This one is going to get religiously deep friends. I know that’s not really what a lot of you are looking for from my ramblings, but Jesus fills a big piece of my heart and so here we go. Over the past week I’ve read two books and the beginning of my Bible. Both books were intense and have touched on some things I’ve known deep down inside of me, but that I seem to have just been overlooking for years. I also started my Advent devotional which led to me back to Genesis and the deep questions that I’m sitting with this morning.
First, the books. I’ve been reading all of the things about wandering that I come across, but this little book grabbed me and has set me on a course full of details. I am seeking to see the small, the overlooked, the seemingly unimportant. I am only beginning to walk with my eyes more open, but I anticipate continuing on this way will bring about some serious heart changes. When we consciously choose to slow down, to look for the detail instead of simply the big picture, when we use all of our senses to see a thing for what it really is…this is kind of wreaking havoc in my brain. I mean it goes against the mothering instinct. Order, control, timeliness, structure. These are the things that I’m supposed to be concerned with at this place in my life. Raising littles to exist responsibly in society is my life-goal right now.
This wandering path does not even amble near that paved road. My first question would be; how do I merge the two? My second is; should I even try? But my third is where I take a dive; why is my focus on raising kids to the standard of modern society when we are told to be in the world, but not of it? Why do I want to raise kids who fit into popular culture’s mold when I so clearly rail against it in nearly all that I do? I admit that is something I just can not rationalize, but I also can’t see not going about the raising of children in the “standard” way either. Not yet, perhaps if I open my eyes to more of the details that I’ve been overlooking? I feel like I am currently at the edge of my crazy in the way I mother and teach, going any farther is intimidating. It makes me worry that they won’t be able to thrive in “the real world”. There is fear here, and I’ll press the margins slowly and gently on this one. This book really doesn’t connect with the rest of my reading, but I am using the idea of unplanned walks from these pages to process what I’ve been reading elsewhere.
The second book I read this week was an unusual suggestion, and I must admit that when I cracked the binding I didn’t really know what I was in for. This book about a Jesuit Priest’s life and ministry in an impoverished neighborhood in L.A. has opened my eyes again to the intense love my Father has for me. The stories woven throughout this book made me question not so much my view of the people the world calls “less than”, but more so the reasons why we don’t automatically feel the intense love of our creator? It was the first step in getting back to the book of Genesis. If God loves us so much why do so very many of us feel alone or empty before we are even grown? In the book it’s easy to see how kids growing up in a certain way with little opportunity would get to a point where they felt worthless, unloved, without direction. But don’t we all get to that point in our lives?
Perhaps not everyone does, but I have certainly lived in a mental state where I had little worth. Why is the voice of the world so loud and the voice of God so soft? Why do we strain our ears to hear what society wants from us, but shut our minds to the fact that all God wants from us is relationship? It’s as if we are born right there in Eden with God, in perfectly right relationship with Him, and then there is an act, something that causes our “eyes to be opened”. We see the world differently and instead of turning right around, reaching out to God we look instead to all of the evils this world gives. We nearly choose to be cast out of the Garden.
That seems only the beginning as we struggle to regain our worth in a world that does not value us. Hurt piles upon hurt and we can not see any of the good that God had originally intended for us. We believe He despises us. That He could not possibly love us. This is the lie we all buy into, the lie that we must discover as such so that we can again live in the way we were meant. Regardless of situation or status, we must get back to knowing in the very deepest part of our soul that we are His. That He is always here, loving us so fiercely, simply waiting for us to remember, trying to guide us back to Him in His own quiet way. My eyes may have been opened to my nakedness years ago, but my ears are now aware of His calling-song being sung over me. The lie is exposed and I hear pieces of the truth.
Lost in the stillness of my mornings I read The Beginning, expecting a story I’d heard time and again, nothing new here. I had prayed that my eyes would be open, that I could see what I needed to see. Perhaps I shouldn’t have done that. In Genesis I read about Gods anger or frustration at Adam and Eve and how He cast them out of His inner sanctuary. How He punished not just them, but all people who would come after them. For one sin. Where is the forgiveness in this story? Where is God’s love for us? Where is His wisdom and discernment? Why do I have to see that while there was love and unity in the creating, there is harshness in dealing with the created? Why do so many generations live in this place where God requires so many offerings from His people? Then Jesus arrives and all commandments save one are erased? Why?
Is Jesus’ birth meant to erase all of the things that had come before? If He forgives all sin, all the way back to Adam, why did all of those people have to struggle to live under the law? Also, how do I make peace with the fact that God so easily tossed His beginning creation out, while still trusting that He would never do so with me? I must admit that I can not yet do that. If I am more precious than rubies, more valuable than an entire flock of sparrows, was Eve not? Why was she cast aside when I am welcomed in? The list from my questioning heart could fill a book of my own. I had to physically write down all of the reasons that I believe God’s word, all of the ways my heart trusts and loves the Lord. I had to do this because I wondered if my questioning meant that I was losing my belief. I know God can handle my questions, I’m sure I am not the only one to wonder, I’m not so sure that I can handle the questions though.
I did get to this; if a good Father must punish His children because of their sin (really no different from my correcting of my own children’s behavior), perhaps He did it for a reason? I know that I will never fully understand God’s ways, and I can accept that in some parts of my soul. What I’m thinking is that by punishing the sin of the first man, God planned to use sin to bring His children back to Him. I’m having trouble articulating this… The thing is, maybe, without sin urging us back to God we would become apathetic toward Him. Is it possible that our sins and missteps are what drive us to search for Him to begin with? Is sin the way He made for us back to Him? If God knows all and sees all, He would have known that sin would arrive, perhaps we have simply forgotten over the generations that in repentance our relationship is renewed.
There is more to come, more reading to be done, more petitions to go up to God. More.