Becoming Family

My Girlie and I watched “The Blind Side” last weekend, that movie based on a true story of a family seeing someone in need, bringing him into their home, and becoming family.

I sobbed uncontrollably, that quivering body kind of cry that comes from deep within. Yes, I’d seen the movie many times before and yes, I knew the storyline well, but this time I watched it through a different lens: mine. It wasn’t just a story about them. It is mine, as well.

If you missed my blog about Lessons from the Basement, feel free to check it out to understand the context of this story. When the kids and I moved into my friend’s basement, it was truly that: my friend. I’d known You Are Loved (the mom) for quite some time and we used to get our boys together for playdates back before they started kindergarten. But a few lapsed years in kidsville is enough to nullify a relationship (while at the same time being able to pick up the pieces–typically of the lego variety–within a few minutes). In fact, You Are Loved and I hadn’t kept up much over the past few years, the demands of motherhood and family life grabbing for our attention.

I’d met You are Loved’s husband a few times over the years at birthday parties and such. I knew where he worked and a hobby or two he enjoyed, but beyond that, I really didn’t know The Dude Upstairs. And there were their twin girls, Noodles and Giggles, who although they didn’t look anything alike, I couldn’t remember which was which (anyone else have this really bad trait of always confusing people if they meet two people simultaneously?).

So we moved in, this motley lot of slightly disheveled in appearance and definitely so in soul gang. We were told to make ourselves at home, and we tried, all the while knowing it was their home. We tread lightly. Tried to not make much noise (unsuccessfully since we’re not a quite bunch), and counted our blessings, the blessings basement, that is.

It stayed that way for a bit, the treading lightly thing that is, not the counting of blessings. But before long, it wasn’t uncommon for 5 kids to be in “my place” rather than just the 2 I had birthed. I got to know Noodles and Giggles, learning about their personalities and being given the unique privilege of listening to their hearts, their fears, dreams, and everything in between.

We moved in with a few things: some extra clothes, a few towels, and stuff of the sort. Yet when we moved out a year and a half later, we left with much more, the most notable of which being a larger number of people in my framily. Yes, these dear people who once were friends grew to extend to something much deeper: family.

It’s taken me a month to finish this post, in part because packing and moving took more energy than I expected, but also because my screen goes blurry (or more accurately, I can’t see the screen through the tears).  I can’t put an ending to this post because the truth is that I haven’t ended anything, but simply changed locations with the same cast and characters, characters I love with everything in me.

I don’t want to turn a blind eye to my Blind Side story. So I feebly offer these words to the people I cherish too much to reveal their true identities:

My sister made this gorgeous frame for me. 3 pictures are of the kids and me. The 4th is of my new family members, the ones forged through friendship and not blood.

My sister made this gorgeous frame for me. 3 pictures are of the kids and me. The 4th is of my new family members, the ones forged through friendship and not blood.

Thank you.

With everything in me, thank you. You didn’t just give me a place to live, you offered me safety, both physically and emotionally.

You didn’t just let me have scraps. You poured lavishly (and still do).

You didn’t act as if you were doing me a favor, and instead instilled dignity, even in a situation where it was easy to not have any.

And you didn’t just give me a key to your house. You opened everything to me, including your hearts.

I am forever changed and forever grateful.

Stacy Voss

Listen, Learn, Love: A Book Review

When Susie Albert Miller asked me to review her book Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!, I must admit I was reluctant. Strike that: doubtful. My first thought was, “I just got divorced. Too late.”

But then, that very same thought flipped around. “I just got divorced. Great proof that I could stand to read something about relationships.” Plus, I went to Susie’s website and got a sneak peek at the beginning chapters.

“Okay, Susie, I’m in,” I messaged her.

My favorite image from the book is one of a couple giving Susie a small pair of child-sized, yellow rain boots with a note saying, “thanks for walking through the muck of life with us.” Ah, yes. I’m all about walking life with others and this book is all about the things Susie has learned as she has walked with others.

The title sounds simple.

Listen.

Learn.

Love.

But stop and think just about listen for a second and you’ll quickly realize it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. I know I’m prone to interrupting, to “listening” long enough to form an opinion and hijack the conversation.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter titled “Hearing without Listening”:

Is being right more important than this relationship? I encourage you to ask yourself this question often in the midst of a tense conversation or disagreement. Remembering this question reminds me the relationship is most important and helps me practice Listen, Learn, Love, especially when I don’t want to. It has kept me from making a difficult situation worse and reminded me to be willing to say I’m sorry. Knowing this truth and putting it into practice often seems like crossing the Grand Canyon. We falsely view being the first to apologize as a sign of weakness or as caving in. What if you reframed the choice to be the first to say I’m sorry as a sign of strength and humility? You willingly relinquish the demand to be right, communicating that this person and your relationship is more important. Can you imagine how your relationships would improve?

