I made some Bacon and Eggs for breakfast this morning for Max and I.
It wasn't morning when I made them. More accurately put, "I made bacon and eggs for lunch for Max and me while Drew continued to sleep."
(By the way? Drew sleeps everyday til 5 pm. On days that I go to work, he goes to bed just as I'm getting up in the morning. I wake him up when I get home at 5-ish. Yes. I DO know that this is not good. YOU tell him. He sure ain't listenin to me... ) (Yes, I know I'm the mom around here. YOU tell him. He thinks "mom" means "giver of money, transporter of teen, buyer of food, approver of hair-brained plans.) (Yes, yes, yes. I suck at parenting. I totally get that. I watched Super Nanny last night and cried through most of it. Oh how I wish I had a confident, english-accented fairy god-mother who would tell me exactly what to do to make my kids turn out good and decent and caring and respectful and God-fearing and less smelly.)
Where was I?
Oh yeah. Bacon and Eggs.
And while I was frying the eggs, I was thinking how my kids really only like the whites while my personal favorite part of the egg is the yolk.
And that got me off on a bunny trail thinking about yolks. And uneven yokes. And that verse, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers".
Are you keeping up with me? From brunch with Max to a bible verse in 1 second. That's how quickly my mind hops from subject to subject.
Once I got to thinking about unequal yoking, I didn't go down any other rabbit holes. I stuck to that topic like wasps on a piece of meat left on the BBQ. And how, in marriages, EVEN IF YOU ARE MARRIED TO A BELIEVER, there is unequal yoking going on. For example, during different seasons of a relationship, someone could be more spiritual. And that "more spiritual" person may be quite snobby about their bible-reading habits especially when their spouse doesn't crack open the Word of God ever. And that could lead to thoughts of, "I am so much holier than my spouse. I wonder if they even really are a Christian.."
Or someone may be far better looking. The superiorly appearanced spouse may think to themselves, "I look pretty good these days, I bet I could trade up... I should have a better looking partner-someone who is as committed as I am to body image. It drives me crazy that my spouse doesn't do anything about improving their looks."
Or maybe someone in the relationship is extroverted. Outgoing and fun-loving and attention-seeking. And thinks their partner is a stick-in-the-mud, is ruining their social life and that life with that person is no fun. And that extrovert may get to thinking "I would be so much happier with a life-partner who likes to party and DO THINGS. Honestly-I feel so dragged down by my spouse's desire to stay close to home. It's so boring."
Or maybe there is an educational/intellectual uneven-ness. The degree-covered one may end up with feelings of superiority over the partner who, say, instead of going to school, makes a fullfilling living working with their hands. Or something. "I can't have intellectual conversations with him/her. He/she doesn't read good books. Doesn't think deeply. I am so much smarter..."
Could be that there is the issue of unequal yoking due to denominational background. You know, that one that puts Pentacostals on the top of the list, and maybe, I don't know, Uniteds and Catholics at the bottom?
Once you get started thinking about uneven-ness - the list doesn't end.
Anyway, I concluded, after mulling this over in between pulling weeds and reading about David (from the Bible) that there are seasons in life. Seasons of growth. Seasons of discontent. Seasons of... well, you get the idea. And if we could just accept that things are tough for THIS SEASON, it would make it easier to hang in there during the hard times. Boring times. Sad times. Exhausting times.
David was chosen by God at a young age and annointed to be King of Isreal. He entered the court of King Saul and was loved as a friend and singer. He saved his nation from the Philistine military assault and became a hero among his people. And then? And then things crapped out on him and he had to put in some character-building time in the wilderness. For 10 years. TEN years. (Ten is the number of years some of us have teenagers in our homes. Those ten years are character building years. For the parent. I know of what I speak.)
In this book I'm reading, Eugene Petersen (author of The Message translation of the Bible) submits that "wilderness is both a geographical fact and a spiritual metaphor".
Sometimes, I think, people who 'all of a sudden' discover that they are unequally yoked with someone who is less holy, less athletic, less personable, less righteous, less tidy, less energetic, less punctual, less reliable...less loveable (?) - those people become, maybe, a little bit bitter? Resentful? Overwhelmed? Angry? At that point, I think they enter the wilderness.
"Wilderness is the place of testing, the place of tempting. Wilderness is wildness. Everybody spends time in the wilderness."
It's in the wilderness that we come face to face with God. That confrontation is a test; do you have what it takes to pass and become 'more', or fail it and become 'less'?
Tonight's sermon at church (I started this post in the afternoon, and am finishing it up at night. I'm at the cabin, running away from a confrontation I had with someone who lives in my house and thinks he is the boss) was on James 5 - the part about waiting patiently:
"Wait patiently. Be steady and strong. Don't complain about each other. Look to those old prophets as mentors; they put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God."
So why is all this on my mind today?
Because it's my dad and mom's 50th wedding anniversary.
And if anyone is unequally yoked in this season of life, it's them. For my mom, these are wilderness years ...
Like David, things crapped out on her. Or more specifically, dad has crapped (literally) out on her (and the walls, and the bedding, and the carpet, and everywhere but the toilet some days). The wilderness? Is not a fun place. It's not what anyone ever signs up for. Loving that unloveable person is hard. It takes faith. And patience. Lawd but does it takes patience. And sometimes the only way you can make it through the day is by asking God to fill you up so completely with His spirit that there's no room for your bitterness or fatigue or resentment. Sometimes you just have to ask God to let you see the situation and that other person through His eyes.
Eugene Petersen has this to say:
"The wilderness taught David to see beauty everywhere. The wilderness was David's school in the preciousness of life; through wilderness testing, David learned to see God in places and things he would never have thought to look previously. The wilderness exposed David to the presence of God in the most barren piece of rock so that no thing, and certainly no man, could ever be treated with scorn or contempt. "
And this part - which is so encouraging: "Saul was the reason David was in the wilderness. But Saul neither defined nor dominated the wilderness. THE WILDERNESS WAS FULL OF GOD, NOT SAUL."
So if you find yourself in the wilderness, know that God is right there with you. And He wants to show you something in that place. Something beautiful and precious.
Mom? Happy 50th Anniversary.
I know this is a hard season for you. These past years have been heart-breaking and gut-wrenching and confusing and sad. It's not the way anyone dreams of finishing up their marriage-journey.
I am proud of you. And in awe of you. And so very thankful that you are my mom. Thank you for caring for dad. In a day when marriages fall apart because someone bails when the going gets tough, I am glad that your kids and grandkids can look to you as an example of what it looks like to persevere through messy times.
I pray that God will fill you with His strength, His love and His courage and His patience. And that when you leave the wilderness, you can hear Him say, "Well done, daughter. I am so pleased with you."
I love you, mom.