Jesus shows up in unexpected places, like in Story's room in the middle of the night. She was sick, so I tended to Jesus in the early hours of this morning over a trashcan in the dark. I was so tired when I finally got in bed and turned off my light close to midnight last night, and I had expected to sleep soundly for seven hours.
But instead I got up at 4 a.m. and spent a few hours being with so as not to let Story be without.
I've figured out over the years that underneath my control issues is a voice that tells me that at the end of the day, what it all boils down to, is that I'm alone. You're on your own, it says, and no one can truly enter your loneliest, saddest place. I don't want to believe a lie like this because I know I have TJ and my sister forever, not to mention my parents, my in-laws, my kids, and my friends.
But to hear that voice sometimes, at moments when it matters very much to not be alone, is painful and disturbing. My memory of being a child was that my mom took very good care of me when I was sick. So I don't believe I was neglected, or left alone.
Somewhere along the way, though, it became very important for me to be there for me, for me to be my own voice of okayness and togetherness. Thank God that our pain can speak up as a voice of reason (though I think it can take a long time for the true voice to be heard above or below the other voices). At least now I can start to see the charade for what it is, even though I have kept playing the game for longer than I'd like. We were not created to be on our own any more than you'd expect a little child to be alone in their sickness.
How grateful I am to have experienced being there for and with Story, and to help her not feel alone. I am not always so good at it, and sometimes I just leave my kids to deal with their scrapes and confusions and longings. But I'm trying to be less alone inside myself so I can be a better helper, teacher, encourager, guide, and constant source of warmth and strength for my family.
This Advent season, how is it that I finally feel something? In seasons past, it's as if my soul slumbered through the dark days of waiting for change and light in my life. But I feel a little less alone this time around and I am trying to listen for the true voice among the other voices. It helps to have spent time with Jesus early this morning, just doing the small part of being there with Story.
It feels bright in my heart, even on this cloudy day of not being able to be at church with my friends and family, because I have tasted a little more of the Light of the God-With-Us baby Jesus. This Light given to the whole world, He is the One who will penetrate the darkness and the aloneness inherent in me. And He is putting people near to walk with me and help me.
Even my own little child, beautiful sweet Story, sick as she was, was there to give me Jesus in an unexpected place today.
God, thank you for quiet moments to reflect. Thank you that the sun doesn't always shine, either in the sky or in our hearts. You know I love the sun, but it is in darkness that your warm and strong and loving light draws me most deeply to You. You are more radiant than the sun. May we bring Your light with us everywhere we go this Christmas season. May we make others less alone. May we find You in unexpected places and always be available to be with others in their unexpected places.