‘I’m sorry’ is not an admission of guilt. It is not declaring you purposely did or said something wrong or are taking responsibility for what you may be accused of doing. Sometimes it simply acknowledges their hurt and your sorrow for their struggle. It is giving them a place to share their feelings and your impact on them.” (pg. 66)

Listen Learn Love book

Listen, Learn, Love releases today! You can go to ListenLearnLovebook.com to pick up a copy and get over $250 in FREE Bonuses!

 

Lessons from the Basement

Last week I told you about “Pam,” my fellow bearer of the pain of infidelity. Our “cookie exchange” took place many years ago, but when I was about to move out of an apartment and into a house with my (second) husband, I couldn’t fathom what to do with so much living space. I’d been in such tight quarters for so long–and had lived in other countries long enough to remember that we really don’t need all that room–that I got the hub’s permission to invite Pam and her son to live with us since she needed to sell her house.

Image Courtesy Flickr: Drew Coffman

Image Courtesy Flickr: Drew Coffman

“It wouldn’t be a problem at all,” I told her. “There’s a finished, walk-out basement that you and Toby could have. You could even come in from the back and have your own entry. Besides, you’d be doing me a favor since we’ll never be able to furnish the entire house.”

Pam considered our invitation, but ultimately decided to move out of state to be closer to her family.

Pam’s story came to mind last week as I once again invited someone to come move into a place I don’t yet have possession of. The irony became too apparent to ignore. You see, I write this from a basement. Not just any basement, mind you.

Home.

For the past year and a half, the kids and I have lived in our friends’ basement. I’m sure you’re picturing darkness and a cold, sterile type environment. Let me just say that’s the furthest thing from describing where I live. I’ll explain more in a minute, but first let me backtrack to explain the bottom-dwelling thing.

My girlie and the hubs and I moved into the house I invited Pam to share with us. A few months later I had my Bubba. Life was amazing.

And then. There are parts of my story I’m not at liberty to share, this being one of them. I’ll just say that 70% of second marriages don’t last. With time, I unfortunately became one of those statistics. There came a day when I had to grab the kids and flee, running down the greenbelt (with the dog in hot pursuit), knocking on one of the many doors that I knew was open to me in case of such an event (you can laugh at this mental image of the kids and me sobbing with the dog panting next to us. My friend’s husband opened the door to see this tattered lot as I said, “I need a place to stay tonight, please.” God bless those folks!!).

The dog, the kids and I stayed there for a night, then transferred over to my parents’ house the next morning. They had a guest room with a double bed, meaning the kids and I took turns on who got to sleep in the bed and who got the air mattress on the floor next to the bed (which Bella, our big, black lab was convinced was for her). It was a great temporary fix, but the 45 minute drive to and from school kept me from ever seeing it as anything beyond temporary. Hence the desperate e-mail to a few friends asking if anyone knew of an affordable place closer to the kids’ school. Read: affordable as in dirt cheap since I was primarily a stay-at-(my parents’) home mom who only made a bit here and there from some speaking and writing gigs.

So, yes, in this post and the last, I’ve briefly hinted at a marriage ending with infidelity and a second where I fled and eventually found my way to my friend’s basement. God help this mess. It is here I want to camp a while, sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned from the basement.

Lessons on community.

Lessons on friendship.

Lessons on boldness, authenticity, fighting for and with those we love, and so much more.

But of course, my lessons are but a drop in the ocean of telling of God’s goodness and the things He teaches in the most unexpected ways. Please continue to honor me with your stories, too! I know some of you aren’t comfortable leaving comments, but always feel free to e-mail me your thoughts and feedback.

I’ll be back next Wednesday with some lessons from the basement. Until then, may the God who provides in ways that surpasses our wildest imaginations do exceedingly more than all we can ask, think or imagine.

Stacy Voss

Infidelity

I’m ready to share a bit more of my story. I type reluctantly, fearing these words will trigger the well of tears that have built up for much too long. But this is not a sob story, at least not the snippet I’m about to share. In fact, I’ll start with one of the funniest events, but first, let me get the dirty word out of the way that will otherwise keep you from ultimately seeing the humor in what I’m about to share.

