It’s easy to see someone who is doing wrong, and say, “It’s not done that way…”
It’s easy to look around and point to the person and notice their flaws and indiscretions. It’s easy to look at others and focus on their negative qualities, but so much harder to look for the good….And acknowledge that there is another person in the world who has it more together than us, or who is more on fire for God, and is really trying to love others. We sometimes read the stories of the saints, and we’re like- yeah- that’s impossible, I could never cut off all my hair like Rose of Lima, or sacrifice my own life for the sake of another like Maximilian Kolbe, but, then I see you working selflessly for your family, or caring for your aging parents and I think: we’re all called to be saints. It’s the hardest thing to remember, and even harder sometimes to do, but when we put our hands out to touch another person, we are reaching out to God.
It was just recently when I visited a relative who lives in a nursing home that I saw this so beautifully. I was feeling guilty for not visiting often enough, and remembering all the times she helped me, when I saw a lovely nurse come to bathe her, and I saw the tenderness she gave. These opportunities no matter how small are gifts for us. Especially in the political climate we are living in, with a president who no one seems to like, even those of us who voted for him. It’s pretty stressful reading through my newsfeed on Facebook, friends and family posting random articles written by?? Perhaps a young person, an educated person, a liberal, a conservative? It’s pretty hard to decipher all the crud disguised as news. I do have to say though that many people seem to be easily swayed by the media’s interpretations, and few are thinking for themselves. It’s actually pretty predictable and repulsive. In response to some March for Life pictures I posted, I received a bitter hate letter. I was pretty surprised, even people who preach love and not hate are ready to tear someone down because they need a way to place blame.
I have a new perspective on the many hurt people and rampant discontent I see. I am reading a wonderful book, ‘The Broken Way,’ by Ann Voskamp. I’m pretty sure y’all know about her previous books, namely.. ‘One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.’ An Amazing and life changing book (I recommend the devotional, as well). I somehow got lucky enough to get invited to read this book as a group with some truly beautiful women (thanks Karen)! And it is changing me. I can see now- with these sudden outbursts of anger, contemptuous flares of hateful ‘feminism,’ and all sorts of looking at the glass half full- that God is here with us, amongst the brokenness. “When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ. Because Jesus, with His pierced side, is always on the side of the broken.”
Many of us feel broken.
Ann says, “What if the busted and broken hearts could feel there’s a grace that holds us and calls us Beloved and says we belong and no brokenness ever has the power to break us away from being safe? What if we experienced the miracle of grace that can touch all our wounds? I wanted to write it on walls and on the arms scarred with wounds, make it the refrain we sing in the face of dark and broken places: No shame. No fear. No hiding. All’s grace. It’s always safe for the suffering here. You can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here. Grace will meet you here; grace, perfect comfort, will always be served here…..How do you live with your one broken heart? All I can think is-only the wounds of God can heal our wounds. God has not forgotten you, God has not abandoned you. God’s love is around you everywhere. When you feel in your marrow how you’re His Beloved, you do more than look for signs of His love in the world, more than have a sign of His love; you actually become a sign of His love.”
No matter the possible outcomes of this life, our hope is in God, not in any politician, and that is GOOD NEWS, friends. So, what practically speaking can we really do to help us stay sane during all this craziness?
My list is simple.
- Pray regularly throughout.
- Commit time to family and friends that is inspiring and peaceful.
- Value your downtime, and don’t waste it being miserable.
- When you post, if you post, know your source, and if you have the feeling that you’re getting a little strung out on social media: make a fast. No knee-jerk comments.
- Read the Bible. Sing the Psalms.
- Get enough: good food, water, exercise, sleep.
- Say kind things to the people nearest you.
- Give hugs.
- Share your gifts, live cruciform.*
That’s what I’m learning about, trying today and all the days to do these things and feel loved by the One Who Saves. It’s amazing how He loves. What does your everyday list look like? I’d love to hear your comments and hear how “The Broken Way” has changed your life.
*cruciform: ‘love that is willing to suffer for others….there is no way to avoid pain, there is no way to avoid brokenness. Pick up your cross, It’s the only way you or anyone else can know resurrection. Carry your cross so this carrying of pain makes love. It is never the cross you carry, but your resistance to the cross that makes it a burden. Absorb the pain with greater love- touch a shoulder. Bite your tongue. Swallow your complaint. Still your wagging finger. Let yourself be worn down to love. Let your joints grow loose with love so your hands swing easy enough to give, to break and give your struggling-to-be-willing self away.’