Reflecting on the last few weeks, its hard to believe I have only been home for three. So much has happened. Jet lag recovery, trip processing, getting life back on track here at home, schooling starting up with all day co-op in full swing, being privileged to share a video testimony of Swaziland for our church, post trip meeting, our neighbors/good friends seven year old being hit by a car, in the hospital ICU and now up in rehab in Chicago. Phone calls about friends health issues – some good news, others not so good. Conflicts needing to be resolved, conversations to be had. Two fund raisers for our neighbors to help with medical expenses. Blah blah blah blah blah….overwhelming doesn’t quite explain it all.
Please understand, I am not complaining. Well, maybe a little, but not about my involvement in any of these things. I am complaining about this world and all its crappola. It just doesn’t end and frankly, I don’t like it! There is always need, suffering, pain, misunderstanding, selfishness, pain, hurdles, striving….it all just makes me long for Jesus to come back and make it all go away. Yep. I said it. Jesus. Coming back. I believe it. How’s that for a glimpse into my theology? So often we fall into the “God why?” mode – myself included. Its so easy to sit in that pit. I sat in it for a little bit today. I’m tired – emotionally and physically. I’m crabby. My back hurts. Dinner won’t make itself. The books won’t tell the kids what they need to learn. The laundry refuses to not pile up. The dog poops in the yard. Every day. Stuff spills. Emma finds nail polish. Get the idea yet?? Waaaaahhh!
Then there’s the “For shame” pit. After wallowing in the “why” pit I often move to this one. Shame on me for thinking my life is hard when so many others have so many things going on. Shame on me for being angry about laundry and cooking – at least we have clothes and food. Shame on me for not being tough enough to handle emotional stuff, physical pain, dog poop, homeschooling…..I am a wimpy, complaining, failure of a ________________________ (fill in the blank).
Thankfully, there is another pit I remember to fall into after this last one. Its the pit of GRACE. Throughout the last few weeks, even though I have been pushed to many of my limits, at the end of the day, I find God’s grace in my life. Notes from many people encouraging me to keep going. The joy of seeing my heart for Swaziland shared with our church body. Having a moment with the team from this year to reunite and relive our amazing trip. A husband who hugs me and in who’s arms I find understanding. The blessing of being friends with so many wonderful women in our co-op. Dinner brought unexpectedly. A raffle re-gift from this weekends fund raiser. Watching my little Emma scream with delight as her daddy pushes her high on the swing. Hanging my oldest’s newest art creation on the refrigerator – even though its the grim reaper instead of a recreation of the Madonna and her child that was assigned. Being able to take a deep breath and speak calmly to my younger boy (who has so much emotion pent up inside from his friends accident) when he exploded all over his sister today. Accepting help from a friend to make sense of the piles of stuff all over my house tomorrow. Getting to talk to my mom for a while yesterday after missing each other the last few days. Finding the bottom of a laundry basket. Reading tonight how our neighbors son somehow road a tricycle around the rehab room and then wowed them with walking a little, too. Amazing grace. I want to swim in it.
We are promised in God’s word that we will have trouble here – that’s what a fallen world brings. But, God’s word also promises peace that passes understanding, love that never fails, strength in our weakness, hope where there is no hope, joy where there is mourning. He promises to replace my wailing with dancing, my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, rest for my weariness. To this fragile soul, Jesus really is the answer to every question, concern, misunderstanding or hurt. He is the only one who can truly make things right and promises to do so when the time – His time – is right.
I went and got the mail today and found an interesting letter. It was from me, to me. Our trip leader has a tradition of having the team members write a letter to themselves at our post trip reunion – last year was no exception. He intended to send them to us before this years trip, but just didn’t get to it. He meant to bring them to the meeting this past weekend too, but forgot again. We enjoyed razzing him a bit about it, but he mailed them right when he was supposed to. I knew exactly what it was when I saw it today and when I opened it to read, this is what it said:
When you read this, remember that this trip is the beginning of something – not the end. There is still much work to be done in you and through you. Remember His words, dig your roots in deep. Remember the small hands you held. The peace of just being present. The necessity of being present. If you have hardened your heart again, give it back to Him to soften. Remember what you have been taught, shown, told. Are you doing the good works He has for you? Are you listening to His voice? Are you walking, abiding, relying? If the tears need to fall, let them. If the ugliness needs to be revealed, confess it. Stop running if you are running again. Allow His refining fire to burn off the dross. Give fully – believing He will fill the space. You are still in here – the fire still burning. Look for Him. Respond to His voice in everything. Remember…remember… remember.
I wrote that almost a year ago. Who knew it would be so relevant today? GOD did…If you need me, I’ll be doing the backstroke in the pit of grace. Come on in, the waters fine!