For my black brothers and sisters

 

I can only relay what I hear from black members and their loved ones in our fractured society – from those most publicized and from those most known and dear:

Fear, so much fear. For yourself, for your family, for especially your beautiful black sons, for your future, for your increasingly bitter heart…

Anger, sadness, profound disappointment, numbness, hopelessness… I am unable to encapsulate all you feel or know to be true. My words are too meager, too removed. However, I was reminded last night at a prayer vigil and this morning in reading the Word that God has much to say, Himself and through his people, and those words are strong and true and will come to pass.

In Psalm 6, while being pursued by enemies, David cries out in prayer:

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
    heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
    But you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
    save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
    it grows weak because of all my foes.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.

He hears your pleas, too.

If it is of any encouragement, I have been praying Psalm 9 over you this morning, my dear brothers and sisters. May you be strengthened and your heart reoriented:

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
    Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
    he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13 Be gracious to me, O Lord!
    See my affliction from those who hate me,
    O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises,
    that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
    I may rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
    in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
    the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion.[d]Selah

17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
    all the nations that forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
    let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O Lord!
    Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

Take heart that the Lord hears you. He sees you. He knows your heart. You are not forgotten. Our God is one of equity, of justice, of caring for the afflicted and oppressed. I will seek justice and reconciliation with you now, here on this earth that I am called to help renew, and I know while we struggle for that realization, ultimately full justice, full equity, full judgment will be realized, without the mar of sin or error. That is the character of our God.

For now, while you respond with your family or publicly through prayer, protest, or other activism, hear the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

 

Standing with you,

Lauren

 

And then I Hit a Wall…

This is the part that they don’t describe in fairy tales. You know, after the “happily ever after” and the one year party for your business, and after the lights dim and the cameras stop rolling, and all of the sudden you feel completely exhausted and overwhelmed, and you find yourself sinking onto the kitchen floor with your back against a cabinet crying to your husband on the phone because you can’t think straight…

Not like I’m using a personal example or anything.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I mean, do, but don’t. We’ve all been there. You have really difficult things going on in your life too. It’s not just me… It’s just one of those nights. The deep breaths and the hour nap I took and the just-pushing-through-it didn’t work, and so here I am, feeling drained and scattered and like my synapses are firing so fast that I can’t keep up.

I have so much to do that I’m completely halted. It’s like my brain is in fog, and I can’t reach out to see what’s in front of me. I can’t organize anything. I start doing something, and I stop short because I can’t even remember what I was wanting to do 10 seconds ago. “What was it again? Wait… that thing, no that thing… no, I don’t think it was…” and finally 30 seconds later, I’ve realized what it was, but then I’m thinking of 10 more things.

I’m tired. My brain is tired. And here I am, not checking things off of my list right now, but writing. Because something about writing calms me. It helps me to … breathe… in, out, in, out… write, reread, edit, reflect, revise… in, out, in, out…

Crying helps too. When I was a little girl (because I’ve always worked myself into a frenzy and burned the candle at both ends), I used to cry and cry and work myself into a sweaty mess in my parents’ arms, and then they said that I’d just pass out. In college, I would cry and cry and then run laps around the Stankowski track, and that’s saying something, because I HATE running. Sweaty mess again… But something about exhausting yourself is helpful. And restarting in the morning is helpful. Making your brain focus on ONE thing and one thing only and quieting the voices that keep telling you that life is too much… it helps.  Thank goodness for sleep and new mornings.

But for now, I’m just coping with a to-do list. And, I don’t expect you to call me or email me. That might actually stress me out more because then I feel like I need to call or email back, and I’ll guilt-trip myself more about what I haven’t been doing enough of. But, if you’re a praying person, that helps.

I read an excerpt from Jesus Calling just a bit ago, and today’s message said basically, “Hey, I’m here. I can heal you. All you have to do is ask.”

And I felt like, “Duh…” and also, “THANK YOU!” and I sent out a quick, “Help me, help me, heal me” prayer. And I feel a little better.

I have a lot to do, and I’m sure at some point I’ll have more eloquent things to say about this feeling and about how fairy tales are incredible and can really happen, but that the fairy isn’t a fairy, He’s God, and he doesn’t just give you bliss and then leave you there in blissfulness unending (at least until heaven). We’ve got work to do and lessons to learn and people to encourage, and there’s real evil in the world. But for now, I’ll just leave it at this…

I am living a fairy tale, because I know whose I am, and I’m given abundant blessings, but this fairy tale isn’t for the perfect person. It’s for the faint of heart, for the downtrodden, for the achiever and the hopeless and the one who can’t do it right. It’s for me, the overworking “I wish I could do everything” and well-intentioned person who just keeps hitting her head against the wall sometimes. My fairy tale includes brokenness and healing, and it’s supposed to be that way, this side of heaven, but some nights are really hard. And some nights are really exhausting.

So, that’s that. And now, I need to go get a heck of a lot of work done, and finish eating my now-cold noodle soup, because I needed some comfort food tonight, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to cut up vegetables. (Don’t judge me. I know it’s hot in St. Louis.)

I hope that you’re experiencing some refreshing and blessing tonight. And if you don’t feel like you are, at least take comfort in the fact that it’s not just you. And that all you have to do is remember that God’s there, and He can heal you, and all that you have to do is ask.

Amen. Good night.