We all have moments from time to time when everything else stands still–when something in the everyday sparks a distant thought, hope, remembrance, curiosity, sadness or joy. I suppose I don’t know this for certain, but I presume that it’s true. There are things in life that can evoke deep, striking, vivid imaginations or memories in an instant, and in my own life, I believe that God has used such fleeting thoughts to move my heart. When they happen, I’m always left thinking more clearly than I was before. And it’s rare that I don’t carry these real, evocative moments around with me for the rest of the day…or days…sometimes weeks.
Most often, mine occur out of doors, when the light of the day, the haze on the sky, a smell in the air, or the precise crispness of morning bring me back to places I’ve loved: Africa, Australia, India, any given beach, a vacation, spaces I’ve called home for a season. But sometimes, like today, they take place in the inbetween: in a very quiet moment when the lists and to-dos and commitments have all stood still–when I’m simply living the exact thing God has intended for my life in that space and time.
I rocked Henry in and out of sleep this afternoon as he settled down from a full on cry and into a dreamy, sighing place in my arms. Cradling his sweet head in one hand, his little body tucked tightly to my chest, I whispered, “It’s ok, baby. It’s ok. Shusssh. Everything’s ok…” and I was completely struck. Somewhere else in the world, a dark skinned mama cradled her dark skinned baby, shushing him or her to sleep as she rocked, everything within her wanting just to make it all ok. She acted out of an identical set of instincts, desires and emotions, the same hopes and aspirations and sense of protection I was feeling in that moment. She gathered up all that she had in her–weary and worried, wondering about the next hours or days ahead of her–begging God for help, and loving out of everything she could offer at the same time.
I say that she was dark-skinned, because in this time-stopping moment in the nursery with Henry, she was. She was huddled in a small shack, dressed in worn, but still colorful clothing, lit only by the sun streaming through cracks in the structure above her. She was desperate, trying. She had shut out the grim reality of life just outside her own walls and instead, focused on the one thing God had tasked her with in the moment. A baby. Her baby. An entirely different set of circumstances than my own, and somehow, the same.
Hours later, I don’t yet understand why I needed, in that moment, to feel the burden of another young mother, comforting her babe. I don’t think it was simply so I could recognize that as moms, we’re not doing this alone. God comforts me to that end in friendship and fellowship on an almost daily basis. There was far more to it than that. I ached at the idea of this mother, longing desperately to console a child who lacked significantly more than sleep. I wanted there to be more than just a thought–I wanted to do something. I don’t know who she is. I don’t know where she is. But I know she matters to God, and I know that there are countless others like her.
I’m burdened to share this tonight because I don’t want to forget. God is always tugging at my heart in some way or another, and on days like today, when it feels so tangible and purposeful, I want desperately to preserve what I’ve seen or thought so I can continue to make the connections in my life. What is it that God is after in me? What does He want me to pursue? Be passionate about? Ache over? Certainly, the hearts of mothers who are struggling to do the very best with what they have, even when what they have (by worldly standards) is next to nothing. Certainly those who are isolated, alone, fighting for basic human needs and the lives of their children. What does God to do in me? Through me? Through this?
And what does God want to do through you?
I could have written all of this in a private journal, I know. And it would have been there for all time for me to go back to and re-read if I ever got around to it. But I sat down at the keyboard tonight, unsure of what I had to say, and this is what came out. Something bigger than who I am–bigger than I can entirely explain. We all have our something bigger, our someone, our somewhere else. And I am convinced that God wants to use each of us to do something significant. Not small, not quiet. SIGNIFICANT. As is big. Really, really big. The kinds of things that change lives…eternities. I marvel at the possibilities of what God will do.
If you’re the praying kind, and you read this tonight (or tomorrow, or next week, or next year), will you take a minute to pray for me? Will you ask God on my behalf to keep showing up, to keep making the burden apparent, to keep moving me towards the things I’m supposed to be about? I am praying that for you. Where two or more are gathered, no?
opening my hands up,