A Walk Through the Shadows

Tomorrow is Good Friday. It is a day of darkness. A day of shadows. A day of sorrow.

I remember a tenebrae service I attended on Good Friday one year when I lived in Boston. Tenebrae comes from the Latin word meaning darkness, and the service is a worship service of darkness or shadows.

It was intense.It was incredibly powerful. It affected me deeply. Like nothing I had experienced before in my relationship with Jesus.

There was no music. There was little talking. There was growing darkness. There were the words of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. Of his suffering and shame. Of his pain and his death.

As I absorbed the words of his death, there was a startling cymbal crash.

He had breathed his last.

The sky grew dark.

The curtain tore.

The tomb was sealed.

Hope was stolen.

In tears and silence I made my way home. What was it like, I wondered, to be Peter that day? To be John? To watch Jesus die and take their hope with him?

I cannot imagine what they thought. What they felt. That night, my emotions roiled. I felt raw.

And I knew that Sunday was coming. I knew.

I know.

And yet, do I live as if I know? Or do I live like it is Friday and my hope is gone?

I think I do both.

I think I’d like to change that.

But first, I need to contemplate the darkness. The shadows. The silence of God that seemed to follow that last ragged breath that Jesus took.

I want to absorb his death so that I can revel in the Resurrection. And bathe in the Hope. And celebrate in the Victory.

And live the abundant life that is mine in Jesus.

Not So Easy To Be Me

I am a doer. I am always in motion. Because there is always something to do. Especially with two little girls {who are five and almost-three}.

At least that’s how it seems when I am in motion. While doing one thing, my mind {which is also in constant motion} takes stock of things and begins planning what I need to do next. It’s a revolving mental To Do list. Which is in addition to the running written-out To Do list that I update often.

I suppose it gives me a sense of progress. Of accomplishment. Of importance.

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, One Heartbeat at a Time, that hits the mark in my psyche all too well. It’s a song for moms and about moms and about how their time is spent taking care of tiny babes. The heart-piercing line says, “You fall into bed when you run out of hours and wonder if anything worth doing got done…”

How many times have I wondered that?

More often  than I care to admit. I think it’s a difficult thing to avoid in our culture. The need to do in order to be. For some reason, it’s not enough simply to be. To be still. To be loved. To be alive.

And when I became a stay-at-home-mama, I think my need to do grew exponentially. Like I had to justify who I was now by doing more.

Over the last five years, I’ve managed to be a little less obsessed with getting things done. A little. A hair less than a little. But it’s something I am continuing to work on. Well, was continuing to work on.

As of two days ago, when I fractured the fibula of my right leg, working on being content to just be, rather than do, became a whole lot, well, simpler. Simpler because until further notice, I cannot do anything. At all.

Not only can I not check things off of my To Do list, I cannot do much for myself. Or my girls. Or my husband. Or myself.

This is not easy for me to accept. I am fiercely independent. I am incredibly stubborn. I am a wee bit prideful.

And, I am uncomfortable feeling vulnerable. Feeling needy. Feeling like a burden.

I don’t like asking for {or accepting} help.

But I don’t have that option at the moment.

A boot cast and crutches preclude me from carrying anything. My almost-three-year-old. A plate of food from the kitchen to the dining room. My computer from the table to the couch. Just about everything I do requires that I ask someone – my husband – to help me.

This is not easy for me.

But I think that it is good for me.

From the first few moments after I felt the surge of pain and had to crawl up the outside stairs to get back into my house, I’ve had Romans 8:28 bouncing around my mind {for God works all things together for good for those who love him, who are called according to his purpose}.

I think that I am getting a chance to loosen my grip on the need To Do in order to be. I think that I am getting a chance simply to be. To be still. To be loved. To be alive.

To be made new. Yet again.

And that is an amazing gift. For me. And for my {broken} marriage.

A Budding Marriage

Spring is starting to show up in subtle ways. A few vibrant daffodils along the roads. Several purple crocuses mixed with a few white ones. Busy birds beginning nests.

New beginnings.

Glimpses of hope.

Whisperings of promises.

I don’t know if this is actually the time of year that Jesus was crucified or not. Maybe it was chosen by the church a long time ago. But it makes perfect sense, either way.

Spring is about all about new beginnings. About new life. About miracles. About resurrection.

It’s about coming back to life. What once was lost is found. What once was dead is alive.

So many people talk about seasons of life. Seasons of motherhood. Seasons of marriage.

Honestly, I cannot think of a better season than Spring to undergo this season of *my* marriage. My broken marriage. To undertake mending the things that are not working. To undergo the difficult work of sowing new hope.

Spring. Our spring. A time to begin again. To plant new seeds. To start new habits. To nurture much-needed, too-long overshadowed opportunities for growth.

Because they are there. They’ve been there for a while. In need of attention. But as they sat neglected, they, much like the buds of spring, were buried under layers of fallen leaves {of neglect} and last year’s mulch {busy-ness}.

They were covered by yesterday. Many, many yesterdays.

But much like those vibrant daffodils that have pushed their way through the layers of debris {and death}, resurrection {new life} hails.

It calls to us. It invites us. It whispers promises of hope to our weary souls.

And, it is Spring.

Beauty abounds beneath all of the yesterdays. Today brings another sprout, another bud, another blossom.

There is no need to let yesterday define my marriage.

We may have been languishing in yesterday, but today, we are choosing to languish no more.

It’s Friday {death claims the win}. But Sunday is coming.

And like Jesus, my marriage, *our* marriage, is coming back to life.

New life.