Wednesday, February 23, 2011

teething and prayer

You’d think I’d have the wailing figured out by now. It’s been, what? 8 months already? And he’s been teething for, like, 12 of them. So why is it that I *freak out* every time Jackson is teething? Perhaps it’s because I can’t see what’s going on, and I’m just certain that the discomfort is more than teething and we need to rush him to the urgent care center in case he has some triple-top-secret ailment we aren’t able to see but just KNOW is there behind the flooding tears and wracking sleeplessness.

And then… *POP*


…Inevitably followed by, "Oooooooooh. So THAAAAAT’s why you were shrieking your head off and wouldn’t eat or sleep or chill out for the last three days."

Jackson got teeth #s 5 and 6 this week, and the night before they appeared, you would have thought his brain was exploding. It was unbelievable, the crying. (And Jackson was pretty upset too. Kidding.)

This first time mommy thing has me all jacked up. I HATE not knowing what’s going on. I hate not being able to solve a problem, and I hate not having an answer. I spend so much energy trying to figure out what the issue is and how to fix it, and lo and behold, *pop* goes a tooth, or the diaper was dirty, or the bottle was too cold, or nap time came early- whatever. Something simple. It’s always something simple.

It’s really exposed my tendency to panic and find my own answers. I do that in my spiritual life, too, sometimes. Something rattles me, so I start problem solving, because I can’t see the outcome and I need peace. And then I pray. But in those moments, I’ve got it backwards. Doing what I can do, and THEN talking to God about it is all wrong. Don’t worry- logically, I know that. But there are times that I do it anyway. It’s that "I have to find an answer" thing.

I like plans. I like answers and clear skies ahead of me. I have been known to read the spoilers to my favorite TV shows, or read the last page of a mysterious book first, (I know. I know!) simply because I can’t stand the anxiety of uncertainty. So when uncertainty beyond my control swells into my world like an invisible tooth erupting & screaming under the surface, I panic. I determine every logical solution for every logical (and illogical) scenario, and I start crafting a plan.

I’m not very good at teething.

I’m determined to give up on this "I have to find an answer" thing, and to focus more on finding God in the process- in the middle of the unknown, in the crying, and the discomfort. Heck, I might even stop reading TV spoilers and the end of books first. Logic is good. But prayer is so much better.

So, am I the only one who freaks out with uncertainty?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I love the book of Hosea. Love it. It reminds me that I’m human, that God is God, and that because of those realities, He is just and merciful, and will never stop pursuing me. I’ve spent most of my life in church (second pew, piano side at that). I went to Sunday School, I went to Youth Group, and I even went to a Christian college. But really, it’s nothing to brag about.

I didn’t really learn who God was until I was blocked.

I’m not talking “annoying person on Facebook” kind of blocked. But stuck behind a wall of thornbushes and completely unable to find my way blocked (like in Hosea 2:6).

On the outside, all was well. I was 24 and I was going to get married and move across the country and go to graduate school and get my Ph.D. And then, it happened. I ran headfirst into a sharp, piercing thicket that would capture my lofty plans in one tangled swoop and penetrate my soul and threaten to leave me scarred for eternity.

By the time I made it out of that thicket, my plans were gone. And so was my desire for them. Things had changed drastically, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a plan. I was waiting. I’m not the best at waiting… (Remember how worked up I get when waiting messes up my plans?)

This was kind of my wilderness, I suppose. I had been tied up in the thicket, and then led out into the wilderness to have a heart to heart with Jesus (Hosea 2:14). We had a few things to iron out, and the first was that He loves me, always. No matter what. The second was that He has a great plan for my life, and that plan is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). And then He told me to wait. And it was in that waiting that I started to really understand who God was. It was in the waiting that I came to see hope in my “valley of trouble” (Hosea 2:15), and where my relationship with God shifted, matured (v. 16).

So if you’re blocked, tied up in a nasty thicket, consider where it was you were headed that God might be sparing you from. Go ahead and follow Him into the wilderness and have a heart to heart… and wait.


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