Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meaning

"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You."
Isaiah 26:3

So much has happened this week in the world. Sometimes I look down at my little crew and I
can barely breathe out a thank you for the abundance in my heart, and in the tiny little bubble world in which I love to envelope myself and snuggle down.

"You hem me in behind and before,
                                                        and you lay your hand upon me.
                                                                            Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
                                                      too lofty for me to attain."
Psalm 139:5
Life is sweet for us right now. True, nothing is ever done. And it literally took me all day to work up the energy to clean the broken egg out of the back of the refrigerator the other day. It taunted me between breaking up fights between the older 2, and the younger 2, and the oldest and the youngest, and comforting a toddler who has been uncharacteristically unreasonable this week.

I was reading a devotional this morning that mentioned that we should make our homes inviting and pretty, and especially our dining room tables, and at that very moment I looked over at our stained and beat up Ikea table with the leg that is bent and sagging, and the broken chairs around it and I laughed out loud. But I didn't feel sad.

Not even a little bit sad.

What does make me sad? Toddler size flip-flops on the floor by the door. Catching a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye at the same moment that I was telling JT about the ISIS attacks on Paris. Wondering if the little feet that fit into them will turn into big feet that fit into boots and march into the terror of war someday.
Wondering what little feet of wandering refugee children would fit into them.

This world is so big, and my life is so small, and I struggle with that. How can I help change the world when I can barely get my 3 little boys clean and fed and loved and read to and challenged and prayed with every day?
I don't know.
"Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place, and fill the atmosphere."

We sang this part of this song over and over again on Sunday. I sang with my eyes closed. All of my children stayed in childcare the whole time. JT wasn't able to come to church this week, I sat beside people I didn't know, but who were not strangers.
I sang those words over and over again, and I meant them, and I felt His smile upon me.
Some people get annoyed at the way praise songs repeat themselves over and over again, but whenever I repeat things to God over and over, I think of that verse in Revelation that talks about the creatures who spend eternity saying: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty: Who was, and is, and is to come."
And maybe that sounds boring, but only if you don't know what it is to feel God's presence. To bask in it. It is all consuming.

It is not boring.
There is so much uncertainty in this world, and so much pain. But I can't really explain it....uncertainty used to scare me. Even just last week it used to scare me, and I'm sure it will scare me again.
 I wanted a 10 year plan. Heck, I wanted the 5 minute plan. I have known from a very young age that we are guaranteed nothing more than the breath we have today. We are guaranteed nothing more than the moment we have today to kiss the top of sparse blond heads, to endure a kick in the gut from the 4 year old whose love is so painful, to listen one last time to the 7 year old regale you with details of his Lego Ninjago book.
But this week, what a gift, every single time I have felt uncertain, every single time I have wondered about tomorrow, worried about the future, fretted over the propaganda that surrounds me, I have heard God speak His word to me. Little whispers. Giant Truths. The only source of Truth in a world that wants everyone to believe its lies.
Even my own heart is a struggle. What are my intentions? Sometimes I think I am seeking God when really I am only seeking myself. Daily, more and more, I shudder at the darkness of my own sin.
It's why the evil in the world around me really doesn't surprise me, and can't surprise me. We are all desperate sinners. But for the grace of God where would I be? The stains of sin still on my hands. I am weak, I am fallible.
And I am free because God made it so. Because He couldn't just leave us there. Couldn't just leave me there.
What an incredible feeling that is. Like suddenly sprouting wings and soaring up over this great big mess that our world has become. The way your heart drops into your throat, but it's not fear exactly. It's...thrill.
And that's how I've been feeling this week. And what I have been wishing I was better at sharing with the world. It's not fair to keep it to myself. It's not right. It is more blood on my hands.
This world is so, so messed up, but we don't have to be afraid of it. We have to be bold. We have to step out into it, we have to let ourselves be used up entirely.
It is such a temptation sometimes to be concerned about preserving the body. I know the temptation as I have been getting older. I see the first few strands of gray and it makes me nervous. My joints ache and I wonder if it's the beginning of the end. It is a reminder of our human frailty. Because of sin, these bodies will not last forever.

But what we do with them will.
And I've decided that that is how I will change the world today.
I will pray for a bigger vision, a bigger impact, but mostly I will live fully in connection with God in the now.
The poet Emily Dickinson said "forever is composed of nows."
My only opportunity to impact the future is today....is right now where God has placed me.
"You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dented body... Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work. One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today is the testimony of giving your body to another." -Rachel Jankovic
I love this. I want to be the mustard seed that dies today, that breaks open to form a great tree that maybe I will not even get to see in this world.
I want to be a caterpillar that braves the gooey nothingness stage in order to become something beautiful.

I am really loving our church. I am really loving that when I asked Aquaman the other day what he learned in his class he said "well, mostly, we talk about how God can use us to change the world." I can tell he really likes that. I love that he is thinking about more than common core math and Junie B Jones books and Lego creations. I wish that more people could get a glimpse into the extraordinary heart that he has today, but I also truly believe that someday, when he has had some years and training to handle the complexities of his extraordinary heart, they will.
He told me the other day that the verse they were learning at church was Proverbs 31:8-9

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."

I told him that this was one of my favorite verses, the verse that I have always considered my life verse as a nurse.
I loved the way he suddenly became shy, looking at his shoes before his eyes met mine again and he said quietly: "it's my favorite verse in the Bible too."

Aquaman doesn't just say stuff like that. He doesn't just agree with you to be agreeable. In fact, I would say it is hard for him to admit that he likes something when someone else says they like it too....yes, he is that ornery.

But that makes it mean more when he does.

And so we will continue to walk our roads of uncertainty this week.

We will do it with mixed up hearts that know where to go when we are thirsty for Truth.
We will do it with bodies that sometimes feel used up from being poured into others, and hearts that long to change the world.


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