from an article originally posted August 9, 2014…
Some days all the edges of this world feel too oppressive. The headlines of the day are heartbreaking. I can barely stomach the titles. I hurt, my heart hurts so desperately for pain in this world I cannot comprehend. I’m too weak to even look. Ann Voskamp calls us to pray. My prayers are broken and limp. The familiar, Help, oh, help dear Jesus.
My guy and I woke to quiet beside one another. There was grief needing to be expressed. The pace of our life was beginning to take on a normal hue. Jason was seeing the weak places in my day I needed his support. I have been learning to lean deeper on community. It seems as though we had just started to stomach this new treatment. This hard, this 2 weeks of terrible was becoming a routine. I was learning to press through my yucks. I was beginning to learn to live again. Jason hit a pace at work that has felt comfortable and exciting with a whole lot of neat changes coming for our growing congregation.
Then news that stops us in our tracks. Maybe this brand of awful isn’t working. And the reality that comes with that news is just too much to stomach. So we pretend. We pretend the headlines don’t read that children are being beheaded, that a virus isn’t sweeping a continent that is so awful its description turns my stomach. These edges feel too painful.
So this morning, we sit beside one another and cry. I then beg my guy to jump on his bike and spend time alone. He struggles to leave me. But this morning we have shuffled through the keeping of the house. I sit in my big girl’s room who is away on a camping trip with her new school and have a moment of sadness—I want to help create a haven for her heart. But simply managing the laundry is how I’m able to love her. I sit at her desk in tears and take the dishes to the kitchen. She won’t know that’s my love towards her, but somewhere the love will be felt.
Tomorrow, we get to host some of our favorites for a dessert. The leadership of our church and our provisional session will convene over dessert carefully prepared by Costco. I grieve the places I cannot thrive where I once thrived. I once trolled Smitten Kitchen to create a baking win. Our group won’t mind, but my heart sees these places I once lived, and I simply grieve.
I grieve the person I wanted to be compared to the person I am today. I pray every day I would have the grace to receive the story that is given. But the edges, the edges of today hurt. The headlines scream at me: This is not my home, this is not where my peace is held, there must be something more. There must.
My children are meeting their own disappointments. I wonder at their pain, their frustrations, their lack of motivation, their endless fussing at one another. I wonder if it’s my own projection of my heart onto them, or are they just stretching the edges of their ages, testing the corners of my strength while daddy is enjoying a moment alone. I have pulled each upon my lap and asked of their hearts. I have prayed we would all live next to each other well. But it’s just hard. Unkindness feels so easy sometimes.
We have vacuumed the largest chunks of living, we have cleaned the dishes, we give the appearance that we are okay for our dessert tomorrow evening. But everyone in attendance will already know the truth. We are a grappling, broken, needy lot; every one of us that will fill my home. We all just hide it differently. I will slice the Costco offering and find gratitude even when the edge of life I have met there breaks my heart just a bit. A broken heart the real offering I have to give our community. Maybe that’s better than the slice of cake covered in elaborate ganache. Maybe, just maybe, all these edges matter. Lord, all I feel is brokenness. When I smile in the face of my littles I walk away to cry. Every passing moment feels hard. Moving is hard. Living is painful. I look upon the headlines and I cannot brave the content beyond the awful titles of children being beheaded. But there is so much pain. Far deeper than the words of each reporter. There are mamas grieving babies, hearts torn, missiles flying, disease hidden in fearful corners. And I’m not even brave enough to open the articles. Yet your people are there, braving impossible hard. Forgive my fear in looking upon so much pain. Forgive me in the places in my story I hold too tightly to my own hopes and dreams and forget to look for your kindness. Some days I would rather pretend this isn’t our story, pretend that the deep brokenness around us isn’t happening. Some days I come downstairs and play records and simply listen and cry. Today I will listen to the words, and cry for the headlines I have seen. I will let tears fall for the new tests that have been ordered. I will ask for your presence through it all.
How are the edges of today leaving you broken? Are you looking to Jesus? Are you praying the simple desperate prayers for help that I know are heard? Do the headlines leave you helpless? How do we meet these edges of life well and beg, beg, beg for the story to be redeemed?