September 8, 2015

When You're Running for Cover

I'm not sure who said it, but I heard once that becoming a parent is like installing a bowling alley in your head. Now, I like bowling alleys as much as the next girl, but they are pretty loud places that are not the most ideal for having a conversation or even a salient thought. They're all strobe lights and loud bangs and funky smells and yelling.

I spent my summer in the bowling alley, not the real one but the parenting one. It was loud and smelly--I do have boys after all--but it was also great fun. We biked, we swam, we traveled, we read; we came, we saw, we conquered shoelace tying.

I enjoy my boys (minus the armpit farting), but I also enjoy having a full and uninterrupted thought, i.e. sending them off to school. As I'm writing this, they are in their third day of the new school year, which means here I am, dear readers! No more reposting (for those of you who even noticed, because who reads blogs in the summer anyway?). I hope, as my brain powers back up, that I will remember how to think and remember how to write, because I've missed you.

And I have so much to tell you.

One thing is that I'm writing a new book. Well at least I will be. So far I've written a blank screen. Bowling alley, remember? But yeah, that's fun news. I'll tell you all about it at some point.

The second thing I want to tell you is what I've been learning in the midst of my bowling alley life this summer.

It's been a strange, unexpected season--weightier than summer is supposed to feel. Summer promises carefree days, late nights, vacations, and lazy pool hours. Summer feels like childhood.

But this summer felt like responsible adulthood for me. I carried a lot of things internally and externally, and I must say that it was a honor to do so. I gladly carried responsibility. However, the dissonance of such heavy weight in summer left me feeling fragile, turned upside down, and exposed.
As we've barreled into fall, I haven't felt ready for it. I'm reaching back for summer, I suppose. What is really happening, as God is showing me, is that I'm running for cover.

In most arenas of my life, I am usually one of the coverers--the listening ear, the word of truth or encouragement, the pray-er. All gladly so. I continue to be the coverer while at the same time seeking cover. Perhaps that's why I'm feeling fragile, turned upside down, and exposed. I'm running for cover because I'm leading and responsible for things, but I also feel weak and needy, and it's difficult to give of myself when I feel as if the tears or the anger or the weariness might spring to the surface at any moment.

The reality is that I am always weak and needy, but it's these weighty seasons that force me to acknowledge my state. They push me to find cover in the Lord rather than despairing or blaming or isolating myself. In all of this, God is showing me that my fleshly tendency is to protect myself in my fragility, to put a impenetrable wall around my heart to keep from being exposed--whether to the Lord or to other people. This self-defense cannot remain.

The words of Psalm 5:10-11 are being written all over my heart and my life:
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

He is my defense, my wall, my shield. If I try to be these things to myself, it's disastrous, but if I allow Him to be my defender, I can expose my heart to others and I can pour myself out for others, knowing that He is carefully nurturing me and helping me in whatever state I'm in. I can take joy knowing that I'm safe even in the midst of difficulty and weighty things.

I read those words and my mind assents to them, but it's been difficult for me to relax my fisted hands and release my fears and worries. My greatest fear is that I won't be cared for, that God will throw me out into the world and ask me to care for others, but that He won't care for me.  I'm struggling to release my defensive walls and trust Him.

Oh, how I hate being weak. I hate being needy. I have to believe, however, that God meant what He said about His power being displayed in my weakness. Where else am I going to go in my fragility? I have no where else to go. I can't go to my own stores for strength; I'm weak even in protecting and defending myself.

And so I look to Him, asking for His favorable shield and asking for His tangible care in all my neediness. I believe; help my unbelief.