Saturday, September 17, 2016

All Through the Night

It was getting late ...

My body was limbered, but weary.

I could smell the oils I had rubbed on my aching feet with a prayer that I would get rest.

I had stayed up far too late the night previous, & I'd let my thoughts reign free.

Never a good life choice.

Things seemed so out of control, & I felt isolated.

There are nights where just going to bed is something I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do.

It requires that I turn the lights out.

That I lay next to my thoughts & I face them alone.

These are lies, but a friend once told me that nighttime always exacerbates things,

& it seems like it seldom exacerbates truth.

Especially when you haven't been entertaining truthful thoughts all day.

Let me speak this out: muffling the negative thoughts & the lies is not renouncing them, & it's not speaking truth.

Non-thought still lets the wound fester.

We cannot afford to merely stifle our pain.

Now that I have gotten that out, understand that I never ever speak as someone who has "made it," but as someone who is journeying.

Understand that I wasn't living that out on the night that I speak of.

I was living out its opposite.

& tonight, I am writing from a similar place, typing out this lesson to reestablish it in my head & heart.

I dared turn out the light as I crawled into bed.

I choked on a sob, & pulled the covers up.

It takes a minute each night for me to lay down my pride & remember that I can't sleep with empty arms.

I reach behind my head for my plush dog, & for the thousandth time, I wish he had a heartbeat, so I wouldn't feel so alone.

I squeeze him tight, bury my face, & pray that I could just please fall asleep.

Quick & painless.

& that these waves would have stilled by the time I woke.

My breath shudders.

A tear falls down my cheek.

& lyrics softly run through my mind.

"All through the night ...

Keep with me, all through the night."

(Sleeping At Last)

& He stills me.

Something quietly clicks into place in my heart.

The noises & smells around me, even my heartbeat, they steady into this rhythm that betokens safety & quiet.

The words repeat, & I can feel Him near me.

The waves don't stop, but, holding the hand of the One who governs their rise & their fall, I cease to be daunted.

Nothing that opposes me in the night hours can overcome the fact that He stays with me,

All through the night.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

I take a deep breath & turn to whitespace.

I have been practicing this all day.

I don't know quite how to tackle these online courses, & I've decided that maybe that's okay.

I've decided to let go of this nagging feeling that I'm not working hard enough or long enough.

I'm on week two of 45+ hour work weeks, while taking four credits in my "spare time."

Spare time. As in, when most people sleep. On my break. In the car. While children nap.

I've studied on my laptop, on my phone, with my books, with my notebooks, reciting to friends, making up study cards ...

It's week two.

I looked down at the end of week one, & I realized that I had read two weeks' worth of material in my one class. & it still hadn't felt like enough.

That's when it dawned on me: maybe my perception is vastly off.

Here's the thing.

The textbooks aren't meant to be read like a novel & then memorized like Scripture.

When my professors said to check in often, they probably didn't mean every hour, on the hour.

My one textbook actually warned against taking too many notes. I wrote that down. Maybe on page 12 of my notes from that chapter.

Here's the thing.

We are not made for striving.

We are not meant to dig endless holes in a futile hunt for progress.

We are not designed to be on top of everything.

None of us are prodigies at life. 

Paul's words hit home with me this week: "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." {2 Corinthians 11:30}

The things that show my weakness.

These are the things that show God to be dazzling.

These are the things that He chooses to glorify Himself in, & teach profound lessons.

I had wanted this to prove myself, but isn't it all about proving Him? His love and His infinite worthiness?

Let this be the song of my days.

Not that I'm groaning & striving, but that I am bending & bowing.

That He is shining through the places where I open windows.

Because, friends, when we open things up to His Presence?

He shows up. 

This weekend, as strange as it felt, opening up to Him looked like a quieting.

A ceasing of my constant frenzy.

Letting myself just laugh over coffee & glorify His name in the sweet mundane.

Setting down my to-do lists & acknowledging that whatever He wants for this moment?

That's where I want to be.