I have this problem...
To often my mind wanders away... and I start dreaming about where I could be some other day. Sometimes I even let my mind get so far ahead that I forget the one that I'm in.. I miss things, moments that happen and I let them pass by as if they were nothing. I get stuck in yesterday, in the in-between, and in all that tomorrow might bring. I get stuck in the hard things... the pushing through... the waiting... and I forget to take in all that has already been given to me.
Today, as the kids napped... suddenly the sky turned black and rain began to pour with very little warning... The wind blew as the clouds rolled in and the rain got heavier and heavier... which seemed fitting as that was exactly how I was feeling. And suddenly I fell apart...
My tears rolled right along with the thunder and the questions poured from my mind just like the rain. The morning had been rough... the kids running wild and house getting destroyed bit by bit. More paperwork from the county... more hold-ups...more circumstances that made me question why on earth Margy and I ever started walking this road... And with every little blow my heart just got heavier and heavier. We have been trying to do this for so long... for months and months we have done every set up, paper-work, called every worker, gone through every loop, and fallen madly in love with these kids... so much so that we flat out refuse to quit.. refuse to believe that Grace Refuge cannot be the place we've dreamed it would be for these kids. And today I just felt the storm come in.... and I let the tears come.
I let them come for a long... long time.
And finally the words came. And I realized why it really was that the tears were falling. And to put it simply.... I felt like a total failure. The past bit of life has just brought some rough blows and I won't talk about all of them here because I believe in the depths of my heart that some things are meant to be held sacred between me and God... and no one else. But, as I was saying.. its been a rough patch... and this morning I was a down right jerk to my husband, I was oblivious to the kids attempts to just play with me while I attempted to complete yet another batch of paperwork, I was tired, crabby, impatient, and unmerciful. And to top it off, in the pouring rain... I looked out the window to find the windows of the jeep completely down--so I ran outside (soaked before I got even halfway to the jeep) and went and rolled them up. And I surrendered to the fact that I was going to be wet anyway... and stood in the rain a few moments and let the tears continue. Sometimes, it just feels right to cry in the rain...
Wet, cold, with mascara running down my face I returned to the house.
"God, does this make any difference at all? Do you see me and these kids here just doing life every day? Do you see us? Does it make a difference? Does it matter? Do they see you in this place? Is it changing them? Is it changing me? Is this what you envisioned when you had us begin this? Some days this doesn't really look at all how I thought it would look... "
And in the midst of my emotional breakdown I looked out the window... the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing...
and I remembered sweet little Makala today... spinning around in her pull-up right before her nap and telling me her stories.... and then suddenly stopping... giving me her wide-eyed smile and saying "I told God to be in my heart" I stopped whatever meaningless task I was doing at that moment and smiled... "what?" I asked. "I told God to be in my heart." she beamed. "How sweetheart? When did you do that?"
"Last night, I said God, come be in my heart!"
hmmmm... the precious gift of perspective. I was shocked at my lack of faith. How could I dare even ask the question "Is this making any difference? Do you see us here?"
He sees us. He hears my heart. He knows.... My goodness does He know.
Last night I had dinner with a dear friend whom I hadn't seen for months. This man of God is like an older brother to me and has walked me through some of the darkest moments of my life acting as just that... a brother. And he has also been there for some of the most wonderful moments... I'll never forget his face as he watched me walk down the isle or all of the work he put into making my wedding incredible. He isn't a Pastor yet, but I fully believe he will be one. His perspective on the word of God continues to astound me... and he always pushes me to be the person I know God intended me to be... even when he tells me what I don't want to hear (which he freqently does, and worse than that, he's usually right)...
As we were talking about some of the things going on in each of our lives right now, we were discussing a particular situation in his life which... quite frankly... has him heartbroken at the moment. Tears rolled down my cheeks as he told me how he was handling it... and how it has been the darkest hour of his life so far... but also the closest he's ever felt to the heart of Jesus... He went on to tell me how he is handling things... and I'll just say this. He is dealing with an awful situation in where he could take a very easy way out... and instead, he is walking the way of righteousness and taking what he could do on his own, and laying the situation in the hands of God.. even though it is breaking him to pieces...
I looked at him at one point and said. "You have no idea how admirable that is... and what a testimony that is... You have no idea.... how commendable that is... really, I'm just... in awe."
"Yeah..." he sighed. "but I don't want to be commendable! I want ___________" (I'll leave what his heart wants out because it doesn't really matter for the point of this story.
When he said that... the tears were still rolling from the rest of his story when I began to laugh hysterically. "I know..." I smiled. "being commendable sucks!"
Sometimes, doing the right thing... the thing you know in your heart you are supposed to do is unbelievably hard. Sometimes it doesn't feel wonderful or righteous or like your walking on holy ground. Sometimes, it makes you come undone and brings you to the point where you know you are at the very end of yourself. And sadly, that is sometimes the best possible place to be. Because sometimes, walking a lonely road where you feel at the end of you... is the place when you become most like Him. And although I laughed at his statement... it was so true. We don't want to be commendable... we want what our heart is aching for at that particular moment. We don't want the bigger picture... the greater story... We just want the tears to stop and the hard parts to be over. We just want the fairytale... not the reality show.
Sometimes... I get too far ahead. I look to where I'd love this ministry to be in ten years and forget to see the beauty and purpose of where it is. Sometimes... I get so overwhelmed with the details and the setbacks that I forget the real reason we do this... so that one day, we might hear every little one say "I told God to come in my heart."
After my tears were over, the storm had passed and the sun came out... The kids and I made cupcakes. And we laughed and danced and played and spilled frosting everywhere.... We spilled crumbs, licked our fingers, and if the food program would have showed up, I'm sure they would have had plenty of choice words for me (letting two kids in their underwear frost cupcakes while licking their fingers and dipping them in the frosting container) and then sharing those cupcakes with every person that walked through the door as if they were a precious treasure... and to the kids, they were. They were theirs.
And for a moment I stepped back and just looked at them in the kitchen... naked and full of frosting.. and delightfully happy.. and I realized that after the paperwork and the tears and the hard stuff... comes the cupcakes.
And the cupcakes make the whole day worth it. Because the cupcakes mean that these kids get to be carefree and take delight in the little things. The cupcakes mean they get to be kids. It means they get to worship to the tune of licking frosting and dancing in their underwear... and really... what better way is there? It means they get to tell Jesus to come into their hearts and know it will be rejoiced over.
Yesterday the cupcakes reminded me to quiet my heart, treasure the breath that I'm breathing and the moment I'm living... they taught me that every second that's passing... is filled with so much meaning, meaning I don't want to miss and depth I don't ever want to ever loose sight of.
oh Jesus open my eyes.... keep me here in this place... because theres nowhere I'd rather be than with you, making cupcakes.
Above are some of the pictures of our great delight.. (I clothed them for these) :-)