Jericho – by Aleah

This post originally appeared Sept. 1, 2013 on Aleah’s blog, Depth of the Riches. You can find it here.

After nearly eight years out, last week I rejoined the workforce. It’s not much, only about ten hours a week as a sales associate in an outlet shoe store. It is the same shoe store I worked in when I was in eleventh grade. I have walked the gray industrial carpeted floors past the very same spot where I remember realizing I was in love with the guy who would one day be my husband. (And excitedly decided to tell him, only for him to beat me to it and tell me he had a new girlfriend). I’m about a solid decade older than my coworkers, one of whom is actually our babysitter.

I had been praying for more money. Now, that might sound shallow, but I’ve got three kids in private school on a single income. I am nothing if not completely honest with God when I pray; He knows what I need, so why beat around the bush? However, I planned on these prayers leading to either something happening with Mike at work or to some awesome writing opportunity where I could actually make money off something I’m already doing.

Let’s face it, time is not a commodity I have in great supply. I’m currently a junior high youth leader, women’s Bible study leader, church nursery director, and I dabble in the blogosphere. And that’s just what I do in my “free” time. Sometimes though, perfect circumstances are in motion that are just so obviously an answer to prayer that, whether it was the answer I wanted or not, I knew the opportunity to work for an old friend (who was willing to be very flexible with scheduling) was the answer I got.

In my daily Bible reading I’m going through an Old Testament Overview reading plan. Around the time of all this prayer and part-part time employment talk I was reading in Joshua. (Note: the following is not a coincidence. You want to have God speak to you? Put in the effort by being consistently in the Word and believe you have been purposed to read what you are when you are.)

Joshua 6 tells the story of the fall of Jericho (and the walls came a-tumbling down–yeah that one). The Israelites have just crossed into the land God promised to give them after forty years of wandering in the desert. They are now faced with the somewhat daunting task of claiming the land. Jericho looms before them, an advanced fortress with four foot thick walls. No one was just going to sneak up on Jericho. It would have to be taken by extreme force.

So God tells them to walk in circles around the place. Not in military formation, but strung out with priests blowing ram’s horns and the ark of the covenant being carried in the mix. Oh, and they’re not even allowed to talk. They’re to do this once a day for six days, then on the seventh day they’re to walk around the city seven times, blast the trumpets, and everyone shouts. Then the walls fall down and the Israelites will march in and conquer the city.

Sounds pretty cut-and-dried. And, if we’re being honest, kind of ridiculous and a bit tedious.

This story caught me off guard because, though I was already familiar with it, in reading it I was struck with what a perfect metaphor it is for where I feel I’m at in life. I’m doing weird, disjointed things that wouldn’t seem to add up were it not for the common factor that I’m honestly seeking the Lord in all of it as best I know how. I’m writing late into the night, reading books off of seminary lists, selling comfortable shoes for minimum wage, comforting a feverish teething toddler, prepping for Bible study, meal planning, and keeping tabs on my personal heroes of faith via Twitter.

Much like the Israelites must have looked fools to their enemies on the other side of the wall, I am currently marching in my own vulnerability parade. I’m willingly putting myself in situations I don’t feel totally prepared for, anticipating God will show up big, but risking looking ridiculous. (Hence my new video attempts).

Unlike times of more lost “what am I supposed to do” wanderings in the desert of the past, I do believe there is some sort of divine purpose that is set in motion. I just can’t see how it’s all going to work out. I’m just circling around and around and around. Day in and day out living how I hope Jesus would live my life if He were me.

Some words I read in John Calvin’s commentary keep playing in my head: “Though the circulatory movement round the walls might have excited derision, it was afterwards known, by its prosperous result, that God commands nothing in vain.” It is a message the Lord has reminded me of again and again and again. If nothing I’m doing is in vain, then by default it has a purpose. I can view the journey as a burden, or I can trust there are things being shaken that I cannot fathom and make the most of this purposeful, circuitous wandering.

Even Jesus didn’t just march straight to the pinnacle of His ministry at the cross. He first spent time teaching around the countryside and in the cities of the life now being made available, and healing and casting out demons. After a few years of this transient life He was led to die slowly on the horrible, glorious cross where He shouted in victory, “It is finished!” And the earth shook and the very walls of death came tumbling down.

