My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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When on a Monday morning, I start to write about the manic messiness of the mundane- the one missing sneaker when it’s time to leave, the forgotten lunch on the counter, how it’s possible I’ve made 37 trips to the grocery in the past week and yet we’re somehow out of milk at breakfast. When I have all the beginnings of a sunrise tantrum, and then I see the headlines. In an instant Monday’s misfires shrink back, blushing at their insignificance as the deep sorrow of reality blankets another city. The mushroom cloud of pain spreading through the night, engulfing the world as sun rises across timezones. When I thought I awoke to empty milk cartons and some sass from a grumpy kid, I arose to more death, more fear. And I can’t help but wonder aloud how, God?! How do we find our joy that cometh in the morning when the new day light shows bloodied concrete and echoes of gunfire? Our weeping seems to carry on from one devastation to another and yet You tell us these troubles are momentary, light even- but a breath.

Our joy needs breath today, Lord.

We have fallen and turn our desperate faces upward- exhale Your gladness over the hurting so they may wear it as bandages, sutures binding up wounds of trauma and grief. Heal souls- minds, emotions and physical bodies- so we, as David, might watch you bring dancing from of our deep mourning. We all need Heaven’s breath today, all of us here together on this crumbling, beautiful, tragic earth.

We crave a joy louder and deeper than our tears and brokenness. But in all the wreckage where do we start? Again, out loud I hear myself, “Show me how.” And once again I need the reminder of what it is you require of me God:

Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.

It doesn’t feel like enough. But He says it is good, so I choose to believe and add a prayer for more belief.

 

 

When on a Monday afternoon, I confess to the kids my morning injustice over the lost shoe and spoiled attitudes- a smallish wrong righted, an easy forgiveness sought and given, but still justice is served up right there in the school pick-up lane.

Later I’ll gather with a few friends, bow our heads in prayer and taste of the sweet mercy extended to me within the boundaries of community. I will choose to love the opportunity to offer them the same. Earned or not we can each give away kindness, favor, goodness and faithfulness….Mercy.

I write these simple words, strung together from complex places, yet alarmingly inadequate all the same. Humbly, I invite the world into my known lack and offer what I can by way of prose, photos and prayers. It’s not enough, but it doesn’t need to be.

Humility, Mercy, Justice is the charge; Joy is the quest, and I know morning will rise again.

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“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” –Psalm 30 ESV

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV

He has told you, O man, what is good;
  and what does the Lord require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
 and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 ESV

  • Andrea Wolloff - Stopping by from Hopewriters. Beautiful words. Thank you for capturing what many of us have been feeling. And encouraging us all to seek joy.ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Hi Andrea – Thank you for stopping by and connecting!ReplyCancel

 

Imagination and nature at play 💙


I could slap a whimsical, scholarly quote and a few dozen hashtags here to further promote just how free range and fulfilled our children are. But in full disclosure, they all spent the morning on the couch, racing one another on MarioKart- cheering, jeering and generally having a time. So, there’s that.

As a parent it’s often easier for me to lean toward the hard and fast, the firm rules of yay or nay, the free-for-all or the none-at-all. The moderation of a thing requires my presence and mindfulness and there are many a day, I simply resent the role of rule-maker and enforcer. •
Over the years I have come to learn regardless of strategy, there is intentionality to my parenting. Even on my silent days, on the “I am just too tired to care” days, I am choosing to parent with intention. The turning of a blind eye and hoping for the best is a choice I get to make. One that plays into the long-term formation of these brilliant babes. Just as the days I wake up, pull on a drill sergeant uniform- doling out demands and restrictions- it’s a decision laced with intention. And I find myself asking often, what impression of intentionality am I leaving on their lives? •
It is a humbling, question- one I believe may be answered somewhere in a balance of prayerful, heart-filled intention to love and guide, to restrict and set free. It is a balance I have yet to begin to master. All I know is today they raced go-carts on a screen and then built storefronts out of shells, sand and buckets along the beach, and in all of it I watched them come alive, and it was joy.

  • Brooke Lackey - I always know your posts will be worth my time. xoxoReplyCancel

When on a Monday morning I don’t necessarily want to consider the trial all joy- resolution and peace are more on my breakfast menu. When I am doubting the fire is doing any real refining at all, and I am just burning alive for some sick exercise in futility. When I’m telling God, I don’t see the gold and I’m starting to wonder if there’s any in me to be cultivated.

“I don’t see the gold….”

And He says, “Really? There at the end of your pen, your honest scribbles on pages? You don’t see it- because I Am.”

