Friday, May 31, 2013

in the middle of laughter


 ”She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
The photograph above is us in the wind tunnel our local science center.  Wind raging, hair blowing, belly laughing.  Yea.  This is a metaphorical snapshot of my life, only too often without the goofy grin and laughter.
We’ve been struggling a bit this week.  I’ve had to deal with some less than desirable issues at work as the kids are adjusting to their new summer schedules, which apparently is going consist of about twelve hours of playtime between summer camp during the day and playing outside with the neighborhood kids until dark.  Chloe asked me yesterday morning if I could take the day off of work, which stabbed my heart a little bit, until I realized she was only asking because she wanted to sleep in a little more.
Yea.  Times are changing.  Literally.  Figuratively.
Even the slightest change induces pangs of anxiety for me that inevitably unleashes a disturbing montage of so many “if onlys” and “what ifs” that flood my brain.  I begin to worry about things I shouldn’t, which – if we’re going by scripture here – is pretty much everything.  I begin to find myself lamenting the circumstances of my life and longing for some ambiguous, unrealistic future place where I’ll have an adequate sense of control amidst the chaos, ample time to mother my children better – and I’ll be in the word more and exercise more and life will just be, you know, better.  And maybe, just maybe, my anxious heart will be calmed and then I’ll have peace in the place of all this worry and regret.
I know.  These worries are enough to wear even the strongest mama straight out – and straight down into a pit of despair.
He knows, too.  Our deepest thoughts.  Our darkest fears.  Our incessant worries.
This morning, I’m reminded of that day out on the boat.  Jesus slumbering peacefully on a cushion amidst a massive storm.  The disciples were clinging for their lives, beaten and battered by the waves washing over them.  The boat began to fill with water [and then]the disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (Mark 4:38).
Oh, isn’t that just like us, too?  Waiting until the very middle of a raging storm within us to cry out to the only one who can calm both the outward skies and inward hearts.  Jesus was teaching the disciples something that He longs for us to know: even before the clouds form on the horizon of our lives or in the corners of our hearts, He is right there with us, offering us the comfort of His presence and the experience of His peace.
Why the heck do we wait so long?  Why haven’t we learned to preemptively seek Him instead of waiting until our boats are filling with water and crying out at the very moment we become fearful that we might actually drown…
Yesterday, I read this brilliant blog by Jen Hatmaker.  It resonated deeply with me, as it did with countless other mamas.  It undid me in a way I haven’t been undone in a long while.  With laughter.  Tears in eyes, head on desk, hard to breathe, laughter.  Other mamas may have found it comforting to know that it’s okay to be imperfect.  For me, I just found it comforting to be reminded that it’s okay for us to find, even look for, the humor in that imperfection.  And just like that, I realized, maybe I’ve been taking this whole life thing – and mothering thing - a bit too seriously at times.
Worry will wound an already weary heart, you know.
I desperately needed that reminder of the freedom that we have in this life in Christ.  It is the freedom to find the outright hilarity amidst the imperfection of our lives and yes, even amidst the storms.
He’s given us the anecdote: it’s Him.  It’s His Spirit.
This is what Paul meant when He wrote to the church at Galatia:
“My counsel is this: live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?” Galatians 5:13-17 MSG
One of my favorite quotes says, “Life is hard.  Laugh harder.”  In the presence of Christ, that is the freedom He offers; the freedom to experience both peace – and breathless laughter – right here, right now, in the middle of motherhood, and all the middles of our lives.
original post @ http://middleplaces.com/2013/05/31/in-the-middle-of-laughter/   

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