Great Expectations

I was reading from Joshua yesterday. I always try and pay attention to the verse(s) that spring out to me. Something that might catch my eye, or need repeating. Sometimes it’s a well known verse, sometimes it’s the only blank space amidst a sea of my notes. Yesterday it was Joshua 1 v 5. “Just as I was with Moses,so will I be with you.” Has there ever been a more loaded statement.

My heart instantly leapt into my throat and went straight to, that’s a lot of pressure, some mighty expectations there, how can you hope to live up to that, big shoes to fill. My natural inclination to go all human in the face of Holy, and worry about personal limitations, personal needs, personal desires. What if I don’t want this? What if I don’t want to walk that path? I wan to watch The Tonight Show and eat Cheetos in my PJs.

But after 24 hours of this scripture rolling around in my head, crossing my mind when a spare thought let it, I suddenly realized. My inclination to load this statement with humanity, completely misses how loaded up it is with God. See God was with Moses, and God will be with Joshua. The God of this whole universe. The God who created time. The God who parted the red sea, freed the slaves, set the captives free. He was with Moses, and He will be with Joshua.

This verse does not say, I will only be with you in the exact same way as I was with Moses, so you need to do things as if you were him, you need to walk his path, you need to literally fill his shoes. No. It says that God was with Moses and that God will be with Joshua.  See, God isn’t asking Joshua to fill Moses’ task, but to complete the plans that God has set in motion, and to complete them as Joshua would not as Moses would.

I want to be like Mary, who upon hearing the words of the Angel Gabriel cries out “Let it be with me as you have said” (somewhere in Luke.) But most of the time I end up hiding in a cave, saying “Let it be with me as you have said but please sir can I do this first.”

God is with Joshua as he was with Moses, as he is with me.

Ask Not For Whom the (Alarm) Bells toll

14633172_10154420402990867_8734817113299342239_oI am fresh off a weekend retreat with fifteen wonderful women. We read scripture together, we worshipped, we prayed, we crafted, we ate 7 blocks of cream cheese..

I am fresh off a weekend talking about the simplicity Christ models for us in his relationships. How we are each designed to be ourselves and nothing more, that we need not add to our to do lists, but look at what we are already doing in our lives and welcome him in.

I am fresh from last night’s Bible Study, talking about Ephesians 4, and briefly recapping prior weeks. In these few weeks of teaching and discussion, I have leaned heavily on calling, that above all else we are called to be children of the light, to be followers of Christ, to be of the King. God sets no hierarchy in the work he has assigned to each of us, he has set a whole body in motion and each has their part to play.

So why was my alarm set at 4am today?

I discovered a new blog the other day. A woman who has been writing a book for two years, a frazzled mother of babes, who realized this summer that the hard wrangled book had to be set aside for the book the holy spirit was leading her to write. So, you can now buy her advent book wherever books are sold. It looks amazing and I cannot wait to dive in.

And yet it comes with a heavy dose of the “why not me’s,” a rousing rendition of “now I’ll never get to…” and a big scoop of “I’m doing everything wrong.

In Ephesians 4 Paul tells us not to be angry and then goes ahead and tells us how to correctly deal with our anger. He assumes that as frail human creations, we are going to be angry again. Even when we know we shouldn’t, we’re going to go there anyway.

I may not struggle with anger, but my frail human conditions reared their head this week, despite having so recently taught other women, encouraged other women, led other women in confession, to let it go.

So what did I do with that information? I decided that instead of continuing to be me, I would try being her instead. One aspect of her journey this year really stood out to me was that she was so singularly spirit focused on this work, that she would get up at 4am because she couldn’t keep the words in. I have long felt awkward that my desire to write has not been matched in my ability to set aside time for it. So I set my alarm for 4am, and here I am.

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It is 5.30 in the morning. I listened to the alarm sound from 4 till 5, then I got up. I am cranky, I am tired, I have probably irritated my husband, and I feel no spirit led-creativity-inducing-burden for the book(s) I am working on.

So I turn to the reading I am currently enjoying over at Shereadstruth.com

Psalm 27: 4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

One thing I ask. One thing. Last night as we dove into Ephesians 4,we spent a lot of time looking at his use of the word one, how it really focuses that call to be children of the light above any other thing we might seek to do for his name. cough cough.

Psalm 45:1:My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king.

I am reminded of Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner from the film Chariots of Fire “I believe that God made me for a purpose… When I run, I feel his pleasure.”

When I write, I feel God’s pleasure. When I get up at 4am attempting to be someone I’m not, I don’t.

Message received.

 

The Weight of Presence

IMG_9479She crawls into my lap and puts her head down, I gently stroke her hair. Her little body curls up and relaxes into mine.

She wakes in the morning with a cry for me, I walk in with calming words, but it is as I pick her up, as the weight of her body becomes absorbed into mine that she calms.

She sits in her play area drinking her bottle, but as I pick her up and she points to the light, smile on her face, I feel the weight of her body pressing down on me, completing me.

My daughter is one year old and I love her more than I thought it possible to love anyone. Each new experience in mothering has brought something new to the table, or refined something that was born in me with the previous child. But with my baby girl, who is sitting dancing in her high chair as I type, I have been humbled by the presence of God. As I picked her up this morning, to bring her over to join me with her pumpkin bread as I studied, I was struck by how my heart both raced and settled as the weight of her little body joined with mine. As her limbs wrapped around me, and the weight of her entire being was absorbed by the enormity of mine. As her little tushy nestled onto my hip, and everything that was supporting her faded, and became me.

Presence.

You can do a lot for a child with presence. When M is in my arms she is content and I feel whole. With my middle child, all he wants is for me to be with him, “Mummy I just want to be with you!” he cries. He wants me to look deep into his eyes when I am talking with him, wants me to see and hear his words. My eldest son wants me to come alongside in what he is doing. Wants me to play Lego with him, play Video games with him, read with him, sleep alongside him.

Presence.

They don’t care what kind of breakfast I give them, homemade muffins or pop tarts. They don’t care what we do on Saturday, whether we go to a hay bale maze and do some apple picking or stay home in our pajamas reading books.

Isn’t that what God wants of us too? He doesn’t care if we can recite the book of Job, he just wants to be near us. He doesn’t care if we know who wrote the book of Ephesians, or when, or how it pertains to the current political clime. He simply wants the weight of our bodies to press into His. To feel our existence dependent on His. To feel the weight of our presence like a mother feels a baby.

Sure, all that stuff is good, all that stuff is wonderful. It’s enriching and life affirming. It builds us up and makes for a richer, deeper relationship.

But nothing beats that first few sweet minutes of the day, when I pick up my daughter, take her weight into my own as she melts into me. When we look at each other with sleepy eyes and feel I am my beloved’s and she is mine.