Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Beautiful Gate

(Two posts in a month!  We should probably celebrate.)
 One night, I manage to slip away from the papers and tests long enough to go with my husband to the track. 
Beside me, Big Red begins his intensive workout--sprints, burpees, and other mind-boggling, sweat-inducing moves.
I walk in circles. 
Big Red is training for a Spartan race.
And I thought, I am training to hold my breath.
So I pray to exhale.
Around the track, around my head, prayers loop and weave in between my parallel lives of teacher, mother, student, wife.
Lesson plans and supper plans and best-laid plans.
The next morning, I'm in Act 3, 
reading about the man at the temple who holds his cup out to Peter and John.  
He's asking for silver,
but he gets something far more precious.
He gets a chance to praise Jesus with everything--
body, soul, spirit.
It's a cool testimony, and one with lots of implications, but my eyes go to the line Luke repeats.
"...the Gate called Beautiful."
It sings like a chorus in my head all day: the gate is beautiful.
The place he sat, day after day, year after year-
 where he looks at Peter and John,
where he listens to Peter's voice,
where he anticipates just enough for today,
where he seizes Peter's right hand,
where  he gets more than he ever thought or imagined.
It was beautiful 
because it was the place where he waited with expectancy and where he accepted what was offered.
This place where I am, 
the place where I'm waiting with my cup out,
looking, listening, expecting,
that's the place Jesus calls beautiful in me.
What looks like brokenness now will look like beauty later.
I don't know what I'm anticipating, 
but I know Jesus well enough to know that it will be more than I bargained for--
and I want to seize it, accept it, 
and leap for joy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The God of Present Tenses

Long time, no blog.
The pace of life accelerated out of control around here in July, with gardens and graduates taking the bulk of the hours.
In August, I sent my baby away to college, started my Master's degree (hello, college tuition), and landed in one of the most challenging professional situations I've ever found myself.
There has been insomnia.
There have been tears.
There has been the stupor that only comes when overwork and under-rest collide. 
Oh, and did I mention I am working a retreat team this fall as well?
As my laundry list of responsibilities grew (including laundry, which sits in untouched mounds awaiting action), my mother questioned my participation on this team.
It was tempting to free a night in the crowded calendar, but God said no, and I listened.
This past week, He did a bit more speaking.
It started in the worship, when the Comforter reached into weary places and did His thing.
Then the speaker reminded us that God's name is I AM.
Not I Was or I Will Be.
He is the God of present tenses, in my NOW, because He is unbound by time. 
In every season, He is there.
The past belongs under His blood; the future in His hands alone.
My present tense: morning mist on the pond
Truth be told, nostalgia had taken over, 
a wistfulness for the days when my girls were little, 
and I was a SAHM, 
and, as it always does when viewed backwards, 
life seemed simpler.  
In a school year when I am not at all sure I will survive until May, 
that simplicity (or, at least, those problems) taunted me.
So, in the quiet of that room, the Lord reminded me that I am in my now, 
and He is, too.
He is here, 
in a middle-aged woman attempting to return to college mode for a few semesters.
He is here, 
with a mama launching one from the nest with fear and trembling.
He is here, 
in a classroom with insurmountable issues further complicated by educational bureaucracy.
He is here. Holy, holy.
He is here. Amen.
Linking here.