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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Coming Up for Air

The NSCO and I have been talking a lot lately about how to find Jesus in the middle of everything going on right now. I admit, it’s tough. It’s tough when you feel lost, abandoned, and betrayed. It’s tough when there are no answers and the questions pile on. It’s tough when the months pass and nothing seems to get any better.

So I say that Jesus and I have been fighting it out, but really it’s more about me weeping and yelling and wondering when the kids and me are going to be rescued. Where is our safety? Where is our solace? Will we ever have that again, or will it always hurt as much as it hurts now? I don’t know, and I don’t know that I’m going to get any answers.

NSCO and I talked about how I’ve walked with Jesus through deep darkness before, and that’s true. But then it was different. It was stuff from my childhood, and my strong anchor was the knowing that, no matter what,  I had survived. These days I have no such security. I don’t know that this isn’t going to kill me. I don’t know for sure that I’m going to make it through this bodily even, much less with my sanity intact. It is testing every bit of who I think I am and what I believe about life and God Himself. I’m failing every single day with letting my emotions take over, with my poor, precious children who deserve so much better, with trying to “live in the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Yesterday on the way to my midwife appointment (did I mention I’m 39 weeks pregnant?!), I was asking Jesus how to know I’ll live through this, or if there is even a way to know. And I heard, “It is finished.” In the heavenlies, this script is fully written and played out. I don’t have to write a word, make any plot line fit, or edit with my fat red pen. I’ve been asking where my rescue is, why I’ve waited so long for the redemption that I thought would come, but Jesus nudged, “To know that, you must first go back to Who I Am.” Indeed. I’ve hurt and wept and become mired in the pain and tragedy that is my life right now. And really, things are as bad as all that. I wish I were just being dramatic.

I spent the rest of my drive thinking about Who He is. He is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17), He is alive (2 Corinthians 6:16), He is waiting for me to come to Him, truly come to Him (Revelation 3:20). Did I think that He wasn’t still waiting for me even after I invited Him in seven years ago? Did I think He wasn’t still beckoning?

I don’t know where that leaves me at the end of the day. I do know that I need to travel back, far back, swim through the questions that I’d rather not peer too deeply into. Questions like, “How are You going to make beauty from this, here on Earth? And how will You show me that the Cross was enough, even for this?” At this point I don’t know the answers, but I’m finding the courage to ask the questions.

And that’s where we are. Soon, I’ll have another little princess to love on and imagine that I’ll have more solid direction for my life by the end of the calendar year. Until then, I just have to keep holding on.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

Ps 61:2-3

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I am a lover of symbols. When I’m going through a season, I like to have a reminder of it. It also serves as a way of having stories to tell when my children ask about a particular piece.

In this desert season, I’ve been particularly interested in what it means to grieve. I looked at some Victorian mourning jewelry, but that didn’t seem exactly my style. Then I found a neat website that lists symbols of grief. It may seem a bit macabre, but I find it comforting that there are established symbols for this sort of thing. In any case, I decided that the knot would be my personal symbol for this season because it represents resurrection.

Now I needed to decide what sort of jewelry. For some reason, the thought of a necklace and a bracelet felt too much like being shackled to grieving, and I didn’t want that. I decided on a ring, a ring with a knot. Sounds complicated, I know, but I guess that’s why I love Etsy so much. I found a neat ring and ordered it, but the artist was delayed due to Hurricane Irene (totally understandable).

My ring came yesterday. Actually, she sent two because of the delay, which I thought was awfully kind. I find it interesting that yesterday Jesus asked me to take a step into the desert, and yesterday this symbol of grieving came to my house. Coincidence? I think  (k)not.

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Last night at girls’ group, we had a super brief discussion on Luke 9:62,”But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I fancy myself a bit of a theologue and, as such, have spent time studying over the years what exactly I believe and why. Why this verse in this place? Wanting to consider the positions I heard last night, I decided to turn to a couple of commentaries I trust. This is the one that struck me:

Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.  –Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

I love how God honors my desire to know Him more and confirms His rhema word with His logos. Just this morning we were talking about the desert valley of pain, this place both the Not-So-Casual Observer and I feel Jesus is calling me. This morning, I asked Jesus what He would have me do to walk this out, and He said,

“I want you to step onto the scorched earth. I want you to notice the grit of sand as it fills every empty space between your toes and rubs your flesh smooth. I want you to feel your lips go dry and your throat parch, how one step into this and you’re already thirsty. I want you to gaze down into this valley and see how far it is and wonder where the midpoint is, when you’ll begin your ascent, where the top is. What do I want you to do? Walk.  Look back at the lovely meadow you’ve spent the last few months in, then look at the colorless expanse before you, and choose this anyway.”

