So when my little ones were dropped off at my school, I decided it sounded like a Chick Fila kinda day.
There was no argument from my littles. It’s the favorite restaurant….they know us there. Ally even has inside jokes with the manager…we bring the party…always have, always will.
Anyway…when we walked in I noticed a lady sitting at a booth. She had her head in her hands and I instantly wanted to reach over and comfort her. I wanted to put my hand on her shoulder and say, “I understand.”
Because I do.
I’ve been there. It doesn’t matter the place…those head-in-the-hands moments happen regardless of location.
Those moments are better than the weep-curled-in-a-ball moments.
So much better.
This past weekend I experienced both as I struggled with realizations of some things my children were dealing with and how much I want to change situations for them. I found myself wishing that things were oh so very different yet again.
One of my children spent the day with me…leaning heavily on me…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This child needed more than words…this child needed me to listen, pray, and just simply be there.
Oh how I have needed that too. That has been one of the most difficult parts of this move…not having my closest friends here. Not having friends that understand sometimes I need a shoulder and sometimes I need a kick in the butt and sometimes I just need a babysitter.
I miss them.
I miss the hands on my shoulder, the kind words, the comforting prayers, the encouragement, admonitions, accountability, and understanding. I miss having someone to hang out with…I miss it a lot.
As I glanced at this woman and her little boys and the empty ring finger…I thought maybe she is a weary single parent like me. Or maybe she just took it off to do the dishes and she’s exhausted from a day of chores. I’ve been at that point too… :)
Whatever her story…it reminded me of the way we really need each other. Not just for a coffee date or a phone conversation, but for the real life stuff. The days when my head is in my hands more than anywhere else…the days when I have things to celebrate and the days when I have things to commiserate.
I was made for fellowship. I was made for more than work and chores and stuff to do…I was made for fellowship with my Father and fellowship with my spiritual siblings.
I have discovered, not surprisingly, that there is a direct correlation between my peace, my perspective, and my level of fellowship with my Father.
The more time I spend with Him, the more I long to spend time with Him.
The more time I spend with Him, the more like Him I become.
Maybe that’s why the past year or so has been such a fretful, difficult, overwhelming kind of year?
I have lived in triage mode and neglected to go to the Medic that can really help me.
I’ve looked everywhere for healing from all my difficult moments…and I’ve looked for comfort and strength and peace in the things I can find myself.
Sometimes I don’t understand myself.
Actually, a lot of times I don’t understand myself.
I’m so very much like Paul…doing what I don’t want to do and not doing what I want to do…over and over and over again.
And where has it gotten me?
Insecure. Fearful. Scared. And, sometimes, angry.
I don’t like that me.
This morning I was looking for a verse to share with a friend who is struggling and I remembered Isaiah 54:11-17:
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. Behold I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.
When I read “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted” I feel comforted. Is that weird or what? It is like someone – like the Someone saying, “Dear one, I know…I know how you are feeling and what you are going through.”
God knows just what I need to hear. And then He follows it up with additional blessings.
He tells me the beautiful ways that He is going to work in my life. Beautiful. Even though I’m going to have to look up antimony, agate and carbuncles…it doesn’t sound like it but they are beautiful gems and minerals.
My NIV version uses the terms turquoise, lapis lazuli, and sparkling jewels.
The pictures are pretty.
I think being rebuilt into something beautiful would be wonderful.
What is my beauty going to look like?
Is it going to be the beauty of a woman whose face is raised to her Lord….confident, unafraid, and secure in the love of her Abba Father?
Is it going to be the beauty of a woman who finds her strength in Him?
Is it going to be the beauty of a woman who seeks His will above her own?
Is it going to be the beauty of a woman who finds all she needs in Him?
There are seasons when it is reasonable to place our head in our hands and weep. There are weary season…there just are.
There are seasons when it is understandable to be curled in a ball in the corner of the closet. There are seasons of sorrow.
It’s okay. He is in those moments too. He never leaves us or forsakes us.
When we find ourselves turned from Him…when we have sought solace, strength, and anything else we think we need from a source other than the One that truly can give us all we need…He never looks away from us.
I have to shake my head at the thought…how is that possible?
I know me…I know me in good and bad times…and very rarely am I the woman I want to be for Him. And yet He loves me still.
I wish I had been brave enough to share with that woman the hope I have found in Christ.
I could have given her a hug, but that would not have made a lasting difference. Momentary comfort. I could offer so much more.
All that I have found to be true of my Father.
He meets me continually where I am…whether it’s a wonderful or a woeful place.
He pours love on me lavishly when I least deserve it.
He comforts me with His presence and peace.
He provides for me…above and beyond.
He is with me…always.
And you know what is a great comfort right now? It doesn’t really matter what moment I’m in…He is with me.
Thank you Lord.
“Though the mountain be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10