For Days When You Stumble More Than You Stand

Today was a day of stumbling more than standing. Of wobbling through minefields in conversations and second guessing every single word and making calls of apologies long after friends parted. A day of not being sure of much. Of hearing little more than noise and enough of it can make one nauseous this clamoring for sanity—silence! Before long the internal quarreling builds enough tension and one feels alone in a sea of faces, insignificant, a blubbering fool, a complete failure. And yet as the last glow from the sunset slips behind the western mountains there are sweet whispers of truth and I’m held fast in a love eternal not dependent on performance but on his presence, not on merit but on mercy, not on a life filled with fanfare but one lived ever aware of His forgiveness. So I drink deep and know that with the light of dawn there are fresh mercies, new grace, waiting to wake the day.

He forgives your sins—every one…God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet…God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. ~Psalm 103


Made For Another World

We’d gather round dog tired after long days all six of us and Mom and Dad would pass out the black hymnals with the gold writing and we’d drown our souls in music until the clock ticked bedtime.  Eight voices as one singing songs of the ages and I caught a glimpse of it then, but only later as trials wore off the shine and glitz of life did I realize that this what we know, what we live, with the ache that never really goes away, is not our home.  C.S. Lewis says: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that we were made for another world.”

I’d said goodbye to my man a few years back as he went off for training and I was humming this tune, a tune I remember from pig-tail and matching plaid dress days, and it was then he whispered in the ear that I was to have re-made it by the time he returned. And I labored and prayed and cried over it and sang the little ones to bed on nights when I was barely hanging on…just like I was sung to sleep so many years ago, and slowly it began to take shape, to morph just a bit from the original to the modern.  It’s a hymn with a haunting melody that mystifies and draws one in and I run to it on dark days when this soul needs to catch a glimpse of light.

So friends, here it is this great song by Andrew Young with just a bit added by me. May it give you the extra encouragement you need on this sojourn.

Being the Moon

I step to the mirror and this woman staring back is someone I barely know…I barely love. She’s the new one moved in last month who flies off the handle at the toaster not working and the tears over homework and her hand shakes and her insides quiver and this craving for food to satisfy the adrenaline pumping through veins is insatiable and I just want to crawl away to my monastery (wherever that may be) and hide for the next eight months of treatment on this miracle yet cursed drug we call prednisone. But it’s the confused gaze from little ones that makes this heart break in two and the conversations that go something like this:

Help Girl: “Mom why is your nose running?” Me: “Because I’m crying.” Help Girl: “Why are you crying?” Me: “Because this medicine is making me crazy.” Help Girl: “I thought you liked crazy?” Me: “I do when it’s crazy fun and not crazy sad or crazy angry.” Help Girl: “Well just tell your body not to cry!”…..and I wish it were all as simple as that.

The inner dialogue doesn’t quiet.  Who are you really? Will anyone still love you in nine months? Will you be able to love yourself, or forgive yourself, and be loved in return? Ahhh, nine months.  I’ve been through nine months of growing and stretching broad three times over to discover that change can be what widens the heart.  So what is it that keeps me from embracing it this time around? Sure, there won’t be a fuzzy headed sweet smelling infant to clutch at the end, but it’s either grow a new person in this space of time or whither and shrivel to bitterness and anger. It’s a choice.  Everyday is a choice to wake up and face the raging inner battle that says I am not enough, I am not lovable, I am not all that while being willing to embrace, believe, experience, when all else screams otherwise, that He is enough, He loves me first, He is ALL THAT and more and in Him I can do all things and whatever comes my way I can know there will be joy!

I walk by the mirror and it takes me by surprise, again, this face gaping round. The doctors said it would happen a phenomena called “moon face” as steroids redistribute fat in the body.  I had hoped to be the exception and yet here I stand with all the classic symptoms glaring.  I’ve been through years of shrinking where illness sloughed pounds off the body and I thought I would fade into non-existence and I was scared, and now I’m scared as I fumble to fully love the woman in transformation once again because you can hide a lot but you cannot hide your face…it is who you are and too often by what you are known.

The last rays of sunset stream through windows, clouds all pink flit through skies grey and I wonder about the sun setting and the moon rising.  The moon in all it’s glory reflecting only the light from the sun.  Could it be that the next nine months are about transformation as I ascertain what it is for me to reflect the Son? Humbling myself enough to admit that it isn’t all about me? That it’s not how I shine but how He shines in me? Could I believe that change is beautiful because He is beautiful and the work He is doing in me far outweighs the physical alterations? Am I willing to be the moon reflecting all He is to a world peering in? To embrace and not discard or shame my face but allow it to embody a reminder of who I am and who He is and what I am not without Him? Because if I am to see the face of God, to be the face of God, to this wounded and bleeding world I cannot stay the same.  There must be metamorphosis.

I pull on my coat to step out into the night these hands slowly uncurling, unfurling, stretching wide to grasp how deep, how vast this Love’s lavished and I walk by the mirror, frown turned smiling for this moon face…could it be that it’s shining?