God isn't just the things I say about Him.
It is coming on to Easter. I am less ready for this than I was for Christmas, and I wasn't ready then. I hate the calendar. My life isn't happening in tandem with the seasons. The season I'm in is forever and no time at all.
I forget every single day that God lives outside of time. And every day, if I don't remember He lives, I go into a tailspin.
I haven't stopped running since I got back from my parents' house a month ago. And with two kids, I don't have any down time forcing me to think. But I feel. Oh do I feel. It is why I have been taking pictures lately. I barely have time for that, but it is the only way I can try to express some of what is happening in me. I don't write unless I can't sleep.
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I'm not even sure what "this" is. Being a mother? Loving my children? Holding onto my sanity? Trusting God?
I'm not actively shutting Him out, but I'm barely running to Him right now. I'm barely doing anything beyond the immediate right now. I thought I'd been through it with my health issues before, but this stretching is unbelievable.
I think it is making room in me for love.
L.L. Barkat wrote a good book. (I'm switching her Stone Crossings off with L'Engle's The Irrational Season at night when I'm winding down now. I'm not very far into either book.) Last night, I read L.L.'s chapter about sacrifice.
It wasn't what I expected. She wrote it with grace; her words conveyed hope - not condemnation. I expected to wince at the idea of sacrifice. I always expect that when I consider dying to self. I always think abandonment to God requires banishment.
Somewhere along the way, "I must become less" became a punishment.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."Abandoning myself to God means losing myself in Him. Losing myself in His love.
1 Jn. 4:18
That's not really a loss, when I consider it outside of my current situation - the situation that has me scrabbling around for some piece of me that is me, that isn't for the kids, that isn't for Pete, that isn't for God. I'm trying to hold on, trying to stay sane and un-depressed, trying, trying trying...
The thing I stand to lose is fear. I have not yet been made perfect in love, I guess. I struggle with that. It stings my pride. Speaks of my sin. Throws my dust up in my face.
I'm choking on it lately. It gets in the lungs. Clogs up the Spirit-air in there.
I told a friend today that I wish I were a more level-headed sort of person. If I weren't in the clouds all the time, I wouldn't crash so hard to the ground and get all busted up.
Easter is coming on, but it doesn't feel like a particularly special occasion to me. I think it's because I've been there every day this year. I think it's because every single day I have to grab this Gospel and hold onto it for all I'm worth as I'm thrown into a mommy-maelstrom that defines my dust and strips my identity. All I have is Him. All I have is this Gospel that means I am safe in Him.
And I have the daily things to do. The diaper-changing. The meal-planning. The pill-taking and food-eating. The nursing. The grace-grasping for my uncleaned house and my mistakes in discipline.
Every day I am emptied again. I'm all over the emotional map, struggling with anger, reaching for calm, looking for joy, fighting frustration. Every day feels a year.
And God, I know, is outside of this. A quiet place for my restless heart that doesn't settle except in Him. It is the "in-this" part I beg of Him. The moment-by-moment reminders that He lived here bound in time and experienced my human pain brought about by the sin that covered me before His blood caused God to pass over my heart with His judgment.
So instead of dying over measuring up, I can enjoy Piper's "skabetty" and "huggabugga," her absolute insistence that we call her to flush the toilet every. single. time. we use it. I can respond to Bredon's giggles and giddy, happy conversation (HOW is he so happy all the time?), and blow bubbles back at him. In one breath, I can be thanking God for them and loving on them - in the next I can be throwing annoyance at the heavens at His insistence that I love them the way He loves me when they have trespassed against me.
My life has never been so tumultuous. I have never been so empty and so full. I can't catch up with myself. There are moments when I know God must think I'm an absolute moron. There are moments I know how deep He loves me. There are moments when I beg Him to quit the water-torture already. And moments I ask Him to bring it on - break me so that He will draw near.
How does life work this way, caught between dust and glory, broken-winged, grounded and looking up? It's the most fantastic proposition. It simply cannot be defined.
If I could define Him, I could write Him off.
But I can't. So I look up.
Waiting to see Him.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)