When all you can do is sit

Once upon a time, I watched a mama crumble to her knees when her little one was taken too soon.

In the aftermath, my prayers were intense.

I don’t remember if words came easily.  It was a long time ago.

But I do remember a picture that formed in my mind.

This mama in the middle of a circle of the faithful.

Ones who could stand, could believe, when she could not.

A circle so tight, so close that she stayed on her feet though she lacked the strength to stand.

Because of the faithful.

I don’t usually get pictures when I pray.

But this one has stuck with me for many, many years.

It comes back, sometimes.

When I’m praying for dear ones who know loss.

A reminder that the great cloud of witnesses is not just at some other time in some other place.

A reminder that even ones with great faith sometimes need their arms held up.

You guys, it was a rough day.

It was all I could do to get myself and two littles to church.

It almost didn’t happen.  Like really, really almost.

There were tears and profanity and the throwing of objects all before eleven o clock.

Bread and cup in hand, I am so hungry.

Desperate for them, for the rescue, again, of One who knows it all and loves me anyway.

I want to stand.

But right now I cannot.

I don’t even know who she is.

But from behind me, her voice is strong.

Not perfect, but strong.

Perfectly confident.

No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand.

‘Til he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.

Though it was a fight to get here this morning,

I know I am in the right place.

Surrounded by the faithful.

Ones who can believe when I cannot.

Ones who can stand and boldly proclaim the truth

When all I can do is sit.

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Through the Cracks

candle

I don’t remember the sermon.  Or the music.

From this Sunday, not long ago, all I remember is two conversations.

She sat beside me, not a close friend, but one whose words resonated in my heart.

She spoke deep, deep words of encouragement, words of affirmation.

Words that coming from other mouths would have sounded hollow.  Fake.

But her words are true, of this I am sure.

Because she has been here.  She has been where I’m sitting.

Her words carry weight not because she is perfect.

Her words carry weight because she has been here.  She has been broken.  And she is letting Light shine through the cracks.

Less than an hour later, another mama is pouring her heart out to me.

Crazy hard stuff.  Too hard.

Stuff that she cannot handle alone.

You guys, I want so badly to minister from my strengths.

I’ve always wanted this.

I want to get it all together and then tell the story.

But this never seems to be how it works.

So I muster my courage and tell a little bit of my story.

Not about the part where I do things well.

But the part that is a hot mess in the process of being redeemed by a ridiculously gracious God.

The part about a clinging for dear life to a great high priest who is able to sympathize with my weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).

I know that my story doesn’t make her life any easier.

But I hope so hard that my words ring true in her heart.

Not because I am perfect.  But because I am here.

Because I am broken.

Because, recovering perfectionist, recovering fake church-girl that I am,

All I want this morning is for a little bit of Light to shine

Through the cracks.