A Love Hate Relationship

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Psalm 13. How long, oh Lord, will you forget me forever?” So when I opened today’s Advent devotion from Psalm 79 and read these words “How long, oh Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire.” I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. Yet I could feel it in my body. I felt a deep tenseness and wanted to be six feet away from the words that were staring back at me.

My morning started with a phone call from my mom’s nursing home calling to inform me that Mom tested positive for COVID 19. Thankfully she doesn’t have any symptoms but as I heard those words, my heart still sunk into my chest. For the last nine months, as this pandemic has raged on, mom has been healthy and cared for there. I know that her nursing home staff has done everything in their power to protect mom and the other residents. I could hear the sheer defeat in the social worker as she shared the news of my mom’s health with me.

So many of us are exhausted, ready for this pandemic to be under control. So many of us are weary; weary from explaining why we are being so cautious. Many are grieving the loss of a loved one who has been taken from COVID 19. And as I read these words from Psalm 79, I find myself asking more questions:

How long, oh Lord, will it take for the anti-maskers to wear a mask?

How long, oh Lord, will it be before our hospitals are no longer at capacity?

How long, oh Lord, will we have to worry about and protect those who are the most vulnerable?

How long, oh Lord?

How long, oh Lord?

I don’t have the answer, friend! But I do believe that we are called to love and serve our neighbors. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” And we can do that by simply protecting and caring for one another.

As we walk this Advent journey, may we see the road ahead. May we continue to trust that God sees us. God sees you working hard on the front lines. God sees you who yearns to be with family. God sees you parents teaching your children at home. God sees you with all of your needs. And God daily calls us to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with him.”

“How long, oh Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous wrath burn like fire.”

No Stranger to Grief

Sorry friends that I’ve been MIA. Life has just been busy and to be honest, I just needed a little break. But I’m back! The weekly Five Minute Friday word prompt for this week is “grief.”

I’m no stranger to grief. From October 2017 to December 2018, I lost nine family/friends to death. A seminary classmate, then my favorite high school English teacher, then my friend Ben, a seminary professor, Ben’s brother Aaron, my friend Rachel, my friend Paul’s wife Stephanie, our dear family friend Jim, and finally my Grandpa Wilbert; two days before Christmas.

To say that that year was overwhelming is an understatement. I was so overcome by the grief of these friends and family. Grief at times can be paralyzing. We don’t know how to move on without them. Life is different and missing those we loved. Grief sometimes also comes not through physical death but the change of a job etc. God sits with us in all of our grief. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes; “mourning and crying and pain will be no more.”

Yet it isn’t until Christ returns that we will fully know that reality. So I cling to the Ecclesiastes text about seasons. “ a time to weep and a time to mourn,* a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted etc.” There is a time for every season under heaven.

Jesus weeps with us. Jesus knows the grief we feel and sits with us. Jesus will make all things new again. I’m reminded of one of my favorite scriptures Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” After long days of weeping, long days of grief, joy will slowly return. I promise I’ve seen it after the year of grief.

A Mosiac made and gifted to me by my friend Laurie H. Isn’t it stunning?!

Sitting on the Edge

The tears have been sitting on the surface since Tuesday. This morning, I went to post a Tik Tok video and the tears immediately let loose. Our world is more divided than ever and I’m not sure if there is any hope left.

I mailed in my vote because we are in the midst of a pandemic and I need to do my part to keep the vulnerable among us safe. It saddens me that my vote and the votes of many other mail in voters are being questioned right now. Our country has an election process in place to protect and honor the votes of all of us. It would do us all good to be patient in this moment.

However, what saddens and angers me the most is how we are treating one another. I’ve seen so much evil and hatred. I’ve even seen others flat out attacking the other side. It doesn’t make us look good to the rest of the world at all.

Have you taken the time to truly ask someone why they voted the way they did? (I know that I could be better at this). I believe that we could learn a lot and help bring our world together if we used our own righteous anger and rage to unite us rather than divide us. Doesn’t God call us “to love our neighbors as we love ourselves?”//

Several months ago, I joined a book study/discussion talking about racial inequality and white privilege. We’ve read “White Fragility,” “Stamped,” “Between the World and Me,” and many others. These books have helped me to learn what it means when we say phrases like “All lives matter.” All lives do matter but not until black lives; indigenous live ; BIPOC lives matter.

I joined this book club because I’m a lifelong learner. But more than that, I joined because I want better for my friend’s children especially those children who have been adopted from other countries. These children have not been immune to racism. Sadly they experience it almost every day of their young lives.

It makes me think of the people in the book of Jeremiah who were in exile for over 70 years.
What must it have been like to be the outsiders? What must it look like for those in our country who are often seen as the outsiders? Perhaps we could take a different perspective and learn from each other.

I want better for them. I want better for all of us. I want us to move beyond you’re right w f I’m wrong. I want us to move towards love and justice rather than hatred and evil. Words do matter!

These tears that I have cried are holy tears that are calling me to do better. They are calling me to truly live out the words of Micah 6:8 “But what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.”

No matter what happens, friends, our work is just beginning!