Church People

We’re almost always late to church, and someone is always missing a shoe / shoes.  We may or may not have remembered to bring Caedmon’s pacifier and there is a good chance that Kel or I got a touch hostile in the getting ready process.

This is largely to do with the fact that even after 18 months, it’s still a production getting everyone out the door for a scheduled event.

As we drive I’m usually putting on my mascara and lip gloss as I check the clock and field car seat drama.

By the time we get to church both kids have likely taken off their shoes, so we re-shoe the children and schlep them into church, diaper bag in tow.

A lot of weeks we’re so late that miss worship entirely, which I hate.  Eventually I settle into into my seat glance around at the faces surrounding me.

Some weeks,  I feel like the only mess in the room.  On a good week I cry in worship as I scribble down thoughts of God and life on my talk notes or on offering envelopes.  On a bad week I try to find the darkest corner of the church where I can have all the God without any of the community wondering why my eyes are all puffy.

Without fail I marvel at all of us seeking God, sometimes finding and sometimes missing him.  Here we are, church full of God’s human people: some barely holding on, some rejoicing and some hiding behind a facade.

We come to church in different seasons, some of us grieving, some rejoicing, some of us on fire, some jaded and burnt out.  Still we come, we bring it all to the altar, we take, eat and remember that although we will change and flip seasons, our God remains stable and faithful.

We don’t stay where we are forever, you know.  If this Sunday you found yourself with no makeup and puffy eyes, wondering if you should have showed up at all

Know this:  He will not leave you here, a wound given to God will be healed and used for glory.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has weeks where they crawl into church on fumes and plop down in desperation, waiting to be filled with God.  Longing to swap out their hurt for his healing.

There are no pretty perfect people of God, we are all his people stumbling to see and to be the light.

So this week if you cried through worship, take heart, this is just a season.  It will pass.

And this week if you saw someone cry in worship who wasn’t you, I hope you were filled with mercy, that you took compassion and prayed.  I hope that you offered a shoulder, a coffee date, a listening ear.

May we always remember that just because it wasn’t our week to cry, doesn’t mean that we haven’t wept through sermons and it doesn’t mean that we won’t.  It only means that we are in a different season.

Oh church people, may see the needy in our midst and uplift, support and intervene.

May we be the church more than we look like it.

Bittersweet without a bow

I have about 20 minutes to write before I have to rush through my shower and see Kel out the door.  After that I should probably wage war on the 5 overflowing baskets of clean laundry that are invading my home.  Also we are out of bananas which is a recipe for disaster, all this to say that I have my work cut out for me.

Can we all agree how much we want to hug her?

Moving on, unless you live in a cave, you know that the Olympics are happening right now in London.  Last night’s women’s all around qualifying was brutal for the USA and most especially for Jordyn Wieber, the world champion who was favored won’t be going on to compete because of dumb rules.

My heart broke for her as I watched the floor routine and nervously turned yarn into a scarf.  It was the end of a long day here at the Casa and as I watched her tearful interview my mind overflowed with this question:  “How can you put so much effort into something and still feel like you’re failing?”

I feel like my life is an endless dance with impressive flips and flourishes, like I practice and wake every morning determined to see the joy, respond with patience and put other’s needs and wants before my own.

With all my gusto how is it possible that I’m spiritually disconnected, exhausted, lonely and in the middle of a string of fights with Kel?

Where’s the payoff for the effort?  WTH God?

Now’s the part of the post where I try to put a little bow on a hard question and tell you what I’m learning but yeah, I don’t have that today.

I can say for sure is that we’re fools not to expect bittersweet lives.  The hard, hot, dry times will come to everyone and we are strengthened by how we respond to them.  As for me I want the heat to purify, to transform me into someone braver and more gracious.

May I never forget the hard times, the bitter moments, and I may I never fail to extend grace others who find themselves here.

It helps to throw away the notion that no one else is living on a rainbow cloud.  Every marriage has hard times, every mom struggles through the preschool years, and 96% of the world struggles to get laundry put in it’s actual place.

Even the spiritual giants we look to? They go through seasons of prodigal wandering across cracked and dry deserts.

As the lovely Shauna Niqeuist taught me in her aptly named book Bittersweet, Life has to be both the bitter and the sweet.  We are strengthened and humbled in the bitter seasons and the sweet seasons taste so lovely because we have a broad palette of bitter to reference them against.

No bows here today, just life.

Are you feeling a little dry?  Any advice?  Want to pray together, gripe together, grow together?

Yeah, me too.

Also if you’re reading this Jordyn, your grace in the gym and on the camera makes you the farthest thing from a failure that has ever existed.

Opportunity

Today I’m joining in the five minute friday conversation through the Gypsy Mama.  I have five minutes to write, start to finish on a selected topic.

“We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.

On Fridays we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.”

Me writing, all vulnerable in my worst PJ pants and no makeup sporting bed head. This photo was taken by my daughter, when I let her use my camera to capture the world from her perspective.

Today we write about Opportunity, so here I go, all heart, no editing.

They all head out the door, sippy cups in the side pocket of the bag and towels flowing over the sides.  Off to the splash pad, to WalMart and then home.  The door closes and here I sit with my chance, my two hours or so to write.

This is my opportunity to do the thing God put within me to do besides motherhood.  Two hours to say all that I’ve been longing to communicate for the past few days.

He left in a huff and me with a frown.

He’s leaving in 48 hours for a conference, and then when that door closes I’ll be 4 days a single parent, how do those women do it every day, month, year?  Every bath and diaper and meal all on me.  A part of me is at peace and then the other part is frustrated.  I love being a mother, in every way but somedays my career aspirations shout “Hey, what about me?”

I strive to die to myself, to serve those little ones and the bearded guy that I love down to an atomic level.

Yet, somewhere inside me there is a whisper, “You can serve others too, outside these walls, you have a story, you have hope, don’t give up, don’t quit, there is more for you”

And then I scream inside, “but when!  When is this moment?!”  It isn’t now, or if it is it’s only a few hours a week when I have the brain space to unblock my thoughts and let them become words to share.

It’s a season, whispers my Father, I give you everything you need to fulfill your purpose, grace for my timing beautiful daughter, breathe the air of my grace.

He’s leaving in 48 hours, we have only a little time left as a family, to laugh and part with hearts full of love.

I think I shall seize it.