i have always been drawn to the story of leah and rachel. as a child i remember being stunned at the nerve of laban, cheating jacob from his "princess." i, being a child under the influence of disney princessdom and being the best friend of a rachel, always sided with rachel - as if, somehow, i believed that leah deserved her fate as the "ugly sister." because, after all, shouldn't beautiful rachel get everything? she was the one that jacob desired. he never asked for weak eyed leah.
and then as i got older, my heart broke a little for leah. poor leah, played like a pawn by her father. unloved by her husband. yet i always skipped forward into the story where she and rachel got petty in their child bearing turf war.
tonight, though, i noticed a nugget. a little gem in the story of leah. something from before babies started flying out from every corner of the household from every woman in the household.
leah had four sons, right in a row. the first three she names respectively - he has seen my misery (or see, a son), he hears, and attached. each son she responds with the hope that her husband will now love her for each son she provides him. she hopes in what she cannot change.
but then her fourth. she named him praise. Judah. she said quite simply, "this time i will praise the Lord." for all the times later that she didn't get it, for this moment - leah got it. somewhere she learned that her hope was in the Lord. that she couldn't change her circumstances, she couldn't make her husband love her and her sons would never fill that void, but she could praise the Lord. because the Lord saw her.
how many paths do i try to take - my reubens, simeons, and levis - trying to make my own happiness happen? instead let me find real joy in Judah - in praise. let me wake up each morning saying the words of leah, "this time i will praise the Lord." let me face each trial saying, "this time i will praise the Lord." and let me face each joy saying, "this time i will praise the Lord."