name='verify-v1'/> Big God - little d: April 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lessons in Solitude

"Be merciful to me, O LORD,
for I am calling on you constantly." Psalm 86:3

A month has passed since I last wrote. At the time I journaled Identity Crisis, I did not realize I was about to enter a time of silence. As it turns out, my season of no words occurred during Lent. Coincidence? I think not.

Normally, I use words as a means of making sense of my world. I push thoughts and ideas and Scripture around and around until something rises to the surface in a point of clarity. Capturing these moments on paper always brings me closer to the Father. Since our move, I have used writing as an attempt to stay anchored to my sanity; looking for purpose in the chaos of starting over...

Interestingly, after writing about my identity crisis, last month, I found that I had nothing else to say. The Holy Spirit, who has faithfully provided the inspiration for my past reflections, was notably silent. I accepted this reality. More importantly, I knew it was pointless to try to write or to ask for something to write about.

A few things happened as I entered a month long solitude:

I quit struggling against my circumstances.
Have you ever seen a small toddler beside himself with emotion? He screams and flails, usually striking out against the loving arms of the parent who holds him. Both parent and child are bruised in the struggle. Eventually, though, the child wears himself out. Quite often, he falls asleep after all of his exertions. That unhappy child was me.

I practiced "being."
Once I settled down on the outside, I also quieted down on the inside. I'm not really sure how this took place, only that it did. I had permission to just "be" in the moment and let God be in charge of the rest. More than that, I knew that "being" was all I was capable of.

You would think that taking a month off from thinking and wondering and trying to figure things out would result in a rested, strengthened woman ready to take on the world. In fact, just the opposite occurred.

"In solitude, I get rid of my scaffolding." Henri Nouwen

Solitude brought me face-to-face with my fears and frustrations; my loneliness and my grief. I also realized that I had been trying to force my way through the grieving process, in order to avoid anymore pain. After realizing this, I spent the remainder of the month, like that small child, leaning back into the strong, safe arms of the Father while I hiccup sobbed myself to sleep.

Yesterday, I read In Luke 18:15 (NLT) where the parents brought their children to Jesus to be touched and blessed by him. Those words struck a chord. It occurs to me that that is what God has been doing for me this past month...touching and blessing; rocking and singing lullabies; holding me while I have been in this exhausted, worn-out state.

My prayers have been just as childlike:
"I need you."
"Thank you."

Now that I am emerging from the Father's arms, I feel rather wobbly on my feet. Like a small child, I cry easily. I can only handle one task at a time. I find myself asking for help. A lot. It is a humbling place to be.

Jesus loves me
This I know
For the Bible
Tells me so

Little ones
To Him belong
They are weak
But He is strong...

Abba, Jesus, and Holy Spirit,
I love You. I need You. Help me, please. Thank You, Amen.