We sat sipping our coffees and checking our smart phones, a sprinkling of conversation here and there. I was afraid I was going to be late, as I snuck into the back row right as Sunday school got started. For the next hour a few dozen of us ranging in age from late teens to well past retirement talked about the attributes of God’s goodness. We celebrated the God of love and mercy and grace and wrestled openly with the idea of God’s justice and righteousness and holiness.
We asked questions. How do you help your child understand that God is still good when they go to school with kids that don’t have enough to eat? How to you reconcile that God is love with the Old Testament stories of hardened hearts and decimated armies. How do you trust in God’s mercy when He allows good people to die early deaths?
I used to be terrified of my heart. My head and I were great friends. I could research and learn and file facts away and lean on them when I didn’t know what to do or think or say. But my heart… my heart was deep water that I was scared to dive into.
The question “what do you think” was one I welcomed. I could tell you what I thought about a million things. But “what do you feel?” that was a completely different story. I didn’t know what I felt, and even if I figured out what I felt I didn’t understand why I felt what I was feeling, much less what do to with those feelings.
Over Spring Break we dog sat for some friends of ours. They have a black lab that is less than a year old and adorable. The last day they were with us my son put him in his kennel but didn’t close the door. The silly dog laid in that cage for a good 10 minutes whining because he wanted out so bad. We kept telling him, and showing him, the door was open, but for some reason he just couldn’t see his way to freedom.
Sounds like me sometimes. Feeling trapped. Asking God for rescue. Completely missing the way of escape He’s provide. I lived like that for years. I’ll even confess, sometimes I was perfectly aware of the open door, but the comfort of my cage overruled the intrigue of the unknown on the other side of the door.
Did you see it?
I admit it, a few weeks ago I jumped on the supermoon bandwagon.
The upside of getting up at 3:30am means you get some amazing views in the sky. and that November morning was spectacular. The moon lit up the sky in a way that made you feel like you were standing in the middle of Times Square.
The last few weeks this verse has come to my mind over and over again. It wasn’t until today that I had time to sit with it and ask God what He was so persistently trying to tell me.
I’ve felt like I haven’t had any words lately. And every time I pray about it this is what I hear from Him; “open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Yeah. Ok. That’s great, God. Open my mouth and you will fill it, only when I open my mouth no words come out. So.... what’s up with that?
It happened more than a year ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
We were standing in the hallway. It was Sunday, right before church. I had paused to say hi to a group of ladies when she walked by. The minute she was out of ear shot it started...
"Did you hear? Her husband left her."
"With all those kids? How on earth is she going to pay her bills?"
"I heard he..."
"Well, I heard she..."
Maybe your life has been shook up like that quake disrupted a quiet, peaceful Saturday morning. We all find ourselves at the doorstep of fear wondering if everything is going to crumble. It’s remarkable to me that God offers us Jesus as our cornerstone and His strength as our foundation.
Last week I sat in a dark auditorium and watched my daughter and four of her friends perform a one act play that she had written. I always cry when any of my kids performs, whether it’s singing in the choir, acting in a play, or chasing a ball in sports. I just can’t keep the tears at bay when I watch my kids doing their thing.
But this day the tears streaking down my face were from more than just pride, my heart was breaking. The play is titled “Not for the Perfect” and it’s the story of a picture perfect family that was anything but. It's the story of parents and kids who were trapped in a cycle of abuse, addiction, and abandonment. It was a hard story to watch. Harder still knowing that my daughter and her friends used stories from their own real lives as inspiration for the play.
I have four new scars on my body that I didn’t have a month ago. Four lines of pink skin that marks the spots the surgeon’s instruments were placed. Those four scars join a host of others. Some visible, many hidden. All of them with a story to tell.
Just a little update on what’s going on with me and why you won’t be hearing from me in the mornings for the next few weeks.