Accept your weakness and brokenness, beloved;
let them open your heart to Me. You can be fully yourself with Me…
Whenever you’re feeling weak and wounded,
come confidently into My Presence to receive abundant Love and Peace.
Jesus Always, September 23
This morning I ran the same stretch of road I’ve run several times for years. My feet know the path by heart—same country road, the same dog discovering me anew every morning, and the same state route.
No mile marker had changed … but everything had changed.
The state route that once signaled the inertia of American culture—caffeinated drivers riding the bumper of the car in front of them, distracted with the 8 hours ahead of them or their phone on the dash—felt like a back-country road. Five cars passed me on my half-mile stretch. I heard the morning doves in the distance.
The feeling of loss
For one of the first times since our world tilted, I elected to pause and absorb as much as I could in that half-mile stretch. Houses full, and streets empty. Phones and computers no longer as supplements to relationships, but our mainstay for connecting. The weekly gathering of believers is happening for everyone, online; not just the late sleepers anymore.
More profound than these: uncertainty is the concomitant fiber of life today. Loss has crept into everyone’s world. My doctor, my great aunt in a nursing home, my sixteen-year-old, and the gas station attendant share one commonality: none of us know what June holds, and most of us are grieving … something.
We adopted four of our seven children; thus, before COVID19, we lived in daily awareness of grief. “People say they love adoption, Mom, and it bothers me. Adoption meant so much loss for me. How can they love that loss?” one of my children said to me. The feeling of loss doesn’t end when new life comes; it can stretch across a lifetime. Though a one-time act, adoption is building one family on another’s grave.
What do you do with loss
What do we do with all this grief? I asked myself one afternoon, as I watched my oldest (whom we adopted at age 7) cradle her newborn sister—two girls, birthed from different mothers, and on different continents, wearing different skin. I only knew the young scent of one of them. I had only one of their baby hands wrap itself around my pointer finger. I only ran my finger along the gums of one of them, searching and watching for teeth.
What do we do with this degree of loss? is the question that hangs in the backdrop of my mind, almost always.
One day as this question haunted me, I read Psalm 51:9, “Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice” (NKJV). David’s prayer.
How do I make these my words? I ask, reaching as I read. How do I climb into this reality—this sense of knowing—so that I might really believe this and not just recite it?
Adoration is bringing my raw thoughts and emotions into my dialogue with God and say His Word back to Him and my fractured heart. As the Psalmists do, adoration is disrobing myself before God and asking Him to cover me with what’s true.
It sounds simple. The definition is simple. But to unfurl before God at the moment that grief or uncertainty overwhelms us is something we rarely choose. And in a period where reacting has been a necessary skill for making it through these life-and-schedule changes, this unfurling before God feels even more elusive.
To know God as the restorer of my broken bones requires me to acknowledge a break. And yet so often, I build a lifestyle around over-compensating for the broken bones underneath my flesh.
(Could it be that these weakened days have kept us from that over-compensation?)
As a mother of children with fractured histories, I can coach their behavior — their manners, their right-responding, their school performance — and use their externals as a measurement. (“She’s a straight-A student!” “He’s so polite!” “She’s always so helpful around the house!”)
Acknowledge the ache
Or, I can pause to acknowledge the deep ache that resides within each one of my children who was adopted and, from that place, ask Him to show Himself as a restorer, just as David declares in Psalm 51:8.
In the same way, I can feel the insecurity of an area of weakness — as a wife, a writer, a mom, or a friend — and quickly work to behave better. I try harder to love my husband well, and I hone my skill, I bring another meal … or, I can pause and acknowledge where I fall short and, from that place, adore Him as the God from 2 Corinthians 12:9 whose power is made perfect in my weakness.
The Word heals.
And there’s no longer any denying that we are a fractured world that needs healing.
When I come with an open wound, bleeding, and needy, He responds with the healing power of His Word and His Spirit, co-mingled. (For me, and my children.)
Adoration the answer to performance
And yet, dozens of times a day my muscle memory tells me to produce, to cover over the weakness, to perform. And then the sugar rush of better behavior and “fruitful” performance gives me a reason to perform again. All the while, God waits to receive my raw heart, buried underneath that performance.
Adoration is my inroad to God.
It gives us reprieve from the quick performance fix that no longer is working as it used to for so many of us. Adoration enables me to take all of myself—the questions, the fears, the anxiety, the insecurity—to God and His Word, and let His Word, heal me with what’s true, as I adore.
So, with it, I move from reading, reciting, and studying God’s Word (all necessary things!) to immersing myself in it, imbibing it … to letting it penetrate the deepest parts of my heart. Adoration enables God’s Word to bring healing to parts of me that I didn’t know needed healing until the world tilted.
Adoration enables me to access God, in and from my weakest minute.
“I didn’t need Him this much … until I was this weak,” might be the anthem of believers in this time.
Praising Me directs your attention away from the world with all its brokenness, toward Me in all My Glory. While you’re engaged in worshiping Me,
you are participating in My Glory.
Jesus Always, September 26