Deja Vu, All Over Again
Do you ever have those moments?
Maybe you enter a restaurant in “the old neighborhood” and all of a sudden, in a flash – the smells, the sounds, the scenery — you are transported. Years are erased and you’re a high school kid again coming in to celebrate the big win at the football game. You blink, shake your head, look down at your children “Whose kids are these?” and realize you aren’t a high school stud anymore. It’s just déjà vu, all over again.
Or maybe you’re reading a book. This one clearly isn’t about me. You read the scene that the author eloquently crafted and instantly, you are taken there. The city you visited on your honeymoon. They describe it so vividly, you don’t even have to close your eyes. You. Are. There. And you’re young, and skinny and naïve. The world is fresh. You are fresher. The joy. The newness. The ignorant ,blissful love. Perfection. You blink, shake your head, look down at your wrinkled skin and realize you aren’t the spring chicken you were. Iit’s just déjà vu, all over again.
Déjà vu is a friend to some. An enemy to others.
Jacob and Rachel knew all about this feeling.
Not my Jacob, but the one in the Bible, and his wife. Or, should I say one of his wives. Jacob’s déjà vu world kept spinning ‘round and ‘round like a first century merry-go-round. Except there was nothing fun about this go ‘round. You see, friend, Jacob was in love with Rachel. She was “lovely in form and beautiful” (Gen. 29:17) which is Bible-speak for the fact that Rachel was a hottie. She was probably like a friend of mine who has three boys (including a set of twins!) yet her body, skin, hair – all of it – looks like she is twenty-nothin’ and works out at a gym five hours daily. I swear if I didn’t love her, I’d have to hate her. 🙂 That was Rachel.
But, then there was Leah, her big sister. The Bible says, and I quote “Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.”
Gee, thanks. Clearly a man wrote this!
Poor Leah. Now, I don’t know if she just had light-colored eyes, delicate eyes, or if she was legally blind like some people and had to wear ugliness on her face starting in the fourth grade clearly I’m not bitter. Either way, this wasn’t a desirable trait. And to pour salt in the wound, her little sister was runway material. Fabulous.
Throughout Genesis 29-30, the story of these sisters unfolds. And, friend, it rivals any season of Days of Our Lives. Jacob wants to marry Rachel so the poor guy commits to slave labor for seven years. I would like to stop and give thanks for the fact that my poor Ryan didn’t have to work that hard to get me – trust me, I’d still be single. 🙂 Genesis 29:20 says “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”
I mean, seriously. Insert gagging sound. That is love, people.
So, here is Jacob, in love and willing to “earn” his bride. He did the work. He fulfilled his commitment. And what is his prize? He has a “few too many” at his wedding reception and when we wakes up the next morning to begin his new life with his beautiful bride, who does he find in the bed with him but ol’ weak eyes.
“What the frankincense is going on here!?!”
He did not pick that daughter. He wanted the one with the lovely form. Where’d she go? Well, it turns out his good ol’ father-in-law played a little game of one, two, switch-a-roo and sent his older daughter to the honeymoon night. He wanted to get rid of both daughters at once. Sneaky Laban tried to make up for it with a new deal. “Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” (Gen. 29:27)
Seven more years of work!?
Ok, honestly, how lovely could her form be? Fourteen years of work to marry this girl.
That’s right, friend. Déjà vu, all over again.
Fast forward a while and Jacob has two wives, two maidservants don’t get me started and a partridge in a pear tree. And just like any newlywed couple, people immediately start asking, “Soooo, when are you going to have kids?”
Leah jumped on it. I can’t blame the girl. After all…
“Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.” (Gen. 29:30)
Wonderful. My husband didn’t even want me. Didn’t offer to work for me at all, but worked fourteen years for my gorgeous little sister.
Um, Hello, insecurity.
“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” (Gen. 29:31)
During this time, barrenness was on the same playing field as leprosy. For a woman to be barren meant, to many, that she was cursed. Something must be wrong with her. She was sinful. She was unworthy. She was broken. (Can I please take a minute to tell anyone reading who has been unable to have children that this is not how God works today. Seek Him and Him alone. Trust Him.)
