Sunday’s Here

Sunday’s here.

No more Sad Friday.

Or confused, devastated Saturday.

Sunday’s here.

In the midst of worship and lunch and baking the ham. . .

In the midst of cooking the potatoes and vacuuming the floor. . .

In the midst of wiping down the bathroom mirror and scrubbing the toilet. . .

In the midst of welcoming friends and family and finding the eggs . . .

In the midst of it all, we know. We know.

He is in our midst.

Because our Savior lives.

Even when we doubt, He invites us to know Him. Just as Thomas questioned and worried and longed, Jesus beckoned him to “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Jesus beckons us all on this Sunday. And Monday and Tuesday and . . .

Take your fingers and feel His hands. Take your hands and feel His side.

May we all believe.

He lives.

He lives!

Sunday’s here.

 

All Alone, in the Dark

photo credit: Inter.rs via photopin cc

photo credit: Inter.rs via photopin cc

It was somewhere in the late evening hours, after cleaning up a miserable child’s vomit, that I started questioning our decision to add to our family. Not seriously, mind you. Just the kind of wondering that occurs in the midst of puke and crying and germs and exhaustion and it seems a little crazy to add more potential receivers or carriers into the mix. Could one or more fit into this puzzle of chaos? Who would want to–especially on a night like this?

All these thoughts hung low, like a fog, circling around as I went through the motions of cleanup and comforting.

It was finally when I was tucking the child in, spent and trembling from a fever and unhappiness, that he said it.

“What?” I couldn’t hear the small voice. Under covers and near sleep.

“I like when you take care of me.”

I was speechless. “Of course I am going to take care of you–it’s my job!” I wanted to say. Or “I love you. It’s what I do! I couldn’t NOT do it if I tried.” Or “That’s what mamas are for! All this stuff–the gross and hard and scary stuff!” All of it true but somehow missing the real point. I’m there because I’m called. I’m there to teach about the One who calls.

As I lingered over the child, leaving one last touch on his arm, I realized there are kids all over this planet, all over our countysitting in the dark, alone, missing something excruciatingly important. Kids who don’t have mamas to lay hands on their backs while they suffer, praying over their little bodies, storming the gates of heaven on their behalf. There are kids who don’t have someone who feels their cheek to see how warm they’ve become, to measure their progress, or to kiss their sweaty little heads as they lay in their hot mess.

My heart beat a little faster as I stood next to the bed, realizing the magnitude of the moment. I’m here. And the child knows it. But he also knows the One who holds us both.

In the dark, alone, he knows he’s not really alone. Isn’t that what we mamas want to be teaching our children? When he hurts, the darkness may feel frightening. When he trembles, his body may feel near the end. Yes, there are my hands who help him. But then there are Hands, one on each side of him, gentle pressure on the skin that holds in his soul. Loving, walking and guiding him through. He can count on that, even when my hands are not there.

That’s what I’m teaching him. That.

And as for the fog, it blew over. It didn’t have time to linger long. It burned off, thanks to the Son.

 

To Mime or Not To Mime

Bigs came home recently announcing that he was a mime in his 4th grade “Preposition Circus.” I really had no idea what kind of circus that was and getting information out of that one puts me in the same class as elite dentists who have to extract teeth while the patient is still conscious and walking around.  Needless to say, I didn’t get very far.  This is what I understood: each kid was something in the circus. And they did something involving prepositions.  Okaaaay.

As I asked questions, I tried to figure out how he became a mime.  He explained a bit, saying that at first he was going to be a lion tamer and then a strong man.  Then, finally, a mime.  “Were you assigned that role?” He looked at me like I was a little slow. “No, I chose it.” My first sad thought was “oh, babe.” Then my next sad thought was “ooooohhhhh, babe, I totally get it.” You see, if I were tasked with being in a “Preposition Circus” tomorrow (oh, thank you God for allowing me to be done with the 4th grade), I would skip the brainstorming steps one and two and jump straight into “mime” myself.

I realized I may have passed along a legacy of introversion and shyness onto Bigs. I’m not sure if either of those are a genetic trait but I know we share them. While I recognize this issue with him (“speak up, eyes up, look up”) and I try to help him navigate those painful waters, I thought, mercy, I need to navigate those waters myself sometimes. I’m convinced that if this introverted girl could spend most days quietly wearing an invisible box like a mime, gesturing only with my hands when words felt too hard, and widening my eyes in surprise or sadness when I encountered something challenging, I’d do it. Life seems hard? Feeling stretched outside my comfort zone? Shrug shoulders, shake head. Wave goodbye. “Sorry,” the motions would say, “this is a far as she goes.” No voice, no problem. And I kind of like how I look in a beret.

Not that long ago I came upon a verse in Isaiah:

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.

I was surprised at how profoundly this verse grabbed me; it fit perfectly as if it were a strong embrace. I immediately prayed those words for a dear friend who is serving elsewhere, far, far away. If anyone is living a life outside of comfort, ease and safety, it’s her. She is a lion tamer and strong woman, a warrior and a servant–all rolled into one. I’m sure there are times when she’d like to throw up her hands, hit some invisible walls and motion “Too much! No more.” But, oh, thank God there is a difference between hiding and being hidden! In God, we are not fearfully trapped by invisible walls. We are not limited to our hands in the air, feeling around, pretending to get out but never succeeding.  In God we are safe. In Him, we are sharpened yet hidden, all at the same time. In Him we are equipped and protected. We are prepared and covered. We are assured of our place and effective for Him.

Whenever I start to feel myself slipping into hiding, I want to be able to reach for these words and realize I am protected by walls of a different kind. Words may seem difficult. Life may be hard. I will be stretched beyond my comfort zone. I may have to step out in bravery more often than I’d care to but at least I won’t be trapped. I’ll be free. There will be peace in Him because I am hidden in the shadow of His hand. Concealed in His quiver. And for that, I’ll gladly lose the beret–and hopefully by example teach my son to do the same.

Bigs came home the next day announcing his circus act was a hit. He had a good time and probably played his part with more gusto than I could’ve managed (again, thank you God for being done with the 4th grade thing). Maybe I don’t have to be so worried about that quiet, serious one. I mean, if he can mime prepositions, well, that’s just amazing. He’s going to be just fine. And so am I.