Early mornings on my front porch, light fog mysteriously dancing amongst the trees, shimmering aspens singing soothingly--a perfect atmosphere. Sweet moments stolen away from the rest of the sleeping household afforded a time for friendship to be celebrated, hearts to be shared and stories to cherish. My treasured friend, in the same season of life as me, commented on the impossibility of our earlier lives. Multiple moves, loneliness, fears, both of us with a child out of the box, mysterious and spending some childhood years expressing anger, both of us saddled with children who had medical and mental illness issues, out of the box anxiety as a way of life for them, and causing havoc in our homes. Both of us living on financial support that was sometimes enough and many times just a prayer away. Both of us knowing the deep feelings of anxiety wondering if we were ruining our children when we saw starkly in the daily-ness of life our own inadequacies. For me, rare support from my family who also wondered if I was ruining my children.
And then there were the messes, longing for time alone, fusses, educational pressure, peer pressure from those who expected more from my children than they would expect from children whose parents were not writers and speakers. And then just the coming to the end of myself--over and over again--and not knowing how I was going to make it, but somehow finding myself a year further along.
Marriage between two fragile and extremely different, self-centered immature people came crashing in the tension amidst the most stressful moments. Yet, loyalty, a character quality of Him, my teacher, who designed marriage, taught us to hold on, to give grace, to love beyond our human capacity and to live in His power--by faith, by hope, by needing to believe that it all mattered.
Sweet memories and struggles, failures and victories shared, made our friendship grow in value. We had both traveled this impossible road, in different cities, sometimes different continents, cried, struggled, prayed and begged God for relief.
But, still we kept on, one step at a time in faith in the one who had placed these eternal, precious human beings in our hands, whose souls would have value through-out all eternity. These He entrusted to our hands, our hearts, our lives. And so, to honor Him, we pushed beyond the dark times and strained for the light--His light. Because we knew He had called us--He designed us to civilize, to impart wisdom, grace, righteousness and strength, even though we had to learn it as we went. But faithfulness pushed us along because we had pledged to Him our lives--all of our lives--and wanted to please and protect all that He entrusted into our hands.
And now we see the fruit. It did matter--this keeping going, straining to hold onto our ideals. Our children, yet growing, took into their very souls, our love, heart messages, sincere worship of Him, and are now living it out in their arenas against odds as they live their own impossible lives.
But the sharing of our failures and fears, the struggles, the inadequacies--these are what women long to hear--that they may know there is yet hope for them in the midst of their own impossible life.
It is out of learning to receive God's forgiving love amidst sin, grace and beauty in the mundane, seeing impossible prayer answered when hope was gone, living through all the thousands of mundane moments that I have a platform to minister--to reach out to others--out of compassion for what I have already struggled through--this is real ministry--not perfection but grace in my inadequacies, not performance, but believing in His ability to take my paltry offering and making it holy.
Often, even now, I wonder how I made it this far. Grace, all grace.
The danger of following any writer or speaker is that it is so very easy to imagine by the words they craft, that they are somehow anointed--they made it because they were more perfect or more mature--
In my case this is not true. I have sinned, yelled, struggled, feared, lived in darkness--yet, learning I was in a battle for souls, somehow I kept going one step at a time.
When I wrote Dancing with my Father, and studied the issue of Biblical joy, it somehow encouraged me to know that David, who penned, "In His presence is fullness of joy," is the same one who often despaired for his very soul. "Where are you, oh God? Why have you hidden your face from me."
Even Jesus himself was beset by sadness (a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief). He despised the shame he experienced when being spat upon, being manhandled, whipped, scorned--even while he was being perfectly obedient to God--he despised shame, cried for the death of a friend, was often (at least 3 times) trouble in His spirit.
So, though this life can seem to be difficult, relentless, and yes, impossible, we are in good company when we struggle. We have a high priest who prays for us. We have a sympathetic shepherd who experienced the same. Yet, this is our gift, that even as he stayed faithful amidst his battles for the sake of redeeming us, His children, so He will give us strength to stay strong, to serve and love, so that in pleasing Him, we may stay devoted to our own precious children. Grace to you precious ones through it all.