A Sunday Morning Prayer

Hear me quickly, Lord
for my mind soon wanders to other things
    I am more familiar with
        and more concerned about
            than I am with you.

Words will not do, Lord.
Listen to my tears,
    for I have lost much
        and fear more.
Listen to my sweat,
    for I wake at night,
        overwhelmed by darkness and strange dreams.
Listen to my sighs,
    for my longing surges like the sea--
    urgent, mysterious, beckoning.
Listen to my growling gut,
    for I hunger for bread and intimacy.
Listen to my curses,
    for I am angry at the way the world
    comes down on me sometimes
        and I sometimes on it.
Listen to my crackling knuckles,
    for I hold very tightly to myself
        and anxiously squeeze myself
            into others' expectations
                and them into mine,
        and then shake my fists at you
            for disappointing me.

Listen to my footfalls,
    for I stumble to bring good tidings to someone.
Listen to my groans,
    for I ache towards healing.
Listen to my worried weariness,
    for my work matters much to me
    and needs help.
Listen to my tension,
    for I ache toward accepting who I am
        and who I cannot be.
Listen to my hunched back,
    For sometimes I can't bear
        the needs and demands of the world anymore
            and want to put it down,
                give it back to you.

Listen to my laughter,
    for there are friends
        and mercy
            and something urges me to thank.
Listen to my humming,
    for sometimes I catch all unaware
        the rhythms of creation
    and then music without words
                rises in me to meet it,
            and there is the joy of romping children
                and dancing angels.

Listen to my blinking eyes,
    for at certain moments
    when sunlight strikes just right,
    or stars pierce the darkness just enough,
    or clouds roll around just so,
    or snow kisses the world into quietness,
everything is suddenly transparent...
and something in me is pure enough
    for an instant
to see your kingdom in a glance,
and so to praise you in a gasp--
        then gone,
            but it is enough.

Listen to me quickly, Lord.

--Ted Loder, "Guerrillas of Grace"


A Tribute to Bonnie Lou

Mother’s Day was yesterday, so we’re all over it, right? Well, not me. So you’re going to have to sit through another sappy Mother’s Day post.
You know that moment, when you’re sitting in therapy, and you realize that you’re EXACTLY LIKE YOUR MOTHER.
That happened for me about a month ago.
And it took me by surprise because everyone tells me (and I mean EVERYONE) how much I am like my father. We look alike. Have a similar sense of humor.  I preach like him (when I preach, which is not very often). Love all the same sports teams, are addicted to coffee….the list could go on and on!
And I have always been proud of that. Because my dad is one of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet. I am sure there will be more on him at a later point in time. But he’s the speaker – the out in front man – the one everyone knows about. My mom is the sneaky behind the scenes woman. The strong, independent, hilarious badass that too many tend to underestimate. And it’s not their fault – they don’t get a chance to see all her intricate layers.
I often get asked why I am not married yet. And for a while I wondered the same thing. But then I realized it was because of my mother! (hang with me, it’ll all make sense!) Growing up, my dad was gone an average of 15 days a month traveling and speaking. My mom was a part-time single parent, and I never ever heard her complain. She is the strongest person I know, so independent and fierce. Looking back, I have no idea HOW she did it. But watching and observing her – I think that fierce independence and belief that I could do anything ingrained itself in me.
I’d love to find a loving man like my father some day. But I also grew up knowing that I could do it on my own. Knowing that I had a role model of what it meant to be strong, independent, loving, patient, dedicated and passionate. To this day I don’t think my mom gives herself enough credit for how amazing she is. For HOW MUCH she did and continues to do.
For all the cheerleading uniforms and accessories she made. For all the musicals she did the costumes and make-up for. For all the sports games she attended. For all the music lessons she pushed us to not drop and keep practicing for. For all the church events she drove us back and forth from. For all the school field trips she attended and chaperoned. For all the homework assignments she worked diligently for hours with us on. For all the meals she prepared. For all the bags she packed for overnight trips and overseas trips. For all the tents she slept in summer after summer with four kids to keep track of and try to keep cool in the middle of a hayfield. For all the weekends dad was gone and she had to wrangle four kids all on her own. For never being in any pictures because she’s always taking them all. For celebrating every holiday with special meals and gifts and treats. For all the teenagers she took into her home over the years so dad could counsel them and they could have a strong example of two loving parents. For packing up a car and driving across country to help kids move – or flying overseas to help kids move home. For painting houses and moving furniture. For sleeping over to help take care of newborn babies so new mamas can sleep.
For the calm conversations she had with her growing and exploring daughter expanding and pushing her bounds of theology and justice. For her patience when that daughter got tattoos and piercings. And then her fierce prayers when that daughter took to the streets of LA in the middle of the night each week in pursuit of those passions and her call to justice.
I love you mom. And I love that I turned out just like you. Thanks for teaching me how to be fierce and take the world by storm. Your love compels me to try and love others with the grace of God.
Happy Mothers Day! How are you like your mother in unexpected ways?