Month: August 2015

The Heavy Hope

Last week, I made a comment that may have opened some wounds. I knew it would. I said it anyway, because, though it was not for everyone that has walked that road, it was for some. And at times, words that seem harsh open eyes. And sometimes, those same words are worn by others they weren’t intended for. 

To both the intended and unintended, I want to say that you are loved. So much. The ache you feel is real and valid. Your cries are valid. I wrote a letter awhile ago on my old site. You may need it. 

I too have needed it. I wrote it for you, but this week my heart has been aching, longing for things that seem always just out of reach. I have wept a lot this week. For myself. For the ache. For the pull between wanting to make something work, and wanting to give up the hope altogether. So I needed to read my own words. I needed to preach to myself a bit. 

So today, we’ve already had one letter, but I share this one as well, because I need it and you may as well.


Friend,

I have been carrying an ache in my heart for you these last days.  To see you wrestle with this want, this beautiful, God-woven want…it peels back the covering of put-togetherness we all desperately try to keep tethered to the ground around our feet. But I have seen glimpses of the frayed corners of your covering. A picture. A 140 character sigh. A far-off stare occupied by a deeply rooted thorn in your heart. A one-ton tear breaking through your “I’m fine” eyes and cutting a path of escape down your rose-garden cheek.

You are hurting. And life has not stopped to allow it. Holidays have steamrolled through as a constant reminder of hope deferred.

Hope deferred.

Such heavy words. Such known words.

It is this child. Loved before known. Held in your heart before your arms. Prayed and planned for. And grieved.

I know only a glimpse of this child-longing. I have dreamed of the day I hold my little heart-capturer as well. But, I don’t know it the way you do. I don’t know the creating of space for the expected and having to fill it again with the what once was…not as a mother does. I don’t know the sharp entrance of the arrows of well-meaning questions of “when?”.

It is him. The one with whom you hope to battle all other deferred hopes. He is your delayed desire and as a friend so rightly said, the faces of the others only serve as reminders of him not yet here.

This longing I know. This heaviness of a bare-finger. This canyon of an empty hand. These arrows have left scabs, torn through with every probing “why are you still?”

Friend, I ache for you because I know the ache of Hannah’s heart. I know the sobs and seemingly drunken slurs of words tangled in heartache.  When approached in her mess, Hannah shot life-blood into her ache by breathing out the honest words; and the hearer agreed with her prayer. “May it be.” So I will do for you. “May it be.” May the longing of your heart be met, with all the poorly-timed truths people say when our hearts hurt-yes…with more love for Jesus-yes….with deeper trust-yes…I always want those things for you, for me, but today I will beg for you to find your longing filled, for hope to be deferred no longer, for arms to be filled with the one for whom you have created space, time and again. Let’s, even if for a moment, take down the tents of put-togetherness and trade them in for coverings of grace. Longings are allowed to be spoken there. Aches find a voice. Hope deferred is met with a “May it be.” And lament leads the way to life.

From my Hannah-heart to yours,

Erin

Letters to The Family: Chris

This is Chris. Chris is a fellow youth pastor. Chris is an encourager and a man of prayer. He works hard to show his students the way to Jesus. And, I’m sure he would tell you, he has lots of fun along the way. His letter to us today reflects a conversation I’ve heard many times as I’ve navigated my way through churches of all sizes. It is also a word that has welled up in me from time to time. Chris approaches this with such grace. I pray we take his words to heart and perhaps adjust our course a bit. Chris


To the Church That I Love So Much,

You may not know who I am. I’m Chris, I’m 25, and I’m Youth Pastor in Fredonia, KY.  I’m single, and I gave my life to Christ when I was 17 years old.  I have been in ministry for three years, and God has blessed me in that.  You have been so supportive of me and my ministry, and everything that I do and I absolutely love that about you.  You are a true servant of Christ, who will do anything for anyone.  You love God, and you love people, and I am so thankful to be a part of this wonderful Bride of Christ.  In the past eight years I have been a part of you, you have taught me how to love, you have taught me how to be loved.  If it’s not like the love that Jesus Christ has shown us, then it’s not a love worth having.  We’ve had our ups and downs, there have been times where I wanted to walk away, not from my faith but from you, The Church, but just like Jesus did you’ve always welcomed me with opens arms.

However, we are not always doing what God has called us to do.  As a single, 25 year old man, not as a minister, but as a man, as a part of your body, it seems like you’ve forgotten about the fact that it’s not all about married couples.  As a single man, sometimes I feel as though you look over my wants and needs and just focus on the work that I’m doing.  Discipleship has not been one of your main focuses, and neither has the health of your leaders.  I come to you out of love for you, because I want to ensure the longevity of your Body, because of your love for Christ.  However, you must always confirm the spiritual and emotional health of your Body.  The health of your Body is the most important thing for you so that you can thrive for an even longer period of time.  You are the Bride of Christ, and we must keep ourselves healthy so that when Christ returns we are the perfect bride, waiting for our Groom.  

Please, Church, hear me out, I love you, with all my heart, the only reason I am sending this to you is because I love you.  You have been such a blessing to me, and I want you to be even stronger, healthier than ever before, the only way to do that is to make sure that you are healthy, strong, that your Body gets the nutrients that it needs in order to survive.  We must make sure that one another are strong, healthy and ready to go every time we meet.  You are the backbone of the Kingdom of God, and my concern for you is that you haven’t paid enough attention to the health of your Body, and I want to encourage you to do so, in all times, in all ways, so that God may be completely glorified in all that you do.

With Love

Chris