Sometimes clarity has a companion. Sometimes clarity comes in the midst of a cloud, piercing through one minuscule facet of its heaviness and there it is—illuminating myriad colors. But, then it’s just all cloudy again.
We’re encompassed, again. So we weep. So we soar.
Out of tears, thoughts. —Leon Wieseltier
Sometimes we’re immersed in waters, the waters that cleanse us. Beneath—sounds, sights, clarity is muted—a story half understood. This baptism, beneath and surrounded, is exactly where we need to be. Emerging, its own goodness, at the right time. Some things cannot be rushed.
In the mean time, in the space-in-between, I’ve collected some words for us:
Do not imagine that these great mysteries are completely and thoroughly known to any of us. By no means: sometimes truth flashes up before us with daylight brightness, but soon it is obscured by the limitations of our material nature and social habits, and we fall back into darkness almost as black as that in which we were before. We are thus like a person whose surroundings are from time to time lit up by lightning, while in the intervals he is plunged into pitch-dark night…
God is not always silent, and man is not always blind. His glory fills the world; His spirit hovers above the waters…There may come a moment like a thunder in the soul…The voice of Sinai goes on for ever: “These words the Lord spoke unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of fire, of the cloud and of the thick darkness, with a great voice that goes on for ever”.
—Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man
Have you ever studied the origins of baptism? The mikvah of Judaism, it’s also known as the womb. So when Jesus (Yeshua) said, we must be reborn…
It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.
—C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
In my life, which I try to share authentically here in hopes we all will feel a little less alone, I have been a bit storm tossed the last seven months. I’ve had a long running fever and a lack of understanding as to why. In my last post I was celebrating my first fever-free weeks in many months, I was believing for healing. I still believe I was experiencing healing, but there is more healing to be done. And that was a hard reality to hit under these circumstances.
It’s easy to hope for a life with clearly defined boundaries and thresholds, isn’t it? More often than not we’re experiencing the mercy of the liminal spaces—the painful places in life that teach us how to cross over to the new territories. This is the space of equipping.
At first, it’s normal to only feel this is all searing and harsh, too much, no breath. But I promise, pain, our teacher, can be known as gentle and kind.
Don’t get me wrong, it stopped and saddened me deeply when a fever reappeared. To hold in one hand the humanity and appropriateness of this, and on the other hand hope and humility, that our Creator is neither surprised nor stopped at what we are—this is a tension we can only hold in prayer, in breath. You don’t have to have words. You’re also allowed to have many!
His eye is on the sparrows and also on us. So we wait and we keep seeking, even more fervently now, because the pain, the fears—this is our call forward. It’s not time to shrink back. Birth is imminent now.
Tonight, or some night soon, I’ll be with a sweet mama in labor and I’ll be telling her the same, with my words, my eyes, my touch, and my trust of the transformation that will take hold of her—the miracle. We all need each other to do that today. To hear each other’s groans and even say, “Groan deeper, beloved child, this is the way forward and out.”
Birth is our Creator’s miracle, not ours.
We’re thankful when the lightning brings vision and we’re thankful to be cleansed, even by the waters that make things a little less clear, and we long to emerge. Not only is the longing OK, it’s important.
Don’t stop longing. Don’t stop feeling. Don’t stop believing. Our labor is not in vain.
This truth comes at a really significant time around my house. Two years ago today, we first released Pray, Like a Woman in Labor. And we’re right now prepping the last edits on a new black and white photography edition in order to bring the cost down. We’re looking to spread the courage, to pour out our hearts, to the One who hears and the One who is calling.
With you in the longing and the breathing,
P.S. Please share this with anyone else who needs courage in the groaning today.
ALSO, sneak peak of the new cover below! What do you think?! Do you feel like it represents the contents? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts…including critique if you have it. Nothing is set in stone yet :).
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