Type your search keyword, and press enter

Finding Peace with Uncertainty

IMG_9216I have shared before that Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays.  This year though, I found myself facing a bit of a struggle.  My joy during this season, was tempered by the fact that I now have two fully conscious young boys living in my house and that complicates things.  What do I mean my fully conscious?  Well this is the first year where it became absolutely clear that they were taking EVERYTHING in— processing what was going on, trying to piece together the elements of the season.  In the past they seemed to easily compartmentalize the happenings of the season, not needing to see the correlation between the bunny and the cross or the frilly baskets and the empty tomb.  But not this year.  This year they turned a page and became systematic theologians, meaning that they wanted to figure out how it all fits together.  That resulted in endless questions and speculations voiced by them at random times throughout their day… Graham (yelling from behind the closed bathroom door) “Mom, do you think there was a bunny in the tomb when Mary went in?… Maybe that is why the Easter Bunny comes on Easter.” Micah (during the two minutes car ride to school) “I think we decorate Easter eggs to remind us that God makes pretty things too.”

My challenge was that I wanted to put everything together in a nice, neat package for them, as if to say— “see it all makes sense and this is why we do what we do.”  But that isn’t the reality. Much of what we do and why we do it, has little to do with the actual Easter story. For me (pastor mom extraordinaire… okay the “extraordinaire” part may not always be accurate) that was hard to swallow.

That is when I was schooled in theology by my two boys— because to them that was absolutely okay.  Sure their little brains were going full speed trying to piece everything together.  Sure they asked more questions in the last 40+ days about crosses and tombs and bunnies and fake grass then my brain could handle.  But in the end, when they still were unable to lay out their case step by step of how it all fit together, they were just fine. Their questions didn’t change their beliefs.  Their uncertainties didn’t rattle their universe.  They wanted to know, because even at 5 and 7 they have already understood that knowledge brings intimacy, the more we know about someone the closer we feel to them.  But the pursuit of knowledge was enough.  They imagined, they explored, they wondered, and then they trusted.  They trusted that even if they couldn’t make sense out of it, that in some way it does in deed make sense.

That truth right there is what I needed to remember, and its what we all need to remember.

God comes to us.  God is in our midst.  Sometimes it may feel like an egg hunt, looking for God underneath/behind/on top of our experience of reality.  We find God in glimpses and then unpack them to find the blessing of those little moments.  Sometimes it is in the grand pomp and circumstance of celebration— elaborately decorated worship spaces, baskets overfilled with gifts and ornaments, music that reminds us of the celebration at hand.  We sense God in the grandeur and our awareness of God’s great gifts of life and salvation become real to us.

But the story of those first witnesses of the resurrection reveal that God is often found in the confusion- the disciples arriving to an empty tomb, Mary encountering Jesus and mistaking him for a gardener, the disciples hearing of the resurrection and locking themselves away not know what comes next.  None of it made sense in the moment.  They couldn’t see how it would all play out, yet God did and God was there offering peace and promising that God would remain with them.

So often, life doesn’t make sense.  Our instinct is to put our head in the sand or lock ourselves away in a room.  We tell ourselves that until it makes sense we will just wait it out. We question, we doubt, we struggle in the mean time.  There is a place for all of that— for our questions, for our doubts… but their places is surrounded and immersed in our trust in God.  It is okay to explore, it is okay to doubt, it is okay to question.  We will never have all the answers.  At some point we have to hold on to our questions and proceed forward in trust, knowing that God will show us the path forward, that more questions will come and some answers will be made known to us, and some how it is okay for all of that to exist at once.

As we put away the eggs and baskets for another year.  As we allow the pomp of Easter to settle a bit, let us hear the voice of the risen Lord speak into our lives “My peace I give to you”. Let us be inspired to live our faith in the midst of confusion, uncertainty, and above all in trust that God is at work and is calling us to join that work to bring something new and life giving into the world.  Happy Easter friends, He IS Risen!

Surprised by Hope

sprouting flower

I am not a fan of winter. Prior to moving to Montana almost four years ago, I had some experience living in snow country— but never as full fledge adult (we were students and someone else shoveled the drive…), and never with children in tow (prepping kids for school in sub zero temps is no joke).  I grew up in the Phoenix Metro area of Arizona, so a winter jacket wasn’t even a part of my wardrobe until college.

Our winter in Eastern Montana has been kind, yet I still felt the chill in my bones and missed the warm rays of the sun of my face.  But the last few weeks have been filled with hope, we have had beautiful weather that has called my boys and I outside in the afternoons. We have enjoyed playing in the yard and feeling the sun on our faces.  Yet the grass is still dormant, the flower beds are still littered with the late fallen leaves that have spent the season decaying, and the ground is still hard and cold.  Then, just yesterday, I found myself taken aback by the sight of the green spouts of our lilies appearing amid the decay.  Once we noticed them, we started taking in the whole yard and noticed that the edges of our lawn are begging to green and birds are in the trees.  All of the sudden there was hope. What caught me off guard was that I hadn’t noticed earlier.  It wasn’t overnight that those signs of spring popped up— those little flower sprouts had been at it for days, maybe even weeks, but even though we had spent every day outside we missed them until now.  And those little green leaves give me hope.  It is so silly, but seeing the green in the midst of the grey and brown reminds me that the warmth will return and days spent outside will return.  

Continue reading “Surprised by Hope”

Through the Valley

through the valleyI grew up on the northern edge of the Phoenix Metro area in Arizona, where North Scottsdale, Cave Creek, and Carefree intersect.  It is an area with some of the most beautiful dessert I have seen, but it’s claim to fame is the golf courses.  People travel from around the world to play on these stunning greens.

Just north of this area, even further out of town, is a lake where my friends and I would go boating and cliff jumping on summer break. Some of my best memories took place at that lake, but it also was the starting points of one of the greatest tragedies of my high school life. 

Continue reading “Through the Valley”