Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time a woman stayed awake at night filled with anxiety that as her children grew older they would move away and become more mature versions of their amazing selves and forget about their mom.

Once upon time a woman stayed awake at night filled with fear and anxiety that when her children were grown, life would be empty and lonely and there would be no one to love and care for.

Once upon a time this woman’s husband tried desperately to console her. Yet she would not be consoled and cried anyway.

Once upon a time this woman’s God walked with her through sadness and despair and brought her out the other side into a beautiful light. He never left her. He was always faithful, always compassionate. He showed her how to walk in the light of Jesus and open her heart to EVERYONE and let go of fear.

Today, this woman’s children are grown and amazing. One of them even moved away. . . yet life is sweeter than ever. The children did not forget their mom. That was a silly fear.

Today, this woman’s life is filled with children - big and small - to love and nurture and hold deep in her heart. There has never been so many to love and care for.

And she never forgets what a gift this is.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I'm Paying Attention

Yesterday was not my favorite day. I’m not a fan of the new president. I find his character - at least the persona he shows us - disturbing and sad. I remain mystified and hurt that we’ve elected him. This isn’t Italy after all! 

Still, this is the president we have. Deal with it (that’s the pep talk I give myself; it needs improvement).

Yesterday my daughter said, “I made myself pray for the president today.” I stared at her. I hadn’t gotten there yet. Oh, I’ve prayed around him. “God, protect us. God bring good out of this mess.” That sort of thing, but praying for him? So this morning I took my daughter’s example and prayed for the president. It wasn’t the best prayer. It went something like, “He seems like such a messed up person inside. Help him love you.” That’s nice. I hope God can do something with that. . . 

I also prayed for myself, because I’m afraid my anger and hurt will change my insides. And that scares me. In the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, I’ve seen many of my Christian friends hating and disparaging Mr. Obama. It always startled me, and I don’t want to go that route. So I prayed “Please help me truly follow you in all this. Really. In my heart and in my feelings towards the new president and in my words and actions. It’s hard because hurt wells up inside me and flows out into words of anger that don’t honor you. Surely, I can disagree with our new president without hatred claiming a piece of me.”

Sigh. One sentence for our new president and a paragraph for me. It’s a good thing God never gives up on us.

Yesterday morning God was looking out for me. As usual. Each morning before I talk with God, I read a chapter from the book of Psalm in the Bible. This is an everyday thing and I just keep cycling through the Psalms, starting with chapter 1 and reading through chapter 150 and then starting all over again.

On Inauguration Day 2017, I read Psalm 46. At random. It was just the next Psalm to read.

It goes like this:
“God is a safe place to hide,
Ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,

Attention all! See the marvels of God!

‘Step out of traffic! Take a long,
Loving look at me, your High God,
Above politics, above everything!’”

Rather timely. . . 

I’m paying attention and stepping out of traffic to take a long, loving look at my God. I’m looking to see how he will use this mess for good.

I’m reading through the bible again this year, and was tempted (haha!) to skip the book of Genesis because, having grown up attending church, I’ve heard those stories a million times. I mean, I did turn fifty last year! But oh how glad I am that my “rule following” tendencies wouldn’t allow me to skip even one page.

As I read the last words of the book of Genesis, I recognized God is constantly taking situations we have completely messed up and making something good instead. The book of Genesis tells story after story of humans ruining every good situation God has given them and then God fixing their messes.

When this “light bulb moment” occurred to me, I laughed. Instead of being sad and hopeless, I should be watching and listening for the good God will bring from our mess. 

“Pay attention and see all the marvels of God!”

God is bigger than my mess. Bigger than your mess. Bigger than the messes we make together.

And I’m pay attention.