29 August 2013

A woman's highest calling

Isaiah 54.1
Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth;
burst into song and shout,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the forsaken one will be more
than the children of the married woman,”
says the Lord.

I was out running the other morning and I was wrestling with my deep longing for another child.  I was digging into my expectations about why I want many children.  I dug into my past experiences, the role models I had, and what the culture taught me.  About halfway down the big hill it came to the surface.  

The Church has taught me that being a mom is the most holy of all callings a woman can take on.

I know this is not true.  I know that the calling of woman is broad and diverse.  But my heart tells me that my worth, per Church doctrine, is seen in child bearing and child rearing.  That is my highest calling.  That is where I need to be focused most intensely.

I have been working through my brain, heart, and life trying to reprogram this lie.  But for some reason, I just can't seem to drop this phrase "woman's highest calling." It seems to be accurate because it is old.  I've always seen this esteemed and this has always been portrayed as truth.

But then... I read Isaiah 54.1 last night.  Rejoice barren woman...um...excuse me?  How is barrenness a happy state?  When a doctor sits down to explain why you can't get pregnant or how your body is broken beyond repair, singing and shouts of joy don't just fall out of your heart.  At least this isn't my experience.  And what exactly does it mean for the children of an infertile woman will be more?  More what?  More as in twins/triplets, more as in achievements and skills, or more as in daily life of dirty laundry and dishes??

I completely admit that I do not understand the fullness of this verse.  

However I do understand that this verse is telling me that motherhood isn't my heart's highest aspiration or my souls ultimate calling.  I believe it is saying that the Church reordered some of it's values.  Also I firmly believe that as a woman my "highest calling" should be something more akin to this: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."

22 August 2013

Life is Pain

You know that movie line from "The Princess Bride" where Westley {the man in black} snaps at Buttercup, "Life is pain, highness!  Anyone who says differently is selling something."  We laugh as we watch the scene {mostly because she goes tumbling down that hill after him} but that statement is true.

Life is pain.

What pain are you given? What do you do with it? Who do you share it with? How does it transform you?  All of these questions matter.  How we walk through pain matters.

A few years ago, after offering up a whole pint of blood, a cold doctor gave me a label.  He informed me that I'm completely healthy except that there was this one thing about my genes and how they duplicate.  Not life-threatening, but it does carry at least one heavy implication.  One that has caused much pain.  A wound that has been re-opened recently.

I thought that all this pain was finished.  I had completely closed the door on every appointment and test and tissue from that dark time.  I has found my spring and walked out of that winter never looking back.  But then, earlier this week, I found myself in a new office, with a different doctor, talking about the same issues and the trouble it causes. 

Hear that creaking sound?  That door that I slammed shut, locked, saved the key, and promptly ran away from....THAT DOOR...well, it seems to have been re-opened.

Interestingly, this room smells oddly familiar...oddly clinical.  Old pain really is never completely forgotten, I guess.  Defensive habits aren't replaced as quickly as I'd like to believe. Fitting back into the emotional-basket-case, the world-is-trying-to-hurt-my-feelings, and this life-is-too-hard mold is easier than I anticipated.

But here's the deal, I don't want to be there this time.  I don't want to walk with a bleeding heart hidden under a fake smile.  I don't want to be in the trenches of depression, fear, and anxiety for months on end.  I don't want to be constantly on the verge of tears.  I don't want to be a victim of life-pain.

Life-pain is what I have.  I can make the choices.  Although my path isn't new, I've walked here before, I believe my journey on it can look different than last time.  I believe there are healthier ways to manage and grow in difficult seasons than Frosty's and grudges.  Today, I'm looking for some of those ways to begin to walk new through old pain.

06 August 2013

Affection Aversion

I was driving home from visiting a friend.  I was overflowing with the gratitude of having a REAL friend.  I was rejoicing in God's work in her life. I was praying for her needs.  I was seeing her heart and it was encouraging.  My heart was full.

My son wanted a sip of my drink.  I handed him the orange-topped water bottle.  After passing the cup, I began to stroke his bare leg.  [He'd wet through his pants during his nap so he was only in undies and a shirt.  A typical summer day uniform.]  He pulled his leg back.  I followed his movement and continued to let my full heart leak out in loving my son.  He pulled his legs up even further....into his car seat....away from my reach.

It hurt my heart.  My gut reaction was this, "Why does he withdrawal from me when I am trying to love on him?"

Then I went to God.  God makes us all with different affection tolerances.  He happens to have a slight aversion to being cuddles, hugged, loved on.  It pains me sometimes that this is his make up.  

The parallels between God and I are glaring.  

How often does God reach out to love me and I withdrawal?
How often do I refuse love?
How often do I not receive His outpouring?

As a Mom, it breaks my heart to see him not receive my love.  As a Christian, it crushes me to see my refuse my Father.

Q: But how do I learn to receive HIS love?