A life-giving dark.

Iris unfurling in my garden, March 2012

Around Easter every year, I love to pull out one of my old faithful book friends - When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.  Because, you see...

Waiting does not come easily for me.

Especially now.  In the daily trenches of motherhood, it amazes me how many times in a single day I can oscillate back and forth between fully embracing my current stage in life, and wishing for what was, or what will be. 

In the midst of broken relationships and other struggles, it seems so lonely sometimes.

But, the waiting is necessary.

This book taught me...

  • It's okay to have questions; God is not afraid of them.
  • Waiting can be a "life-giving dark" if we will only accept it as a womb instead of a tomb.  In a womb, there is life.  In a womb, we are incubating.  A life-giving dark is where something is happening, something beautiful.  It is not dead or stagnant.
  • This process is key - it strips us of our false selves, humbles us, draws us closer to the heart of Christ.
  • Christ longs to draw us close to His heart, even more than a nursing mother.  Let Him.

Will I choose life today?  Or will I allow the dark, the waiting, to engulf me?

I love the words that Sue Monk Kidd writes in her journal on her birthday, as she continues to wrestle through the tension of life...

"Sometimes it seems that life is a grace too severe, too vast, and too beautiful to receive.  But I open my hands anyway.  Today I'll talk to myself.  I'll say, Accept life - the places it bleeds and the places it smiles.  That's your most holy and human task.  Gather up the pain and the questions and hold them like a child upon your lap. Have faith in God, in the movement of your soul.  Accept what is.  Accept the dark.  It's okay.  Just be true.

I'll say to myself, You're loved.  Your pain is God's pain. Go ahead and embrace the struggle and chaos of it all, the splendor, the messiness, the wonder, the agony, the joy, the conflict.  Love all of it.

I'll say to myself, Remember that little flame on the Easter candle.  Cup your heart around it.  Your darkness will become the light."

I absolutely have to believe that's true.  Otherwise, what's the point?

Tomorrow, we celebrate Easter.  Easter is about the promise that God can and will redeem all things. Out of the darkness came life.  Jesus is alive!   What does that mean for us, little us, still here on earth? 

Wherever you are in the dark, wherever you are in waiting, know...

You are not alone.

I've been there, I understand, you are understood.  I hope that you can grasp "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  (Ephesians 3:17-19; NIV) 

That's something I'm clinging to.

May the joy of Easter morning - the promise that the light does come to rescue and to save - give you peace.

Read more of my thoughts on When the Heart Waits and "eastering" here.