Wednesday, July 15, 2015

no-bake cookies & the wilderness

Over this past year, no-bake cookies are my go-to. Not like my go-to when I’m hungry or when I want something sweet (well, maybe sometimes). But they are the treat I make in a hurry when we have friends coming over or my girlfriends and I get together to watch The Bachelor (or chocolate covered strawberries--but those are a different story). No-bake cookies are delicious and easy to make (aka hard to screw up). But in all honesty, most of the time I screw them up. I like to play this game of “Oh, I have most of the ingredients to make these. I’ll try this other thing instead of these other things and it will work great.” Except it doesn’t. It never really does. They are either too runny or too sticky. We eat them anyway. 
This happened to me just last night. For months I’ve been thinking about how my experience with no-bake cookies is much like my life in the wilderness right now. 

This past year has also been a season of waiting, disappointment and uncertainty. Dustin and I have been trying to get pregnant for just under a year. It’s not hard to bring people into this, but as a I type I am actually experiencing a tightness in my chest (or it could be the no-bakes I made last night that ended up giving me heartburn--I’m deflecting, really). It’s been a hard season. Hard, because I feel like trying for almost a year doesn’t even come close to what some couples experience. I feel the temptation to suppress or tell myself “just get over it. ______ has been trying longer” or “our experience isn’t nearly has difficult as ______.” It’s been hard because I’ve been brought low to a place where I am constantly crying out to God to give me answers and when He doesn’t, I doubt his goodness. It’s been hard because I’ve felt broken, isolated, and shameful for something I ultimately have no control over. I feel like I’m in the wilderness. Walking and wandering. Looking for a fresh spring just up the way, only to find more desert. Only to be disappointed. Only to look to Jesus to satisfy me while experiencing sorrow and frustration and fear. 

Sure, the wilderness doesn’t seemingly represent my traumatic and delicious experiences with no-bake cookies, but in many ways, it does. Every time I try and alter the ingredients just slightly, they don’t turn out how I think they would or should. They are different. They still taste good, but they are dissimilar. It’s humbling. It shows my lack of trust with a recipe, believing in those moments what I am going to come up with is so much better. As I’ve been in the wilderness this last year, I’m reminded of how I try to look to other things to satisfy, thinking at the end of the day I know what I’m doing and God doesn’t. I often don’t trust his goodness and his faithfulness so I try to conjure up my own ingredients, my own contributions, my own devices to make things the way I want them to be--it doesn’t work. It turns out messy, it turns out ugly. 

“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word  that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.” (Deut 8:2-4). 

God is a good father. That is who He is. He is faithful. He hasn’t left me (us) to ourselves.  As I continue to walk in the desert (I’m still there), I can continue to cry out and ask Him why. I can be sad and hurt and frustrated and weary. And (at the same time) I can trust him. He’s meeting me there. It’s brutal and and it’s ugly and His faithfulness still tastes so much sweeter than anything I could have come up with myself.