Infidelity. That filthy, pain-wreaking action that tears everything to shreds. I know its pain, learned its effects all too well many years ago. It isn’t a pain you count in days. It’s more like PTSD, easily triggered when I hear of someone else struggling with it’s fallout. That’s how I met her. We’ll call her Pam.

Image Courtesy Flickr: Helga Weber

Image Courtesy Flickr: Helga Weber

A friend told me about Pam, knowing my heart would instantly go out to this person I hadn’t yet met since our souls shared the same aches. I soon met up with Pam one night over dinner. We cried, told stories, and I tried to serve as some encouragement as one who was several years down the post-infidelity road.

Okay, I promised funny. We’re getting close.

I went to visit Pam Christmas morning. There were a few hours in my day when I’d be all alone and Christmas isn’t meant to be spent by yourself in my book. So I grabbed a few plates of cookies and decided to do some Santa stops. I didn’t know exactly what I was expecting since I knew it was a bit odd to show up at someone’s house I barely knew Christmas morning, but whatever my expectations might have been, I can tell you they weren’t even close to what actually happened.

Pam was cold. Rude. Okay, more like tried fervently not to be mean, yet she could barely keep the door open long enough for me to give her the cookies.

Um, that’s weird, I thought, disappointed. As I drove, I toyed with scrapping the whole drop-off-cookies thing, thinking it too much of an intrusion on people’s family time when my phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Stacy? This is Pam. Uh, did you just bring me cookies?”

It felt like a weird dream, having someone who I just talked to minutes earlier ask if I had talked to them minutes earlier.

“Um, well, yeah.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Pam gushed. “I didn’t recognize you since I only met you that one time.” To her credit, Pam had only met me once and to make matters worse, I had rushed out my house Christmas morning, throwing a hat on to cover my mop and still sporting my glasses rather than my typical contacts. Her confusion wasn’t without merit, but I’ll always remember exactly where I was when she said the following line: ” I thought you were one of my husband’s mistresses. Some have come by, you know, trying to warn me or something. I thought you were one of them and were giving me cookies to somehow apologize for destroying my marriage.”

Me, the girl who knows the searing pains of infidelity so deeply that I’ll go to every extreme imaginable to prevent it in someone else’s life, being accused of being a her, that nameless other lady who vies for a man’s attention . Ha!

Some of you are thinking I’m twisted for finding this comical. I chuckled a bit then, but trust me, Pam and I have had many a good laugh over it for the past decade, especially as I receive a Christmas card every year saying something about that one event.

This is out of character for me, but I think I’m gonna wrap up this post here without making any definite points yet. They’re coming, but I want to lay the stage a bit more before jumping into it and I don’t want to make you stare at this screen for that long. So for now, I think I’ll sign off. But do me a favor, will you? Since this kind of post isn’t typical for me, would you let me know if you enjoy it or if I should get back to the kind of writing you’ve grown to expect? I guess to answer that you might want a roadmap of where this story is heading, so here’s a sneak peek: inviting Pam to live in my basement, but eventually I was the bottom-dweller as the kids and I have lived in our friends’ basement apartment the last year and a half. I’ve learned about community in a way like never before. Same with having to be authentic and vulnerable, and yes, even about reaching out and asking for help (gulp). And as my friend, Robbie Iobst, says, “I did not die.” Or as Kelly Clarkson would say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Yes, yes it has. I’ve learned. Grown. Cherished and even whined. The lessons are too rich to be contained just for my good, so if you’ll let me, I think my heart is ready to start sharing pieces of it with you.

So whether you’re a her, one whose heart knows the same ache as mine (let me say, if that’s you, I’m so crazy sorry for you. It’s awful, isn’t it? Just plain stinking, grab your heart out wretched horrific), a basement-living, state classified homeless peep or luxurious mansion occupant, grab a plate of cookies with me as we share some stories (and when I say share, I mean, please!! I LOVE hearing your stories, too, k?)

Thanks so much!

Stacy Voss

What You Do With Something Greater

This post won’t make a lot of sense unless you read the first in this two-part series,

Redeemed from Emptiness

$216 billion. That’s an estimated value of just the gold and silver alone in Solomon’s Temple.

$216 big, big ones.

Yet for as magnificent as the temple was, even Solomon said, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

Wanna hear Jesus’ answer to Solomon’s question (okay, not really answering Solomon directly, but you get the gist):

I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. Matthew 12:6

Here doesn’t refer solely to Jesus’ presence. He goes on to elaborate. Ready for this?

