The crickets kept me company on the second Indian-summer morning in a row, where grief was my alarm clock. The window cracked as if it were spring while I sat hunched over my Bible with winter on my insides.
Are you sure you picked the right girl, God?
Our life is loud, bursting at the seams. Joy bubbles up and over from the girls’ room some nights, you’d think we had a whole dormitory of them. They love big. And Caleb — he’s imagined himself to be quite the hunter-gatherer for our clan, protecting his sisters from wolves and bears, but still squeezing time in to kill mountain lions with his shotgun and kick the soccer ball.
But the heart work isn’t over. In fact, it’s just begun. When my afternoon’s plans get derailed by what turns out to be the real plan, and I find myself with all 4’8 of Lily tucked into my lap, tears spilling over onto my sleeve and my response is uncertain, reality sinks in. We’re discovering that we’re not just growing them up, we’re having to pray them to grow deep, rooted. And to re-wire the roots of a tree, years past being a sapling, isn’t novice work.
But I’m a novice.
When my loud life got quiet on these two particular mornings, I came face-to-face with the challenges which years (much less days or hours) ahead of me held. And I sunk.
How am I going to be able to do this, Lord? I prayed with the weight of the world in my words. Help? was all I could muster.
Envy calls me to see green, greener pastures elsewhere. What would it even feel like to build from the ground up, instead of restoring walls which have been built and torn down dozens of times before they became my property? Seemingly innocent wishful thinking leaves my perspective skewed.
Because everyone has their cemetery. In God’s economy, a funeral incites new birth. And we were made for new birth. All of us.
But when I look out across my life, at times I get lost in what I see. Even my life’s exhale, my intercession, misfires when the lens is foggy. Why is this so hard stems from a deeper question, really, who is He?
It’s three hours before I stand before our church and declare (and dedicate) these two newest new ones to be His and ours and it looks like its gonna be one of those days. I crack my Bible to a simple Psalm and begin reciting who He is back to Him, thankful that I have another’s heartfelt words to fill in for my stagnancy.
Is this fake? I’m saying what I don’t feel. But I know better. These are faith’s building blocks. Declaring to God, and to me, and back to God, who God is, leaning on ancient Words that are new this particular morning, expands my mind and my heart.
You, oh Lord, are beautiful enough that I could spend all the days of my life beholding You. You are that good. The words are an assault against my negative perspective. I can’t both believe this anthem and expect that my life has some how come up wanting. Adoration brings me to a point of decision. Or, rather, a thousand little decisions I should be making all day long that, when ignored, gain strength for the opposing team.
Him or me? His promises or my worst-case scenario expectations? His beauty or the slow drags I choose to take on death through my negative thoughts about other people or my circumstances or myself?
Minutes of practicing praise are my way out. Up and out. Freedom has small beginnings.
Adoration is my lifeline. It has no limits. He has no limits.
And, because I love words and word phrases, its only natural for me to write the adoration He is writing within me. I suspect from comments and emails that I am not alone. So starting next week — on October 17th – I will be reclaiming what could be a very hard day of the week for His glory. If you love to write, I encourage you to write out your own adoration and link up here. On that day (and all the following Mondays) I will take my adoration post — my “Morning Chai” — which normally runs in the column on your right — and move it over here, front and center and ask others of you to include your adoration posts below. Whether there is one of you or one hundred, we will adore Him. Under our own roofs, reclaiming our own hearts, but together getting wowed by this Man.
I’ll have more detailed thoughts, here, on the 17th. In the meantime, step outside under fall’s sky or go back to folding laundry … and adore. I promise you won’t regret it.
**”What is this adoration you are referring to?” you ask. I have posts here and here that explain it in more detail.