August 21, 2011

is good

I watched The Phantom of the Opera with Shelly the other night.
She lives 3,000 miles away, in Alabama, so we had to improvise.
So at 7 pm my time and 9 pm her time, we both popped the movie into our DVD players, said 123 go, and hit play.
And watched it together.
Gerard Butler's unsurpassed hotness gets me everytime. I want to marry him when I grow up. So does Shelly.
And Minnie Driver is brilliant in The Phantom. Brilliant.

He looove-ah me.
Dees tings do 'appen??? Maawk! For da pas' tree years, dees tings do 'appen! An' do you stop dem from 'appening??? Nooo!
Okey! Bye-bye now. See, watch, now I really leaving!
Why you always spray dat on my chin?
Your part is silent, little toad.

I looove-ah her.
Then the movie was over and we sighed blissfully just like every other girl who wants to marry Gerard Butler when she grows up.
Then I frantically played the air violin to the credit music.

Lily doesn't say here, she says he-ah. She doesn't say there, she says the-ah. She doesn't say hair, she says hai-ah. As in, Mommy! Come he-ah! Can you put a braid in my hai-ah? Right the-ah?
Go ahead. You can say Awww. How dang cute is that?
I say it all the time.
So the other day, Lil was praying over her PB&J at my house with her eyes squeezed tight shut and her palms pushed hard against her squeezed tight shut eyes.
She opened them and said, The-ah's a tigah in the-ah.

In wee-ah, baby? (I have this tendency to talk like Lily when I'm around her. I'm trying to quit, but it's a tough habit to break. All you pot smokers should understand this.)

In my eyes. Right the-ah.

How'd he get in the-ah?

I dunno. He jus' jumped on the-ah.

She thought for a sec, Tigahs scwatch us.
She thought some more, Bad guys kill us.
She dug deep and very seriously said around her PB&J, But PINK bad guys don't.
She smiled all over her face, I like PINK bad guys!

I got to see my friend, Lydia, this week. I haven't seen her for years and years.
Her kids are loud. My underneath me neighbor complained to the office manager.
The office manager knocked on my door and said, Pipe down.
Me and the kids went down to my underneath me neighbor and apologized for being a herd of elephants. She said her sick husband, who is pretty much dying, really can't handle the noise.
I suddenly had the worst guilty conscience and thought of all those times I dropped the shampoo bottle in the shower. And the times I scraped my chair across the kitchen floor. And all the times I pretended to be an opera singer. And the times I danced crazily thru the house to Brahms Waltz No. 15 in A flat.
I felt bad.
But at least I walk quietly.
But I was super happy to see Lydia and to have her family stay with me.
Lydia's one of those life friends. We don't talk much and see each other even less, but still... we're always friends.
When I was about 16, our church had a six week long meeting. So like, church every night for six weeks.
I was running out of clothes to wear.
At sixteen, it's pretty important to keep up with the Jones in the clothing department. I mean, we couldn't have me wearing the same thing more than twice in that six weeks, could we? No, we could not. I started to panic and breathe into my little brown paper sack. I needed to go shopping or start loving to sew, stat.
But after a couple weeks, I noticed Lydia's clothes.
A long khaki skirt and a navy tee every. single. night. for six weeks.
I stopped feeling bad about my clothes and to this day I'm grateful to Lydia for getting me over that huge teenage hurdle.
She's a good friend to me.

You probably think I'm just rambling on about nothing again. You're so wrong! These three stories actually tie together.
This past Sunday, Tim preached from Psalm 119:65-72.

Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD,
according unto thy word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge:
for I have believed thy commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now have I kept thy word.
Thou art good, and doest good:
teach me thy statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me:
but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease:
but I delight in thy law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
that I might learn thy statutes.
The law of thy mouth is better unto me
than thousands of gold and silver.

