I’m supposed to be sitting here writing something brilliant and thought-provoking. You (my audience) are well-versed in theology, social ethics, and various philosophies. You have high expectations, or you wouldn’t be here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good theological debate and I am passionate about the current social crises, but right now, I’m just really loving the font I used for the promotion of my husband’s new sermon series (Jellyka Delicious Cake, if you want to know.)
I could start a lively discussion on religious inclusivity vs. exclusivity, but I can’t get over the fact that I just turned the big “4-0!” I am excited for the potential of this new decade! Over the next ten years, I will more than likely see my boys graduate from college, get married, have babies, and launch careers; all of which will bring a new season into my life of the empty nest and cooking for two, being called, “Grandma,” and comfort with the skin I’m in and in who God made me to be. It’s a “wow” moment. It will bring with it the sadness of inevitable change: unexpected illness, death, tragedy, relationship challenges, but I’ll deal with those as they come, and walk this lovely path called aging.
I pondered writing an article on worship. I filled in as worship leader for a few months this past year. What an eye-opener. If there is anything I want anyone to know, it is that we are all worship leaders; from the soprano on the platform, to the elderly man in the congregation with his hands lifted high. Worship is when I take a meal across the street to a couple of our shut-ins. It is a word of encouragement to a friend who is down. It is a smile, a hug, a dollar in the collection jar, an “I love you.”
So I bounce to the passion of my heart: the refugee crisis. The problem is, the internet is saturated with stories that make me weep. I finished I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, young Pakistani winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, just as news broke of 88 Pakistani being killed in a bombing of their shrine, and a video is released of a small Syrian boy who had his legs blown off by a barrel bomb. Listening to him cry, “Pick me up, Daddy,” is chilling.
I force myself away from the news, lest it swallow me. My mind instead wanders to the fact that I have a son leaving for college at the end of this summer and another son who just earned his learners’ permit. I wonder if I’ve done enough. If I’ve remembered to tell them everything that is important. If I can help them, as a young Millennial and a Gen Z, bridge the generational gap so that they can work effectively among their own, as well as alongside the Gen-Xer’s. How does their definition of respect match mine? Have I trained them to submit to authority while standing for what is right? Will they follow Christ above all?
I pick up Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, by Lysa TerKeurst. I started it half-heartedly. As one in ministry leadership, rejection in various forms is a familiar feeling, so I think I’ve adjusted. A few chapters in, I realize that maybe I haven’t. I put it down, not knowing if I have the energy today to work through the forgotten memories.
Quiet. All of a sudden, everything stops. I am cognizant that there are no sounds outside of my fingers flying across the keyboard and I pause. I inhale slowly, eyes closed. I push away the world and sit in this moment. I bask in this moment of silence, while I revel in thankfulness to…just.be.
It is in this silent space that I re-realize that God is here. His holy in my every day. I am created by and for him, so it is nothing for him to know exactly why my thoughts lead to where they do.
God walks beside me into this new decade of life, and is probably amused at my optimism for it.
God is the One who has stretched me beyond my comfort zone in this area of worship.
God knows the victories I have celebrated and the frustrations I have vented.
God’s heart weeps with mine as children are driven, bloodied and broken, from their homes.
God calms the bubbling anger in my heart and I am reminded that each is responsible for his or her own actions (or non-actions).
God loves my boys far more than I could ever desire, and I flash back to that moment when they were dedicated back to God. God gave me the tools to raise them as he would see fit, and while the way has been bumpy for everyone at times, I have done the best that I knew how. When I knew better, I did better.
God has taken the times I have been rejected and has strengthened me. Yes, I have work to do, but he is willing to do the work with me. He has, and will continue to take the pain of rejection, and I will choose to make it count by being accepting towards those who are the rejected.
These are my days. Every day. Times ten. Moving from one thing to another, thoughts swirling, ideas bouncing, opinions fighting for a way out. My guess is that these are your days as well. Your days until he stops you, reminds you to breathe, and to simply be.
His holy can be found in every day.