Often I'm asked, 'Hey T - what's your favorite song?' or 'What are you listening to these days?'. In the line of work I'm in this is a natural question and I usually rattle off the name of the most recent song that has wrecked my heart or a lyric that the Lord is using to undo me.
This week I heard some music in my own house that, although seemingly a bit unconventional, I realized was my absolute favorite song. Yes, we are music lovers in our house... there rarely is a moment where there is NOT music in one room or another, but these sounds that were building my perfect playlist were of a completely different sort. These were not Christmas carols that reminded us of memories we've made. These sounds weren't even songs on the latest worship release or ones we'd sing on a weekend... but filled with His presence nonetheless. These songs were much more precious.
It was sounds like: Ethan playing soccer with Brody in the kitchen complete with commentary and crowd noise, Brody's hysterical laughter... the one he does when he's watching Ethan and laughs so hard he can hardly breathe, the 'sons of thunder' playing upstairs so loudly that I begin to pray for the integrity of the ceiling, the sound of Greg's truck in the driveway and the garage door opening around dinner time, knowing my hardest goodbye of the day is getting ready to be my favorite hello, the washing machine never stopping, the back door and then the refrigerator door and then the back door again, Greg praying quietly over the boys at night before bed, words like: "Get your shoes on", "Can I please have more" and "Don't touch your brother". It's the kind of stuff that itunes can't replicate and if they could, I'm not sure anyone would intentionally search for it - but it's also the kind of thing that I would be willing to pay a million dollars for, everyday, for the rest of my life if I needed to. It's the soundtrack of my life and as I'm learning all the lines and lyrics, I'm finding it's the best set of songs I've ever heard.
These melodies are etched in my soul like that song that gets stuck in your head - but in the best way possible. These are songs I don't want to forget. Songs I want to be able to sing back when I'm 80. Songs I'm so glad I get to sing.
There are a few things that make us distinctly "Banks": how we all cheer for different EPL teams, the way we have a passion for music, the way we love all things Aloha, and the way we eat zucchini bread. Yes. In our family, it's an art form.
Once a week, for almost two years, I have made 2 loaves of zucchini bread (or "ZZ Bread" as it's called around here). Usually, one loaf is devoured in the first 24 hours, the second lingers for a few days, but only until the beginning of the next week, when two more arrive. I was looking for a way to pack in healthy goodness (all organic, full of veggies, fruit, protein, etc.) but without making my family eat something less than savory. After much testing in the kitchen, I came up with a recipe that my kids and husband adore... and they don't even mind that it's packed with more veggies, fruit and protein than most people eat all week. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack - ZZ bread is innately "Banks". Ethan has learned home school math and science making it, Brody has learned the art of "helping mommy" and Greg has learned precisely how long it takes for the loaf to cool to the perfect temperature so he can dive into the first piece.
Tonight, while Brody was helping me make this week's batch, the Lord began speaking to me. I was pouring the batter into the loaf pans and had already planned to give my little helper an opportunity to have, by far, the best part of the baking experience - a chance to lick the bowl - when this scene started playing out. You see, he had spilled a bit of flour on the counter and was busy poking his pudgy little finger in his little mess when he asked me if he could eat it. I answered, "Sure, but it's not going to be as yummy as you think." Brody's little nose wrinkled up after tasting the flour and he tried to muster a "mmm" sound, as he wanted to pretend he had made the right decision. I laughed, because it was just so precious, and handed him a huge spoon and the batter bowl. He scraped the bowl clean in a matter of seconds, said, "Thank you, Mommy!" and climbed down from his kitchen chair perch... with the remnants of the batter all over his face.
And that's when it hit me.
How much is that like us with the Lord?
He has these amazing plans and dreams for us and instead we're asking him, as we poke our pudgy little fingers in our own messes, "Can I have this?", meanwhile, he's got an AMAZING, YUMMY concoction of a plan just inches away that would be so much better than we could ever imagine if we would only wait on Him for the better thing. He's saying to us, in love and with a heaping cup full of mercy, "Sure, Beloved, you can have your little mess, but it's not going to be as yummy as you think...." Then, when we come away from the experience feeling less than satisfied, he never fails to offer us the better plan, the easier way, His highest will for our lives.... all in love, mercy, and without condemnation.
Precious, gracious Father, how I long to be like my batter-covered boy: having all over me the remnants of your blessings for my life ... and learning not to settle for the mess, but to be willing to wait for the chance to lick the bowl of all You've got for me.
Tara is Greg's girl, mom to two sons of thunder, a hunger fighter, big dreamer and worship pastor at seacoast church.