Let’s real talk. This season, by season I mean the past 18 months or so, has been hard. Like, really, really faith testing, painfully, God are you seeing all of this, hard. I’m not going into ALL of it. Let’s just say, in the natural, we have been walking on sifting sand. Hardships, stress, moving ACROSS THE COUNTRY, hoping for a baby, losing a baby, missing friends and family and salt air until sometimes it feels like my heart will actually fail me… Watching my much loved and celebrated son, transition from the hoards of loving people visiting him constantly, who not only care about him but cherish him, to having mostly just me and only me, and I’m not much… at least I don’t often feel like I’m even close to enough. There’s more. I’m not going into all of it for the internet to see. But y’all, my faith, it has waivered. Not my love for God, but my trust in His promises. I have cried a thousand tears over here in this Texas desert. If you’re a Texan friend reading this, you may have just rolled your eyes. I guess it’s not too desert like here… Austin is beautiful, but this Florida girl, although I have enjoyed the adventurous moments, I am feeling as parched as my backyard. I miss the waving invitation of low hanging moss adorning the trees. I miss the sweet smells of jasmine and orange blossoms. I miss the oranges from my yard. I miss the laughter of my nieces and nephews. I miss my son’s laughter, that special laugh that only his favorite neighbors can get out of him. I miss financial simplicity. I miss the constant influx of hugs from the friends who have become my family. But in all of the longing and the anxiety and the trials, God has given me little glimpses of His presence. And for that, I am grateful.
Follow me on this rabbit trail… My son Oliver seriously struggles, I’m talking overwhelming shrieks of terror, at the possibility of being left with others… unless he has a REALLY close bond with them. Church nursery/kid church has really been a no go for us. I’m about as patient with that baby as the day is long. We waited for him and longed for him for so long, that showing grace and patience towards him is really as easy for me as breathing air… most of the time… and I have strong opinions (that I won’t go into now) about leaving him when he’s upset or afraid. But lately, I’m needing extra doses of Jesus and feeling way less gracious than usual. Oliver has decided that playing quietly in big church is no longer desirable to him, so it’s time to get him comfortable in his class. We have been going with him and sitting with him. He enjoys it but is SO afraid that we will leave. Wednesday night was my turn to go with him. I gently required that he participate in every activity while I sat in the room, but not with him in my lap. He fought almost all of it… but I held his hand if he asked. I obliged and accompanied him to the threshold of the bathroom but insisted that he allow the teacher to help him wash his hands before snack. I sat behind him and acknowledged all that he wanted to tell me or show me at snack time, but required that he stay in his own seat like the others were expected to do. I walked with him to the play area, but refused to play WITH him so that he would experience playing with others. I reassured him with a smile when he didn’t get the drum he so politely asked for and so patiently waited for, but I did not solve the problem for him. My point is… I required him to go through the entire experience. But I never left his presence. I reminded him he was safe, and I promised I wouldn’t leave him. But I didn’t remove him from his discomfort or manipulate the environment to fit his desires. But. I. Stayed. Fear not sweet boy, Mama’s with you.
And it hit me. This is where I am. I’m resisting this season with all of my might. I’m struggling to trust in the promises of God. I’ve asked Him to change the scenario. He has not. I’ve asked Him to please just pick me up and carry me over it, He insists that I walk through it. He insists that I walk out every, gravelly step. But He has not left me. He has not forsaken me. He goes with me. He reminds me. He reminds me by giving me lovely friendships here through truly divine appointments. He reminds me through a song. He reminds me through a word given at church. He reminds me with a friendly door greeter. He reminds me with the meals on my table. He reminds me with the friends who refuse to stop speaking life over me even when I don’t have the strength to speak it over myself… he reminds me, as I do Oliver, that He is here. I can hold His hand. He will walk me to the door. But he does not fix the situation. He requires that I experience it, in all of its’ discomfort. Why? Well… why do I require it of my son? So he can learn and grow and gain more of Jesus. And is that not the cry of my heart? Has it not been the same cry for years and years? Give me more of You, Lord. Lead me, I will follow. Teach me Your ways… His ways, by the way, are so mysterious, but His faithfulness endures. So…I will trust. I will wait. I will hope. But meanwhile Jesus, please hold my hand.
Psalm 42:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.