A new school year is upon us and I sit back thinking, “Where did the time go?”
It seems that every season I say this, whether summer vacation, the holidays, when spring approaches, or when another birthday is celebrated. What am I missing? Why do the calendar pages keep flipping without warning?
It is a fast paced world and it is tiring. Our schedules are full to the brim, causing us to make choices. These choices are not nearly as fun as picking out what flavor ice cream we will eat. These choices consist of giving up family time around the table in order to advance the kids in sports or academics. These choices consist of staying the extra hours at work to get the next promotion, but giving up ministry opportunities in the community. These choices on a daily basis reside in picking quality over quantity at times.
I’m not saying sports, education, or occupational success are bad things. But I do think that at times, we need to pause, step back, and evaluate.
From a mother who has lost a child, you would think that I would get it. Slow down. Enjoy the little things. Play a game. Make messes. Leave the to-do list so you can spend time with that child that obviously needs you today. But I fail all the time. So many nights, instead of ending my time with my girls in a moment of thanking Jesus for all he did that day, I huff, roll my eyes, and get on edge because they want one last hug.
Really, Julie? Really?
It’s true. But what also is true is that I am human, as we all are. And it is incredibly easy to ride the crazy wagon to Busy-town and get caught up in frantic chaos. In fact, I am most certain that I am more comfortable in the chaos than the quiet. The noise, the movement of my mind, the running around brings about a comfort, like that of a mother rocking her baby. But instead of feeling rested, I rise wired, anxious, and on edge. The busyness doesn’t necessarily check off notches on my list, but instead creates more on the paper of things to get done.
What have I been missing? Where am I going wrong?
The answer is in silence.
The stillness is like a mirror, reflecting back to me my heart and soul. It shows me my insecurities, my fears, and my desperate need for love and acceptance. It is ugly for me to look at, so instead I chose to be busy, constantly avoiding said mirror.
This is not working for me anymore. I am beat down and worn. The avoidance caught up to me two years ago when I lost Molly. The dam broke and all the energy that I would use to keep in the doubt and uncertainty was now spent on grief and self preservation.
However, the question that keeps swirling around in my mind is why do we try to keep all of our frailty and insecurity a secret? Why do we so desperately try to keep secret the thing that is hurting us and hindering us to be better people?
Pride, I suppose, is one answer.
But no matter why, I know that instead I want to focus on how.
Or better yet, Who?
To acknowledge my darkest spots and most hidden secrets to the One that sees them all the time, is to allow Him to rule my heart and mind. The Father already knows my heart. He knows my past. He knows my hurts. He knows all and yet continues to embrace me and love me … all of me.
Going to Him in prayer is like child birth.
You have to get through all the pain and agony first before you can come and bask in the beauty of love that is before you. God welcomes me with open arms, but wants me to bare my soul first, in all the tears and sweat required. Laying out my burdens before Him is at first so painful, it almost seems easier to keep them hidden inside, though, He still sees all.
But as I practice the act to share, weep, do gut wrenching prayer work, I begin to transform and awaken to what is before me.
Like the blinders on a horse, I could not see all around me because the pain and doubt kept me focused just on the secrets. But as I shake off the scales, I begin to see.
And He is lovely.
His kindness floods my soul like an overwhelming wave that wraps around every inch of my body. I feel safe. I feel strong. I feel cherished.
This year’s theme for my life has been, “Come.” And that I do. A little more each day, slowly breaking down the walls that I have put up for so many years. Stone by stone, I see more and more what a great God I serve. What an all knowing God I love. What a perfect Father for me.