Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Necklace

It's been two months since my last blog entry.

I've had nothing of interest to report in more than 60 days.

Even now, as I sit facing the mostly blank screen in front of me, and force my creaking, under-used fingers to strike the keys of my laptop, I am struggling to find words.

And that is SOOO not like me. I've got words. LOTS of words. Ask anyone.

Except...I'm at a loss.

Let me see if I can come at this from another angle, and arrive at where I am trying to get, another way.

My 14 year old daughter (pause for a moment and totally flip out with me that I have a child who is FOURTEEN...thank you) and I have been listening to an audio book for a couple weeks now. We did the same thing last summer, and we decided to start this summer indulgence a little earlier this year.

Last summer, for 16 hours (broken up, obviously, because...life) we listened to my favorite book of ALL time, This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti. 

I have read my copy of the book 12 times. No, that isn't a typo. Since the fall I turned 13 years old, I have read my favorite book 12 times, and after my daughter passed her 13th birthday, I suggested we listen to it together. 

This summer, we are embarking on it's sequel, Piercing The Darkness, a book I have also read 12 times. (Because logic dictates that if a book is good enough to read 12 times, and it possesses a sequel, that sequel MUST be read.)

We are only a few hours into this 18 hour project, and already, I am yearning for more.

Not because I don't know what happens next. (In fact, nearly every new section of text, the reader starts reading and I mutter "oh man" in anticipation of what he will read next...and then my daughter 'shushes' me.)

This afternoon as we concluded our listening time for the day, I found myself struck into silence by a thought that entered my spirit. It has been pinging around inside me for an hour...

(By the way, I just have to say; Isn't the Lord clever? I usually think I have all these great ideas and little brainstorms of exciting, bonding things to do with my kids...but usually I look back and chuckle as I realize the Lord totally directed me toward that thing for my own benefit, because He had something He was trying to get through my thick skull.)

I've been feeling the weight of life pretty heavily lately. We are working hard to wrap up another homeschooling year. I'm trying my best to feel the weight of my legs a good bit LESS, (translation, I've been working out a lot, including running sprints on the advice of a workout friend...and my legs hurt. All. The. Time.) and so I'm physically run down by the end of the day. And, you know, life...it just gets heavy sometimes.

I've had people, who I am sure are trying to give me a compliment, tell me that they can't believe I don't have the perfect life, or the perfect kids, or the perfect...whatever. 

But...my kids aren't perfect. Today, one of the boys "accidentally" urinated ON HIS BROTHER. (I can't say more about that...none of the words are acceptable.)

I'm not perfect either. If I were, I wouldn't be running sprints, you can BET on that. And, yesterday, I curled up into my favorite reading chair...and I cried silently into my hands for 20 minutes.

Because...life.

And then today, today the thought...the pinging around of it inside me, the considering, the marinating, the awareness of the sovereignty of God to lead me exactly where He wanted me to arrive, in such a way that I was caught off guard by it...

I am wearing a spiritual chain around my neck.

That's the thought that the Holy Spirit whispered.

On the chain, there's a chalkboard sign hanging.

It's heavy, this chain and sign.

There are words written on my chalkboard. They change periodically, depending on the day, or a particular circumstance, or my emotional state.

Today, as the thought from the Lord swirled around inside me, I instantly knew what this day's word is.

Failure.

That's what I'm carrying around with me. And, people, let me tell you, it's making me tired.

Like, sink into my bed wearing yoga pants and never get up again tired.

It doesn't matter why that's my word. It's totally irrelevant to the point I'm meandering around and trying to arrive at. The word hasn't been failure all week. Yesterday it was discouragement. Monday, it was sadness. Tuesday it was complacency. 

Today I'm a failure.

As I've been cleaning the kitchen and closing up the house because it's starting to rain, I've been fully, utterly aware of my neck chain, and the word on the chalkboard, and I've been pondering it.

Waiting.

Wondering what thought would come next from the Lord.

Because He never hits me with too much at once. He gives me time to recognize His voice, and accept what He has shown me, and then...then He waits until I have turned it all over and over and over and over, and arrive at a quiet place, where I'm waiting for Him.

I'm waiting for Him now.

What do I do with this heavy chain, Lord?
I didn't even know I was carrying it around.
What about the chalkboard? 
It taunts me. I swear it has speakers and a slimy, raspy, demonic voice that whispers the word of the day to me repeatedly until I become so used to the sound that I just accept the word as truth about myself.

I close my eyes and admit to the Lord that I have been believing this chalkboard chain, and I'm weary, and I feel beat up, and there is an ache inside me, because I don't want to be a failure. 

And He doesn't speak, not at first. But, I feel Him. He smiles, and He reaches out and wipes His hand across the word. 

Failure disappears. 

Now my chalkboard isn't smeared with a chalk word that has been wiped away.

Now...it's covered in red.

And the red, the blood, it doesn't spell out any new words...but I know them all the same.

Love. Sacrifice. Acceptance. Peace. Belonging. Healing.

Those are the words I see in the red.

And my chain...it's a lovely golden color now, and light and delicate against my skin.

All these 60+ days, I've been carrying around the wrong chain, and reading the wrong words.

And with one smile, and one touch of His hand...He made all things right in my heart.

And I'm not really sure if this blog makes any sense to you at all...but I am overwhelmed by His presence, and the tears are flowing, and despite the fact that no leg weight has disappeared...I feel lighter than I have in a while.

My kids may not ever pee on each other again (Please, God) but they will continue to be imperfect. I will continue to be a wreck.

But...I'm a wreck wearing a lovely necklace with a red colored chalkboard. 

And so are you.