If I walk away from this, the work He’s doing in me is for naught. And since I believe that He will bring His good work to completion, and that His word will not return void, then this is what I must do. Choose this anyway.  Let it hurt anyway. Feel the pain anyway. Walk through the desert anyway. One step at a time.

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Today, my son, you are five. Five sounds like a big kid number, not a little kid number. We will celebrate you a bit more today than we do every other day. There will be cake and presents and the wild cacophony of Chuck E. Cheese.

You are kind; the kindest, tenderest boy I know. The way you love your sisters amazes me. You help them, plot with them, question them, soothe them. You act as peacemaker. You defer to them. Watching you with them shows me the sort of husband and father you’ll be: patient, kind, warm, loving, funny, sweet. You are amazing.

As you grow, I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses your strengths of compassion and mercy to make you more like Jesus. I love how hard you love, and with such gusto. I love  how you care about being close to your girls.

I love to watch you conquer things, how brave you are. You potty trained yourself when you were a brand-new two. You learned to read at four with only your sister’s help. You play Wii like your life depends on it. Last night when you split your lip, you weighed the cost of the shot and stitches and decided you’d go through with it if I thought you should. That’s courage, my son, that is faith.

I’ve never met a grownup who didn’t love your sweet charm. Keep your heart pure, dear boy, and that will be an irresistible draw to the heart of God for others in your life. You are a mighty warrior, beloved of God, beloved of us, precious and wonderful. Happy five, my boy. You are our treasure.

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My high school band director used to call me SOC, meaning stream of consciousness. These days I prefer something I saw on Pinterest: “I’m not random, you just don’t think as fast as me.” 🙂 Here’s a series of random thoughts over the last few days.

Last session, the Not-So-Casual Observer and I talked about my fear of/issues with laziness. After a crazy week with far too little rest, the Music Man insisted that I take a nap this afternoon. I was prematurely awakened by a crying child but kept willing myself to get up and not waste the day. Then I dozed. I thought I heard MM coming up the stairs, and I realized that I was trying to appear awake even though I had indeed been sleeping, not wanting to be unprepared.

Sooo…apparently I need to work on that issue. My Facebook status update said something like, “Hate it when something your therapist has been trying to tell you just smacks you in the face in the middle of your Sunday afternoon.”

 

In other news, we take communion almost every Sunday at my church. At our old church we only took once a month, and I’m surprised that how much it’s come to mean to me to be able to do it weekly. Yesterday, my communion cracker stuck in my throat. And I thought about this thing, how the Gospel is just so darn hard to swallow sometimes. I mean, is it just me?

 

I think the Music Man’s job is getting to me. I realized this morning that he’s home to see the children a maximum of 12 hours per week. That’s madness in my book. That means in the four months marching band season lasts, he’ll see the children for a total of about eight days. So in a third of the year, he’ll spend less than 7% of it with the brood. I am not dealing with this well. At all.

Aaannnd, there’s your random update. I’m getting dressed to go to the gym in an effort to mange some of the stress. Well, and to be “off duty” for two hours because it’s the last time I’ll have until Wednesday night. Details.

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As one who has been relatively emotionless, I haven’t had the capacity to really look at the cross. It’s been too much, too much cruelty to look upon. But now that I’m feeling things and actively working on integrating emotions into my life, I have come face to face with the truth of the cross, the Truth ON the cross, and it’s breaking my heart.

They whipped You, they beat You, they spat on You. They shoved thorns onto Your head and into Your skin. Because of them, Your own mother hardly recognized You, except of course that a mother always knows her own child. They drove stakes through Your wrists. They stacked Your feet and nailed them down, then raised You up. You, beautiful Jesus. They jeered at You, blasphemed You, denied and deserted You. And what did You say? “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I have murdered many times over, and the truth is this:

I whipped You, I beat You, I spat on You. I shoved thorns onto Your head and into Your skin. Because of me, Your own mother hardly recognized You, except of course that a mother always knows her own child. I drove stakes through Your wrists. I stacked Your feet and nailed them down, then raised You up. You, beautiful Jesus. I jeered at You, blasphemed You, denied and deserted You. And what did You say? “Father forgive her, for she knows not what she does.”

Grace.

 

(Listen to the bridge. It’s amazing, truly amazing.)

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