I was always craving chili. And honeybuns. And from time to time… fajitas.
But we were living in Japan, and fajitas? Yeah, we just couldn’t find them. We had sporadic access to the military bases on island, which was great for an occasional, much celebrated run to Taco Bell, but we never seemed to be able to get on when the cravings were the worst.
So, I was a giant pregnant woman, feeding rice to an infant with one hand and wiping away homesick tears with the other. Beef was on commissary, but we couldn’t shop on commissary. Beef was rarely on the Japanese market, and when it was, it was so expensive that we couldn’t afford it. I was a pregnant woman with no chili, no honeybuns, and no fajitas.
I dreamt of fajitas. Dreams where tortillas, beef, and shredded cheese rained down from the sky. Glory! And I would wake up, thinking about how I would never ever ever take fajitas for granted if we ever lived back in the United States. I would become a spokesperson for the awesomeness of fajitas. I would name my second born Fajita. Fajita Faulk. (And now that we all know and love her, we can all affirm that such a spicy name would have fit Emma to a tee!)
Nine months passed by with few fajitas. And before long, I was pushing a stroller with two girls in it instead of just one. One day, as I pushed it uphill back towards our house after a trip the zoo, I smelled them.
No, not dirty diapers. No, not zoo animals. No, not the familiar smell of fish.
I. Smelled. Fajitas.
The smell was coming from a little shop that I had seen hundreds of times. All Japanese signs, tucked away, looking just non-descript enough that it wouldn’t stand out to anyone.
I went up to the window, my heart racing, and put down three hundred yen, miming to the air, to the smell that had called to me like a Siren song.
And I was given a takeaway container, a pair of chopsticks, and a napkin. I opened it up to see… fajitas. Hallelujah. Fajitas! I put the chopsticks and the napkin down, picked the first one up with my fingers, took a bite, and burst into tears. (PPD in all of its glory, y’all.)
Fajitas! Not entirely Tex-Mex, of course, and fajitas done with an Okinawan flair… but still! Fajitas!
My babies and the shopowners watched me as I finished off every last bite of those fajitas, crying as I did so. And then, I put down another three hundred yen, and… well, you get the idea.
That shop was literally a quarter of a mile from our house. It had been there all along, all through those months of cravings, serving up fajitas every day, literally steps from where we lived.
The answer to all that I was longing for, hoping for, was right there for the taking, just down the hill.
I’ve been stressed lately. Because life? Is stressful. And as I’m freaking out on a routine basis, I have to remember that God didn’t call me to a life lived in faithlessness. I can be certain that God knows all that stresses me out, that He allows even these mishaps and failures and disappointments in my life for a purpose… and that likely that purpose is so I’ll trust Him more. Most days, I’m like a pregnant woman with fajita dreams, living obliviously just a stone’s throw away from fajitas bought for a pittance. My doubts and my fears, all that stresses me out, can be solved by the abundant supply and surplus of His goodness, if I’ll just have the faith to trust.
Thinking a lot about fajitas and faith lately…