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” 1 Cor. 3:16-17

You and me. People of the faith from centuries ago and those who are yet to come. God brings us together like Solomon had the cedars of Lebanon transported from far away, crafting them with care and precision to build something exquisite. Those of us redeemed from emptiness, bought with the blood of Christ (valued at more than the $216 billion it cost to build the temple), coming together to be the very thing called to bring honor and praise to our risen Lord.

Unbelievable and awe-inspiring.

Stacy Voss

What are doing with the something greater that lives within you?

Redeemed from Emptiness

Redeemed from Emptiness108,002 talents.

This isn’t my vain attempt to sell you on how many weird things I can do, like touch my nose with my tongue (I’ll save you from a picture of that!).

It’s the amount of gold used in the temple Solomon built for God.

108,002 talents.

A talent equaled about 75 pounds. Attempt some mental math. Fiddle on your figures and then let your jaw drop in disbelief:

8.1 million pounds of gold.

Think about what we pay for a few ounces to wrap around our fingers. Mind-boggling, right? But don’t check out yet. Let these scriptures paint more of the picture for you:

Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold.” 1 Kings 6:21

He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.” 1 Kings 6:30

We’ve heard about the streets of gold in heaven, but can you even begin to conjure up the image of walking on a floor fully covered in gold? I can’t even visualize myself being able to put a single toe on those golden floors. This concept is too grand, too lavish, too beautiful for my mind to embrace, and yet one verse suddenly takes the incomprehensible to a whole new level and leaves me absolutely speechless.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

As if those sparkling floors and walls have no meaning, no value, or perhaps better said, have little worth compared to the thing that doesn’t just sparkle when it covers something, but can go into something filthy and ugly and turn it into something beautiful and pure.

Truly, it is too much for me to attempt to take in. Instead, my heart murmurs words and random thoughts, incapable of coming close to articulating the cost, the care, the love.

So I sign off here without a proper closing as we chew and ponder something so incredible.

And stay tuned, ‘cuz tomorrow I’m going to post something short that follows on this that adds one more layer of oofta.

So for now, I sign off as one sister redeemed from emptiness to another,

Stacy Voss

When the Bad Becomes Good

“I’m sorry happy for you.”

It’s a weird statement, and perhaps even weirder that I’m the one who said it.

A friend told me about her marriage, that thing that had been in shambles for many, many years. She shared about learning of the ways her husband propositioned younger women–many of whom were related to my friend.

My heart won’t ever forget the moment it shattered as I learned of the “thems” in my marriage, a long list of women he’d crossed boundaries with. Its an anguish you never forget, and its also one that instantly binds my heart to any other woman who has been faced with the same sorrow. But as my friend told me about the very thing that should have destroyed, a slight smile kept spanning her face, unable to be kept at bay.

“Once the family started talking openly about it, it was all out there,” she said as hope oozed forth. “There wasn’t any more pretending. And you know what? For the first time in longer than I can remember, he’s trying. He doesn’t want to be that anymore. It’s too early to say for sure, but it seems like he’s really working at this. Can you imagine? We might actually have a marriage again someday!”

That’s about the point at which I told her I wasn’t quite sure what to say, but that I was sorry. Happy.

Sorry, happy.

I’ve been taking a class and the teacher has mentioned countless times how we take events and add a narrative to it, trying to bring meaning to something. For example, I heard someone say on the radio that they’d been passed over for a promotion.

“Well, what does that mean?” the deejay asked.

“It means that I should probably change fields,” the man replied.

Perhaps he’s right, or perhaps it simply means there was someone else in the company who was better qualified for the promotion, although this particular individual was in the path he should be on, just not as far down the road as the other guy.

In our desperate attempts to label things as good or bad or give them meanings that aren’t there, we might miss out on the bigger picture. Worse yet, we might miss out on God. See, as we paint the labels, placing some memories in the “good” file while others get tossed in the flames of “awful,” we neglect one truth that honestly surpasses anything I can comprehend:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

As you know, I’m a writer. I color my world with words. I’m a smith, taking words that have no meaning separately, but challenge and compel when placed together. So the challenge of foregoing the fill-in-the-blanks, the ceasing of writing a narrative that may or may not exist in an attempt to understand if something is good or bad is only slighter harder than saying I’ll never eat a bite of chocolate again. But if God’s word is true, then I can believe He can take anything I might deem bad and somehow in his unfathomable ways turn it into something good. That’s something I can sink my teeth into (well, that and a piece of chocolate!).

