Friday, October 4, 2013

If I could speak to your little girls...


My heart is burdened to the point of distraction. How great is the loneliness of the teenage girl who is earnestly trying to please the Lord, adorn herself with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. How despairing to realize that every guy you like can have Miley Cyrus or Rihanna naked in the palm of his iPhone, thank you Vevo.

Not that most girls want to suggestively lick strange objects or dance naked for the masses. But we want to be noticed.

What can we Mommas do when our little girls feel broken because no one follows them? Empower prudishness? Help them acquire a subtler sexuality? Encourage them to surround themselves with friends? Promise them attention and belonging once Mr. Right finally appears? Be their best friend?

Here I sit with all I dreamed of... husband, kids, family, friends, church. The connectedness I prayed for as a teenager. Belonging to a group and being comfortable in my own skin.

So why do I still feel lonely? Me, who cannot go to the bathroom by myself. And it's not lonely because the house is quiet or Tim is out of town or because everyone is too busy to call. I'm still washed with bone loneliness in a crowded room just like my teenage self walking around those blue and gold halls.

Loneliness exceeds human relationships. Even my husband, and he's my best friend, who knows me through babies and hard times and long nights, still can't know me like I want to be known.

A husband isn't the answer.

Neither is a best friend. Or a Mom. Or a sister. Or a daughter. Or a son.

But the Son.

I am lonely because I need my Father, his Son, the Holy Spirit. My deepest longing to be known is only satisfied in Him.

Loneliness is the human condition passed down with that first errant bite. Our walks with God were over, and the desperate search to be known began.

From the 'innocent' flirt to the brazen wrecking ball swinging wildest child, we are all buying fools gold. Believing attention from one person or the nation will make up for the one broken relationship. But it won't. From one who has every earthly relationship I ever hoped for, it won't.

Why leave adopted children lonely? Unless that loneliness serves us for good. A daily reminder that we're not home. We are strangers and exiles in this land, seeking a better homeland, that is a heavenly one. And we are walking among the dying.

But He hasn't left us wandering around a foreign land. The Lord God is with us wherever we go.

I can't talk to every daughter, young and old, but I can talk to mine, and you can talk to yours. To dispel the lie that loneliness is solved by human relationships. That women who are happily married are never lonely.

To encourage that loneliness might be recurrent, but it is not permanent.

To teach ourselves to be satisfied by the spiritual, not just the physical. As children, we require a face to look at or arms to hug, but part of maturing is training our hearts on the subtlety of God.

For though we might feel alone, we are never alone. God is with us, always. Reminding us that a better home awaits where we will never feel lonely.

I couldn't bring myself to look forward to Heaven or the returning of the Lord when I was a teenager. I too badly wanted the family I now have. Maybe my young ears couldn't hear that what I really wanted was Heaven. But we mommas plant a lot of seeds that must overwinter before they germinate.

So let's plant. Speak the truth to your girls in the face of their need to belong, on the playground or on Friday night. What Miley Cyrus has isn't enough. What the popular kids have isn't enough. What full grown mommas have isn't enough.

Only God is enough. Only He takes away our loneliness. And we must train our hearts to believe. We must train our minds to pray before texting our besty. We must train our bodies to seek God not attention.

For the daughters belong with their Father.

A music video to build you up...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A pattern for busy lives

I can't count how often I'm told to treasure these days with my little ones. Now, I'm pretty sure those parents are misremembering why 'these days' are also known as the 'terrible twos' and 'even more terrible threes.' But I also get that this period is short, and babies grow fast.

Maybe that's why I feel guilty when life runs, well, like Afton. She doesn't walk. She sprints, her slow speed a brisk jog. She doesn't sit. She squats. Even in her high chair, she crouches, all tight coiled muscles. A lot of days, our whole family paces with her, hopping from project to lesson to errand and back.

I feel like I'm supposed to artificially slow time so we can make the most of these young years. The uber-spiritual me begins equating slowly with Godly. As if I'm not really a good Christian momma unless I'm taking slow, deliberate steps. Some homeschooling monk-life figure.

Is it stupid guilt? Yes. Most of my guilt is. Just one more weight to carry while I try to keep up.

During a true slow time, I'm reading Mark. He must understand the whoosh of time. 'Immediately' is his favorite adverb. As in 33 times, his favorite adverb. Makes me think life with Jesus moved pretty quickly too. Rushing through miracles and boat rides and feeding thousands. Then Jesus presses [pause]. He pulls his disciples aside. Warns them of his death. Tells them who he is. Takes a deep breath. Then immediately takes over, they're off to heal a boy.

Pause again. Warn again. Teach again. Back to immediately, ministry frenzy.

Work, pause, teach.

The physical slowness accents the importance of the teaching. Quieting the body to let the mind wrap around something huge.

Slow moments to teach and emphasize.

But not all slow moments.

If we're all quiet moments, the emphasis is gone. A flat symphony no one remembers.

The rush isn't bad. The immediately is part of this earthly ministry where much and more hangs in the balance, and many people hurt, and many need to hear some good news.

If we're only slow, we might not cover all the ground. Jesus walked thousands of miles, touched ten thousands of people during his three year tour. It can't be done if we pause under every tree.

Work, pause, teach.

A pattern to reach the world and build disciples. Meeting immediate needs for many. Imparting a Godly understanding to a few. Sounds like the parent's job description.


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