My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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However it is you bring forth the art God places within- go and do. Please. We need you. Our world needs your words, your painting, your teaching, your cooking, your voice. The enemy of our souls knows if he can shut up the artists, darkness is one huge step closer to a win. This week has wanted to shut me up- and I’ve caught myself starting to dig holes in the dirt to hide my art away. Whether it was birthed out of self-preservation, weariness, or shock of staring the depths of our human depravity in the face- the gift felt too fragile. So let me hide it here to keep it safe. Safe and silent. Afraid.

I swore I wasn’t going to do that anymore- give fear a seat at the table. Funny how he shows up uninvited, disguised as a truth-teller, ever-poised to eat my lunch.
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These few lines strung together, a couple dozen clicks of the shutter- they are my small offering of combat. One singular torch to help the world recall its beauty. Alone, I am unable to cover much territory- we need the collective artistry of one another to fight this war. I know we’re tired and hurting, I feel it. Bring what you can- shake the dirt from your tender talent and watch God’s army of artists remind Creation of her song.

 

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If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That pretty much sums up where I have been for several weeks now. Externally quiet, using large amounts of energy to keep contained the fire of words and emotions bottled within. To be fairly raw, my anger and passion over the things I see and read, not to mention the voices “sharing” them, has rattled and rocked me. Watching all the rage unleashed has left me, well, raging. Imagine. And I don’t fully understand the heat of my unnerving response. I have spent hours attempting to trace back to the source of such strong emotion. Is it the misrepresentation of the Jesus I very personally call my own? Is my fury more selfish and impure in root – angry because I can’t handle being associated with those using their platform and power as a whip of submission in name of “truth,” “justice” and “Christ?” Or am I angry because I am being made to feel small, less than, if I’m unsure in a cultural sea of brazen certainty?

D. All of thee above

I start to comment or post- typing furious words to…and stop. A hard look in the mirror rarely hides the root, and I am humbled quiet by the glare of my own sinful motivation.

Titus’s instruction is clear – avoid quarrels about the law. While I am always up for a healthy debate – there is no health here online- the atmosphere thick with pride’s cancer, first of all, my own. There is no true debate either. We, the People- I, the person–  have reduced ourselves to a sub-par level of discourse- the  manifestation of what we watch (and criticize) our leaders doing to one another. All the screaming and desperation and FEAR, bellows big, because here on the Internet it is the loudest who wins, right? Actually No. The poor in Spirit, the meek, the peacemaker – those are my winners. And aren’t we all just aching for a win?

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In an anxious fit, I walk away, pack kids and snacks in the car. Escape the “social world” for the actual, functioning, social world. I turn music up loud, roll windows down and October air kisses my face. We meet friends at the park and I squeeze her baby close – inhale the real world of an 18-month-old. We play and attempt to chat amidst pushes on swings and passing out crackers to famished faces. I spin my friend’s daughter and watch her twirl with giggles, her hair in the breeze is real life and I video it in slow motion watching it back again and again. We’re just strands waving in the wind here, God. And I’m not sure if I should pray for You to come dance in the chaos with us, or settle our wayward tangles to order. My soul aches for both – stability and freedom – of which You are, so please be near.

I eat French fries for lunch and sneak chocolate amid afternoon chores. I text my pastor and own up to the struggle, drag my rage into the Light. I meet a friend for coffee, another for dinner – craving the eye contact to combat the deafening volume of the virtual. Looking across the booth into the peace of Jesus through my friend, or laughing along with His unrestrained Joy in my kiddos on the merry-go-round, quiets the angry inferno. But the battle never ceases.

And truly, I have come to a place (possibly just this morning), of gratitude for my small place in this time we find ourselves in. These broken beautiful days in which we live have forced me to dig deep and keep digging. What an incredible gift. In place of rage over injustice or fear, I am inspired to have words to pass on to my kids exhorting them to know and understand integrity, independent thought, democracy, and how their humble voice holds power. The narrow road can be lonely my luvs- no room for the bandwagon- so commit to the long walk and I promise Jesus will meet you there. Being pushed to do the back-breaking work to grow up something worthy to pass on to those under my influence, may be a gift I wasn’t asking for, but a treasure all the more. As a disciple of Jesus, a woman, a thinker, a feeler, a voter, a mom – I am honestly thankful for the reasoning out, the wrestling, the crying, the praying, the seeking- for through it I am uncovering more of who I was created to be, and more of the heart of my Creator. Battered and bruised as I may feel, my resolve for Truth in humility, fearlessness in Christ and love in intentionality has only deepened.

Slowly, painfully, I am still learning – the wrestle and aches, the fight against fear, the dirty sore knees from cultivating a character reflective of Heaven- it’s never a waste. As the swells of anger tempt and continue to pound against my flesh, I choose to believe- a quiet, rooted strength speaks volumes in the kingdom of God. And so I keep praying: Root me deep, Lord. Grow me tall. Stability and Freedom. Thank you- for babies and french fries and for always being near.

  • Anna Harrison - Love this! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Thanks so much for reading and commenting Anna!ReplyCancel

  • Paris Renae - Visiting from Hopewriters and thank you for putting this out there – a voice to what so many of us have under the surface but let simmer. Fries are my thing too – and so is our shared love of the Savior!ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Thank you – it is encouraging to know it resonated and we aren’t solitary in the wrestle. <3ReplyCancel

  • Beth - My guilty pleasure is potato chips, but I feel the full weight of this. Thank you for writing it.ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Mmmmmm – potato chips! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Robinson - I just love your words of grace here, Sarah! I have wrestled as well….and often sit in stunned silence as I read posts and comments. I love this, “In place of rage over injustice or fear, I am inspired to have words to pass on to my kids exhorting them to know and understand integrity, independent thought, democracy, and how their humble voice holds power. The narrow road can be lonely my luvs- no room for the bandwagon- so commit to the long walk and I promise Jesus will meet you there.”ReplyCancel

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If only life was all puppies and pumpkins. Alas, there are a lot of hard, ugly in-betweens to our days not pictured here, and yet moments such as this are just as real as any of the others. The messy, the tidy, the loud, the still – all of it together rounds out our #reallife.
These young warriors have some tough battles being waged between them and this broke down world. It is heavy to watch and exhausting to parent. Some weeks we triumph and some are packed tight with losses. The defeat has felt deafening of late, but so has the laughter, and it doesn’t make any sense yet rings perfectly true. Joy in pain, peace in storms- the paradox of family.
I gather up each moment, every layer to our story- the sweet and tender, the painful and wayward- and ponder them close and quiet. No, it will never be all pumpkin patch days, but I will take the snippets as they appear, marveling at these cute faces while sharpening their swords for another day of worthy battle.

 

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Photo Caption: I spend so much time and emotional energy anticipating the needs or struggles of my kids during periods of transition, but neglect to acknowledge I may have some of my own…this morning my logistical juggling act can no longer mask the storm brewing fierce beneath the surface of busy self-sufficiency. As sudden anxiety pools, attempting to fill spaces designed for breath and life with fear and death, I lay myself low and submerge soul in waters of truth:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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