Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Like a Lake

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1, New King James Version)

It's time to lay aside the weights that have been suffocating me over the past several months. Time to clear away the rubble. Time to stop hiding my head in the sand and start behaving like a lioness of God.

For the first time in ages, I know exactly what I need to do. No laundry, dishes, experiments or reading can distract me, as much as those things need to get done. Nor do I need to make resolutions for the new year. I need to face the things that shame me, full in the face, and deal with them.

So that's what I'm doing today, however long it takes and whatever else it keeps me from doing. And I'm sharing this with you, dear abandoned reader, because I also need to humble myself and do this in "public".

Why deal with the past, rather than focus on new chances in a new year? Well, how can I be vulnerable to my husband, loving to my daughter (and soon-to-arrive new son), and confident in my work if I wall myself away in the dark in fear that someone will see my shame and failures? Where is there room for joy in a heart that's huddled in pain, unwilling to look at my own reflection?

I don't like sounding melodramatic, but I've been so unsure of who I'm becoming that I've just kind of floated along day by day, failing to meet obligations...and with each little failure, becoming less able to find a place to start taking care of the mess. Kind of like when you ignore your household chores for a while, and suddenly you can't stand it anymore but the task seems overwhelming -- do you go room by room or pick up the all the floors or throw your hands up in the air and put the blinders back on?

As Sara Groves so aptly writes in "Like a Lake",

standing at this waters edge
looking in at God's own heart
I've no idea where to begin
to swallow up the way things are

But this morning, something wonderful and unexpected happened. I have to face up to missing an important deadline for completing my graduate research, and in sorting through how to explain why I need more time (preferably without sounding like an emotionally incompetent fool), God came out of nowhere and freed my heart -- and gave me a plan and a place to start.

Now I wonder: if He had answered my desperate plea for someone to stand alongside me* in my darker moments over the past few weeks, would I have been ready to hear Him? If I hadn't been on the point of tears (or well past the edge) for so long, would I be ready now to clear away the rubble of my mistakes, whatever cost doing so brings me? I don't think so.

So I'm ready to start, by making a list of things I am ashamed to have done (or rather, not done) over the past year. Those I can't do anything about will go straight to the throne of grace. The rest I'll need to make a plan for, my prayer being this:

when it's over bring me stillness
let my face reflect the sky
and all the grace and all the wonder
of a peace that I can't fake
wide open like a lake.

*Not that I lack loving family and friends who would gladly stand with me if I asked. Rather, I was hoping for someone to miraculously know what I was going through without being told. And I was too ashamed to admit I needed someone to lean on.


  1. May you live in the life giving breath of God's love and forgiveness and wonder of each day of life. May you be forever young. Love, Dad

  2. I understand the feeling of wanting something to change over night. Usually it's without me having to actually face whatever it is in the face. I'm so glad for you that the Lord gave you peace.