Rock of Ages When the Year is Long

So you have the audacity to go ahead and turn another year older, do you? In motherly determination, I push deep and try not to feel the angst. It’s hard for me this year, I’m not going to lie. Maybe it’s because my soul was dripping wet with thousands of tears and hung out to dry these past weeks. Maybe it’s because a new church has rushed into our lives like the wind, blowing everywhere kindness and love and I’m left spinning in the reality of overwhelming grace. Maybe it’s because I’ve been caught up in the chaos of the past twelve months and my earth has quaked and who says God never speaks in those? Because if he doesn’t speak in the tumult what good is his speaking at all? Sometimes I need him in the still but most of the time I need him in the noise. And He’s been there. I’ve heard him over it all…when I’ve listened.

Maybe it’s because in the quaking, I’ve wondered where this year has crumbled and gone and what my investments have been and I’ve wished for a do-over. A year of quiet. A year filled with snuggles and meaningful memories. A year of steadiness and handling the distractions better. A year of schedule and predictability. Instead we’ve gotten a year of upheaval and unexpected change. Adoption paperwork and meetings and grant applications and fundraisers and an untimely funeral and interviews and a survey trip and a new school and a candidacy and speaking engagements and a move.

And what happened to that schedule posted on the board that can become my idol? It became my idol, that’s what. And what happened to those lingering breakfasts around the table talking catechism and rehearsing for unlimited minutes how the gospel applies to anything and everything? Those minutes got cut short because it took more time to put on armor this year. What happened to the reading corner and the table time and the limit of a short half-hour recorded TV program per day? They turned into grabbing a book when we could, multitasking by playing a game over lunch, and more TV than is probably healthy for a three-year-old.

So here we are, supposed to be celebrating another year of your life and I’m the one throwing a toddler’s tantrum inside. Not ready for more change. Not ready to let these past months go because they aren’t what I wanted for you…for us.

But once again, God. He’s here. And I have to remind myself that he changes everything because he changes me. You know what the funny thing is, Son? He changes everything by never changing a thing about himself. Look outside at that grass. It grows and will be taller tomorrow than it is today. And see those flowers pretty and bright? Look again the next day and their beauty will fade. Stare your mama in the face in a few months and you’ll see laugh lines plunging deeper and wispy gray hairs refusing to keep on their mask. But in all of this change, he never changes. The mountains can quake and crumble into the sea and so can my heart, and our schedule, and our life as we know it. But not him. Who is a rock except our God? To him we can run and find safety.

And you need to do that. You’ve made a hotel room your bed for three weeks now and before that slept in a sleeping bag for awhile in a bare room that used to feel like home. And the God-man knows a little something about make-shift housing, with animals bleating and living like he wasn’t staying here for long. And he wasn’t. Because he moved and left his home in heaven – talk about a transition – to come get us, so you and I might have a home there with him. He was a perfect boy for you because he knew your biggest problem isn’t your imperfect mom who lets you down, but your sinful heart that’s already let him down. And his character never changed. He grew on to be a perfect teenager, never sneaking out at night or clamming up in rebellious apathy or looking girls up and down lustfully. He became a perfect man, always doing his Father’s will even when that bitter cup was so hard to swallow, he drank it down obediently. And, Son, he became sin and his Father forsook him for a time so you could become righteous and have an unbroken relationship with that Father in heaven. And, oh, how these truths bring comfort! Mending disappointing relationships, restoring a home, forgiving sin, washing away regret in redemption. A God who lived through the fire and flood and so promises to walk with us through them too. What great hope we have for the year ahead!

But tumult can leave a bruise, and your mama’s going to look at this black and blue often and remember. I’ll remember our home isn’t really on Connie anymore than it was on Keppen. The people we want to be like roamed around in tents and this world wasn’t even worthy of them. So what am I really living for anyway? Order doesn’t come from having pictures on the walls and your own bed to sleep in. Obedience gives order. First things first. And my success as a mom isn’t in our schedule or books read or unlimited hours of instruction or limited hours of technology. My success as a mom is found in Christ’s success for me. He is all I am not, and will never be, regardless of how peaceful and pretty my circumstances are.

As I hear you sleeping soundly and breathing heavily just a few feet away from me and your dad in this, our {always} temporary home, I admit to you I don’t know what your fourth year holds. But I guess that doesn’t matter so much after all, does it? He’s got us and he says he always will. That’s something we can count on. So let’s put our roots down there deep in the Word. Because those promises? They’re never going to change.

 

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