Sit and Stare: A Grace Story

Hi friends! Today, Jamie Sumner from The Mom Gene  has contributed the first guest Grace Story on Grace for the Wasted Space! I’m so excited to have a piece of her story here because she writes about something that we can all relate to: Perspective. She tells of hope found in the middle of a hard season that may not ever change this side of heaven. However, the thing she focuses on is prayer despite the circumstances that she wishes were a little bit different. And that is where the truth is not only found but where it resonates with each of our hearts. The waiting and hoping doesn’t necessarily change things, but the praying, well, it always does. Even if the only thing that it changes is the person praying. Welcome Jamie by leaving her an encouraging comment and then go check her out at her beautiful blog: The Mom Gene.


Sit and Stare


13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob. Paul lists them all and their faithful deeds like an exemplary contact list before he gets to this aside. Whenever I read this passage, I feel it in my chest, that balloon expansion as each one performs the necessary act of faith and then receives the reward. Abel offers the best sacrifice. Noah builds the boat and sees the rainbow. Sarah waits decades and has a baby. But Cain murders Abel and Noah must start from scratch on the new boggy earth and Sarah dies before she sees substantial proof of the patriarchal branch leading to the future Israelite nation. They listen to God and receive a blessing, but it is the smaller blessing. A slice of the pie.

I could read up to verse thirteen and stop there. Put a period to the happy ending. There’s so much good there. But if I’m begrudgingly honest, the rest is the best. It’s the whole pie. It’s the land we were built for where these tiny stories fit together to make a better scene. I prayed over my infertility and was blessed with Charlie and Jonas and Cora, but we also got cerebral palsy and a wheelchair and twins who must push behind rather than run beside their big brother. Big blessings with bigger wishes yet unmet.

The alien heart in me aches for the place where the three will run together. I want to see it with my own eyes. I want to hug them all while they stand on their own, heights not marked by braces or standers or stools. But I will try to be satisfied today knowing we will.

The thing that keeps me praying in this world is that there is another one. If this was all there is I think I might not be able to see my way past all the unfulfilled desires and the unfairness.

I might only see the wheelchair and not the boy. I might only feel the fear for my children’s future in what looks like a scarier and darker world than the fluffy one from which I hatched. But that’s not the full picture. It’s like the impressionists with their dots. You stand with your nose too close and it looks a jumbled mess. You take a few steps back and it’s a lady, a boat, a lake, a masterpiece.

I’m really trying to let these verses elicit hope rather than frustration. It does not always work. But it’s never going to work if I don’t practice. You don’t speed-walk through the museum. You sit and stare and let all that wide thinking and talent settle over you. You read every signpost steering you on to the next. You assess each piece from every angle, because each approach is different. And then you go back and visit again on another day in another mood and see even more and leave hoping that some of it rubbed off on you.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/33859208@N00/2354408182">Snowy Post</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Christmas is a time of joy and hope. It’s an occasion when everyone is willing to go the extra mile to help others. Most of the world is incessantly smiling and overwhelming excitement fills the air.

However, a sense of anxiety and pain comes with this season as well. There’s a knowing that I can’t stop the radio station from playing 24 hours of holiday music. To them, it’s ratings. To me, it’s reminders of good times that are gone forever. I feel like they are just trying to force the Christmas spirit into me!

I’m just trying to find a balance. How can the two worlds coincide with one another? Can joy and hope really be found in the middle of anxiety and pain? Can I remember the old times with fondness while enduring the agony of present hardships yet looking to the future with expectancy?

I don’t know. It’s hard. Does anyone ever really get to a place where they are truly ok with whatever life throws at them? Truly at peace with the forgotten yesterdays, here-then-gone todays, and quickly approaching tomorrows?

I’m not sure I know how to do that. But what I am trying to do is keep an eternal perspective through it all.  If we could really know how long we have on this earth, would we even want to know? Eventually, hopelessness would set in and the sense of urgency that beckons us to live each day like it matters would be gone because of our known expiration date. Knowledge isn’t always power.

Actually, I’m realizing more and more that the less I know, the happier I am. Oh, being aware is vital to living a responsible life, don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to enjoying my life, there’s only so much I really want to know.

Trust is a battle. And I’m in the thick of it at this moment. To really trust in the One who is good despite the whirlwind of despair that surrounds my life right now is difficult. To really trust that He sees it all and hasn’t overlooked me or forgotten about me despite what my eyes are telling me is just plain excruciating.

Yep, I’m in a battle alright. A battle that won’t end this side of heaven. And every single day I have to choose to look up instead of right in front of me at the wreckage. Did you know that none of us make it out alive anyways? The thing is, that doesn’t depress me. It’s the living in this fallen world that is so darn depressing.

So I guess I’m being real and giving you permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel to make it through this Christmas. The truth is still the truth no matter what we feel, isn’t it? God is still on the throne. Jesus is still the Savior of the world. Heaven is still our forever home.

So feel it. Then put on your gloves and fight for your right to live a joyful, hope-filled life. Don’t lay down and take it. You are armed and dangerous through the power of the Holy Spirit. This life is worth living because of the One who lives in you. And it ain’t over ’til He says it’s over.

I think I’m going to put on some Jingle Bell Rock…