God’s answers aren’t like Magic Eye pictures

This blog contains the facts that prove my childhood was so normal. We had really raging Friday nights that involved a trip to the grocery store followed up TGIF on ABC. You know, a little Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters…you get the picture.

When I was a kid, my dad got paid once a month, which meant that once a month my mom did a HUGE grocery shopping trip. And typically, this happened on Friday evenings at Meijer. We’d all go with her.

51sjhhutl-_sx258_bo1204203200_While she took her time getting food for the family, we were allowed to cross the store and wander the toy aisles. I remember back in the early 90s, there was a craze involving Magic Eye puzzles. On my monthly trip to the toy area of Meijer, I’d stop by the racks of Magic Eye posters and see what I would make out.

I’d stare at the mess of shapes and colors. I’d have to relax my eyes, blur them a little and the picture would come into focus. Like it had always been so obvious before. Every time I looked at the picture after that, I could see the image, clear as day.

I mean, how could I miss that 3D lion jumping out at me?

I keep wishing that everything was that simple. Especially about making life decisions. I know that God has a plan for us and not to worry about things, but when I’m making a major life decision I want something more concrete. Like God’s seal of approval…on letterhead…so I know “Hey dummy this is the answer.”

Instead I stare at problems, looking for choices, praying for answers. I’m concentrating so hard, waiting for the plan to pop out as clearly as those Magic Eye pictures.

About nine years ago, we decided to sell our house. I wanted to move. We had a brand new baby and my husband was working a horrible schedule more than an hour away from our house. I needed him home more and the only way to do that was to relocate. I knew I could find a job. So we listed the house and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

keep_calm_and_trust_god_letterhead_template-recbbc2caa57b4d03a95d425c68d3005d_vg63g_8byvr_324And then an offer came. It wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but what we actually wanted was to sell our house. So, was God telling us to wait, a better offer would come along signaling our time to move or was he saying “here is your chance! This won’t be easy, but don’t get greedy.”

Then the house we were planning to buy came back with some things that needed repairs. was it God presenting us with a great house in our budget or was he telling us to run to another house? Do we pour money into the thing that we want and assume that’s what he was trying to tell us, or do we see it as a sign that it’s not our time?

The same type of decision-making has gone on over many things. Jobs, having kids, whether or not we should take a vacation, buy a car or any number of things.

I’m waiting for the hand-written letter, the signed letterhead or the magic eye puzzle to reveal itself to me. I pray and i wait. I avoid decisions in the hopes that my clear-cut answer is just going to show up. My husband jumps feet first into situations he wants and then assumes that trials are a way for God to teach us trust. And if we make a mistake, that’s what forgiveness is for.

Working in a church, I feel like I would understand this better. I mean, it’s GOD’S HOUSE! He’d have to throw out some signs right. Turns out, no. Working in a church doesn’t make things any easier. We don’t have a secret scroll where we can reveal God’s writing with magic ink.

I don’t want to be selfish. I don’t want to make a decision based on my wants. I want to do the right thing. I am the rule-following, parent-pleasing first-child after all. Give me the answer!

God isn’t about to give me the easy way out, because really that’s what I want. I want to avoid the trouble, work, effort and tribulations that come with “wrong” decisions. Instead, the instances where I feel I’m making a bad decision, I need to know that he’s still there.

Life is not the toy aisle of Meijer. I can’t just stare at the problem and expect it all to come together. I have to do the work. I have to pray. I have to listen to others around me. I need to take a leap.

The scene is always in the magic eye puzzle, it’s just up to me to make it come into focus. And, in my puzzle, no matter what I see, I know that this is God’s plan and he’s always there.

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