My older sister and I have talked at random in the past several years about starting a blog together. I ended up starting this one last year, just to learn a new hobby and deal with the isolation of mountain life and early motherhood. It was only a matter of time, though, before I called and begged, “Um, Julie, is it time now?”
Julie cuts straight to the heart of a matter – be prepared! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, read her story, and get ready to be cut to the quick.
And, by the way, Julie… this post calls for follow-up. Next week?
Eyes looking at a blank screen,
Hands frozen over the keyboard.
Frozen. Remembering, years ago.
My whole self frozen.
Confused, numb, listless.
Why am I here?
What’s my life for?
Baptized: fully dyed-in-the-wool.
I KNOW IT’S ABOUT GOD.
But what does that MEAN?
Jesus, of course.
He died on the cross for me,
For my sins, which are many.
I KNOW – and I’m grateful.
But I’m supposed to be saved for something.
Death is all around me
Inside me, too.
What is this Life thing?
It’s there, too, but it’s all lost in my confusion.
Shall I go find a… a… a… Mission? Work really hard at it, grunt and groan and sweat and say, “It’s all for the glory of God.”?
I’d really just be running away
From the horrifying, nagging conviction that all of my efforts can do nothing
Except bring glory to…
I. Can. Do… Nothing.
I couldn’t find my way out of the muddle. For weeks, months, I’d get up, make breakfast for my husband, and go back to bed, often until noon, and then spend the rest of the day playing Solitaire at our old trunk-turned-coffee-table. At 4:00 I’d make a mad dash to shower, dress, and make supper, all in a lame effort to hide the level of my depression – and laziness – from my husband. Eventually we agreed that I needed some help.
A counseling session freed me from some misguided ideas. Like: The ideal Christian woman is a high-energy organizer of some kind, leading women’s or children’s ministries, or working with kids in the inner city. (It’s an understatement to say that I would NEVER measure up.) So whatever God’s will was for me… whew!… it wasn’t that. While I still didn’t have an answer (What is Life?), I could now explore my question more freely.
I gave up Solitaire. I journaled. I prayed. I read. Lots and lots of books, some helpful, some most definitely not.
I wandered blindly, innocently, into the book of Job. There I plowed through lots of philosophical conversations that seemed boring to me at the time. I have no idea why I kept reading, except that Job wasn’t getting his questions answered, and he was getting mad about it, and that interested me.
And then. And then, almost at the end of the book, God showed up in the middle of a whirlwind to talk to Job. He talked about the morning stars singing, about the sea bursting forth from the womb, and about numbering the clouds, and exploring the depths of the sea. He described the secret place where the mountain goats give birth. He said that he clothes himself in glory and splendor. I could sense his overflowing delight in all these things. All my life, I thought God had created the Earth as a dwelling-place for man, and all the things in it for man’s use. Now I saw – with spine-tingling awe – that he had created it for his own pleasure.
I imagined him watching the birth of a mountain goat, or the opening of a desert flower, knowing that it was his secret, and his alone: no human eye would ever see it. Its whole value was in God’s pleasure over it. I wanted to be invited to stand beside him and see it, too, to feel his delight, to let my heart swell with joy at his wisdom. I felt teased, wooed, beguiled, seduced. I had caught a glimpse of his glory, his wisdom, his beauty, and it was a drug. I was high. I couldn’t get enough. It was Life. Seeing His glory was Life.
The course of my life has been set. To know, witness, experience the glory of God. The years since then have been filled with lots of fits, falters, false starts – and plenty of beautiful times, too. I have long periods of self-aggrandizing efforts that land me, once again, in a pit of despair; and lovely, lovely times when I look once again to him, and find him… everywhere – in art, history, nature, mathematics, music – everywhere, in every thing, and I’m falling on my knees.
In “Sing on Saturdays,” I will share some of the inner workings of my soul as I encounter books, music, art, and life experiences that lead me toward (or away from) a fuller joy in who God is. I’ll be glad to have you join me.