I’ve decided my official position on 2020 is “confused”. I’m confused about media coverage, confused about how to love people well from a distance, confused about mandates and regulations, laws and systems. I’m confused about the global stuff we are all facing. Then I’m dealing with sickness right now, two serious illnesses in two men I love. I’m watching one battle cancer and another struggle to keep his mind as Alzheimer’s wears it away. I’m heavy. Heavy with trying to be a support for people when I don’t know what they need. Heavy with the desire to advocate for justice and heavy with grief as I see broken pieces scattered all around. At times it just seems like too much, as though all of this existing together can not possibly hold shape. Like the earth will just implode under the pressure.
Then I see the way that God has carried me through in the past, I see the way He moves in the darkness and I see the ways He has been preparing me for this season.
“When I only see in part, I will prophesy your promise. I believe you, God. ‘Cause you finish what you start, I will trust you in the process. I believe you, God.”Bryan and Katie Torwalt
This song has been popping into my head all weekend as I look at this window. We taped and painted some windows as a family on Good Friday and waited a day to pull the tape. I wanted the kids to experience the day of waiting, on a certain level. To stare at something messy and wonder how it could be made beautiful.
This turned out to be a better analogy than I anticipated because 24 hours in freezing weather was too long to leave the tape on, and it needed to be coaxed and scraped off of the window. We had to really work at it, and I truly thought we were going to scrap the whole thing and just clean the windows.
God was taking my simple object lesson for the kids and revealing the areas of my heart where I struggle. When the refining process is painful, when dreams seem to be on hold for far too long, when motherhood has me toeing the line between consistency and insanity. Am I trusting God in the process? Trusting Him to not waste my pain, to grow something deeper in the trials. Am I trusting His timing? Am I even waiting on His timing…or am I waiting on my obedience?
I can be like the glass sometimes, adhering to the tape. Holding close to something that seems familiar and warm, afraid of letting go, afraid of the exposure. Whether it is my pride, my shame, or my fear; anything that keeps me trusting my own plan instead. But the light only shines through when I surrender.
I wrote these words around Easter of this year. How does that seem so long ago already?
I do a Holy Week reading each year with my children and we usually have a craft or activity to illustrate the lesson and ponder it a little longer, take us a step deeper. I see these words and I hear God’s love for me, that He was preparing my heart before I had to step out in faith. He is asking me to trust the process, to believe He will work it out for good. I’m not one to tell you that He will never allow suffering in your life, I have seen phrases like that be used to burn people as much as encourage them…and they just aren’t biblical. We are promised trouble in this world and we are promised that He will work it together for good. ( John 16:33, Romans 8:28)
We find ourselves sitting in pain and anquish often, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t in pursuit of Him. Sometimes we sit there because we are doing what is asked of us. We are loving the needy and we are acknowledging their pain, taking it on our own.
“Isn’t this the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into you house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh and blood.”Isaiah 58:6-7
I was in a local grocery parking lot last week, I just finished buckling my children into the car, hopped into my seat, reached for a buckle and *crash* felt my car shake and watched another truck speed away. I didn’t quite have time to acknowledge what had happened before they were out of the way. As it turns out they had, unapologetically, rammed a shopping cart into my front bumper and drove off. I hopped out of the vehicle and examined the damage, nothing but a little streak of white paint. I wasn’t truly upset about the paint, but the audacity of knowingly ramming a cart into someone else’s vehicle and driving away was frustrating. A vehicle that he had to have seen a person in, I’m fairly certain he even saw me buckle two children into the truck. It was not okay.
There is a lesson in perspective here, as I am dealing with much larger things in life right now….I can shrug off a spot of paint on my vehicle. It does not matter in the long run, it is a trivial thing and I don’t want to put that much effort into processing it emotionally. It isn’t worth it.
The other thing though, the one I have been pondering, is the woman who hopped out of her car and moved the cart for me. She saw it all take place, got out of her car, pulled the cart away from my vehicle, and just commiserated with me. “I’m sorry” and “I can’t believe he did that”. She just sat with me for a moment and saw me, acknowledged that I was wronged even though she couldn’t physically fix it and it helped. It changed the cherry on top of a stressful time to a lesson on perspective.
We don’t always have to understand the next step in order to be there for people.
This is the other way God has been preparing me for this season. Do you ever feel that there is a word you just keep returning to in scripture? A word or an idea?
The last several months, mine has been humility. It isn’t the easiest one for me to grasp. Not typically because I think too much of myself,more often because I think of myself too much. My fear or failure holds me back from helping a friend in crisis. What if I just make things worse?
My pride hold me back from learning because I’m too embarrassed to admit I have questions. I want to understand things and needing to receive so much clarification or assistance makes me feel small and incapable. This is a misplaced shame though. I shouldn’t be ashamed about having questions, I should be ashamed that I’m unwilling to answer them.
Those questions do not grow me when kept inside. Humility is a posture of growth; understanding the limits of my own knowledge so that I can move forward in Heavenly wisdom.
I have questions about these diseases and how to properly support my family. I need to ask them and engage in uncomfortable conversations. I need to sit in the anguish with these people and believe their pain, feel it radiate through my own body and divide it for them.
“Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”Swedish Proverb
I have questions about our quarantine policies and how to be a good friend, that is there in crisis and respects a health concern. I’m researching, listening, and analyzing.
I have questions about the racial injustices we have seen, and some of the proposed steps to take. I’m confused as I break into the history I have been taught and rearrange it to make room for another story, a story that is uncomfortable to acknowledge. I’m confused about how to properly honor other cultures and steer clear of the appropriation trap. It seems that I am self correcting daily, because the things I thought were good and helpful apparently aren’t. I’m trying to understand this, where I am supposed to draw the line. And this isn’t to say that People of Color are being unclear or unfair….it is to say that relearning all of this information is hard.
I feel as though I’m cramming for a test and I’m running out of time. The stakes are high and the time is slim, I’m learning, growing, grieving.
I’m confused and learning….I suppose that is the most humble and powerful posture I can have in this season. To admit what I don’t know, so that I may learn more. To not be passive in putting sin to death or sparking hearts to life.
I’m humbled, not because I have nothing to offer but because I still have so much to learn. I’m humbled because any help I have to give is not strictly from me, it is Christ in me. I am called to be His hands and feet, which means I take action and believe in His power to bring it to glory.