Friday, November 08, 2013

Little Darling teaches me.

I learn a lot of things from my students at the gym. Tonight, a new little girl started. It's her first time taking gymnastics/tumbling, but she takes dance.
Now, don't hate on me, but if a Momma comes in saying Little Darling is taking dance and wants to do gymnastics too, I assume the worst. Most of the little darlings around here that take dance are not very flexible, don't work very hard, and freak out when things hurt a little (especially stretches).
This new one was no different. She talked so much while stretching that I had to enforce that rule that no one was allowed to talk unless they were all the way down in their stretch- of course this little darling wasn't all the way down in any stretches, so she was (mostly) quiet from there on out.
As the lesson continued, she was excited/nervous about learning new things, and freaked out quickly whenever she didn't know how to do something.
At one point, we were doing handstands against the wall. I had been spotting her on several in a row while watching the other girls in the class and giving them pointers as well. A couple of them were excelling so I asked them to go stand on a line on the floor and do their handstands away from the wall. All of the sudden, I looked at new Little Darling and she's crumpled in a ball on the floor, head between her knees, crying.
I gently lifted her head, looked into her tear-filled eyes, and asked "What's wrong, sweetie? Why are you crying?"
To which she replied, "I can't do it by myseeeeeelllllllffff!" and let out a small, teary wail.
"Oh, girl. You don't have to do it by yourself! I'll be here to help you. I don't expect you to get it perfect on your first day! I just want you to keep trying. Besides, you're actually doing an awesome job for your first time, and I'm really proud of the work you're doing."

Her attitude suddenly shifted.
She stood proudly, pulled her arms up tight to her ears, and pointed her little right foot in front to show me she was ready for handstands again.
The rest of the class, she was often uncomfortable and made statements about how hard something was, or that the conditioning hurt, but she kept plugging along. She didn't cry any more, she didn't fall apart when she realized she was the only one in her class that couldn't do a specific skill. She just waited for me to come alongside her and gave it her best effort.

As I left work, listening to Taylor Swift (of course), "Innocent" came on. The words, mingled with the memory of this new Little Darling, suddenly struck me.

"Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything
And everybody believed in you?
It's alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been.
You're still an innocent
Wasn't it easier in your firefly-catchin' days?
When everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep
Before the monsters caught up to you?
Time turns flames to embers
You'll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Minds change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new."

and then it all added up.
How many times have I sat, head between my knees, tears filling my eyes, mourning my inabilities? How many times have I looked up to God and said, "But, God, I can't do it by myself"?
How easy is it for me to forget that people believe in me, that who I am is not where I've been, that I'm still innocent, that it's never too late to be brand new?
How easy is it for me to give up and assume God isn't there waiting for me to just try so He can do his thing and control my movements?
I am guilty of spending almost every minute of every day letting these thoughts and attitudes fill my heart.
It's not even out of purposeful laziness, it's just this awful hopelessness and insecurity and inadequacy that takes me over.

Then tonight He reminded me of His goodness.
His faithfulness to turn beauty to ashes, and make wonderful things out of my tiny human efforts.
His great ability to restore and make new.

Then, He answered my cries. He talked to me about the anger I've held against him these past couple of weeks. He told me he heard my prayers of Psalm 23 just a few nights ago and was answering them as I walked to Aven.
He led me beside quiet waters (quite literally… I laughed out loud as I walked between Ratliff and Provine by that awkward fountain gurgling and realized that He was *literally*, *physically* answering my prayers). Just to prove His goodness.
He is restoring my soul. 

Eventually, I'll tell you what He said to me about the anger I've been holding, and the answers to all my "Why, God?"s I've been asking lately.
Right now, I'm busy storing these things up and pondering them in my heart.

Monday, November 04, 2013

sometimes I like to beccatize things.

This is my very least favorite part of the cycle I go through with God. This part I'm in right now is the pits. Yet I keep coming back to it, slugging back through it, every few months.
The thing is, I'm not even at a "low point" so to speak, I'm just coasting. Not motivated to seek Him. Not really making any effort to become more like Him.
and oddly, uncomfortably, defiantly ok with it.
I hate it.
But I hate that I don't hate it more.
If I hated not being close to Him, I'd actually do something about it. I'm quite aware of our lack of closeness, lack of conversation, and my own distance from Him. and yet… nothing changes. I sit. I stagnate.

Lord, I need a shepherd. I need guidance and prodding, because I'm being a stupid, stubborn, distracted sheep. 
I do not want to be in want of You any more… I want You to pour Yourself out on me. Satisfy me with Your love.
Make me lie down in Your green pastures. Make me to know Your love, Your zeal, Your grace, Your rest.
Lead me beside Your quiet waters and restore my soul (and restore to me the joy of Your salvation!).
Lead me in Your paths of righteousness- not the paths my flesh chooses selfishly. 
Even when I walk through rough times- death, darkness, sadness, loneliness, desperation, drought- help me to live fearlessly. Bind fear and evil away from me, and help me to trust Your presence. Fill me, instead, with Your love and goodness. 
Comfort me with your presence and guidance. Mark me as Your own. Pull me back in with your crook. 
Prepare my future before I walk into it- a future that brings glory to You! Prepare my ways for goodness, grace, and glory. Get me ready for loving my enemies. I'm not there yet, but I know I need to be and will be. 
Anoint me. Pour Your spirit on me. Fill me with Your goodness and love.
May they follow me all the days of my life- even these humdrum plateau kinds of days that will happen along the way. Fill each one with Your goodness and lovingkindness. 

Thanks for using Psalm 23 to teach me to pray.

welcome to midnight.

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