11 May 2015

a present parent

Oh nap time.

I love you and I hate you.  I love you on the days that you come easy + early.  I hate you on the days that require repeated conversations about expectations.  Or the days when you just get started too late.

Today, nap time started early.  We had a brief conversation about laying quietly in bed.  I didn't add reminders about leaving toys on the floor or keeping hands off of the blinds.  I walked away, leaving the door open so they would know I was listening.

I heard a little giggle.  I quietly tiptoed down the hall to see what was happening.  One brother was playing peek-a-boo with the other - almost silently.  Nearly doing exactly the right thing.  Except not.

One brother spotted me first and immediately became still and disinterested in the peek-a-boo game.  His changed expression caused his brother to glance at the doorway too.  He rolled over.  Almost at the same time they reached an arm back to pull their covers up.  Their bodies were still.  No more peeking across the chasm at one another.


Almost instantly I had that familiar sensation that there was a lesson wrapped up in this moment for me.

The boys were doing almost the exact right thing.  Except not.  They were supposed to be laying quietly in their beds and they sorta were.  But the purpose was rest.  And as long as they were engaging with one another they were never going to find that rest.

Not until they realized my presence in the doorway did they become still. 

So often, I think I am doing the exact-right thing.  Almost.  Which, I mean, is certainly close enough, right?  Um, no.

It is hard for me to be still.   I often engage others instead of just allowing myself to be quiet.  You too?   But when I sense His presence, the stillness washes over me.  Rest comes, clarity comes, peace comes.  I don't know why I distract myself from the goodness that He has for me in this quiet place.  It seems silly when I think about it.

Oh that I would remember that our Father is an ever-present parent, consistently urging me to do the right thing that I might find His rest.




05 May 2015

He is Good

It has been one month and two days since I blogged last.  It was Good Friday.

The post ended with "His love for you - and me - is what makes a day like today a good one."

I've tried to write three different posts since then and I just haven't been able. 

I could have never predicted that in a couple hours after writing that Good Friday post, I would be at the hospital in utter disbelief.  My friend's full-of-life, bubbly, sparkly little girl had left this earth. We sat in a tiny room grasping for something to hold on to. It felt like much too much for this family to bear.

So many questions swirled in my mind.  So many answers were nowhere to be found.  My hands were clenched tightly.  I felt an urge to just crumple on the floor but an inner voice would scold me, telling me to get myself together. My prayers were reduced to phrases that on their own might sound trite or cliche.  They were the only words I could string together.

"Jesus, please come"

"Lord, have mercy."

"Dear God, please!"

I don't remember saying much else.  I just remember feeling so desperate. I wanted to be a better friend with more wisdom for how to walk through this valley of grief. I wanted an instant miracle to restore this little life.

Two days later, I prayed for a worldwide revival on Easter Sunday so that perhaps Jesus might come back that day.  It was a bold prayer and I absolutely believed it possible.  I truly did.

But He didn't come back.  Not yet.

Today, one month and two days later, I still feel so desperate.  I still wish I were a better friend with more wisdom for how to walk through this valley. My prayers remain broken phrases that sound worn-out. At times, I still feel angry that the instant miracle didn't come.  Other times, the utter disbelief washes over me just like in the early hours.

But God.

Even in this darkness, He shows His goodness.  Ever since that day, I have seen glimmers of goodness.  If I were to try to write them all it may get jumbled-up here.  But I've seen these good things, these small reminders of His goodness.  For weeks, every time that I noticed a 'good thing' I immediately felt a tension.  An inner nagging that couldn't quite complete a thought but lingered in the balance between "but if He's so good in these tiny, little ways then why..."

I still can't complete the question -- and certainly cannot answer it.  But I realized that the miracle is that I still see His goodness.  We still see His goodness.  Even in this darkness, we see His Light shining.  These small glimmers of goodness light the way through this dark valley.


"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 136:1 NASB

So I keep looking to Him.  I keep begging Him to come.  I keep asking Him for mercy and keep seeking glimpses of His goodness. I have nowhere else to turn. So I just keep coming back to Him. I offer up my brokenness and my lack and I find Him faithful even here.  I believe Him to be good even now.

I will continue to stand witness in this dark valley, squinting through the darkness counting the shimmers of God's goodness as we make our way through.  Believing every 'good thing' is a glimpse of his loving-kindness toward us, His tender loving-kindness that is everlasting. 

I first heard this song at the funeral.  I watched my friend raise her hands in worship as I listened to the lyrics for the first time. There are no words to describe the depth of emotion that I felt - I think all of us in the sanctuary felt - in those moments.  It was holy.  And He is good.