With You Always

I read this post on She.ology today.
I feel, at times, like I could have written this. The heart of this piece is so nuanced and it’s something that really does take a lifetime (and then some) to understand. And I have spoken to so, so many people who are in this place, or found themselves in this place and decided it just wasn’t worth the struggle anymore and gave up their faith. This is especially heartbreaking, because as the body of Christ we have a tremendous responsibility. Our words have incredible, incredible power. And when we twist the scriptures or reduce the unspeakable glory of our righteous Savior down to pithy one-liners about what he can do for us if we do x-y-z…. I think we’re going to be held responsible for the damage those words cause.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21
 
This anecdote isn’t to point out all the flaws of the church, but to drive the point home- I had it insinuated to me during a membership class at a prior church I attended that the reason one of my dearest friends passed away from a rare illness may very well have been a lack of faith. My dear husband was told at a young and impressionable age that he “just needed to pray”, no further guidance given, when he felt the creeping and terrifying dark fingers of depression at the edges of his consciousness.
 
Our life here on earth is not, has never been, and never will be about performing an action in order to get our genie God to make our “situation” just a little better. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Sometimes you get fired from your dream job and you NEVER get another chance. Plans for your education fall apart and don’t come back together. Beautiful, faithful souls are wiped off the planet at the tender age of 21 for no reason.
…he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. – Matthew 5:45b
The beautiful truth of the Gospel is not that if we just try harder, tithe more regularly, do *more* of the right things God will fix our problems. The truth of the Gospel is the blessed hope of salvation. That the periods at the end of our darkest, most life-shattering sentences are not periods at all- but commas. That we may not see the redemption of our families, our bodies, or our finances in this life. But that we have the blessed hope of a savior who has promised us more, so much more, and in the meantime, even amidst the pain and the struggle, He is with us. And he knows what it feels like to sweat blood, to cry bitterly, to be crucified in total innocence.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. –Hebrews 4:15
I guess the point of typing anything at all is to say that if you’re in this place too, you’re not alone. And while I don’t know the answers to everything, I do know that God will meet you there in that place. Not the storybook God we’ve created to fit our narrative of how we think life is supposed to go. The real and unspeakably holy God of the universe will meet you there.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8

I can tell you this much with confidence, because He has met me in my darkest, darkest times. He hasn’t always come bursting in with a burst of brilliant light and an army to fight my battles for me- isn’t that what everyone expected Jesus to do when he came to earth? And instead he came as a helpless infant and for the entirety of his ministry He did the exact opposite of what everyone expected and wanted. And yet His way was the way of salvation. In my darkest times He has sustained me. He has given me the grace to get through a single day at a time. I can hold my head high, look my husband in the eye, speak life into my children’s hearts only because of the sustaining strength and one-day-at-a-time grace of God. If I was left to my own devices, to try and save myself, my life would be a shambles.

 

The greatest miracles, in my opinion, are not the earth-shattering ones. They’re the everyday gifts of just a little more patience. A little more strength. Just enough to get through today. A word of encouragement gently whispered to the heart when all seems lost. And the promise that He will continue to be with us. He will continue to sustain our souls. We can count on that.

Lo, I am with you always. Even unto the end of the world. -Matthew 28:20

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Book Club: Forever Check In #1

Sorry this first check-in is late! I thought I had scheduled them in advance but I guess not. Derp.

Forever seems to be divided into sections with smaller sub-chapters, so today let’s discuss the first two sections- through chapter 30. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday

I have a lot of photos from Baby Day that I haven’t shared because they are just really raw. I love to look at them from time to time because the emotion in them is so powerfully evident, but some of them are just meant for our eyes only, and not the internet. But I found this one today as I was looking through them, and wow- I love it. Our first family photo- the love of my life kissing me so sweetly, evidence of how much he supported me through our baby’s birth. And a new love of my life, laying so peacefully on the outside of mama for the first time. He’s actually in the exact same spot right now as I type this, though he takes up significantly more space now.

That is all- I just wanted to share because this beautiful moment with you. Happy Thursday!

mommy daddy and snayby

Book Club: Forever

As you may have noticed, the new book for Book Club is being announced eleven days late! That was to allow time for a few stragglers to catch up and finish last month’s book. And now that (I think?) we’ve all finished, it’s time to heave a collective sigh of relief (seriously) and move on!

Because February is a short month and we’re cutting it shorter by announcing the book so late, this book will extend through March as well. I’m going to give everyone the rest of February to get a hold of the book (I had to place mine on hold at the library and waited about a week to get it) and begin reading, and we’ll begin our weekly check-ins in March! Continue reading

Charlie: 5 Months

Month 5 was the most difficult month so far. Much harder than dealing with a newborn, who mostly sleeps during the day! Ever since we arrived home from Christmas, we have had a bit of a rough patch. Charlie was going through a pretty significant developmental milestone, marked by being clingy, fussy, and all-around grouchy! It’s also marked by what some people refer to as the “4 month sleep regression”. Really it’s a progression because it’s a sign of the mental progress they’re making, but it often means that a baby that previously slept for long stretches at a time now wakes up more frequently… which was absolutely the case for us.

Mommy is tired. Continue reading

Book Club: The Magician’s Assistant Check-In #1

Yayyy book club!

The Magician’s Assistant is not broken up by chapter (thanks a lot, Ann Patchett) but rather into two sections: At the Intersection of George Burns and Gracie Allen and Nebraska. The second section is nearly twice the size of the first, so those aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to deciding how to break it up. I know that some people read these on a Kindle or listen to an audiobook, and also that pagination can vary from edition to edition, but we’re just going to have to do the best we can to avoid spoilers. Continue reading