Monday, February 11, 2008

the mystery of truth

Someone, a girl I don't know, but one who is a mother and who is grieving the loss of her own child, said something to me today. "It's been two months. What am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to say? Am I normal?" Oh, the great creeping notion of normalcy. It slinks around us and encircles itself about our feet and convinces us our calling is to fit into a category, or a box, or a statistic, or a quota. We love the idea of being corporate. And not that we shouldn't. But it's usually about following a crowd so that we can be loved instead of folding in just as we are because we are loved. We've bought into the idea that if we don't make sense to everyone else we must not make sense at all.

Someone else asked me tonight if I thought praying really did any good. If God already has this whole thing mapped out, then why pray? What's the point? I remember hearing once that prayer isn't about changing God; it's about changing us. I like that, it sounds pretty - and believe me, I know it to be true. Partly. But if prayer doesn't at least affect God then somehow, our relationship doesn't feel much like a relationship. It feels more like me talking to myself. When the Israelites built their golden calf out in the desert, after God had parted the Red Sea and shown them He was serious about delivering them from the Egyptians, I don't think He was angry because that was protocol. People doing naughty things? Check. God mad? Check. I think He was angry in the righteous sense - which means the kind of anger that comes from love. And love comes from a heart that's affected. It has to. Otherwise it's not love at all.

Here are a few of my favorite things: the smell of horses, the sound of the word 'indefatigable', Jane Austen, Hans Zimmer, going out to dinner with my husband, grapefruit for breakfast, hyacinths, gold earrings, the feel of cool grass on my feet in summertime, amaretto sours, chasing Sellers around the house... all these are things I'd call 'good.' I like them. They make me happy, or they make me smile, or they bring back fond memories of something special or a time I felt closer to something I want to be close to all the time. David once wrote that "apart from You, God, I have no good thing." So, for me, if I take that literally - and I love to take the Bible literally - that means apart from God, I can basically nix the grapefruit and "Pride and Prejudice." I believe a God who can give me these things is a God who's affected... who loves me. And so I'm going to keep on praying because I've got an in. The God of the universe gets me. I make sense to Him. My normal is the normal He made.

I don't really know where I'm going with this other than to say that I hope, tonight, or today, or whatever hour it may be when you read this, you feel like where you are is okay. Christians are obsessed with finding the formula, with making everything fit into a mold. When we talk about the Word of God being "inerrant" we want it to mean more than simply "total truth" - we want it to mean no one can debate or discuss or ponder or question or shout out to God in frustration. It is what it is - or is it? Everything that's true is a mystery.

Fight for your joy. Not your happiness, but your joy - whatever gives you the sense that you're closer to something that feels like Home. Loving God is like catching a scent on a breeze - it captivates, but it's untraceable. It cannot be created - it must be received. Let Him teach you to love Him. After all, we love Him only because He loves us. It's like the man in Mark said to Jesus as his son was seized by the demon: "Lord, I believe!" And in the next breath - "Help me believe!" Basically, "I get it! I believe it! I love You!" And then, "Okay, not really. But I think if You helped me, I could!" The complexity of the human heart! A great American thinker once urged his countrymen to "simplify." How? We are creatures woven in secrecy, fashioned after majesty, and filled with divine curiosity. Oh, that we would never shake these truths for ones less compelling!

42 comments:

Amanda said...

Please don't ever stop bringing the word to us!! You have a wonderful talent.

Katie and Matt said...

your words are water to my soul. thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable yet bring the truth i so desperately need. my husband and i are stuggling with infertility...and i have felt that something is just wrong with me, NOT remembering that God knit me together with a purpose. while everyone around me rejoices at the birth of their little ones, and i remain empty handed, i must remember that it is okay to be just where i am. thank you for your wisdom.

Terry said...

I can and can' t understand what you are going through, as I have no children and love them dearly, as I my ex wasn't able too, but, now all my sister's have and sometimes, it bothers me but, I have to trust God that he has a reason for it.
Your words are so strong and yet so powerful. I watch your blog all the time to see if you have written. I know people who have lost children through death and oh! how are we suppose to get through it. One from church just lost her's after 6mths. The pain she must feel. But, God is our strength and we have to hold on.
Thank-you for always sharing.

Laurie said...

"Fight for your joy." That is such a great way to find "normal". I have learned (and am still learning) that if my joy stays intact, then I am content with what I have and where I am and to me, this is as close to normal as I need to be. To me, normal has always been on the move, changing constantly with circumstances, fleeting. But joy, it is an inside job, filling us to be content no matter what, moment by moment, day by day. And only Jesus can give us the joy that feeds our souls. We make sense to Him.
I love you Boothe and I pray you never stop writing here. Your words are so inspiring and honest. And so are you. Praying for the desires of your heart:) each day!

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Kim said...

I really feel like everything you say seems to mirror stuff I am going through when you write it. This really hit home with me:

"We've bought into the idea that if we don't make sense to everyone else we must not make sense at all."

Isn't that so true! And such a wrong way of thinking...

A fellow fighter for joy,
Kim

Rachel said...

I've been reading and immensely enjoying your blog. I can't begin to fathom what your family has gone through, but I know your struggle and strength has been enlightening and edifying. I don't usually comment (I guess I'm more of a "lurker"), but when you mentioned Jane Austin, I had to send a friends' blog your way! They're planning a discussion on Persuasion this Friday! http://www.smithical.com/

Know that this "lurker" is keeping you and your family in her prayers.

Annie- Nashville said...

Thank you so much for your words. I have been struggling here lately to find "happy" and I want to find "joy" right where I am. I think I have so much to be joyful about but I need to SEE those things with eyes set on He who gave me those things. I've been reading Battlefield of the Mind and in it Joyce Meyer's says "you can't have a negative mind and a positive life, it just won't work. I think that correlates so well with what you say here. See joy WHERE YOU ARE. Thank you so much for your words and your insight and your amazing ability to lay it out for us and help us understand! God Bless you Boothe. You are still in my prayers!

whitney burrough akin said...

thanks. i needed these words today and everyday.

mom2izzyandallen said...

How right you are. Often you are able to express exactly what I feel. Thanks!

krystle maria porter said...

Hello,
I have wanted to write you for a while now but have always been too shy seeing as how we have never met :) I am continually enocuraged by your words, and they are so refreshing and real. I long for true transparency in life and in my relationships, and it feels like you have been my heart's friend forever. I would love to be able to meet you one day. I will continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you for always sharing your heart with all of us.
-Krystle Porter

Fish Family said...

Ah...what beautiful words and what a beautiful reminder of God's love. I needed this today. I must find my joy again. Thank you for leading me there.

Anonymous said...

your heart is perfect timing to be healing for mine. i am struggling with decisions today that are best for my family yet some christians question... why do we do this to one another? condemn others with the calling of our own hearts?! i needed to be reminded of my place as God's child- of his will for our lives... of needing to be loved for me, not for being who the "others" think i should be to "be ok".
thank you- for artculating truth in such a way that brings freedom....

grey like snuffie said...

AMEN---my circumstances do not define who God is--and as I get older I love even more not fitting into boxes and under labels. I am His and He has kept me His for 38 years. Love His words written through you.

Joel and Deanna said...

I came across your blog and wanted to say how you touched me. We too have lost a son to VATERS Syndrome - very uncommon. Your words were words I needed to hear. We now have a healthy daughter which is a joy and blessing from God. Thank you for sharing your faith and heart. My prayers are with you. What a sweet angel you have sent to heaven.

Lyric said...

Yes...this is so true and so profound. Thank you for taking the time to dive into things like this...

I've been reading a book, "The Beautiful Ache" that speaks to a lot of what you've written here. I've posted several excerpts in recent weeks as well. "Living closer to something that feels like home" is the essence of keeping my joy on this journey.

Blessings to you and yours, my prayers continue.

Lynn Leaming said...

Boothe,
I found your blog last night from a link mentioned on someone else's blog. It amazes me how the Lord will lead us where we need to go. I had been posting about whether actual healing glorifies God or can faith actually glorify Him. You and Conor are faith in the flesh and a definite testimony to how God can be glorified through faith. You are flesh to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 in that you know the God of all comfort and are using that knowledge to bless others. Thank you for your amazing transparency and giving me and so many others the courage to continue walking in our pain with the hope of counting it all joy. May the Lord continue to bring you peace on this journey.

Sun said...

WOW! I cannot even put into words what I want to say regarding this - but I am going to try. I needed this today - I say that a lot after reading your posts - but it is true. God has gifted you and you are blessing others with that gift - thank you for that. Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you - for being honest about where you are in your walk with Him. There are few people whose hunger and passion for God inspire me to seek harder, dig deeper, love with more abandon...you are one of those people. I struggle with wanting to fit in to find love - not fold in because I am loved - so thank you for the encouragement to seek Him with everything that is within me. Sunshine

MLS said...

Absolutely beautiful.
Your writings are truly refreshingly honest and full of a deep passion to know our God. Thank you for continuing to share.

Lauren

juliekeefe said...

Profound..

I'm right there with the Amaretto Sours...

Lori said...

I have been a lurker since before your sweet baby went to be with Jesus.

Thank you for allowing us to see your heart. God has been glorified in you, in your suffering, and in your joy.

Lori

Christie said...

You are a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

Kathleen in TX said...

Your words are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your heart and allowing God teaching you to teach others also.

Tirzah said...

I don't know how your blog ended up on my screen, it was just there with the others all of a sudden. I liked your words about prayer. I agree that prayer doesn't change God, it changes us, but He is also there just waiting to give us things and sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, we have to ask first!

Thank you for your words!

Katharine (Katie) said...

another great and touching entry from you...I continue to pray for you and your family and hope that you'll continue to share your thoughts with all of us...you are touching so many people and helping God's work everywhere!

Kelli said...

Hey girl,

I've read your blog from time to time and I couldn't not comment on this post. How is it that you are able to put into words the exact things I've felt the Lord was showing me? Thank you so much for opening yourself up to be used by the Lord. I admire this because it is so very selfless, and so incredibly powerful. Thanks again. Have a great week!

The Adoption Of William said...

You should be a writer. Touching, beautiful, moving. This post has moved me inside. Thank you!

With Love,

Jen-William's Mom

www.specialneedsbaby.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

HA! She IS a writer!!!

JUST A MOM said...

You are so right with your words thank you and I have not forgotten you I come and read and hope your JOY is in buckets.

hypatia 370 said...

"Everything that's true is a mystery."...."Fight for your joy. Not your happiness, but your joy." ... "The God of the universe gets me. I make sense to Him. My normal is the normal He made." Brilliant all. Reminds me to lighten up, let go, breathe, let God, live fully.

Thank you, Boothe, for this unbidden gift of love. How apt that I'm reading it on Valentine's Day. As my favorite 4-year-old would say, Juicy love, juicy love, ~Alana.

Amy said...

Boothe,

Thank you for continuing to pour out your own wisdom to those of us who read this blog. Something that caught my attention today was finding the formula to make it all fit in. That's me. Even though I try not to let that be me. I try to take Him at His word and not box Him in, but it is a daily struggle. Thank you for reminding me that where I am is ok and that God does get me and we do make sense to Him. He created us to love and be loved - I hope we can all show that love today.

Be loved on this Valentine's Day!

meganelizabeth3 said...

i don't remember how i stumbled upon your blog, but it was made clear to me today why. i'm just a college student at a small Christian university in south arkansas, but your blog has blessed me. i've just fought with truth, prayer, and "formulas". you put into words what i struggle to verbalize. thanks for your ability to be real

Fern said...

Beautiful. You've brought me to tears.

Marni New (Lunsford) said...

I love you, Boothie!!

Love,
Marni

Anonymous said...

My issues are small in comparison to yours but seemed overwhelming tonight. I needed to hear your words and know that where I am is okay.

God speaks through others and is most definitly speaking through you.

Thanks so much for being courageous enough to share your thoughts with us.

You are in my prayers.

-Just another lurker

Laurie said...

Hi Boothe,

Sending Love and Hugs to you today and praying for the three of you to have a wonderful day. Praying for your needs to be met, and your dreams to come true:) Thinking about Copeland today too. I am waiting for her book to arrive:)

Love you guys, Laurie in Ca.

Brandi (Angie's friend) said...

What a great post, Boothe. Still praying for your family.

lisalyn said...

I have tears in my eyes as I read your post tonight! You have touched my heart and I know that I haven't just stumbled along to your site...I've been directed here by our GOD. HE is amazing! Thank you so much for letting Him use you to reach me. God Bless.
Lisa

Erin Morgan said...

Boothe-
I have come along your blog tonight through Allison Harris. She is a friend my sister (they work together). I have been moved by your posts tonight. So much to read, but in the short time I've read, I've been moved. My sweet son was born on Sept 19th 2007. I cry for your loss and am sorry for your sweet blessing. She is dancing with Jesus and singing aloud as every child should! You have blessed me this evening and I will continue to pray for your and your husband and little daughter. You are precious children of our gracious God and He holds you ever so close to him. Thank you (as another post writes) for being vulnerable, yet truthful and wise. You are a blessing. May God continue to use you.

Anonymous said...

wow, thank you! i really needed to hear that!
May God continue to inspire and sustain you, Boothe.

Tarah said...

God has given you a gift with the words that you write. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Tarah

sumi said...

Someone left a link on my blog to yours yesterday and I have paid you several visits since.

I love your honesty and transparency and I wish I could write as eloquently as you do!

5 weeks ago today, and very unbeknownst to us, I was spending my last happy day with my 3 and a half year old princess. The next day, very unexpectedly, she went to see Jesus.

It is an understatement to say that our lives have and will never be the same again.

There is a lot of Grace on this journey, as I am sure you know...and one of the bits of grace for me is that I found your blog and can see my own struggles so well described in yours.

I loved the video you played at Copeland's memorial service. Such precious picturea and video - and that song is a treasure.

Lifting up a prayer for you right now...

jennifer said...

boothe_
i am so blessed by your everything that you have written. i just cannot stop crying as i read them.
thank you for sharing your life, your journey and your thoughts.
absolutely beautiful and so inspiring! thank you!