This place of worship

You know when you have tried to write something half a dozen times
and it just ends up getting reread, pondered and then saved;
that the subject is still going round and round. Incomplete.
I come back to it, trying again to put it into words, a little clearer this time, a bit cleaner.
Free from the smudges of my lack.
My groping to understand more fully.
To word it more concisely.

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My sisters and I have had this ongoing discussion as my this little one inside grows.
As I feel her kick, and feel in my heart both joy and pain through life moments.

We’ve talked a lot about pregnancy. And attitudes involved.
I am not like a few of my friends, who never look more than six months pregnant.
I do the basketball straight out front thing, the watermelon on end.
There is no hiding this little life growing inside.

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I love pregnancy. I love birth stories, and learning all the details and symptoms involved.
My husband has even teased me about being obsessed with it…
Who would have guessed then that I, of all people, would quietly grow to resent this time
the inconveniences that pregnancy would bring me?
Honestly, after having lost a baby last year, why would I even care?

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It happened so quietly, so subtly that I didn’t even realize what was going on.
Sure, the morning sickness was way worse than ever before.
And it was challenging having two active children who kept me from getting all the rest I’d had during their pregnancies.
But the resentment? What was this all about?
I’d never felt a bit sad as I put away non-maternity clothes, or looked so often in the mirror and catch my breath.
(Where HAD that waist gone?) Or felt so boatish so early in pregnancy. I looked, and sighed.
I felt like I was lugging this bump around, instead of joyfully bouncing through life with it.
Where had I gone? This didn’t feel like ME.

It’s amazing to me how God lets me, Miss Optimistic, go through times
when I smack my long nose into the blatant fact that I alone cannot bounce through life.
On my own, I end up on my face.
Alone, I simply can’t.

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But the answer came spoken through the cloud of confusion one day by one of my best friends.
She looked deep in my eyes and said,
“You HAVE what it takes to face this. God has given you all you need.”
It was like the clouds parted and God cupped my chin in his hands,
“I have given you all you need, not just to survive this season, but to THRIVE in it.”

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I glowed in the revelation for a while, but the gold lining on the cloud faded as life pounded on,
real and hard.
I didn’t FEEL like I was thriving. As I lost my breakfast over the side of the toilet bowl, again.
As I felt like an impatient and frustrated mother.
Her voice spoke again, this time in a conversation about a completely different matter,
“It’s about believing truth and not lies.”

Truth or lies. What am I believing? What am I conforming my mind to?
That the sacrifices and discomforts of pregnancy are about me?
That the loss of my waist and form is something to be mourned?
Is it about me, or about the special season that God has for me, forming this little life?
Perhaps this time of sacrifice and discomfort is actually a place of worship.
A call to more of Him, and less of me.

It was here in this moment of stepping back, I saw them clearly;
these lies that had blurred reality from my life. The power of truth took my breath away.

I’m blown away again, tears in my eyes and my strength completely inadequate to face the day.
The God of the universe, has chosen this day, this moment, as perfect for imperfect little me.

 Good living, yes, even good parenting, is not about being perfect.
Or about not struggling. Or falling. It’s about living real, full and honest.
It’s about embracing His grace for me, here and now.
It’s about inviting Him into this moment, be it sparkling with joy and smiles
or glistening with tears, and having a heart of worship.
Agreeing that He is good. All the time.
When I can do it, and when I can’t.

It’s about modeling for our children what it is like to walk with God, even when it is hard.
When we have to get down in front of them, take their small hands in ours
and look deep into those beautiful eyes and say, “I’m sorry…”
These moments are those pivotal ones where they learn we are honest, real and safe.
Even when we fail.
Cause we will fail. We are human.
And in these places, we can hold them close and point up, and together marvel
in the perfection and consistency and goodness of our God, who fails not.
It’s not about being perfect, but pointing them to the One who is.

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May this moment in your life be a place of worship.
Whether it involves painful sacrifice, blind trust or faith gripped by weak and fleshly hands.
Or whether it’s one of those mountain top experiences
with the winds tearing through your hair, your heart flooded with exhilaration.
Where you can SEE how each rigorous step along the way was meant for good.

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“Come, bless the Lord, all who serve him,

all who stand by night in the house of the Lord,

come and bless him.

 Come, bless the Lord, life your hands,

in the temple of his holiness, come and bless him.

 May the Maker of the heavens, and the Maker of the earth,

come and bless you, come and bless you.

May the Lord of heaven and earth, bless you.”

___

Thanks, once again, to my amazingly gifted sister, Gretta, who shot these pictures.
She sees beauty and heaven in the human and needy.
Her heart, and her camera, capture again and again those little moments that can be so easily overlooked.
By the way, she shoots engagements, weddings, and her absolute favorite: newborn babies!

You can see more of her lovely work at grettagraphy.wordpress.com

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2 thoughts on “This place of worship

  1. I remember feeling exactly like you described during a dreadfully uncomfortable pregnancy. The phrase “present your bodies a living sacrifice” came to me and it comforted me greatly to realize that this business of growing babies is not some sideline process, but, in fact, “holy, acceptable unto God.” I don’t know how you could more literally be a living sacrifice. Remember that when you toss and turn and adjust your pillows at night… God is smiling with pleasure because you are willing to bear a child. 🙂 I look forward to seeing newborn photos by your talented sister.

  2. Oh I loved this so much! I am already dreading my next pregnancy because I hate it so much…but I think I just really need to shift my focus off of myself and what I want. I pray you will have a blessed pregnancy that brings you closer to God!

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