Stacy Voss

How about you? Have you ever had something happened that at the time it seemed awful and horrific, yet with time you watched God turn it into something good?

How the Tomb-Thing Affects your Life-Thing

“What does R-I-S-E-N spell,” my little guy asked as we were decorating Easter eggs.

“Risen,” I replied.

What Gabe couldn’t know was that I wrote “He Is” above “Risen,” but he couldn’t see it because I used a white crayon on the egg. “Watch,” I said as I plunked it into the egg bath.

A few minutes later, I pulled it out. “Now what does it say?” I asked him.

“He is risen because Easter is about that tomb-thing, right?”

He is RisenI love how kids put it. Yup, it’s absolutely about a tomb-thing–an empty one, that is!

“Do you know why it’s important that he rose and that the tomb was empty?”

“Um, ‘cuz then his friends could see him again?” my little guy ventured.

“Gabe, it’s kinda like this egg,” I began. “Jesus had all this power inside him and was God’s son, but many times they couldn’t see it, just like you couldn’t see ‘He is’ until we put the egg in the dye. Once Jesus died, they buried his body in the tomb. But just like you said, three days later, the tomb was empty. People got to see the power of God as God brought Jesus back to life.”

“Oh, ya, ya. I know,” he interrupted, his voice rising in pitch and speed. “And he took our sins with him so we don’t have them anymore.”

“Yup, you’ve got it.”

The verse that is challenging and riveting me this week comes when Jesus responded about who a certain woman would be married to at the resurrection who ended up marrying one brother after another after each died and left her childless.

Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures of the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

All too often, I live as if I have a hard-boiled egg in my hand that has beautiful writing in white crayon. I know the power of God. I see the work of God in others.

And yet.

Much too frequently, I fail to see the fullness of the power of God. My Bible has a new note jotted in the margins:

power of God

What if I understood God’s power 1/8% more than I do now? Unthinkable!” Unthinkable as in I can’t fathom how that would change my thoughts, actions, and everything in between.

So as we spend the next few days agonizing over the horrific death Christ died for us and then celebrate the empty tomb, let’s quiet ourselves and ask to gain a deeper understanding of the power of God. I’m quite certain that tomb-thing will radically enhance our life-thing!

Happy Easter!

Stacy Voss

Meet Sisay

“Hey, Sissy, wanna go outside and play?”

These were words I heard whenever we’d visit my parents’ good friends. The whole family called the daughter Sissy. I grew up thinking it weird, especially since she was strong and a superb athlete. So you can imagine my surprise when somehow or other my Bubba started calling my Girlie Sissy. Of course, he meant no reference to her physique. He was just lovingly calling out for his big sis in that sweet little voice of his.

The name stuck.

And spread.

Before long, it wasn’t just my Bubba calling her Sissy. We all did. All the time. Everywhere.

That probably explains why she asked us all to stop using that name in reference to her. I respected her decision, yet part of me missed and mourned something that had been part of our family for so long. Sure, she was still Micayla, and still my Bubba’s big sister, but I used to love hearing my little guy squeak out, “hey, Sissy, would ya help me?” or “Sissy, I love you.”

I was on Compassion International’s website a few weeks ago, trying to figure out how in the world to pick just one more kid to sponsor out of the many that desperately need someone to come alongside them. I scrolled through aimlessly until I saw the name that was no longer used in my house.

Sisay.

Sure, it’s spelled differently, but without knowing anything about the languages in Ethiopia, I’m guessing it’s pronounced just like sissy.

I filled out the forms, and a few minutes later, we had a sissy in our family again.

I couldn’t wait to tell my kids about the little doll-face in Africa that we were going to get to know over the next decade. They, however, didn’t quite share in my excitement. I had hoped to pick a kid out together, yet something kept coming up every night and I finally did it while they were at school.

For the last two weeks, Sisay remained in Ethiopia and didn’t have a place here, but that changed yesterday. The packet came from Compassion with pictures of this adorable little girl, information on where she lives, her family, and how to write her.

“Micayla, come out here. I have something I want to show you,” I yelled as I beckoned my girl out of her room and away from her electronics.

“What?” she asked.

“Look around.”

“Oh, she’s sooooo adorable,” she yelped in the voice that’s normally reserved for the smallest of small puppies. “Is this Sisay?” she asked as she picked up the packet.

“Yup, that’s her.”

