I’m sitting in an upper room waiting for God!
I converted an unused guest room in our old Cape Cod into space I call My Womb. I’ve decorated it in a style my friend calls organic but which I would call serene. The room is anchored in warm gray, light-hued and subtle; white trim and furniture occupy it. On one wall stands a tall, engorged bookcase which is flanked by a writing desk. Opposite this is a daybed covered in deeper warm grays and accented in cream and coral textiles. An inviting collection of down pillows is symmetrically arranged across the back and at each end. Three vintage suitcases form a side table on one side of the daybed; an old black trunk likewise serves the other side. Beachy white lamps provide parenthesis to the seating anchored below the window. In front rests an oval coffee table topped by a large white tray the mimics the table’s shape. It displays a neat collection of books, a scented candle and a rustic pencil holder my son made from oak pallet wood. An overstuffed chair and a 1940s side table are placed against the wall with the long window. A white linen curtain is draped on one side and cascades onto the oak planked floor in a snowy pile. A wool rug in cream and gray anchor’s the room.
On the east wall hangs a barn wood sign painted in black and white that reads:
I had visions of My Womb accommodating intimate times with God where I could pour over scriptures and pray undaunted on bended knees, out loud and without restraint. I imagined it a space to write—a place where I could plunge the depths of the deeper me whereby spools of literary artistry would be woven into publication. I pictured reading the considerable collection of books which my overly-ambitious and impulsive hunger for knowledge had driven me to procure. I also envisioned My Womb to be a place where I could ride out my fears and insecurities—a hunker-down space when emotional storms beat against my confidence and my sense of purpose and calling.
The latter is what draws me now to this peacefully ordered room that envelopes me and is starkly juxtaposed with what fills me.
The dormer window is open an inch and I welcome the crisp autumn air that enters like a shy guest. Occasionally the companionable voices of two people walking down the street drift to where I wait, still clothed in pajamas. I unleash an internal scold: You should be out there walking too!
Today I come to meet with God, to ask Him—just one more time—to remind me of who I am so that when I later venture out of these four walls and into the larger frame of my blessed life I won’t feel so undefined or lost.
I am here this morning weakened by overstimulation and the voice of self-critique. I came to extricate myself from the disagreeable thoughts that, for a week now, have been clinging to my legs like a swarm of unhappy toddlers. I have come here to reorient myself; to get grounded.
My mind darts about like a dying moth around the bright light of mania. It’s hard to concentrate. The voices of imperfection taunt from one corner of my mind, the slideshow of disappointment and hurt flash in another. Recent conversations are rewound and I think I hear innuendo and nuance I am tempted to scrutinize but in the end feeds my insecurity. I am too easily pulled to the corner that taunts me to ignore my desires and abandon my dreams.
I hear the sand accumulate in the bottom of the hourglass that is my life. Driving urgency makes me anxious. The balance of my complex mind is filled with a sense of un-wantedness and the sense of relational disconnection. I wonder if I’ll ever dance the dance of vulnerable intimacy whereby I follow as easily as I lead. And I ponder too; do the claws of my relational work ethic inadvertently bloody the objects of my loyalty?
I am an internalizer who has arrived late to the meeting. I am a fixer who is reminded that it is not my job to fix, nor can others fix me. It will not benefit me to have a more static diagnosis. Reading another book delineating the effects of trauma on a child’s brain will not arm me with the tools I need today. I will not be helped by a more detailed description of the water in which I am drowning. I need Truth with a capital T more than I need another conversation with a friend about how messed up I feel and how much it hurts.
What I absolutely need is the Name that is above all names or anything that can be named. Everything listed in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders notwithstanding.
So I clothe myself in surrender and pray: God, give [me] grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.1 I ponder the familiar and oft-prayed prayer. I let it sweep over the floor of my try-harding heart. The lines of it loop in an umbilical feed that begins to revive me. I linger here in the undoing.
And then I see it! The firm foundation upon which my salvation is built, the immovable, unchangeable truths and provisions made by the One who flung galaxies onto an infinite canvas whereby Grace, in all it’s forms and functions, is splayed out in brilliant light. This Light dispels all darkness and the sound of the Omniscient One silences the discordant voices of doubt, fear, and deception.
As the umbilical of truth pulses, I hear His voice, It is I, dear one. Tears well and wash over the strains on my face–my vision clears as Philippians 1:6 is projected boldly onto my mind’s eye.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Be confident, faint soul!
He is the One who fashioned me from the depths of His heart, in the sacred place of His intention. He began the work, He initiated the person of me. He has written my name in the scars of His hands and fixed me as the apple of His eye.
Be confident, tired heart!
He has never abandoned His purpose nor the will of His Father. He knit me together in my mother’s womb—He will not relegate my completion to chance or fate or human hands. The faithful One who said yes to the cross will not change His mind and say no about me.
Be confident, weary mind!
There is One voice that stills the storms. Once voice that is heard over the cacophony of Hell’s deception. There is one voice that creates everything from nothing.
What He has begun in us, my friend, He will complete. As new galaxies are, at this very moment, being formed in the infiniteness of space, He too is at work in the finiteness of our lives. The all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing One who counts stars and hair and sand is engaged in the completion of our lives and purpose.
Beloved, let us welcome and believe Him to create new realities within us and among us.
“Then Jesus said…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”²
1 The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
² John 20:29b