Thank you all so much for the kind words you gift me with. You bless and encourage. This time of year sometimes makes me lonely for things that will never be and I can get a little down. As I pondered my conversation with my dad yesterday, I remembered something I had written a few years ago. I’ve posted it before, but it helps me to revisit this truth once in a while. So here is another part of this journey I continue to be on.
He walks it with me.
The other night, as I tucked my littlest in, I couldn’t help noticing how completely he filled up my arms. I felt a stabbing awareness of the dwindling nature of time. I held him tighter. He nestled in close, and I felt his contentment in the evenness of his breath. My arms to him are a sanctuary, an ever-present shelter of love. As I cradled him to me in the dark, I tried desperately to remember how it felt to be held in such a manner. Try as I might, I could not muster a single memory. Too many years have gone by since I have sought such a sanctuary. Nevertheless, I found myself longing for my mother. I felt an ache inside of me for tender arms to hold me tight.
Does it seem odd for a grown woman to yearn to be held like a child? The holiday season always awakens in me a need to be nurtured. During this time that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, my heart is a door wide open, waiting to usher in the love He gave for me. But as I stand at the door, beckoning others to come in and feast on the joy of the season, the ones I love the most just walk on by.
Our expectant hearts feel the resonation of loss all the more during this time of waiting. The fullness of the days can make the quiet of stillness ring in our ears. The season is bittersweet for some. Hearts are cognizant of empty places: loved ones departed, emotional estrangement, abandoned dreams, disappointments and fears. Absence creates a presence that we carry with us as we rush to and fro during Advent. And we ask ourselves, how can a season of such joy also spark this kindred sorrow? Is it because, in His coming, we know that all of our losses will be redeemed? Our hope is in this: this waiting.
We are told that out of loss comes growth, that suffering builds strength. I know this is true, for I have experienced it myself. But sometimes, I just want to be held.
For some rifts, there are no easy answers. As I pondered this truth, the Lord directed me to 2 Corinthians 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”
I felt like He had reached down from heaven and wrapped his long arms around me in the biggest bear hug ever. I climbed up into His lap and let His love fill the empty places. My strength was renewed. And I was ready to extend my hand anew.
The door of my heart is open once again. Wide. He gives me the strength to hold it aloft. The one who washed the feet of his followers has taught me to keep trying. Forever if I must. And I will wait. After all, that’s what Advent means, isn’t it? When I grow weary of waiting, the God of all comfort will wrap me in his arms and pour His love over me. His arms are a sanctuary, an ever-present shelter of love.