It's not so pretty as I'd like it to be, this mess of a life, God.
I fell asleep trying to talk to You. Things get stopped up around grace, around responsibility, around confession. I don't think I have been shutting You out, but I've not been actively seeking You. I know because I don't feel consumed with You, though I can't escape Your still voice in me, constantly reminding, speaking of Your love for me.
I hear You when I am upset with Piper, when I want to say the thing over and over so she gets it, and You remind me of her sensitivity; You help me hold her, even though I'm not so forgiving as I should be.
I hear You when I look at the baby, when he's smiling at me, so happy to see me looking at him, and not at other things that fill my life, fill my time up. The things I want to do.
I think about what You told Eve, about pain in childbearing, and isn't this my way of escaping that, my pain-killer, my humbling?
The spaces that were mine are not mine anymore. My heart is constantly torn between my dreams, between the gifts You give, between responsibility and life abundant, between grace and fear. I'm burning the candle at both ends, and I'm still figuring out which end is up and which is down.
I don't know the answer, and I am so stretched right now, so fogged up.
If I wouldn't justify myself, I think grace might be enough - but I have to justify, because it might not be enough, because You might require something of me that I can't give, because I don't want to be Piper pitching a fit when You're simply trying to give me something good, or getting into something You wanted to share with me before it is time, before it would be good for me.
And yet, I think she is a lot like me, and I can't escape my own disappointment when she has rushed ahead when I wanted to give to her, to do something together.
I am not so grown-up as I want to be. Not so wise as I want to think I am.
I am afraid of Your hand sometimes; I feel You will smack me up the side of the head, tell me what I am doing wrong and "will you fix it already, don't you get Me yet?" I am afraid of hearing Your voice saying to me, "well, you're just going to do what you're going to do" with the reproach in your tone that says that I've blown it again and I've blown it badly and there is no room for me in Your heart until I fix things, hit my knees, do something to change my life, make it better.
Yet it seems that You are hemming me in with grace, pressing in on me with love, cornering me with rest I'm begging and refusing because I don't know what comes with it, because owing You is worse than owing others to me, because I don't understand that love asks nothing and receives everything. You have the highest expectations, and the greatest long-suffering.
It is not that I want to make You wait for me. I cannot comprehend You. I am so slow to learn. I wish for ten steps, or even twenty - it would be easier to reach You that way. I watch the clock, watch time slipping away from me, mourn the minutes, the seconds, the hours.
For the first time in my life, I am feeling old. How can I come to You as a child when my body that is broken is broken still and broken more and is throwing itself up into my face with its weakness that may not actually go away no matter what I do? How can I come to You as a child when I have the weight of such responsibility as this being-a-wife, as this being-a-mother?
Oh, how many times has Piper come to me saying "Sorry, sorry, sorry" when she has done nothing wrong? And how many times has she used her "sorry" to try and stop the spanking she knows must come because she was doing something she was told not to do?
My mind spins with it all: "to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not," "My commands are not burdensome," "you shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart," "come to Me and I will give you rest," "take my yoke and learn of Me..."
You are paradox; You are more than I can comprehend; You are too much for me, and like Israel, I am afraid to look into Your glory. Yet I long to be Moses too, face to face with You, catching the train of Your glory, reflecting Your heart that I know must be more open than I think.
Is that what it means to fear God? To not be afraid with any terror, but to know the intensity of You that is beyond my comprehension, to know that I cannot look at You outside of Jesus who cleared the path to Your throne for free mercy?
Does Your grace allow me to fall short of glory as the dust that I am, allow my slow learning, the weight of my own humanity?
I try to be grown-up with You. Here I am again, thinking I know what I'm doing, what I'm supposed to do, and I don't know anything at all except the pressure of Love that surprises me, that consumes me, that dares me to live outside my walls because Jesus lived outside of His and died outside of His and bore the condemnation that drives me into my trench, that would measure my acceptance of You and of Him, that would justify me outside of Christ and wouldn't justify me at all, because I cannot keep the whole law.
I am dried up, broken, and scattered and scared to think that You might still find that beautiful, that You feel about me the way I feel about my own children - tender and longing for a smile that doesn't come so often.
I remember things about us, You and me, when I was not so determined to be perfect and grown-up. I want to make these memories for my kids too, so they will be able to fall into my love when they get older too, remember that they will always be my children, no matter how old they are, how much responsibility they grow into.
There is so much I can't sit down and write out. You can't be listed or categorized or defined. I can't define me right now, either, except as Yours, and I want to live there and I don't want to live there and oh, I know what grace is for as I walk human and humbled again.
I get stopped up, silent. But You know this. Perhaps Jeremiah's burning was not only from shutting up Your words inside of him, but from shutting up his heart from You.
"But You, O LORD, know me; You have seen me, and You have tested my heart toward You." (Jer. 12:3)
Help me quiet receive You.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)