Peter stepped out onto the sea and walked. He looked away and sank.

Peter denied Jesus in a hurl of angry words, fled and hid. Just days later he leapt from a boat because he couldn’t get to Jesus fast enough, he couldn’t stand to be separated. A handful of years later Peter’s own humble pen wrote:

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When on a Monday morning the fire hurts and the world outside bites cold, the trials and tested faith of a man much like myself shine like gold off the page.

Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem (image taken June 2014)

 

Last night in a conversation with my husband, I was talking to him about recognizing a pattern in my life of when I am not in the healthiest of places- something God had been whispering to me about, but I hadn’t called it forth for what it is. In short, I explained how in times of unrest or weariness of circumstance, I start receiving every message life sends me through a screen of, “you are bad.” 

Now, I know this is garbage. I am 39 years old; I have walked with Jesus since I was the age my youngest child is now- I have experienced Him as a faithful friend, binder up of hurts, and Savior from my propensity for sin. And yet, when I am in a place of earthly vulnerability, I forget. I forget and I disbelieve.

Then, this morning on the early drive back home from my kids’ school, we talked about this pattern- Jesus and me. I asked for all I knew how to ask for and pulled into the driveway, poured a cup of coffee and opened my morning books. There in part, I read from a devotional the following:

“The problem, sadly, is that many of us live in a constant, or at least a rather regular, state of identity amnesia. We forget who we are, and when we do, we begin to give way to doubt, fear, and timidity. Identity amnesia makes you feel poor when in fact you are rich. It makes you feel foolish when in fact you are in a personal relationship with the One who is wisdom. It makes you feel unable when in fact you have been blessed with strength. It makes you feel alone when in fact, since the Spirit  lives inside of you, it is impossible for you to be alone. You feel unloved when in fact, as a child of the Heavenly Father, you have been graced with eternal love. You feel like you don’t measure up when in fact the Savior measured up in your behalf. Identity amnesia sucks the life out of your Christianity in the right here, right now moment in which all of us live.”Paul David Tripp

I forget and I disbelieve, and in my amnesia of my redemption, I call myself bad and cast off. But God doesn’t name me as such, and beckons me out from behind any skewed screen or filter. He takes my bumbling, sleepy-eyed prayers and hands me back validation and kind correction-

the point where you allow things to go bad is by naming yourself ‘bad.’

I asked my friend for help, and He showed up- almost immediately. And no, my trouble doesn’t just disappear. This pattern of my flesh and mind, I imagine, will aim to surface again and again. But again and again I will pray, talk to Jesus with whatever frail words I can offer and trust He will answer with manna for the day. So often the only manna needed is to know He is with me, my Immanuel. It is the conversation along the broken road that keeps me upright and moving forward. In my surrender and willingness to be real- laid open before God- I am pulled closer into the Cross. And in close, I see clearer all Jesus did for me. In the expanse of my weakness, I come to know His strength more personally, because I see my need in a deeper way. The fullness of this personal truth falls as tears of gratitude across my keyboard.  

To be transparent, I started writing a couple of hours ago with one intention – to understand what God was saying to me about my personal situation. And then somewhere around the second paragraph, the whole thing took an unforeseen road. Perhaps, this week leading to Friday- remembering Jesus going to the Cross, and putting to death the bad I keep trying to call myself – are rerouting my words’ purpose. When I pray for divine intentionality with what I write and share, detours have to be expected. Maybe it meets you where you are today, to read how I wrestle and struggle even after more than 30 years of walking with Jesus. Or maybe it does the opposite and you find yourself wanting to look away. I get that. Still, in all humility I hope it’s the former. Inviting you into my mess can never be about idolizing the mess, but rather only done to encourage you to see your own for what it is, and more so to come to know personally your great mess cleaner-upper, Jesus. This is a long pilgrimage we find ourselves on- and the more honest we can be about the travel conditions, the fuller we will experience the nearness of Home. Friend, please hear this: you are counted and chosen and seen. If you have questions about inviting Jesus to walk with you through this life, as he does with me, I would be so happy to talk with you. Please reach out in full confidence that we are fellow sojourners, messy and broken, but called good and redeemed.

 

  • Valerie Murray - I often get spiritual amnesia as well. How often we forget who we are in Christ. I love the picture you shared overlooking Jerusalem. I’m so thankful that God consistently reminds us how great His love is for us. Blessings and Happy Easter!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Bock - I struggle with this, too, especially after I’ve totally failed. This is a good reminder of where I need to focus–on His strength.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - Great post! I, too, can develop spiritual amnesia.ReplyCancel