Still Waiting…

hourglass.jpg

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman… so that we might receive adoption as children. ~ Galatians 4:4-5

The longer I live, the more I understand two things: life involves a lot of waiting, and I really dislike waiting.

Waiting for the traffic light to turn green,

waiting in line at the grocery store,

waiting for an answer,

waiting for the test results,

waiting for a resolution.

Waiting for little things.  And big things.  And in-between things.

Waiting for it to get better… waiting for it to fall apart… waiting for the next chapter.

Waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more.

How ironic it is, then, how much I love the Christian faith.  Because so much of the Christian story is about waiting… waiting for a Savior to come, waiting for him to come back again.  Waiting for that same Savior to heal everything that’s broken, and distorted, and just plain wrong.  To follow Jesus is to embrace a hope that’s here as a glimmer, and yet not here in its entirety.  It’s to sink back with resignation… even as you keep leaning forward with anticipation.

In the fullness of time, God sent us Jesus.  In the fullness of time, it all changed.  And, in the fullness of time, it will all change again.

Let’s pray together:

God of the Beginning and the End… and Every Time In-Between,

Your sense of time is so different from mine, and that really bugs me.  Please soothe my ruffled feathers, please teach me what it is to wait with intention.  As much as I resist, help me to savor each moment of time… not just wish the moments away.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Prayer

fall water at dusk.jpg

God Our Guardian,

You know, car commercials don’t usually make me get all sappy.

But that one that’s been on lately-

that one that talks about how even though life changes

the road back home doesn’t-

geez, it gets me every time.

 

Here’s the thing, God-

this Thanksgiving week is going be great for some of us,

and definitely not-so-great for others of us.

Some of us will sit amidst loving family-

the football game on,

the smell of turkey and stuffing wafting through the air.

Some of us will enjoy the company of friends-

laughing, drinking wine, eating pumpkin pie.

But still others of us will spend this Thanksgiving

in a hospital room,

or a skilled nursing facility,

or a prison cell,

or all alone.

Broken relationships might feel all the more broken,

regrets might sting all the more.

We remember past years,

happier times.

We might dread the start of a holiday season that’s going to be a rough one.

 

Yep, life changes.  No two years are the same.

But navigate the way forward,

show us the road that leads to home.

Again and again, faithful Guardian,

show us the way home.

Amen.

 

The One Who (Almost) Got Away

road at dawn.jpg

Haven’t I commanded you?  Strength!  Courage!  Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged.  God, your God, is with you every step you take.    ~ Joshua 1:9; The Message

I knew that, whatever happened next, I couldn’t let go of our dog.  All 80-odd lbs. of him was hurling forward, determined to clobber the dog on the other side of the fence.  But, I wasn’t about to let that happen.

It all went down early one morning when I was out for a walk in the neighborhood with Chewy, our 11-month-old German Shepherd.  Chewy is all exuberant puppy, despite his massive size.  He was relatively calm until he saw that other dog, and was instantly transformed into a crazed, barking lunatic.  As he took off, I held on for dear life, falling to my knees, trying to tackle him.  Out of breath, but with the adrenaline pumping, I still managed to scream a few choice words at him.  Every time I’d start to pull him away, he’d plunge forward again.  Finally, we managed to get out of there, with everyone intact and unhurt.  Though I’m pretty sure the commotion woke up some of the neighbors.

Ever tried really hard not to let someone, or something go?  You try to hold onto to a dog who’s intent on getting way… you hold onto another person who’s about to leave… you hold onto a relationship that’s troubled, or a dream that’s fading, or a hope that’s grown dim.  You hold on tight, your grip increasing until your knuckles are white and your nerves are shot.

Sometimes, though, there are instances when we have to let go.  When there’s no other viable option.  When the prognosis isn’t going to get better… the damage to the relationship is irreversible… the bridge is burned… the decision is made… there’s nothing left to do or to say.  Then we seek strength to do what we know we must.

Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear- it’s the judgement that something else is more important than the fear.  When we stand at a crossroads, may God grant us perspective.  May we be strong, have courage, and continue placing one foot in front of the other.

Let’s pray together:

God our Guardian,

Sometimes it’s not about giving up, it’s about letting go.  Grant that we’d know when a door has closed, even as we seek out an open window.  In times of uncertainty, when we feel weak and scared, call us by name and show the way that leads forward.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Prayer

Tree with colorful leafs in fall

How do you listen to it all, God?

Every prayer, every word, every question, every sigh, shout, and groan.

In each instant, your children call to you.  Cry to you.  Protest.  Tug on your sleeve.

How do you do it?

 

I guess that’s why you’re God and I’m not.

Because you’re big enough to absorb our needs.

Where I grow impatient, you remain steadfast.

Where I turn a deaf ear, you lean in to listen all the more intently.

 

Thanks, God, for being all at once huge enough to take it all in,

and yet small enough to confide in.

Thanks for being a big armchair in which to rest,

a warm hug in which to feel secure.

And even when anyone in their right mind would want to run away,

thanks for never leaving.

 

I sure don’t get you, God.

But I’m sure glad you get me.

 

Enough

mom and baby hands.jpg

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.

~ Psalm 139:1-3

 “You can be silly or you can be sad.

You can be merry or you can be mad.

You can be grumpy or you can be glad.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be short or you can be tall.

You can be big or you can be small.

Your size and your shape don’t matter at all.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be messy or you can be neat.

You can be poky or fast on your feet.

March with the others or to your own beat.

God loves you just as you are.

 

You can be dark or you can be light.

You can be shades of the day or the night.

Whatever your color it suits you just right.

God loves you just as you are.

 

God made each part from your head to your toe.

Day in and day out he is helping you grow.

God made you special and that’s how you know:

God loves you just as you are.”[1]

 

I began reading these words to my daughter when she was only a couple weeks old.  I’d nestle her in the warmth and safety of my arms and as we’d rock together in the comfy, oversized chair in her nursery, I’d gently speak into her tiny ear.  Now, I also read these words to my son as together we rock in that same chair.  Nuzzling my cheek into his cheek, and kissing his soft, blonde waves, I hold him close even as he giggles and squirms.

I delight in telling my children how much God loves them because I know how redemptive God’s love is in my own life.  But, how hard it sometimes becomes to understand I’m worthy of such love.  How often I tell myself I’m not good enough, I’m not achieving enough.  I’m not loyal enough, or kind enough, or hard-working enough.

Still, moments of clarity afford me the realization that I am enough.  Not because of what I’ve done or left undone, but because of what Christ has done.  God’s grace, God’s love has always been enough.

Let’s pray together:

Redeeming God,

Love me.  Even when, and especially when, I doubt I’m worthy to receive you.  Shine, beautiful light, into my darkness.  Amen.

[1] Bostrom, Kathleen Long. “God Loves You.” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL, 2001.