My Girlie instantly sat down and poured through the packet, learning about the girl we’re privileged enough to play a role in her life. “Mom, she’s just so cute!”

I blog for CompassionIsn’t she just adorable? Little Sisay turns 3 on May 10th. That means she’s already overcome a lot of odds since 51 out of 1000 infants die before they turn 1 in Ethiopia (compared to only 6 out of 1000 in the U.S.).

This morning, my Girlie and I headed out the door. We said bye to the dog. She just stared. I said bye to the pic of precious little Sisay, but my former Sissy cried out, “I’m not saying bye to her. She’s coming to school with me!” My Girlie had a bookmark with that much-too-cute picture on it. I told her last night she could have it on one condition: the backside has something to pray specifically for Sisay about every day of the month.

“I’ll let you have the bookmark,” I told her, “but only if you’re willing to take on the responsibility of praying for Sisay everyday.” In fact, I’ll share that responsibility and ask you to pray for this precious child right now that she’ll grow up to be healthy and will follow Jesus.

I walked out the door, shaking my head in disbelief and awe. I so desperately want my kids to have a heart for others and to see beyond the wealth that surrounds us. Little could I have expected that by sponsoring a girl on the other side of the world, I would also hit both of those goals.

So meet Sisay, our beautiful little girl that we get to sponsor.

Stacy Voss

P.S. Sisay has 4 brothers and sisters, so maybe you could sponsor one of her siblings!

P.P.S. I wrote this post last week. Since then, my little guy has been able to meet Sisay, too. Yesterday as we drove to school, I asked my kids if there was anything they wanted me to pray for them about.

“Yes,” my Bubba boy replied. “I want to pray for Sissy.”

“Okay. Go ahead.”

“Mooommm,” he groaned. “Do you know who I mean?”

Oh, the mouths of babes.

 

Embracing the Certainty of the Uncertain

“Do you think we should actually go through with this?”

“I don’t know. It sounds a little nuts if you ask me.”

“Not just a little,” the first man replies with a chuckle. “Come on. Let’s do this.”

You won’t find this little interchange in the Bible, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if some variation of it occurred between the words that were penned. Case in point:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’

‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked.

He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22:7-12

Whoa! Say what? Go look for a man carrying a jar of water? Women were in charge of that task. The footnote in my NIV Bible says it’d be extraordinary to find a man carrying water.

Translation: “Peter and John, go find something that never happens. Follow that thing that never happens and ask for something that happens even more rarely than never: a guest room that is set for you. He’ll show it to you, ready to go.”

I wonder if those fisherman thought something was fishy, or if their years with Jesus allowed them to walk with certainty towards something that most would consider preposterous.

I can’t begin to say since the Bible doesn’t share any of that, but this I know:

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them.” Luke 22:13

the certainty of the uncertain

Image Adapted from Flickr: Jiaren Lau

It bears repeating: just as he told them.

This little, somewhat insignificant scene usually falls to the background in my mind as I attempt to grapple with all of the events leading up to Easter. This uncertainty is but a blip in the drama.

Or is it?

I’ve wrestled with more uncertainty this past year than I ever have previously. How will I make ends meet? How can I work, be available for my kids, and still have margins to write and speak? On and on the questions loomed, the answers far-off and unknown.

As I read Luke 22 this morning, the waves of uncertainty still infiltrating my thoughts, “just as he told him” took on a greater significance than ever before. The thing that perhaps seemed preposterous to Peter and John simply was to Jesus. Was as in, was fact, was do-able, was already in the works before he even gave voice to it.

My Girlie was crying yesterday because of some rumors that were being spread about her. “Your friends won’t believe any of what’s being said if it’s contrary to your character,” I assured her. That’s what the time-tested version of trust does for a relationship.

It’s the very same thing with Jesus.

If He could promise there’d be a man carrying water, then guess what? There was a man!

If He could promise said man would show them to the place where they’d prepare the Passover, then there’d be a place.

And if He promised He’d never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), well, you know the answer, right? Or perhaps you’re more like me, with our heads knowing what our hearts fear to embrace.

I don’t know if Peter and John walked into town with certainty, confusion or fear. In fact, we probably don’t know because it isn’t important. The fact is, they embraced the certainty of the uncertain and had their faith boosted along the way.

Oh, that we may follow their footsteps.

Stacy Voss

What about you? Is it hard to believe something that seems so preposterous, especially in uncertain times? How have you learned to walk in faith when things are more unknown than normal?