I swept up crumbs yesterday. Therapeutic really. After the last of it was swept up and tossed, I stood at the sink and washed the small pile just waiting to be cleaned. Refreshing really. I sit at my table with the one long candle burning and I see the glimmer of wood grains and, of course, a few stray pieces of supper from whatever night, unwiped, at the other end. I hear windows shaking as the wind blows from the north and I pray that the man I saw standing outside of Walmart yesterday is somewhere warm and protected. I see limbs shaking and white gusts of snow sliding past the wooden fence. I taste the warmth of coffee with french vanilla and I smell the scent of that candle, giving me the dream of a forest.

I am full of gratitude and covered with grace and filled with His presence. So why the numb aching? Why so downcast oh my soul? How do I sit on that couch every morning, knees pulled up, dog in lap, Bible and books and journal surrounding me for an hour or more, feeling every bit like I’m sitting on a front porch in the early morning beside my DAD just talking, laughing, communing…how do I do this, feeling light and free as the birds, only to put both feet on the ground and feel the heaviness of the world, of my old, unholy habits, of my deep, restless, relentless emotions with every step and hear it in every tone that comes out of my mouth…how? How can I look at sunrises like a giddy child and moons with such delight and then walk back to face my day and my people and feel the stoic look on my face.

Inside I’m crying out, “I am blessed!” Inside I echo, “I am longing!” Longing for what?

Longing for contentment and confidence and delight in being simply, wonderfully His.

I actually have many detailed longings. Longings for places and people and occupations that are out of reach or out of His will for me. Longings to be the person I dream of being. Longings to start over and have another chance to get it right with these five growing people. Longings to be a sweeter, kinder, more joyful and fun wife. Longings to be a better friend, daughter, servant. Longings to be less moody and more secure. All of these, though, point to a deeper longing found in Him. So yes, I long for the peace that comes with believing and living the truth of being God’s child.

DC Talk sang many times over, “I wanna be in the light as you are in the light,” and of course in correct Biblical context, I do want to be in the light. But in real-feet-hit-the-floor-life, it’s the dark and shadowed and deeply colored early light that I find comfort. It’s the warm blanket that shields me from all the activity and noise and burdens. It’s the atmosphere where I dream of all that I want to be in Him – where I actually believe all that I am in Him. Somehow, in the dimly lit places and spaces, I can believe Him without distraction and without doubt.

It’s when the lights are fully lit and turned on – inside and outside – that I see real life. And real life is like a cold dousing in water. And what was a smile in my heart, creeping its way to my face, becomes a get down to business, straight-lined look. And my tone – instead of the sweet, encouraging voice I heard within, longing to get out – is straightforward and void of the delight the light of day has caused to cower inside me.

___________

I wrote this back in January and left it because goodness what a way to start a new year. I’m glad I waited to post it; glad I had an opportunity to read over it again with some perspective – some the same and some different. The truth is, all of it is me. It is the real life me, and not one I often want to offer the world. I’d much rather offer the woman who has grown from that place, and thankfully, I think I do that too. But, the real life me also has a place in God’s story. She – who is full of cracks and holes – may be the best one to let God’s light shine through. She may be the one others can see a whole lot more grace in. And she is the one who is also growing…with His grace.

I keep reading “my weakness is my strength” by Kara Tippetts, and every time I do I ask God to please help me understand this more. I know His Word also speaks to this, and I think I get it to some degree – His Strength in my weakness. My weakness, like one of those cracks or holes, giving room for His gracious strength to rise up within me.

My weakness giving His glory a platform.

My broken life becoming an invitation for others to see Christ. The less I have it all together – “I must become less” – the more space He is given to shine – “He must become more.”

All my first years of Christianity me thinking I needed to get it together and do the right thing as quick and as perfectly as possible; all my years following, me realizing I can do neither. Somehow the self-constructed fences and the tight-rope living felt safer. All this freedom that a real relationship with the Person of Christ offers scares me! I’m still asking, “What if I mess up?!” He’s still saying, “[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness. I’m still begging Him to change me, make me better, and as my daughter read to us this morning, He responds, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Further, “You are my masterpiece. I have good things for us to do together.” I am still wondering, “Can I trust You?” “But blessed is the man who trusts me…the woman who sticks with GodThey’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.”

I actually think this is such a good place to be in. This place where I am learning to fight lies with Truth. This place where I know I cannot but with Him all things are possible. And it’s the “with Him” part that is the most appealing.

I love what the cross, the grave, and the resurrection has offered me – us; the chance to do “all things” with Him.

That’s all He’s ever wanted, and it is what our souls have known all along that we truly want. All of our longings lead us to the One Who put them there so that we would have a map home. A path that would take us all the way to Him – the One Who gives every heart ache and every joy purpose.

So today, like that morning in January, started off a mixed bag of delight and hard. I threw a hairbrush, I corrected my daughter (needed) in a harsh tone (not needed) and spent the majority of the morning frustrated and angry over my lack of ability to straighten up quickly. I prayed through it all and wanted it to work quick; it did not. My girl and I were in the same boat and it was not smooth sailing. She read that scripture, I asked her some questions in a monotone way. I spoke truth, but goodnesses it didn’t sound appealing. I asked for forgiveness and we exchanged it in obedience but not in happiness. The hug and kiss right before she and her sister got out of the car was even a little forced. BUT, when she turned to me before I pulled away, and we looked at each other the way we do, and we blew each other kisses, I exhaled.

Grace. 

There were a few more ups and downs today, and it’s not over, so… Life with Jesus will never include staying inside all the lines all of the time. Relationships don’t work that way – not the deep abiding ones. It get’s messy, but He is an artist after all. He has a knack for taking what I can’t make much of and creating what I could never dream. Man I love Him!

“Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.”

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