When our girls were very young, we lived close to Whatcom Falls Park. Many days, the quiet beauty of that evergreen sanctuary preserved my sanity midst the busyness of diapers and other household dilemmas. In spite of that busyness, I can remember wrestling with God about the fact that I felt I was wading in still waters. I felt stagnant and mosquito-bit in terms of active ministry, and longed for the thrill of white water and the turbulent falls. My ministry as wife and mother and friend was fulfilling, but taken for granted, and I saw it as anything but frontline…
One day, Jesus kindly clued me in with the metaphor of a dam: the surface of the reservoir is calm, seemingly undisturbed and going no-where; but as the water is slowly gathered in that place, tremendous power is stored in the reservoir’s depths. All the tasks that tend to repeat themselves in the managing of home, the questions that echo, and re-echo (didn’t I just answer that?) in the rearing of children, and the repeated practice of serving others and saying ‘l.a.t.e.r,’ to self, were, under God’s tutelage, slowly filling the reservoir. For what, I do not fully know; but I continue to rest in God’s faithfulness to gently walk me through this time, and to continue the preparation for, His Plan, His Purpose, His Power…His Time.
A few days ago, I ran into a friend, another mom determined to frame for her special daughter, a life of fulfillment and purpose and joy. They’ve been going through a tough time – hours and hours and hours of tests in a effort to control a high risk medical situation. It is one in which the medications to control the risk, sedate her daughter – taking away any sense of fulfillment and purpose and joy. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m trying not to let it take over my life, but it’s all I can think about.”
Needless to say, most of her ADP>ATP stored energy is being consumed at square 3:
- Love God
- Love Spouse
- Love child
I say that with a slight edge, having felt the sting of all my energy going AWOL without planning it that way. But her voice had no sting, only sadness, at feeling like she could not be enough, on the Mom front, and because of that high demand, nor on any other. She could not see herself generating even a ripple, let alone see God pouring into the reservoir. And it only looks like white-water, when someone else is paddling it.
I don’t pretend to have an easy answer for my friend – the sheer number of hours spent in hospital would have made me a screaming meamie. But in Romans 5 scripture tells us that hardship grows in us perseverance, perseverance character, and character- in turn- hope. I know, I know, exactly how much ‘character’ does a girl want… Hebrews tells us that the hardship is discipline, loving training from an invested Father, so that we can share in his character of holiness. Be patient, he says, for the fruit of all this hard toil is righteousness and peace. “Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled , but rather healed. Hebrews 12:12,13 NIV” Isn’t that what we were after to begin with – that the individual and the great collective ‘they’ out there, would somehow be healed, and that we would get to bear active witness; play even a bit part.
We so desperately want to make a difference. I think most of us are looking for the cannonball variety. My daughter called me the other day to inform me that mothers of adult autistic children have cortisol levels equivalent to that of combat soldiers. Frontline stuff, one distilled droplet at a time.