Goose Poop

By Mandi Greene
“Look at that pond!” we thought as we walked through the home that would soon become ours. “Look at that view! We can take the kayaks out and go fishing. We can sit on the porch in the mornings and watch the sunrise over the water!”
What our realtor should have said was, “Yes, and look at all those geese! They will honk all hours of the day and poop all over your yard!”
Truly, I don’t mind the geese, but I do mind the poop now that I have a toddler who puts everything he can pick up directly into his mouth. Rocks. Twigs. Leaves. Dirt. And – you guessed it – goose poop. The first time it happened I was good and truly appalled, digging my finger in his mouth and slapping his hand away while I shrieked about how disgusting that was. Not only did my son not appreciate my looking out for him, but his cherubic little dimpled cheeks inflamed red as he stomped those tiny toddler feet and fisted those miniature hands of his and screamed at me.
I imagine God looking at us the way I must have been looking at my son when we deliberate with Him over our choices in life. We who have such limited understanding, who can’t tell the difference between a rock and goose poop, and God who stands there with a weary hand running over His face and an exasperated sigh turned in our direction.

“Be patient,” He says. “I have not only what you need, but what will delight you. Real, delicious food that will satisfy and nourish you, that will make you grow and thrive in a way that lump of goose poop never will. Listen to my words and believe in Me, believe that I will come through for you and that the way I show you to go is the way that will bring you the most joy. You don’t yet understand the consequences of your decisions but I do and I want to keep you from them. Listen.”
“But God, look at this!” We exclaim. “It’s exciting and new and, well, it just happened across my path and that must mean it was meant for me. I like it and I want it. Please let me have it.”
If only we had the guarantee up front that something better was coming along. If only God could show us the master plan so we could know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we let go of the thing we are holding onto, it won’t mean that we are left with nothing. If only we could actually believe that our perfect, loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God would come through on the promise He made to us, His children.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11
I struggled the most with this during my transitional years between high school and college. There was never a time when I turned away from God per se, but this was a time when He felt far away to me. And what I couldn’t understand at the time is that I was the one who had pushed Him there, and it had a lot to do with the person I was dating. It’s not that he was a bad guy, but he wasn’t the right guy for me. He wasn’t a Christian guy and we simply were not on the same page spiritually. For three years we toiled through an on-again off-again relationship that wreaked a lot of havoc on each other. Instead of severing what I knew was a relationship headed nowhere, I prayed that God would change him. I prayed that He would magically turn him into the godly man that I had once imagined would be my husband but had somehow lost sight of along the way. And then I got really frustrated and hurt that it wasn’t working. Because by this point I had invested so much and cared so deeply that it was hard to let go of those emotions and see the true state of things.

Guys, we don’t get the blessings without the obedience. And that’s not because God is a bully standing over our shoulder micromanaging our lives, it’s because straying from what He says means straying from what is good and right, and the consequences of those actions are harmful to us. His commands are to show us the right way. It’s His blaring warning of “DON’T EAT THE GOOSE POOP!” Why? Because goose poop is bad for us!
I wish I would have listened for God’s promise during those years that I was floundering.
“Be patient,” He would have said. “Don’t try to force what isn’t meant to be. The one I have for you was made with your very soul in mind. He was formed to be the strength to your weakness, the solace in your storm. He will be your most loyal companion and he will need you in the ways that you are strong. I shaped his very bones and breathed life into his being, and there is no authority greater than mine to promise you that he is yours. You don’t know it yet, but his mother has covered you in prayer since the day he was born, before you came into existence. His sister will be your sister, his family will become yours and you will miss that if you don’t follow me. Use this time to become the wife you want to be. Pull close to me and I will show you this good plan.”
Thank the Lord that He is the kind of Father who will dig His finger into our mouths and remove the goose poop we are trying to eat, even when we scream and try to bite Him. He tells us in His Word, this is how I want you to date. This is what is honorable and right in your marriage. This is how you treat your family and friends, how to parent, how to engage in conflict. This is your purpose and your hope, this is what real love looks like, and this is how you find lasting joy in a world of materialism and immediate gratification. He is bending over us, walking with His arms caged on each side while we stumble through the simple act of walking, trying to keep us safe and show us where to go. But often, all we are hearing is the “No, don’t do that! Stop it! That’s bad for you!” and instead of being grateful for the nudging correction, we begrudge Him for limiting us at all.
All I can say is that that’s when it’s most important for us to follow Him. Even if the actions feel forced, do them anyway. Those acts of obedience – of prayer and study and earnest worship, of following His commands – that is how we seek Him. That is how we hear the direction of where to go when we can’t see the way. Don’t ignore that niggling feeling that something about your current situation isn’t quite right, even if it seems good enough to you. If you ignore the verbal warning and try to eat the goose poop anyway, you can bet there is a more forceful method of intervention coming, and it will not be comfortable.
The events that finally separated me from that guy I had been dating were excruciating, but looking back now I am so thankful that God went to those measures to make me listen and correct my path. Because within two months I had reconnected with the man who would be my husband, and seven months later we were engaged and there was none of the doubt or spiritual wrestling that had plagued all those years before.

Just like my hard-headed toddler, we can be taught – but it starts with us. It starts with a heart that wants to listen, a mind that trusts in God’s motives, and a body that obeys despite our doubts and cynicism.
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?”   Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. ~1 Samuel 15:22
King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord his God. ~2 Chronicles 27:6


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About Mandi:  The most honest thing I can tell you about myself is that I am a total mess.  On any given day it’s likely that I have eaten breakfast, washed my hair, or put on clean clothes, but certainly not all three.  After six years of marriage to a man who can never be called boring, I’ve recently entered into the most challenging and inspirational season of life yet – becoming a new mom.  Having grown up as a part of the Oakwood family myself, I am overjoyed to begin raising my little one in the same loving arms.  It has been through this new beginning that God has continued working on me in completely new ways, and I am so thrilled to share this journey with you, and humbled that our Savior finds value in someone as ordinary and unremarkable as me and my middle class, suburban American life. 

One Response to “Goose Poop”

  1. Robin Radcliff says:

    Mandi, I could barely see through my tears to finish reading your post! God bless you, my sweet sister-in-Christ, for sharing your walk with the Master, through your skilled gift of writing! I found myself saying, “Yes, Lord!” and “Thank you, Father, for gently and patiently guiding Mandi’s life and for blessing her with Brent!” What a good, good Father we serve! Love you!!

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