~ D.H. Lawrence
Last night as we sat down to pray together with the kids. I wasn't feeling prayerful or focused. I was a little depleted and disappointed in my lack of patience and frustration. Too many scattered thoughts and unfinished jobs. An older friend spoke of this season of raising small children, in her own life, as feeling fragmented. It resonated with me. I feel it too at times, all the things that you just can't get to, the many needs at every turn. That feeling like I can never be quite enough. That deep longing for sanctuary, for solitude. And then there are those things I always thought I'd do... study photography, adopt, advocate for children, go to India and Uganda, serve the least of these, all these deep desires that are still there but seem out of reach. At times I wonder if I am really doing anything well. Am I really serving in the ways God tells me too? Are my days ordered by Him? I want to be His vessel, His hands and feet while I am here but can I do that in my little home, in this place I am in?
As I look back at old prayer journals I asked God to help me love what He loves and hate what He hates, that He would let my heart break over what breaks His. I have seen Him answering this prayer in increasing measures and for that I am thankful. But what do I do with headlines that turn my stomach and make me shudder, that haunt me when I'm reading Goodnight Moon or telling my daughter not to be afraid in the storms?
How can I feast on plenty while sisters around the globe watch their own babies bellies swell?
I erupt with joy at each new phrase sweetly spoken by my toddlers lip's. I cup his soft face in my hands and drink in those holy moments. Somewhere else on this beautiful spinning planet Syrian mothers become numb when daughters and husbands and sons are murdered.
My heart breaks.
I wait for the moment when my husband walks through the door and into my arms while the wife and children of Pastor Saeed Abedini continue to hear of his unlawful imprisonment and torture.
My heart breaks.
I watch my girls laugh and dance through the grass in the long shadows of the afternoon and I ache for the beauty.
But someone else's little girl is sold as a sex slave, raped, treated like trash, and I tuck my precious girls in, to the sounds of soft music. Who hears their wailing?
My heart breaks.
I watch the wonder of new blooms of cosmos and lilies and marvel at the intricacy of moth wings while today many remember the last time they saw their loved ones lost in New York City this day twelve years ago?
Sometimes it feels like sacrilege. The disparity haunts me. How can life and humanity be simultaneously so heinous and sorrowful, beautiful and joyful. I am undone by my blessing and grieved by the suffering of so many around the world.
A friend of mine wrote this today:"On this day, as we remember so many lives tragically lost on our own soil, let's also remember that for many families across the globe, this awful sense of tremendous and sudden loss is a daily horror. For many forgotten and unseen people, the sting of death has become a close friend. Even today, my beloved Nigeria bleeds. Over 600,000 Syrians have fled their homes, their families, their lives. War, famine, floods...
We are not alone in our grief. As we remember what happened on 9/11/01, please...say a prayer for the millions of other beautiful souls sharing our planet whose "9/11" is happening right now."
I leave this full, tattered, thankful, burdened, broken heart at the foot of the cross; for where else can I go? I leave it there, with Him who is well acquainted with sorrows, who entered this bloody war-torn skin of ours to embody love. I look to the hills from whence cometh my help. I lift up the sufferers to his throne. I share their grief, it has become this well inside me. I join my tears with theirs. My joys are held up to the light of what will one day be.
I stilled my heavy soul and listened to my daughter pray and here is some of what she said,
"Dear God, Thank you for my body and how wonderful it works, and that is a sanctuary that you live in. God, can you please control my heart? And God can you please help the people that have to go through really hard things in the world. Can you help to heal them. Jesus I am sorry for the sins that I do. Can you forgive me and can you take them away with your arms?....Can you spread open my heart with your love. God can you help me to be a good author when I grow up and a pastor. I love you forever and more."
Her child's heart spoke so deeply that tears fell at her words. Tears of relief at His mercy, of hearing what my own soul couldn't voice just then. No matter how short I may fall or how many times I have to say I'm sorry, God is so faithful. I listened as she spilled out her heart just like she was sitting with a trusted friend and I was overwhelmed by how he covers us in His grace.
I will dwell on His promises.
I will hope in Him.
I long for His glory to be made full in my heart and to all nations.
"Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:14
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you."~ Isaiah 43:5
"I will turn their morning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow."~Jeremiah 31:13
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."~Exodus 33:14
""He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away."~ Revelation 21:4