I quit writing a few months back.
Because writing is hard and there were too many other hard things happening. I wasn’t willing to share the process of becoming us with a world that I didn’t really trust.
Yes. I have trust issues.
See, friends, the things God is doing to us and in us and through us are Sacred. The transformations are Kadosh, holy, set apart.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to remember that the “be still” part comes before, “Know that I am God”.
Stillness is hard. Knowing is hard.
Honestly, my soul is five. Barely beyond toddlerhood and stretching toward Big Kid activities while lacking the wherewithal to make sense of the day to day awkwardness of submission and obedience to a Father I hardly comprehend.
So, in between crawling up on his lap, barely restraining the desire to suck my thumb, and throwing Epic Tantrums, I just haven’t had the strength put that all out here like some kind of Soul Buffet where readers pick and choose and throw away the things they despise.
Several years ago, I toyed with the idea of writing about parenting. But my heart knew I didn’t have anything to say that I believed would resonate beyond, “Try hard and pray hard.” Much of what I thought was “good parenting” would be better defined as rigid control and fearful consent.
Today? Today I have the family God has made. It is not the one I deserve. These sons are not the children I discipled. They are the ones God has taken under His wing.
This family we have is hard work. Today it’s hard work. Today it’s humility and repentance and loud voices and resentments transformed into prayer and worship. We haven’t arrived at completeness. We are deep in the trenches.
If we haven’t seen you in a while, we are not the Stones you knew. You wouldn’t recognize us. You might think you do. Pinky swear, you don’t.
That’s a pretty good thing. No, that’s a lie.
It’s an amazing gift.
It’s amazing because God did it and I want to tell you how. I want to unravel all the days, count the tears, re-live the echoing defiance that softened into resolute obedience.
I want to tell you that it’s possible for you to do this too. I want to hold your hands and sit awkwardly close to whisper through the fog of All The Things, that you too can live in complete and complicated honesty with your husband and your wife, your children, and your God.
I’m not sure you’ll believe me if I told you how many times a week we sit down to talk and end up spending an hour or more in worship and intercession. Because my teenaged sons are driving it. How many times my sons minister with love and compassion, brutal honesty, and lives of intentional praise, to the homeless guy, the girl at church, the kid at Walmart, their dad, to me.
I don’t know if you’d believe the music as it pours out of them, original, raw, focused on a God they know and adore.
Maybe you’ll think it’s a put-on, a show for your benefit.
It’s not. It’s the realest thing I know. I couldn’t have manufactured the world in which we live. In this world? We are Weird. Capital W. But we don’t have to be. I think we are living what God has intended for family from the beginning.
We have found mishpachah (family) that doesn’t settle for half-truths and getting along. We are a unit, a platoon, that wrestles with pain and brokenness, bitterness and resentment from years of sin until it disappears in the light and glory of Grace extended, received, and compounded. Grace upon Grace.
For you there is a family of integrity hidden deep within the Father’s heart. He has His name written all over yours – You + Him = Love 4ever – until only His name remains.
I want to tell you this whole story. One conversation at a time. One moment at a time. I want to bring you with me into the place where the hearts of the fathers long for their sons and the hearts of the sons yearn for their father. Earthly AND eternal.
How do I write such solemn things? Solemnity drenched in joy. The Divine wrapped in late night Taco Bell runs and long train rides.
There’s nothing special about us. About me. We haven’t Done Good Things to arrive at this point. We haven’t “earned” each other’s affections or run harder.
We simply said “Yes” when given the opportunity to follow the Master.
And this story of Yes has made a family where over-compensating strangers shrouded in shame and fear once lived.
So, if I tell you how God has worked in us, will you come along and be willing to say “yes” too?
This life thing. It’s not a spectator sport. It’s scary. It’s hard.
We all have trust issues.