20 November 2015

from one who sleeps

Matt has arrived safely in Atlanta and is very excited to be at the Society of Biblical Literature conference this weekend! We are missing him, but so thankful for his chance to be there, staying with some of our very dearest friends!!

A few nights ago after an especially sweet and uneventful evening with our three girls, we looked over sweet Nora sleeping in her crib, and Matt innocently said, "I just want them to be safe. And happy."

Tears sprung unexpectedly to my eyes.  Not because of my vivid love for my children, but because as he said it, the voices of millions flooded over me again.

I don't know anything about how it feels to be in a country with active terrorists.  I don't know anything about what it's like to be a refugee.  I don't have a clue what it's like to have genuinely hungry children. I don't know what it is to live in fear.    

I don't pretend for one moment to know how millions of people feel or to understand an ounce of their circumstances, even as the hint of their feelings and circumstances haunt me. 

But I KNOW that billions of mothers and fathers want JUST EXACTLY that.  

No matter where we all fall on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs...whether our days are consumed with finding food and safe shelter for our children on the other end of the spectrum, helping our kids with morality and creativity and self esteem...we are all doing it all because we just want our kids to be safe and happy.

And as I picture mamas around the world tonight, as I think about all the places they are, as I think about where their children are sleeping, as I think about how their hearts hurt with love over their children, how we all just want simple things for them which are utterly IMPOSSIBLE for so many of them...yeah, I can't sleep.
from Magnus Wennman's series, "Where the Children Sleep"
The last three or four nights, I'm waking up 10 or 12 times a night, just thinking about all the Lilys too afraid of nightmares to rest, just thinking about all the Sofies who have seen things no one should ever see because they should never be happening, just thinking about all the parents who die trying to give their Noras a little safe.  A little happy. 
Nora's favorite spot in daddy's chair, under the fan
And all I can do is pray and pray and pray.  As I laid there last night, thinking, overwhelmed, I heard myself say,  "God? Of all the evils I know about, of all the heartbreak I imagine...YOU!  YOU know EVERY. SINGLE. EVIL.  Every. Single. Heartbreak.  You are THERE!  MAN.  How do you deal with it? 

God, I don't know how you sleep at night!" I cried out despairingly.

I. Don't.
He said.

Veil. Lifted.

He doesn't.  Family?  God doesn't sleep at night.  

I cry out as one who doesn't even know.  

He is THERE as one who INTIMATELY does.  

I am sick over such awful injustices and pains and heartbreak in the world, over strangers I don't know, and yet He is THERE.  Knowing the pain fully.  Knowing each person, entirely.

Can I make a shameful confession?  

I've been struggling a lot the last few weeks. Feeling pretty terrible.  Feeling pretty unloved, feeling pretty unvalued, feeling pretty lonely. And those awful feelings have felt so heavy, even suffocating.  So choking. Consuming.

The majority moments these past weeks I have entirely wasted thinking about myself, and He has been unable to use me. He can't use me when my mind is ON me.  Not even a little.

And He also can't use me when my mind is set on politics, on injustice, on horrors, on heartbreak.  

All the distractions Satan uses.

God can only use us when our minds are set fully on Him.

Him who KNOWS.  Him who CARES.  Him who is THERE.  Him who can DO something about it.  Him who IS doing something about it.  Him, who unlike US, is NOT consumed with the safety and happiness of His children...but is consumed with DRAWING His children to Himself out of great great love.  

Him who is greater than, bigger than, more than able.  Him who is on. the. throne.

I don't know WHAT to do with all of this awful in the world.  

BUT MAN ALIVE do I want to be ready to do and be WHATEVER He leads me to, how He shows me to, as my mind and heart are fixed firmly on Him.  

Contrary to my recent pity parties, I don't WANT others to see in my life MY value.

I want others to see through my life and death and in between that God is REAL, that He is Trustworthy, that God is powerful and alive and well and Holy and altogether different (praise the LORD), that God. answers. prayer.  

Want others to see in my life HIM and nothing else.  

Every moment He wakes us, we must be praying. Every penny He shows us we must be giving. Every path He paves us, we must be taking.  And every wait He brings us, we must be waiting.  Every opportunity He gives us we must be loving.  Every suffering He allows us, we must be TRUSTING.

NOW is the time, yesterday and tomorrow, that the world might say that we Christ-followers TRUST THE ALMIGHTY GOD.  

As my thinking about myself has been replaced by my thinking about the suffering, it has been changed again by my thinking about God...

Knowing Him enough to hear His voice.  Trusting Him enough to sleep at night while HE IS the I AM.  Loving Him enough to lay everything down but Him...even how I feel, even that which I value most, even what I want for my children.   

That I might BE unvalued, that I might be poured out, that I might be nothing, that I might have no rights, that I might love ridiculously, all for the cause of Christ.

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ
So that I will hear of you standing firm in one spirit, with one mind,
striving together for the faith of the Gospel,
in no way alarmed by your opponents.

For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake,
not only to believe in Him, but to suffer for His sake...

...that I may be found in Him,
having a righteousness that comes through faith in Christ,
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings.

I press on. 

Philippians 1:27-28, 3:8-13

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