while clearly it is under my nose.
Its a process, all things are but I look forward to the day that I am able to tell a story of when I was obsessed with my time here. When I’d chose to give God anything I have except my very life. I hope its on this side of eternity but in the meantime I’ll be nose pressed in my bible reading about how Abraham was giving his “anything” to God who already had it in His care. I hope you believe Him with me. I can say tonight, at 9:40pm, I’m in His care. And that’s a start.