It Was An Ordinary Day

It was an ordinary day filled with chocolate stains, ice water, and the sting of death.

I walked into her house. The kids were watching a TV show—their focus broken every few minutes in order to wander into the other room or play with that toy for the tenth time. She walked into the kitchen with eyes that reflected the waters of her heart: confused, tired, devastated.

“You know that couple we’re friends with? The one whose baby has been nonresponsive for the past three weeks since the birth?”

“Yes?”

“They decided to pull the tubes today at 2:30. It could take as little as two or three minutes, but I heard about another couple whose baby took sixteen hours to go.”

We glance at the stove. 2:55.

Her little girl hoists herself up onto one of the chairs at the counter. “Mommy, can I have a pudding?”

I get her a cup out of the refrigerator and peel off the top, handing it to her so she can lick it. She smiles and sheepishly reaches out to receive the gift.

I continue to listen as her mother explains more about the couple who is now sitting in the hospital, watching their only child take her last breaths of her too-short life. I ask some questions, and she goes on as she prepares some food to take to the family later that evening.

We eventually move into the living room and sit down on the couches. Silence.

“I just keep thinking about them. I just keep praying that God takes her quickly.”

Her daughter skips down the hallway and joins her on the couch, her white and blue shirt laced with chocolate pudding stains. I smile at her and continue to sip my ice water from the glass in my hand.

Here we are, another ordinary day filled with chocolate stains and ice water. Except, suddenly, my water tastes like life and the remnants of chocolate pudding look like grace. The sting of death has transformed the ordinary into the sacred.

Forty-five minutes pass by and I get in my car to go home. The clouds above roll ahead of me. Some daring leaves scamper across my lane in the wind. Single droplets of rain assault my windshield—one, two, then twenty-three.

Today, darkness settled in the afternoon. The sun seemed to stop shining. And there was groaning…

…echoes of another Day…

A day when a Father watched His Son take His last breaths of life. It was three in the afternoon, and darkness came over the land, and the sun stopped shining. And when this Son died, there was rumbling, not of a mere thunderstorm, but of Death itself surrendering.

On that Day, Death died, so that on days like this when darkness comes too soon and there’s rumbling in the distance, we can be sure that whatever is taken from us, is never taken by a hand of justice, but only grace.

On days like this when the groaning turns into white noise and forsakenness seems real, we can remember that Day, when one Man groaned, once and for all, so that our soul-sounds can be longings for home rather than the agonies of the home-less.

It was an ordinary day filled with chocolate stains, ice water, and the sting of death.

It was another reminder that, no matter how normal these days feel, there is nothing normal about a world that aches and groans. A reminder that chocolate pudding and water are never just food and drink when the Son of man has taken on flesh and spent his life eating and drinking with those who would later stain him and leave him parched.

A reminder that, no matter how many pages in we are,

We will reach the final chapter. When we have eyes that can stare into the sun, eyes that only squint for the Shekinah, then we will see laughing children pulling cobras by their tails, and hawks and rabbits playing tag.” -N.D. Wilson

Sitting Down

As a mom, there is never a night that I go to bed with my work done.

I have yet to lay my head down on my pillow at the end of the day and say “My work here is finished.”

I may have a quitting time each evening but what is left undone stays undone until the following day where it takes its place back on my never-ending list. My job has no beginning and no end as I remain on call twenty-four hours a day, whether I’d like to be or not.

There are very few restful moments while raising young children.

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When Disbelief Yields

This song isn’t a hard one to figure out. When it’s your heart that is broken, when you are the one who receives the loss, you bear the bulk of the burden of sorrow. While the other persons seems to be just fine, you are in pieces, ‘still alive…but…barely breathing’. In this sorrow, in this ‘barely breathing’ you are pushed to desperation; the pain and heartache is too much…you will do anything because you are desperate: you may just pray to a god you have never believed in.

“I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in
Coz I got time while she got freedom
Coz when a heart breaks no it don’t break even”

And this is why I love this song: because it perfectly captures that very desperate spot we are all in apart from Christ and His Cross. We come broken, weary, worn-out, starving, thirsty…desperate to His Cross. Our hands are empty and are hearts are broken, we offer nothing but our pain and failures. We are barely alive and barely breathing. We come not of our own volition, but because we have no where else to go, no where else to turn. We are pushed to the very edge of ourselves. On that edge, in that moment, the only thing we can do is pray. On that edge, in that moment disbelief yields to something much more substantial: hope.

Previously published at http://www.mbird.com/2010/10/when-disbelief-yields/

The Unnecessary Burden Of Carrying Yourself

Jesus, some weeks feel like a whilwind–times when I’ve been caught up in everything you’re doing, but I haven’t been caught up in you.

There seems to be a pattern here.

When you start doing something really neat, I usually start to function like it’s my project and my job to carry it out and get it done. I take the reigns, and immediately begin to worry and doubt.

I’m just like Peter.

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He Loves Me, You Love Me Not

Obvious fact: some people don’t like me.

Odd fact: I’m fine with that. Let me tell you why.

I am justified by faith apart from works.

How does the event of justification shine light here, in these dark places of approval and disapproval? How does the real, actual event of being justified have any word of comfort to speak to me here, in my relationships, in how I view myself and am viewed by others?

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