For When Everything Changes

It keeps spinning, regardless of our circumstances. I know the truth of this. But there is a small part of me that wonders at times if there is a slight stuttering in the moments that matter, that form and change us…those moments that move us from one direction to another.

I guess the world would stop turning all together with all our many moments that bear the weight of change and notice, so I know it must keep orbit, held in the hand of the One who formed it. The weight of these moments instead lay deep in the heart, where He alone sees us most clearly.

It flashes in time with the blue and red lights filling the street just down from our house in the middle days of July, in the aftermath of bullets that fly from that rolled down window and enter the house just across the street from our front door. As officers tape off the road to block traffic and my phone rings with the number of a visiting dear friend. While she wraps her arms around me and calls out to Jesus for help as tears run down my face from not knowing if it was the house of one of our kids…from not knowing if someone we loved was hit.

In this circle of prayer, as we call out to the One who is Peace Himself, I find my footing in the anchor of His Name.

He hears us in the middle of chaos.

We leave for the unhurried craziness of camp in the hot heat of July. We leave the confines of wifi and cell service for the freedom of play and we find rest there, even as physical exhaustion sets in.

The second week that finds us in the height of trees and the cool of mountains, while the full moon was rising high and the field was full of the night game and teens, I slipped out of the lodge to walk in the fresh air. I wasn’t expecting to hear the guttural scream or feel the tension of the next moments before the rushing and the call for 911. I see Tony’s face and I know it’s bad. Arms reach out for Zeruiah and I run with him in the dark on a dirt road so that we can direct the ambulances and emergency vehicles. I reach the field as it begins to fill with swirling lights circling around one of the most dear women I have come to know. This woman who retired just one week before coming to counsel a cabin full of teen girls and point them to Jesus was now laying on the ground with a leg twisted in all the wrong ways and there are times that tears are the only answer to the moments that don’t make sense.

And as everything is tilting from the weight of pain and confusion, as her broken body is lifted up in pain onto a stretcher, the rest of us lean into the presence of each other as we hold the hands of the ones beside us and lift our voices up in prayer.

In this tender place, as we call on His Name, we find Him and He sets our feet on the truth of His presence. And He is there as the moon climbs higher and the smallness of us is deeply known.

It’s here on this night, this night filled with so much brokenness and confusion, that a girl who knocks on my door back home and draws maps of imaginary places for my girls, who smiles shyly when I point out her creativity…it’s on this night that she hears the beauty of Jesus and how He makes the broken beautiful and she says yes and makes the decision to give her life to Him alone. She gives Jesus her yes in the hours before her counselor gets rushed to the hospital and we could see how God uses all things, good and bad, for His glory.

For whatever reason, I think of the story of the Good Samaritan and the brokenness he embraced. How Jesus used the unlikely to open our eyes to the beauty of mercy and calls us to a life that comes near to the hurting and tender places in another.

That’s the key, I think. We may be afraid and uncertain, trying to feel our way through the dark and unseen, unsure of how it is all supposed to look. We can choose to stay back from what we don’t understand, feel ill-equipped to handle, or even of what we are afraid of. We could, and it would be understandable. But Jesus pointed out the beauty of the most unlikely to a lawyer who looked the most likely in order to reach his heart.  The Samaritan, who was considered “Bad” by the ones who hated him most, came the closest to the wounds of  the broken in front of him. He didn’t just come close, he gave of his time, his comfort, his resources – he gave of what he had and God called him “good”.

Tony and I sit in the aftermath of these weeks at camp in our coffee shop chairs that still smell of caffeine and pastries and we ask the hard questions of each other that we had been praying over and seeking direction for to find that sometimes the greatest gain in our lives means the giving up of what feels safe and familiar. Realizing the small ways that I’ve been relying on things or “this is the way we have always done it” rather than on the faithfulness of Jesus.

I’ve been afraid to go smaller and simpler, afraid of what it would mean for our family and schooling and ministry. But if I look at the model of what Jesus put forward, I see a man who let go of what he had in order to add to the care and benefit of another.

The hearts of my children matter no less, the beauty of our family demands that Jesus and what He is asking come first. Letting go of the known for a season opens our hands to receive the gift of the unknown, trusting that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights. Letting go of the much allows us to give even more to the ones that He brings into our lives – we give from a place of trust and find that the stuttering moments have only just changed the orbit of our lives. Where we once focused on what was we now find our lives lined up next to the I AM and there is rest here.

Only half of the moon showed her face last night, she orbits and her face shows less then it did in the dark of a field surrounded by towering trees just one short week ago, but I’m not afraid of seeing the smaller picture anymore because I know that we are all seen by the One who spoke our days into existence and we are safe here, for we are always under the watchful eye of our good God.


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