If I give up now I’ll never get to see what’s on the other side of this wall. And who knows how many laps I have left?

******

Thinking of Jericho has been helping me keep perspective on the days it feels like the fatigue and tedium of daily life is going to overtake me. Anyone else experiencing a Jericho season?

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Moments for Mom

One of my children tells me, repeatedly, and with a certain tone of disapproval, that I take everything too seriously.  Of course, I go on to prove the theory within seconds by getting upset each time it’s said.  (I need to work on my poker face apparently.)

This is said when I won’t allow something that everyone else’s parents on the planet supposedly allow.  Or when I dare to ask a semi-probing question about feelings.  Or when I point out a not-so-great grade.  Or when I mention the importance of preparing for college.  Or when I don’t laugh at a hurtful joke.  Or when I gasp at music lyrics.  Or, you know, when I breathe.

For some reason, the last time this was said to me, I got more defensive than usual and I spent about an hour ruminating on it while we were in the car together.  I didn’t say anything out loud, but I debated.  So instead of saying what I wanted to say in the heat of the moment, I’m saying it here.

Dear child of mine, I have a feeling you don’t care the reason behind me taking things so seriously, you probably just want me to stop. Odds are against that.  So, in case you’re ever discussing your mother issues with your future wife or future therapist and she asks, ‘Why do you think your mother acted that way’?, you can say you don’t know but that this is what your mother told you to say…

I take everything so seriously when it comes to you for three very different but equally important reasons. 

First, parenting is serious.  You won’t get this until you’re a parent.  But one day you will.  (Hopefully.)  The stakes are high.  Your heart is up for grabs.  And I believe that God chose me for you to help you get through your childhood and to help you get ready for your adulthood.  I’ve messed up a lot. And I’m looking down the barrel of only a couple more years with you under my roof.  It’s crunch time.  There’s so much more for you to learn.  And God is going to hold me accountable for how I raised you.  So that’s the first reason I take parenting so seriously.

But secondly, somebody has to.  God created families to come with two parents.  And for years and years before your dad and I divorced, I think I knew deep down that I was going to have to be the mother and the father.  The other role has been abdicated.  If you don’t know what abdicated means, you can look it up. Kidding.  It basically means when someone is given a role but they don’t step up to the plate to fulfill it, they just walk away from doing what they are responsible for, what they are supposed to be doing.  When things are working right, moms and dads work in partnership, each switching back and forth between good cop and bad cop, between fun parent and work parent, between rational and crazy even.  But some sad, hard things have happened – and you know most of them – and that is not the case in our family.  I get to be good cop.  I have to be bad cop.  I get to be fun parent. I have to be work parent.  I get to be rational parent. I totally am crazy parent.  I have to be both; I have to do it all.  Pretty much all day every day.  So that’s the second reason I seem to take everything so seriously; because someone has to.

And the last reason, because I love you. And I want the best for you. And I want you to know what it’s like to walk with God, and make wise choices on your own even in tough situations, and have solid, healthy relationships.  I want things for you that you’re not seeing in your life being modeled for you.  So, I might be a little more rigid than you’d like.  And I’m sure you’ll need some therapy.  And I’m sure it drives you crazy.  But it’s only because I love you.  It’s always only been because I love you.

Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2013

Elisabeth is mom to Sara (16-1/2) and Jack (15).  She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing.  She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You;In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul.  All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com.  Her upcoming book, Unraveling, is releasing with Abingdon Press in October 2013.

Visit her website at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/ and her blog at  www.elisabethcorcoran.com/blog.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, Elisabeth has created two private groups on Facebook that she would like to invite you to. Simply email her at elisabethkcorcoran@gmail.com for more information.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer’s Guild.

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NEW BLOG  www.elisabethcorcoran.com/blog
SPEAKING  www.elisabethcorcoran.com/speaking
BOOKS  www.elisabethcorcoran.com/books
TWITTER  https://twitter.com/ekcorcoran
FACEBOOK  http://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran
UNRAVELING coming 10.01.13 from Abingdon

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