a prayer to the God of my life

Lord, while I am overwhelmed moment by moment, you remain in control. You remain fully capable of meeting my needs, of saving me, of healing me. I need such healing. I can’t hold it together, while that’s what you’re doing all the time.¹

I can’t habit myself out of my brokenness. I can’t make myself better by changing my behavior.

You have no shortage of everything I lack. Peace. Grace. Hope. Joy. Perspective. Self-control. Patience. Faithfulness. Understanding. Wellness. Goodness. Holiness. All the ways you call me to be. This all is found only in you. I can only model myself after you.

And yet, I can’t. I’m amazed by how often I feel beyond fixing. Beyond help and healing. And I kind of want to be done having to get up every day and try again.

But you’re showing me: I feel beyond hope most when I’m looking at myself. And that’s when I’m also most right about it, because I don’t have you in my sight. And without you, the picture is grim. But you draw my eyes upward, slowly pulling my gaze out of its fixation on me, and you make me see you, being just right there, right here, eager to bring me to yourself, where there is only shalom.

And with you in it, the picture is grace. With you at the center, and me at the periphery, things finally start to make sense, as you put them in order.

So. This healing. I guess it has to begin with worship. Because if I don’t understand who you are, how can I trust you to manage my chaos, my burden? If I don’t see you as the biggest and awesomest and lovingest person there ever was, why would I waste my time? As it is, I’m wasting my time NOT looking at you. I’m making my back problems worse by hunching in on myself, looking for answers anywhere else. And I’m losing light.

But you. You. You, I can tell, you’re taking me by the shoulders, by way of internal crisis, and shaking me awake to you. You’re straightening me, tilting my head up. It’s really hard to frown when I’m looking up. It’s really hard to purse my lips. My face itself testifies to the internal reality that when I look up, I’m opening up. My eyes open. My mouth opens, as though ready to receive food and a deep breath.

My eyes open, and I get to see you. And I take you in, your glory, your wonder, and my heart beats faster, and you’ve let me love you. You’ve given me my greatest good – to know you and love you.

And my response now is to bend again, but this time, I’m not hunching. I’m bowing. I’m on my knees. I’m on my face, because all I have is nothing, and I have nothing on which to stand. Nothing to prop me up in your sight. I am nothing, Lord.

So if you want nothing, then here I am. Here I am.

Here I am.

Yours.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. [Psalm 42:8]

 

¹ Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3

on fighting

[a reflection on my experience with cancer and the common term “fighting cancer” I heard often]

 

I never really felt like I was fighting. Swimming upstream, maybe. Muddling my way through a dark tunnel. Fighting is quick, decisive, active. These months have been slow movements, waiting for what would happen to me next. I fought for agency but I don’t think I fought anything else. I walked a path without seeing it, without full understanding or peace. Except for rare moments, when God gave me grace to recall His sweetness and love. A fighting love.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still [some versions say “silent”]. (Exodus 14:14)

He was fighting for me all that time. Those endless days when I had no strength, no ability but to be still.

This battle may have ended, but I must still be still.

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

a feast day poem

the world is beautiful because

you are beautiful, Lord,

and you made the world.

i don’t know how i know that

you’re beautiful, but you’re

endless depths

and riches of glory,

unfolding like an incredible story

or like tasting something too complex

to grasp

in one bite.

you’re like being

thousands of feet in the air

yet right next to a blade of grass or

a crocus.

with you it’s just

beauty, somehow.

beauty with us.

God is

with us,

and who are we

to deserve such

beauty.

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. [1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV]