“And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19 MSG)
The space around me feels suffocating as my baby’s teething cries bounce off of the walls of our family tent. It’s 2am and Tylenol isn’t helping. I pick him up with the goal of carrying him into the front seat of our truck so we don’t wake our neighboring campers. I’m frustrated as I struggle with the zipper, but finally emerge into the night. Tears, pregnant with exhaustion, roll down my face as I glance up at the night sky. I’m unexpectedly gob smacked; it’s beautiful.
Lately, I’ve been feeling depleted, exhausted, overwhelmed. My feet have not been planted firmly on love. I’ve been standing on self-sufficiency, striving, and caffeine. As a homeschooling momma of three energetic little boys under six, my flesh is TAPPED out. But here, gazing into the star-strewn expanse, I grasp for a moment the depths of His love as I hold my restless, hurting baby.
Lately, I haven’t been allowing myself to validate or feel the pain of my narrative, to cry out honestly to God in my desperation and exhaustion; and consequently, I haven’t allowed Him to hold me in that uncomfortable, vulnerable space.
As I rock my sleepless babe, it occurs to me that if I never spend time held intimately by my Emmanuel God in the vast darkness, I will never behold the majesty of the night sky. The extravagance of His love is in His unwavering presence; His “withness” as we live full lives in companionship with Him. To grasp the extravagance of His love, we have to actually BE with Him.
Prayer of response:
“Holy Spirit, I hear you whispering to my soul, “you weren’t meant to live depleted.” I hear you, and also, I can’t see a clear way to abundance. BUT you are faithful, and I trust you to show me how if I cling tightly to you- inviting you into my vulnerable, flawed reality. Thank you for loving all of me. Thank you for the gift of your closeness.”
Submitted by Traci Bartak
(Traci and her outdoorsman husband are currently raising 3 wild boys in rural Washington state with lots of grit and even more grace. Traci writes on motherhood, following Jesus and her love of the outdoors on her blog: www.neeci.wordpress.com)