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Today I’m excited to introduce all you wonderful people to my equally wonderful cousin, Rachel Ann Rogish. Despite an age gap of 6 years, we’ve always been very close – even more so now that we’re older. Life has led us both in directions very different from where we originally anticipated going, but we’ve enjoyed the journey together, keeping in touch often and telling each other about how God has been working in our lives. Someday we’ll have to collaborate and tell everyone more about our life journeys, but today is not that day.
Rachel is a freelance writer. She writes for The Old Schoolhouse (the Simply Shakespeare unit), which some of you homeschooling moms might want to check out. Rachel also does some journalism work for her local newspaper, and…she’s working on a novel of her own called Immanuel’s Veins! To keep up with Rachel and her writing pursuits, you can check her out on Facebook here at “Sea Gypsy, Rachel Ann”. She lives on the coast of New Jersey, fyi.
Well, without further adieu, I’m going to turn you loose to Rachel, and she’s going to tell you a story about my childhood…
“Being related to a celebrity is not for the faint of heart, but being Briana Thomas’s cousin has certainly been a joy and never dull! When she invited me to write something for her blog, my fingers, usually nimble over the keys, paused, hovering midair – what should I say? Having something to “wax eloquent” about is rarely an issue, but I wanted to find that right niche – a seamless balance of humor and serious thought, the general style I have been chasing since English 101. While musing at my desk (in the studio I fashioned out of my room), a thought struck me in a burst of golden memory…a memory which created this post.
This memory harks back to when, at the tender age of five, Briana sat contentedly in the basement of our home in rural Maryland. I was eleven at the time and always looked forward to those holidays when my grandparents and family would gather. Without a word, Briana and I would scamper down to the finished basement and transform my area into our very own Middle Earth. Barbies served as evil dukes, brave princes, rude stepmothers, and courageous heroines! While our parents talked for hours amid the Christmas afterglow, we saved the world. It was sheer nobility, at least in our minds. The day after Christmas, my dad happened to walk by and spied Briana stirring a mixture of plastic shoes, food, and other supplementary props. “What are you making?” Dad said cheerily, always kind and solicitous of our enterprises. Without missing a beat, my cousin looked him in the eye and replied with a grin, “Barbie soup!”
Barbie soup: a child’s rendition of non-related items mixed together in a pewter dish. ( I collected pewter ware at the time – I thought it was the height of elegance.) A bunch of “stuff” all stirred together with seemingly little reason – after all, what do hot pink shoes, blue flowers, and plastic dinner trays have in common? Yet, looking back, is it not easy to view one’s life in such a light? As a random assortment of events, accomplishments, and even disappointments? Life’s journey has twists and turns, we all freely admit, but do we rejoice?
By Biblically evaluating every single aspect of our lives, we can laugh for pure joy at the sovereign “mixture” in life!
But. . .is it practical?
Such questions have rumbled through the centuries, whispering in the hallow cathedrals of the souls of men and women. Practicality and faith rarely meet on equal terms. . .for God has often called His own to what was deemed impossible and downright odd. Yes, in our finite logic and reasoning, walking by faith and not by sight is foolish. Now any self-respecting believer would say yes, I believe what God says, but when the proverbial rubber meets the road…then we step back, take a breath, and go back to the drawing board of our plans. Time for plan B. No matter one’s personality, dreams die hard. For women and men alike, some truths are universal.
What does our Saviour say? How often is He the last source we consult? In Luke’s account of the gospel, we read of two sisters: Mary and Martha. Martha, busy serving and meeting the needs of her guests, finds her likely younger sister Mary sitting down. Sitting down. The nerve of the girl! Why isn’t she helping? Look at all the guests, notable citizens and friends of their town!
Imagine the scene in your mind for a moment: Martha is doing good things, necessary and practical things, while Mary sits. Let us now look at where Mary sits: at the feet of Jesus, the Messiah. Does the Son of God rebuke Martha’s outburst? Yes, yet He does so kindly – He who created both of them. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41b-42, NKJV) Daily duties, obligations, and jobs fill the hours! I am a freelance writer, without the duties of being a wife and a mother at this point, but when I add church activities, domestic duties, other projects, writing for the newspaper, class work, and errands, the list is full.
Fragments of dreams seem to float aimlessly along with the age-old question the Tempter asks, how will this ever happen?
As we look at our own “Barbie soup,” it is so easy to see only what makes sense right now! The other odds and ends we push to the other side of the dish – let them lie. Christ promised us His Spirit who will “guide us into all truth,” and in Greek the word all has three distinct meanings. Yet this all is the source of our English meaning; truly, we are not promised a continually smooth path or answers to every question we ask, but Chrst promised us His Spirit, love, grace, and mercy! Let us sit at the feet of Him who still bears His scars and gives meaning to our own – gaze into the face of Truth himself and rest, knowing He loves to give good gifts and will glorify Himself. Those loose pieces of relationships, hopes, and dreams will be made whole again in the Father’s perfect way and timing. “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Luke 12:31, NKJV)
But. . .how can I know?
Many intelligent lost people throughout the centuries have come to an inevitable conclusion that life is fragile. From philosophers to scientists, poets to musicians, writers to playwrights, and everyone in between, humankind has been chasing the essence of meaning and life on this planet. Even after years of careful study, planning, and taking precautions, tragedy strikes only to be followed by years of prosperity and gladness. King Solomon himself remarked on the fleeting days as “vanity.” Sadly enough, even Christians ( in the true sense of the word) can adopt a whitewashed cynicism – we acknowledge that God is almighty while plowing along from crisis to crisis, wondering why our serving of “soup” is so oddly mixed.
When we have a proper view of our heavenly Father, life does indeed become more simple, and we can begin to trace threads of loving sovereignty in our lives! Life is neither random nor fragile because our Father created each and every aspect of our lives. In all seasons, we can testify with missionary Hudson Taylor that we, too, are learning to walk “a little less by feeling, a little less by sight, and more by faith.” A warm, vibrant faith lives and grows in trust, in a grace so wonderfully sufficient and strong! As hymn writer Frances Ridely Havergal penned all those years ago, “They who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true.”
Our Maker never leads us astray – never dashes us against the rocks of uncertainty. As He said to despairing Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4, NKJV) Christ is with us in the storms of life! He never gives us a plan B because His plan is unthwartable, unstoppable. In our times of questioning and seasons of plenty, let us trust our Father! Perhaps if we debated less over free will and sovereignty and took Him at His word, we would rejoice and live more fully. (Romans 8:18-39)
Consider the words of Elizabeth Elliot: “By recognizing that time has two dimensions – it brings things to an end and it always gives us new beginnings. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and we bring to Him all of our beginnings and endings, all the hope and sadness that they cause us, all of the work done and the pleasures enjoyed as well as all our plans for work to be done and pleasures to be enjoyed. ‘So, through life, death, through sorrow, and through sinning, He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed. Christ is the End, for Christ was the Beginning, Christ the Beginning, for the End is Christ.’ (F.W.H. Myers) We give thanks, then, as we bring these things to Him, and in the giving thanks we signal our total acceptance of His will for us.”
Have another helping of Barbie Soup, dear friend. Taste and see…celebrate that the Lord is good! :)”
 Elliot, Elizabeth. Twelve Baskets of Crumbs. Nashville: Pillar Books for Abington, 1977.