On Paying Attention

At times like these.

When I am feeling so poignantly this illness depression, which is chronic and confusing and feels a lot like failure, at times like these  … I have learned to wait and pay attention.  Taste the bitter in this moment.    And see what God intends.
Henri Nouwen says of this patience:
“The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means “to suffer.”  Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and  letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants.  Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.”
I know intellectually that God wants me to let go of this grip I have on my pain.  He says “I will take it — your sadness, pain, fear, and hollow heart and make life out of it.”   This is the promise which gives us our hope.  This is everything.  Julian of Norwich says in Revelations of Divine Love:
 “God sees our wounds and sees them not as scars but as honors. . .”
It is possible to thank God for our weaknesses, our broken hearts, our frequent “failings,” even our sickness?  I think it is not only possible but necessary.

I believe He has something good he intends to come out of my heart falling over the precipice, shattered.

Yes, I’m weary of being so feeble and human.  Is it possible to thank him, yes and I am waiting expectantly as Nouwen says:

“Waiting patiently for God always includes joyful expectation.  Without expectation our waiting can get bogged down in the present.  When we wait in expectation our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy…, “Brothers and sisters … the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.  The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light” (Romans 13:11-12).

I am paying attention and I choose to be grateful nevertheless, which I wrote about over at Provoketive this week.

My cup is always half empty.  At least, without Jesus it would be.  Even with the Holy Spirit active it is an effort to be positive.   ….  Even in the midst of the hell of depression I am grateful.  God gives us this one life and we are charged to sort it out.   He guides us, truly he does, but much of life is us sifting through the good and the bad.

Life is choices.

… (more)

As we begin the season of advent it feels right amidst our clamoring to wait on Him.  In the fear, wait.  Anxious furtive thoughts, wait.

Pay attention and wait with joyful expectation.


Quotations from Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr and from Bread for the Journey by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

There is a Woman: Reflections on Motherhood

There is a woman who makes raising up children and being at-home seem the most gratifying and beautiful tasks in the whole world. I want to believe it is a noble task and I read her blog, if a bit unfaithfully.  When I remember again, I go there and I seem to gorge on her simple, profound theological insights and humble, breathtaking photography.  She reminded me today of Henri Nouwen’s words suggesting that:

“[t]he word patience means willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

How can I be so frustrated and impatient in my circumstances?

If there was a sub-theme to my blog it would be that!  If there was a lesson (and there have been so many) I feel I have been supposed to learn from the last decade of life at home it has been to believe that I am where God wants me.  Also, that who I am is more important than what I am doing.  For more than a year, I sought God’s will; I cried and prayed and wanted to know if I should quit my job.  I sought insight from wise people.  I asked myself in my heart of hearts what I should do and then finally made a decision. This is his desire for me right now until he clearly presents the next thing. (And I think he has, but that’s another post.)

I need to ask what is God manifesting today and be humbled by the knowledge of God’s sovereignty.  But even as I do, I can celebrate all that I have learned.  And continue to be a good mother, as best I can. (Now the best homemaker, not so much.)

What makes a good mother is a question all mothers ask ourselves.  Only you can sort that out for yourself.  Every circumstance, each child, individual women and men, make each experience of parenting different.

These are a few things I have learned along the way … about being a Good Mother.   A good mother …

  • Loves always and in everything.  (I cling to 1 Corinthians 13.)
  • Tells her children often and in specific ways how they are unique.
  • Thinks before she speaks and if necessary gives herself a time out.  (I have been told it takes ten positive remarks to “do away” with one negative comment.  Teachers should also realize this.)
  • Admits when she is wrong.  Just do it.  The #1 best thing you could do for your kids.
  • Is accountable to others in her parenting.  I laugh because when heat of summer comes along and the windows are thrown open, the neighbors can hear you yelling at your kids.  That’s accountability.
  • Should be less lazy in keeping kids accountable to their commitments.  (I’m preaching to myself here.)
  • Speaks biblical truth into her kids lives. We are all theologians.
  • Forgives herself for being imperfect.
  • Forgives her kids for being imperfect little beings.
  • Lets her kids see her affection for her spouse.  (I am not a touchy-feely type, but it’s no matter.  My husband and my kids need me to hug my husband more often!)
  • Has her own goals.  (Woops.  But this is important and I’ll have to put aside a whole blog post to it sometime soon.  You cannot set aside all of your personal goals for your kids.  Think of your intellectual and career needs.)
  • And from Ann, “even when you sin and fall, cling to grace.”  And I would add, let your kids see it.

What are you learning? Who are you learning from?  Who inspires you today?

And thank you Ann. Below is a link to her blog.

holy experience