Wow! Okay, it’s been awhile.

Busy spring and summer, as you see. Still listening — still no word on a baby of our own, but we continue to take delight in Holly whenever Zorah lets us, and of course I have my own little sisters and brothers growing up at home! Hard to believe Daniel’s already ten. This September I’ll probably be helping homeschool Daniel, Ben, Ziah, Pris, and Beth. The girls especially are at an age when they could use women around to guide them.

So what’s today’s devotion?

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NIV)

How appropriate is that for a pretty summer day? And they do follow me, even if I don’t always get my way. Putting God first gives me what I need, even if it’s not what I think I want at the time. Maybe I’m still supposed to help out at home, because after all I’m not doing anything all day, just cleaning messes that don’t exist. Neal and I are neat people: dishes straight into the dishwasher, chores on a schedule, everything in its place. Everything I need to do gets done by noon if I’m up at nine (I like to sleep in some). What if I used the rest of my day to help my brothers and sisters?

That’s love, after all. Love is giving. So while Neal pays the bills, I’ll teach English and history (my favorites!). Daniel and Ben and Ziah and Pris do the same lessons anyway. Three groups will be easy. They can help each other out while I’m working with the others.

Reasons to log on to Facebook late at night

Proverbs 31 Ministries had a devotion up from a couple of days ago that I admit I skimmed the first time around. This time, though, something caught my eye:

“Christ controls the storms, as calmed winds and waves attest. (Mark 4:35-41)”

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

I have to give something as small as the noises in the night up to God. I don’t think about the small things belonging to Him. This might be a sign that I should.

Lord, I know I’m not perfect, but I will do my best to turn to You when I’m scared, even if the wind is little compared to the one You stopped.

Proverbs 31 Ministries – Today’s Devotion – 1 Corinthians 13:4a

“Love is patient. Love is kind.” 1 Corinthians 13:4a (NIV)

I admit my cousin wasn’t the best influence growing up. She and my other cousin, Jake (from my dad’s side of the family, not my mom’s) got married young, without anyone’s permission, and they didn’t court, either. Mostly it was Zorah falling in love with Jake and being pretty enough to draw his heart away from God.

I still love Zorah, but she made me want to rebel for the longest time. I resented her for being pretty. Lord, why am I not 5’8″ and thin? She had long, curly brown hair and big hazel eyes, which must come from her dad’s side because Aunt Violet’s a blue-eyed brunette, like me and Mom. Whatever Zorah wore looked good on her. The same things left me feeling frumpy. And I wanted to run away from my responsibilities. Zorah took off into the woods with Jake; they’d sit by the crick for hours skipping stones and I don’t even want to say what else. Sometimes I went with, and they welcomed me, but there was this voice in the back of my head asking me why I wasn’t helping Mom with the house and the littles. I was the last one born before the Lord stopped giving us blessings for a few years, so by the time He started up again I was plenty old enough to help! Perfect timing. 🙂

I must have been a real challenge for Mom. Damaris and Leah had made it to adulthood without any misadventures. Damaris even got to go away for a few months on a mission trip when she was seventeen! Carrie thought boys were cute, sure, but she and Mom prayed together about it and she never had a crush that lasted longer than a couple of days (usually from Sunday to Tuesday). The three of us read I Kissed Dating Goodbye together when Carrie was sixteen.

So why couldn’t I be content in that season of my life? Why did I want to be Zorah so badly, Zorah who left home at eighteen and lived with Jake in some pretty scary places so they could afford college? What did I need college for? Someday, when I was grown and ready, God would send me love — or not. He might have had it in mind that I should stay home like Damaris and Leah.

And there was Neal. No matter how much I tried to guard my heart, he crept back into it. It wasn’t his fault. He was a perfect gentleman. He treated me just like my sisters. I was both relieved and torn apart when he went away to college. I think Mom noticed, because she started me and Carrie on Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello To Courtship! Two years into Neal’s schooling, he came home for Christmas, and my mom pushed me over to talk to him. Huh. Well, the littles could all walk now. So he walked with me from church to the community center. It wasn’t a long walk, maybe five minutes, but for the first time, we were truly alone.

We traded email addresses after that night’s carol-singing — with our parents’ permission.

So while Neal got his degrees, we wrote back and forth, and in the summer we hung out with our friends. I guess I was bad at keeping my feelings out of my letters and off my face, because Neal brought up courtship to my dad that first summer after we started writing. Oops. Or divine plan. And just the minute after I thought, fine, I can be friends with him, well, not the minute but close… he came home on spring break and all six of us had the talk about what came next.

I asked Mom about it later that night. “I didn’t do it right!” I told her. She knew how hard I’d struggled.

She said, “You did your best, and you behaved right with him. That counts for plenty.”

And I said, “I didn’t do anything right.”

She said, “You made mistakes. But did you repent?” Of course I did. “Then why can’t you let your God and the people who love you forgive you? Why can’t you forgive yourself? ‘Love is patient. Love is kind.'”

So I wasn’t Zorah. I was more like 5’3″, with a braid down my back and my skirts to the floor. But I waited, and I got the same kind of love she did, only better because Neal wouldn’t hear of taking me from my parents until he was ready to provide for me. He was a man the whole time, even if I was still a girl in a lot of ways.

Love really was kind to me.

Proverbs 31 Ministries – Today’s Devotion – Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

This blog is about waiting. I’ve been waiting since, oh, the month after our wedding for a baby to come into our lives. I’m lucky that my husband has a job with benefits, and even luckier to have my little not-really-niece to spoil (she’s my cousins’ baby) but the waiting is hard, I won’t lie. Right now we’re in a season of waiting and listening to see what God has to say.

God will answer our prayers in whatever way He thinks is best. I’m not going to question His wisdom, no matter how much I long for a baby of my own. I’m going to give my burdens up to my Father and let Him carry us along.