Hello old friends.
Let's say it now once and for all. We are the kind of friends that jump right in where we left off. I wish I wrote more. I wish I talked to you more through this bloggy telephone line, but sometimes, the silence grows, and I don't even realize it. Today I bring words, but no pictures. We thought we lost our camera, and I found it last night at my parent's house. When Aaron came to get me minutes before midnight, I was late-night cranky and pushing to get home and guess what? Yep, I left it there again.
Here I am, after weeks' quiet, and I have no pictures.
Are you still there? :)
I went for a run last week. Before I left, I laced up my New Balance and ranted to Aaron. The stuff of the day, the mess of the week, the parcel of the whole heavy year. He gave me that look that means, "Why don't you just run, and hopefully you'll run some of this out." So I quit talking and started running.
Pound, pound, pound. Pass the dogs that bark at me every single time. They are three bandits in one small concrete yard. When one starts the fury, the other two follow. Pound, pound, pound, leave the dogs behind. Turn right on Locust Street, up to the empty Dunnegan mansion.
"Lord," I say. "There are too many layers in my life. It's like a never-ending lasagna, Lord." (And, actually I was a little proud of this analogy as it formed.) "Meat, cheese, sauce, noodle, meat, cheese, sauce, noodle, and I am feeling SQUISHED!"
Do you have these too, reader-friend? Lasagna days where you wonder how much substance can be pressed into one pan of a day and it feels like too much and it seems to be spilling out the sides and corners and overflowing the top?
"I think you picked the wrong person for this job, Lord."
No epiphanies on the run, but I did come home a little calmer. Aaron was surely relieved.
This morning, I'm reading a book by a sweet British woman, Jill Briscoe, on the challenges of being a woman and wife in ministry. I found my heart punctuating many of her thoughts with a bold exclamation mark. Yes! This is how I feel! Someone knows! I am understood! Someone else has found Jesus in the midst of this!
One of the things she talks about is not to measure our success in ministry by numbers, by crowds, by the success of other programs, or by how we are measuring up to our predecessors. "Our nothingness," she writes, " gives God a chance to fill us with His somethingness...little is much when God is in it."
God has been reducing me to little. It is not something I cheer for, but my heart is filled with a strange anticipation. Knowing this is the prelude to something more than the stretched-out, over-baked, squished-down woman I've been. There are so many giants in this ministry, and I focus squarely on them, on my nothingness, my littleness. I am adolescent David in front of powerful Goliath.
Yet even in my misplaced focus, God appears. "I am bigger," He is saying. "Did I not put you here? Will I not sustain you where I lead you? Am I not bigger than any foe you perceive?"
In all the worn out dryness of the last couple weeks, I find that He is there. And all the lack in me is an empty field for Him to pile up His strength.