So, here is Rachel, aka ‘Ms. Israel 1700 B.C.’ with all her beauty, but no babies.
Meanwhile, her big sister, Leah, has a baby boy.
Then, another one.
Then, another one.
Then, another one.
“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Gen. 30:1)
Talk about Déjà vu, all over again. (and again, and again, and again!)
(For the record, it is taking everything in me not to keep going and going with this story of Leah, Rachel, Jacob, the maidservants and the many children with their heavy-meaning names that get born into this household. But, that is for a whole ‘notha post.)
So here I am, thousands of years later. I’m married to the right guy, with three precious children. Yet, I, like Rachel am having déjà vu all over again, again, again, again.
That’s right, friend. I am officially announcing that I am leaking spinal fluid again.
Anybody else tired of this merry-go-round? Give a sista an “Amen!” please! 🙂
I have had a few days to admit it, deny it, accept it, deny it again, whine and fuss about it, and now announce it to you lovely people. God has put up with a lot from me my entire life this weekend.
“Nooooo!!! I just got my cleaning schedule all printed out and ready to go! You know how much I have a heart for my job as a homemaker. I am trying to be disciplined here, Lord! You’ve seen my toilets – you know I need this!”
“I just went to Mayo, like three stinkin’ weeks ago, Lord. I know my geography is bad, but I’m thinking yours is pretty good. That ain’t close. Remember, I left my babies. I had faith. I took your acorn to the head and praised you for it…is that not enough!?”
“Lord, I cannot look my babies in the face for the sixth time in their sweet, short lives and say ‘Mama’s going to have to be lying down all the time again because of her bad owie.’ I. Just. Can’t. Do. It.”
“Lord, please…not during the holidays. Not again. I cannot lie around and listen to people complaining about all the errands they have to run, the meals they have to prepare, and parties they have to attend. I can’t sit upright for twenty minutes, Lord. Don’t they get how blessed they are!?!”
Just keepin’ it real here, friend.
Boy, am I thankful for His forgiveness and grace!
I am also beyond thankful that His Word is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and can cut through my emotions. It can separate ‘feelings’ from facts. Even now, I went to look up the verse about God’s compassions being new every morning. I went to my favorite online Bible resource and typed in the key words. But, what I found was not just the verse I wanted, but also the verses God wanted me to read all around it. I will put in italics the actual verse I was looking for and I will let you read over the verses on either side of it. Please enjoy.
“So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD. I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lam. 3:18-26)
He might as well have started that verse with Dear, Caroline.
Friend, I don’t even know who wrote these verses. But, like them, I don’t just remember my affliction, I well remember it. I don’t know what the word gall even means, but I’m thinkin’ it ain’t good. It doesn’t matter. This was for me. And, perhaps, it is for you as well. As darn near unbearable hard as it seems for me to have to, once again, sit and wait quietly that’s borderline hilarious for the salvation of the Lord…sit I will.
Ok, correction — lie down, I will. 🙂
For those of you who need to know facts and details – yes, we are headed back up to the Mayo clinic. When? Not sure. Soon and very soon. I know that much.
As of now, I am scheduled to be there December 6th. But, if you would like to pray along with my selfish prayers then let’s ask God to move my appointment up a week so I can be back in time to see my babies perform on stage at church and attend our women’s Christmas dinner.
But, as a Mom who has missed out on quite a bit these last few years, I’d really love to be there. But, friend, let me be clear –
I am lying on my couch. I am staring at my popcorn ceilings. I am developing another funky, flat spot in my cute hair cut. I am wearing pajamas all day. I am doing my leg exercises to keep the blood flowing. I am hogging all of DVR memory for movies for Mama instead of Dora and Power Rangers. I am waiting.
But, my friend…I am also writing to you. I am singing my praise and worship in an awkwardly loud voice. I am seeking Him. I am trusting Him. I am believing the Truth of His promises. I am waiting.
Déjà vu, all over again.
Please rock out with me now, friend. These lyrics are perfect.
Ok, one more time. Once again, sigh…perfect.