It was the coolest morning we had seen since spring, the first hint of fall, and the day of my son’s tenth birthday party. The sun was rising, birds were chirping, an excited boy was up and preparing for his day, and I was looking forward to coffee on the patio before it all got started. Walking into the kitchen I saw something on the floor, and quickly realized what it was: the birthday cake. Half-eaten, icing licked off, and completely ruined, there sat the cake I had picked up just twelve hours prior. The perpetrator of this crime walked over, happily wagging her tail and greeting me, unaware of how perturbed I was with her at this particular moment. This was not the peaceful fall morning I wanted.
Walking through this latest season of pandemic surge, I had not been able to shake loose this dark cloud I felt over me. I went about my usual things: prayer, Bible reading, exercise, work, family time, even summer fun times. None of them settled this dust bowl I was in. It’s been swirling around me, pulling me into its filth and blinding me from seeing anything good. I knew it was there and I didn’t like it, yet I could not escape. It took some time to realize the reason for my entrapment. The problem wasn’t the dirty vortex of opinions, accusations, and misinformation that seem to continuously spin around as we debate politics, masks, vaccines, and international terrorists. What was tethering me in my position was not an external force, it was an internal choice to remain pissed off.
Hello, I’m Jen. I’m new to writing this blog. My husband said he didn’t want to be married to me on Christmas Day. There you have it, the concise introduction — a three sentence and 27 official word summary of my current moment. My current moment. A timeline in my journey, a fork in the road, an opportunity for reflection, a chance to start over, a road to a brighter future, a welcome from Christ to get back to know him.
Christians today often refer to themselves as the hands and feet of Jesus, but I never hear anyone boldly proclaim to be Jesus’s ligament. When I read Paul’s description of the body of Christ, I was struck by his chosen emphasis. He could have mentioned so many parts of a body. Out of all the organs, bones, and complex components that make up our bodies, the two things Paul chooses to highlight in this letter are Christ as the head, and ligaments.
Last week we all watched as yet another public display of people behaving badly. More deaths, more destruction of property, this time at our nation’s Capitol. As the events unfolded, people reacted. Many are once again shocked and upset, and it’s understandable. Over the last year I’ve heard people ask if we’re going to hell in a handbasket more than once, and I get the sentiment.
Doesn’t Christmas feel strange this year? The usual large celebrations are dwindling down to small gatherings, if they are happening at all. Things I excitedly anticipated in the past are either cancelled or so unrecognizable this year that it’s hard to imagine enjoying the experience at all.
Serving, giving, and following a calling are not for the faint of heart. They are for the heart that is set on God and believes in his goodness in our lives. Sometimes, in those most exhausted moments even the most God-seeking heart grows weary of working.
The world needs the loud ones, Lord knows y’all keep me entertained, and are often the ones who push me to use the God-given quiet confidence I’ve got. But for the girls who prefer back porch sitting to front row dancing, a good conversation to a big celebration, and quiet bravery to loud boldness, the world needs you, too.
How often do we hide things because we are afraid of someone’s reaction? Are there times we lug our desires and dreams around, secretly hidden from anyone’s sight? When our children, friends, or others choose to share their pain, plans, or dreams what is our reaction?
Today, what are you expecting? I’ve come to expect a lot of things. As many of us prepare to send our kids back to school in the most unusual ways, we expect frustrations and unknown challenges. I’ve admittedly been dreading this year, and my attitude has shown it. The thought of my children spending one more minute alone on their Chromebooks makes me want to scream. At least it did, until God woke me up with two words: expect me.