BEFORE THE LAST STRAW

Oh, my aching back!

Oh, my aching back!

By Lisa Huddleston

Some days I feel as though I just can’t take it anymore. Just one more word of bad news, of suffering due to disease or choice or pure evil, and I’m finally going to crack.

And despite all the well-intentioned (and true) articles people have written, posted, and shared about how to effectively impact issues like genocide, starvation, disease, depression, suicide, injustice and so on, I simply and honestly feel powerless.

And that powerlessness leads me to despair.

But God reminds me that He is the power in my life–and in all the other lives that are currently inhabiting this scarred and bleeding planet. When doubt, despair, and powerlessness threaten to rip me apart, this truth holds me together like gravity for my soul:

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (Romans 8:26-28, The Message).

As He died in our place, He even prays in our place! He is the power for the powerless, the prayer for the prayerless, and the hope for the hopeless.

Oh, may thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven … before even one more straw can fall. Amen.

POTENTIAL AND OTHER UNACHIEVABLE IDEAS THAT CAUSE ME TO WHINE (A LOT)

Welcome to my pity party!

Welcome to my pity party!

By Lisa Huddleston

I’m throwing a little pity party, and lucky you are cordially invited. So what’s the problem? Oh just more of the same: feeling as though I don’t fit in any category I can find and knowing that unrealized potential is worse than no potential at all.

Haven’t I written about this stuff before? Sure I have! And that makes my party even more spectacular. Balloons, banners, confetti–the works!

What’s  today’s cause for celebration? Let’s see: a less than stellar grade on an assignment for my Evaluation and Remediation of Reading class, a growing recognition that I am wasting time and money by taking these classes to renew my teaching license because odds are that I will never really teach, and a general sense of failure and despair. Yeah, that covers and smothers it pretty well. (Why yes, that IS a reference to Waffle House’s menu.)

Oh well, what’s a girl to do? Get over herself, I guess.

I did read a wonderful passage from Galatians this morning, chapter 6, verses 4-5, that contains some pretty good words to consider right about now:

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (The Message)

Who am I? (THE question of the ages.) What is my given work? (Don’t I wish I knew.)  Am I sunk deeply into it? (Probably not–unless that explains that sinking feeling I’ve been experiencing–no.) Am I too impressed with myself? (Sometimes.) Am I too hard on myself by comparing myself with others? (Very likely.) Am I taking responsibility for doing my creative best with my own life? (Ah, God knows I’m trying, but this isn’t a game of horse shoes.)

And as is pretty obvious by my quick and snarky responses to Paul’s deeply probing questions, I still have a lot of work to do. Work that starts on the inside and hopefully works its way out to the world.

Change my heart, Oh God,

Make it ever true.

Change my heart, Oh God,

May I be like You.

Real. Honest. Thinking neither too highly nor too lowly of myself–nor too often. Deep. Hard working. Responsible. Creative.

Okay. The party’s over. Please, turn off the lights on your way out.

THE BENEDICTION

By Lisa Huddleston

Every weekday my husband rises early and stealthily makes his way to the bathroom in the dark.  And because of the fashionable transom windows over our bathroom doors, he kindly (but unnecessarily) dresses in near-dark using only the dim light from my makeup mirror.  He is being kind.  I feel guilty.

After he dresses, eats his breakfast, and feeds the animals, he stumbles back to our bed and crawls in.  His hands are freezing as he places them on my sleep-warmed skin—belly, arms, legs—wherever they land.  It often shocks me, but I don’t complain (too much) because he has to get up and get going while I am lazily lying there half-asleep.

And then he prays for our day and the days of our children and our friends.  And I am blessed.  The benediction.

This morning I was stranded in a terribly sad dream.  The house was in disarray.  Chuck was moving out, and I couldn’t understand why, and I couldn’t get out of my tousled sheets, and I couldn’t stop crying.  Paralyzed by grief and heavy sleep, I couldn’t move a muscle.  I was trapped in the despair of the dream.

Then cold hands gently eased around my waist.  On some days I may have yelled, “Hey you!”  But today I rejoiced.  Cold reality shocking me out of the deadly dream.  Pulling back the heavy blankets and allowing  me to receive the benediction of the day.  And I was blessed.

Amen.