I stepped onto the street that faces the ocean, running shoes laced and ready to take me along the shore line. I stretch a bit to warm muscles that have not been used in this way for 5 months, but long for it and there is Advil waiting…I love advil
I click on my IPOD and there it is Kelly’s voice, the anthem at the top of the play list that helped me feel courage so many times in the last year while I walked, as it crescendo’s into the chorus I begin to run…”What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger…Stand a little taller…Fighter puts the fever righter…” the tears start to well, and I feel His presence and I realize I am in a Holy Moment…the creator of this beautiful scene before me is here with me. I am running, breathing and in pain but my heart will not miss this moment. This grateful glowing list of gratitude to God because what did try to kill me, destroy my faith has indeed by His Divine reforming nature made me stronger.
This anthem though secular has overtures of the sacred. So I run, cry and press into this moment of celebration of what God’s sustaining grace has done on my behalf.
I let myself breathe, really breathe
Something about the crispness of the air and the smell of early morning takes me back to the circumstance I started this practice of pressing into a moment, letting myself take in the present, sealing in my heart and spirit the beauty of the now.
I was 22 and just a few weeks from college graduation, having just left Miracle Hall and on my way to the Dinning Commons to have a little breakfast before a 7:30 am Don Ryall British Literature class. The air was fresh, clear and I was feeling Joy because of all these 4 years had meant to me and that I was accomplishing a goal which was quite a feat considering my Hispanic grandfather could never read or write and my Mother because of severe Dyslexia never graduated from High School. I suddenly realized that in a few short weeks I would no longer be a current member of this little college in the Santa Cruz Mountains, always an alumni but not a current student
And so I stopped and decided to embrace it…to try to capture in my mind this entire milestone felt like, so that I could recall it later and I can just as clearly as if it was yesterday. That is when I started the practice of really embracing life moments big or small…this practice has been one of the pillars of my life and as a result I have hundreds of memories, moments, snapshots of events that I can recall and remember as vividly as if I were there right now.
It is fun when the moments are wonderful, relational and celebratory but much harder when the moments are dark and difficult. Those kinds of moments we want to just survive, but they have significance too. I love the Chorus from one of Little Big Town’s songs “There’s a strong wind blowing…I push on… it pushes back…It’s a hard time but I know I will get through it…Just got to lean into it”
Lean into it there is something eternal, relevant and precious to be found in the difficult moments, we often do not lean into them, because we just want them over, and in the rush we miss the mighty, majestic power of sustaining grace.
It is this leaning into the moment that I love most about the Lord’s time on Earth.
He had significant purpose in clothing his divinity in human flesh and walking among us, the salvation of man, the fulfillment of Prophecy and crushing the head of Satan but in all the Big Picture Agenda, He never missed the need of the individual.
In these individual encounters there were always big picture agenda items to be illustrated like… the breaking down of barriers for gentiles and the least of these …to hold up the mirror to the religious leaders to show them their hypocrisy among other things and to show us the Father. But He always leaned into the individual need of the person and was fully aware of the moment He was in with them. Meeting the need of the one while fulfilling the needs of the many.
• The Woman at the Well
• The Woman caught in Adultery
The list goes on but one my favorites is the moment He comes to Martha after Lazarus’s death when He arrives Jesus finds grief and confusion swirling all around. Grief and Confusion are strong emotions and difficult to contend with but more troubling when you know that the One capable of changing the circumstance doesn’t and when you ask the question, the response is riddle- like-challenge.
And yet when Jesus arrives at the tomb…He weeps. This is a beautiful scripture but thanks to bible quizzes and Sunday school games it may have lost some of its significance.
What is Jesus doing here?
He leans into their grief and by choosing to do this He honors their pain. He dignifies it with true, genuine emotion; He respects the confusion, anger and betrayal they feel. He tried to tell them that Lazarus would live again but they could not hear it…but when He wept they could feel His compassion. His divine power was going to reveal a higher agenda but his humanity stepped into the moment and shared in the pain, confusion and the loss they were experiencing.
I have had several significant encounters with women in the last few weeks, many in different seasons of difficulty or challenge and what I find most healing is when I cry too. When I understand the feeling, when I don’t rush to quickly past the hurt but honor it.
We fail as Christians often to just weep with those who weep. We so want to rush to the Big Picture Agenda of how God is going to bring Victory to this current circumstance and we crush the spirit of the broken. Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and that it would move the divine agenda along and heal the hurt of his sisters and yet he weeps and is moved to sorrow at the tomb. He leans into the moment, fully dignifying what they are experiencing and then calls Lazarus from death to life.
It is January 2013, (that even just feels so weird to type) And we have no idea what kinds of events, big picture items and pressures we will face this year but I know this we must stop, savor and truly feel the wondrous and joyful moments (great and small) and we must lean into the difficult ones also…to fully learn and see all that each of these moments has to offer in growing us in grace and wisdom.
Maybe so we look a little more like Him…