What's that got to do with anything? It's just that... see those two lines in bold up there? Dealt well and art good?
That was the whole point of the message Sunday.
God does well, and God is good.
Sometimes I... don't exactly forget... but I lose sight of God being so good. I get distracted from it by every day life- the hurts, the sorrows, the frustrations, the impatience.
I ask God, God... why'd You let her better half walk out because he found himself a new better half? Leaving her with five kids and me so far away that I can't even, like... make her pancakes or anything?
God... why'd You let that pastor fall and all those church members march in on that Sunday morning with their mouths wide open and with the intent to hurt the ones who were down? Causing a hurt that still hurts 14 or so years later?
God... why'd You let those babies die before they had the chance to be born? When they were wanted so much?
God... why'd You let the uncle die in a ditch, alone and in pain? Breaking my heart to even think of it?
God... why'd You let the husband, the daddy, say those words that will never be forgotten?
God... why'd You let this or that?

God... please... can You explain Yourself?

And here's the dealio. He doesn't always explain. But He does something better.
He just is good.

He says, Why all the whys? What about the movies with your sister, and pink bad guys, and life friends? The delights? Can't you see the way you have Me to turn to? A strong tower to run to and be safe? Can't you see that when you call Me, the earth shakes and trembles, the heavens bow down, and I come to you and take you in My arms? Can you see how I delight in you? How I am for you? How you have run through a troop, your enemy scattered before you... because of Me? How My gentleness hath made you great?

And He's like, Remember, lovey, I love you. I do only what's good for you. Remember that, and when the trials or struggles or hurt comes- the whys- remember I do well. And be thankful. Thankful for the good and for the bad. Because in the end, the seeming bad... can be good. I can work all things together for good.

I can't say I'm always thankful for the bad. Because I'm not.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted.
Good for me? What.ever!
Obviously, David had had a late night when he wrote that. He must've just been getting over the flu and probably had a Nyquil hangover. Probably he meant it was good for everyone else. Yeah.

I've been reading this book, One Thousand Gifts.
I like it. It's not something you can breeze through though. In a nutshell, it about being thankful for, and in, everything.
The author, Ann Voskamp, writes about how she wished she could change some things in her life. She wished she could write the story different. Make the dead babies alive, take the hurt mama out of the psych ward, make the teenage girl stop cutting herself, make the dad see the importance of God, make time slow down.
But then her brother-in-law reminded her of King Hezekiah- how he begged for more life when God told him he would die, then God gives him the extra 15 years, then Manasseh is born and when he becomes king... the people are led astray by him more than by any other king. What would have happen had Hezekiah not asked God to write the story different?
Changed Ann's life to hear that. She started to realize that what she thought was a curse,was really just God knowing. Him knowing what she needed, Him knowing the whole story with its ending too, Him knowing the big picture with infinite understanding, Him being merciful.
She started searching for the goodness of God.
Goodness like movies with my sister 3,000 miles away, and pink bad guys, and friends in my house. And goodness like, The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, the hard to be thankful for things.
She started listing the blessings, the gifts that God gives in a notebook. Her goal was to reach one thousand gifts, but she's way past 1,000 now because it's not like God is limited to a mere thousand.

I ask God why, and all those whys are really just an echo of my ungrateful, untrusting heart.
But I don't wanna be so ungrateful, forgetting His goodness. Letting the every day life get in the way of my eyesight.
Things are never too hard to bear... if you got Him on your side.
So I've started a list, my Thankful List. (I love lists. I don't know what it is about those things, but I just love them.) You wouldn't believe how cool it is to see, in blue ink on a lined paper, some of the goodness of God written down.
It's helped me settle my focus on Him just that much more.

I can't say I've got a grip on this because the other day when the knob on my laundry closet door came off in my hand and then I pulled on the second laundry closet door and the whole dang door came crashing down on my head and my foot and my toes... I didn't say, Praise God for frustration. He giveth and taketh away laundry closet doors. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
What I said was, Blankety, blank, fill-in-the-blank.
But a few days later when I got a phone call that filled my heart with tears and made my throat close down and it seemed like a curse was biting at my heels, I could say, God help me be thankful. Because You're good. Because when I call You, You're there. And right now... I'm calling. Please, let this be well.

And He said, It's well.

And let me tell you, there's alot of peace in knowing He doeth well and is good.
Alot of peace in knowing His goodness is a wall of protection around me and mine.

God is good all the time.
And I'm thankful for it.