As a verbal processor, it’s painful to not have words. If you had seen my room last week as I packed to leave Colorado, you would see the perfect picture of what my head looks like now.
Everything is thrown into piles around the room. Heaping, disorganized. Then, in the most random order, I begin to dive in and make throw-away, keep, and give away piles.
Until it’s all tidied and figured out, it is, as my mom would say, The Wreck of the Hesperus.
And so today there is this incredible mash of thoughts and emotions building up and spilling over a little in very random comments made to whoever is near. Earlier, while I was trying to brain storm for a teaching I’m working on, I felt as though all of my insides were going to push themselves outward through my freckled skin. In response to this feeling, I got up and went outside to lay on my face in the grass in the sun. Then I sat up and stared off into space for a long while. It was the most productive thing I’ve done all day.
So, why in the world am I writing a post about not having words?!?! It seems possible that someone out there might relate. It’s also possible that I will see one or several of you in person and in response to a question about how I’m doing I might just make a weird face and give a few grunts and groans to express that for which I still don’t have words.
If life were not such a great, big, incredible adventure, I would have so much less to process.
I’m not doing well with words lately. Every time I’ve tried to speak it’s felt like pulling frozen taffy.
Yesterday morning I talked to a good friend of mine who is in Ireland. Somehow she said all of the things I’ve been trying (and failing) to say for the last few weeks.
I’ve been asking God some big questions recently and while waiting to hear back from him, I’ve gotten trapped under a huge pile of words and emotions. It hasn’t been pretty. What I know about God speaking is that he usually does it quickly. Nevertheless, I have this sense of waiting on him.
There’s something of Romans 7-8 in all of my personal struggles. Usually, the first half of any hard time consists of me wrestling with myself and losing. At some point I remember the character of God and I’m encouraged to stop looking at myself and start looking at him. This is when I move into chapter 8 of Romans and I begin (again) to believe that he is good and that in my total weakness, he is strong and loving.
And Paul’s questions are the real thing, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
I also read yesterday, “The moment you realize that God wants good for you more than you want good for yourself, is the moment that you let go.” – Adam Smith
It’s not to say that everything will be easy, but there is real and solid peace involved in struggling with instead of against God. He is so good, so loving and so much bigger than everything we face… even when what we face is our own selves.
My work as Camp Pastor is now over. It was a lot harder and a lot more rewarding than I expected. In fact, I don’t think I realized I was expecting anything until it all unfolded.
Here’s what I learned about Jr. Highers:
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Their faces do not express what is in their hearts unless you are relentless and then they will cry. Their skill with waiting out the awkward silence almost matches my own. Let’s be honest, a few times, they won the silence. They are both adult and child, mixed together in a way that makes it difficult to navigate things like kindness and discipline. I think it’s mixed up for them, too… Continue reading “Coming of Age”
This week at Jr. High camp, the theme is Finding Your Place in God’s Epic Story. Even though I worked at this camp for 8 years, this is my first time really being involved with the kids. For all of those years I worked in the kitchen or the bookstore. Now I am Camp Pastor. I give it capital letters because the thought has freaked me out a few times.
No more at any point than it did last night in the middle of chapel. It’s one thing to realize you have a gift for a particular thing and it’s another to begin the journey of using that gift. As you may know, there are a lot of things to learn and these lessons are often learned in the middle of making mistakes…. Continue reading “Jr. Highers vs. The Awkward Silence”