He whines and tries to push his wet nose between my hands and face when I cry. Which is definitely more endearing when he hasn’t been throwing up all night.
I rolled out of bed and slipped on some Uggs, and my unbrushed hair and pajama-clad self and I went to Albertson’s for some canned pumpkin tonight. Because that’s supposed to help doggy tummies.
And mamas crawl out of bed and go to the store for their babies.
He threw that up the little bit of pumpkin I gave him too, so I wiped his runny nose with my hand and turned out the lights and told him he needed to rest. He’s here at my side now, while we sit in the dark. And I pray for his body, occasionally reaching over and placing my hand on him while I pray.
I pray for his body, and I pray for my heart. He’s throwing up and my eyelids are swollen from crying. It’s been quite the night.
Laura spoke at church the other night about serving. And I found myself wondering if God’s call to serve (others and Him) is almost protective. Because when we keep in mind that we’re serving Him, we don’t have to have the answers. We don’t have to understand things or be orchestrating things or hold anything together. That isn’t our role. All we have to know is what the next thing is that God is asking us to do.
It keeps us safe when we go through life remembering He is the one scripting it, and that our job is to surrender and serve.
Surrender and serve, admittedly, are two words that have a traditionally negative connotation. But when I think of them in relation to our God who is Love? All I hear is: “Rest, child. You are held. Be still and know.”
So often my anxiety and fear stems from a desire to control things that aren’t mine to control. I’ll lie in bed all tangled up, analyzing what is or might be, and how I can fix it or undo it, and what that means for my future and life and hope.
And in the midst of all that, God whispers to me: “You’re asking the wrong questions.”
The right questions are more along the lines of: “What are You saying to me in this moment?” “What do I KNOW to be true?”
And it strikes me that, even if God gave me the answers to all of the things I want to know, often times I suspect He’d have to say: “But these things are still in process. The answers I’m giving you might not even be the same tomorrow or the next day or in a month or a year.”
It would be like drawing conclusions about the ending of a book based on paragraph three, chapter six.
So, questions that demand answers aren’t really helpful. Questions that help us feel like we’re able to dig our nails back into our lives in some manner of control? That’s not His goal for us.
He’s protecting us by what He doesn’t reveal.
He’s loving us when He refuses to let us believe we’re in control.
And when He is silent in response to our petitions? Even that is proof of His goodness.
We know we’re asking the right questions when we feel more surrendered and peaceful in the asking. The right questions are those that help us shed the weight of things that were never ours to carry. They leave us with our hearts open to life and possibility, rather than shut down and suspicious.
“What are your favorite things about God?” Laura asked that the other night as well.
Mine? He’s always available. He loves to hear what’s on my heart.
He loves me and understands me and delights in me so completely that my heart is always safe with Him.
I never have to be afraid or weigh my words or be scared He’ll yell at me for something I feel.
He always sees me, even when I’m at my worst, through eyes of love.
He is gentle and compassionate and leads me with kindness.
He is invested in me, and He isn’t going anywhere. No matter what.
And as I made that list I thought, “…Isn’t that ironic? All the things about Him that I love the most are the things my heart is so desperate to find in human relationships.”
And I don’t know what that means necessarily. I do believe that those things (although imperfect forms of them) can be found in relationship with others. But I am grateful that in this season, He is teaching me that I can also find what I long for in Him.
I spread my arms out wide. “Lord, strip away all that isn’t of You.”
“Teach me, Lord, that it’s enough to go through life as just me.”
“Teach me to live surrendered and at peace. Teach me to live held.”
And when I feel out of place and like I don’t belong, I can go lock myself in a bathroom stall and tilt my eyes to heaven.
And because He and I have spent so much time together rehearsing truth, I can meet His eyes and remember that the God of the Universe knows my heart and smiles when He thinks of me. Who I am, just as I am, is enough.
I don’t have to feel in control, even in social situations. I don’t have to be well-spoken or magnetic or present myself “well”. I can let go of that pressure because He’s the one doing the orchestrating, and He knew what He was doing when He placed my silly self there among those people.
And so I can go back out there, just as I am, and know that feeling “out of place” isn’t a reflection of me. And that “not belonging” is a lie because God handpicked me and placed me there for a reason.
I don’t have to stand against a wall, feeling conspicuous and awkward and like there’s a neon sign flashing above my head that reads: “No one wants this girl.”
I don’t have to stand there, palms sweaty, asking: “What is wrong with me?”, “Will I always feel like this?”, “Do they love me even though it doesn’t seem that way right now?”
Because back in the bathroom stall, God reminded me: “Those are the wrong questions, child.”
“Oh. Right.” I am called to serve Him. Which means the right question is: “What do you want me to do right now?”
And He smiles. Because yes, that is the right question. And what He says next almost makes me want to roll my eyes because “what a God thing to say!” 😉
“Go love people.”
Which, oddly enough, is a lot easier to do when you’re not trying to control them. Or yourself. 🙂