Hiding from the pain.

“Whatever.” I said, and picked up my phone.

I’m not even going to bother explaining myself anymore. 

Scrolling through nothing really on my smart phone seemed to dull my frustration with Andrew.

A few days later some devastating news came over text. My heart sank. The baby we had been praying for died.

Overcome with grief, sadness and confusion, I was going to break down.

I picked up my phone and scrolled through more nothingness, ignoring the pain in my heart.

A few nights ago the kids weren’t falling asleep so we decided they would have to scream it out since the older ones were manipulating us.

“I can’t handle listening to them freaking out like this!” I snapped at my husband, then picked up my phone and scrolled through nothingness, drowning out the sound of their voices with the words of others.

Last night the grief, confusion and sadness started to flood over me again. Tears started to spill, I reached for the closest thing to me. My phone.

Then I heard pretty clearly “no, just put the phone down and feel what’s going on.”

I didn’t want to feel it. I would cry. Bawl. Be angry and confused with God. I would feel like I don’t understand. I would feel out of control.

In that moment, I did let myself feel. It hurt a lot. I poured everything out to God and to Andrew in one big messy pile.

Nothing made sense, and I wished more than anything I could take away the pain of the people we love and lead, walking through many forms of tragedy. feel

It was through allowing myself to really experience the emotions of all the people I was breaking for that I actually went places in prayer for them.

I wasn’t hiding from the burden anymore. The pain was real, but God was really listening.

This morning as I worshiped and declared God’s goodness over some confusing circumstances in the lives of those we love, I was reminded that Jesus was moved with compassion for people.

The compassion he felt didn’t leave him where he was. It pushed him to love, touch, pray, comfort, heal and serve.

If we want to really make a difference in people’s lives, we have to be brave enough to feel what they feel, hurt when they hurt and cry when they cry.

It means not tuning out and numbing ourselves, but being fully present to say “I feel your pain. I don’t understand it, or have the answers, but I feel it, deeply and acutely, and I want to stand with you.”.

May you be brave enough to put down your phone, or whatever your desensitizer is, and feel what’s going on in people around you enough to love them where they are.

And may God use YOU to make a difference.

Which voice do I listen to?

“STOP KICKING YOUR SISTER!!!!”

Our drive home from camp was disappointing. I was sure they were all going to sleep after an exhausting week. Once the two younger ones fell asleep, Caleb was not cooperative with letting them rest.

Amayah was woken up way too early, and the fighting began much too far from home for my liking.

By the millionth time telling them to keep their hands to themselves, I started listing off what they would lose if they didn’t listen.

Caleb was distraught.

“My brain is telling me to mean to my sister, but God is telling me to be nice to her. I don’t know which one to do.”

Andrew and I looked at each other.

“Romans 7.” my husband says smiling.

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:21-25a

Oh my son, do I understand this struggle. The two choices, doing good and evil, and the battle to choose what is right.

Hearing Caleb say this in such a simplistic way increased my compassion for him.

He is trying. 

It isn’t easy for our kids to choose right. They are in a battle too.

In that moment, I recognized that part of my job is to help my kids understand that they will continue to to struggle with the power sin, but that there is one person, Jesus Christ who has the power to free them.

I pray my kids grow up knowing that “though our sins are like scarlet, He will make them white as snow”, and always feel they can crawl back to Jesus regardless of what they have done.

May we listen to the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit telling us what is His good, pleasing and perfect will, and be an example to our little people that they can choose to follow God’s voice too.

band

Best friends most of the time, enemies only some of the time.

drawing

Rest is not easy.

As I sit down at my computer this morning, the house is quiet with the kids watching their favourite show, YO! Gabba Gabba and baby napping.

This brief pause in the day is one of my exhale moments, where I am choosing rest in the midst of many things to be done.

So as I take a second to reflect on this season so far, the summer we nick named “The Summer of Rest”, I’ve realized I have learned one big lesson so far.

Life is hard.

Ok I didn’t just learn that, but even in the midst of trying to step back for a little bit, life is still a big ole challenge.

Our family was working out at a Bible camp. It was nestled in a beautiful spot, I didn’t have to cook at all, and I was able to operate daily in one of my passions: leading worship.

But I was totally exhausted. The kids didn’t sleep well and I felt frustrated. Why is this so hard? 

But the Lord spoke to me out in that place. He told me that I am expecting my rest to be easy. Rest is being gentle in our approach to life, but it is not easy.

Life is hard, but following God, and walking out his plan is rewarding. Not easy. Hard. But rewarding.

Deeply rewarding. That kind of way down deep joy that comes when you are so tired you aren’t sure how you are going to make it any longer and then a kid comes to the front after service to give their life to the Lord.

Oh yeah, I guess my tiredness was worth it to be here for this moment.

Even in our conscious choice to rest this summer, so many factors are beyond our control.

A friend said to me the other day, “I don’t want to see you and Andrew get burnt out”. 

I laughed and said to her, “the only burn out we are going to have is parental burn out”. There is no break, no rest from teaching, disciplining, teething and sleepless nights.

What I’m learning is that rest comes in the pauses. It doesn’t come in the big days off or weeks of sleeping in.

Rest comes in the silent moments when you inhale the presence of God and exhale the striving and things you have been trying to do on your own strength..

Rest is experienced in your heart’s posture. It’s not grabbing the bull by the horns so to speak, but gently walking out your responsibilities and breathing in the beauty of grace.

Rest is regaining that steadiness of breath. It’s acknowledging that there is a time and place for the sprint and the marathon, but also a need for the steady inhale and exhale.

We have two more big stints away from home this summer and I know I will be tired. Rest may not be sleep, but it is in the gentle rhythm of breath.

cows {early morning walk to show my girl her favourite animals close to camp}

eliandmama  {when we both get naps, happiness abounds}springside Creek{seeing my son explore this creek made my heart almost burst}