Friday, August 26, 2011

Bigger Still



I've thought about lots of things today. I've thought about little boys who grow up brave and taller and one day decide that they would like to pull their own teeth from now on, so they do. My fears regarding the little bodies in my care sometimes teeter on the irrational and I tell God my ideas so he'll know what to do. I remind him of important things, because I'm the mom and I know. I know what they need. And then He reminds me that His love stretches wider and if I sit still enough, I could swear I hear him laughing a little. He understands why I do these things I do. He's been down this road with me before and it's got to be exasperating, but his sense of humor and his limitless patience cover and all the while, he's telling me again-again-again about his biggerness. It's thicker and stronger and tougher, his love. It's gentler. His heart breaks harder and his cheers scream louder. For a while, I remember. So I find something else to talk to him about.

I've thought about how easy it is to just make an appointment and go to the doctor when I'm not even sick. I sign my name, scan over a list of possibilities like "muscle weakness", "sinus trouble", "chronic stomach pain". No, no, no. I sit in the room with the paper blanket across my lap and it's cold, but it's easy. The doctor, she gabs the whole way through and it helps. She says, "You'll be forty soon" and I pause for a moment because she's thinking of the wrong girl. I'm still mostly sixteen, twenty-two on a bad day. But I do the math and it hits me for the first time ever in my life - I'll be forty soon(ish). It's jarring, but it's okay, because where I live, women usually live past 40.

I've thought about the architecture in a small city that I like to call The Big City, because it's much bigger than a cornfield. I've thought about the people here, and the things that keep them busy. They may pay closer attention to crosswalks and parking guidelines than I'm apt to do, but other than that, we're pretty much twins.

My mind wanders back to one of those muggy nights under the timbered bubble of the church camp tabernacle. "If you believe that you're called into full-time ministry, I want you to come forward." I squirmed in my seat, not because of what he said, but because of what he forgot to say: Of course you're called. Of course you are. I understood this churchy-talk. I've heard it a million times before. "I'm called." "I was called." "Full-time ministry." blah blah blah. But doesn't it leave a pretty wide escape hatch? How many times have I exhaled, thankful once again that I was safe from the troubled, boring life of "full-time ministry"? Those words were never for me, they were for the four unlucky people trudging up to the front. Stinks to be them.

If it had been me, I might have said it something like this, "If you love and trust Jesus, then you're a part of his legendary, exciting plan. He wants you to work full-time, every single day for the rest of your life, to show those around you His great, big love. If you don't know Jesus but you want to, then come on up. Otherwise, Go. Get on with it. Get busy. Go find people and love them. Find the person you're most intimidated by or the one you're a little scared of. You're not going alone. He'll tell you how to love them."

So there's good news and bad news today.

The bad news is, everything we need is just a phone call or a mouse-click away, so we don't really understand what it means to trust. We have doubts that don't make sense and worries that flow from our own self-righteousness. We have home-body tendencies and inborn desires to run scared from the world around us.

But the good news is, the world is large enough to highlight our weaknesses. And God is bigger still, big enough to cover all of them with his loud, wild grace.

38 comments:

  1. God is bigger still.
    So thankful for this truth.
    You look like you are 19 still.
    40? Whatever.
    I don't believe that for one moment.

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  2. a hearty, impassioned, from-my-deepest-innards amen.

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  3. How did you know that my hubby and I needed this today with regard to what we are dealing with today? Love it when God speaks through you to us!
    -heather

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  4. Wow Shannon! You stated this SO well! Thanks for sharing and challenging.
    Jennie

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  5. Oh you grown up girl,

    I feel you stretching from here.

    God is bigger, and all the while we scramble for some resemblence of control, that we will never have.

    If we'd keep ourselves busy working for Him, we wouldn't have so much time on our hands to search for what we think is missing. Because then, quite frankly, it wouldn't be missing after all.

    You make my heart twist up tight with your thoughts.

    xxoo

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  6. He is SO much bigger. Those things do come easy and that does make us not trust...so true. Thanks.

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  7. amen amen a thousand times amen. i can feel God picking apart my fears.. sorting them one by one like laundry day. this one's selfishness.. this one's pride.. this one's laziness.. it's taking him awhile to get through them all. ;)love these words.. like honey to the soul. oh and arianna's wiggling her first tooth too. :)

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  8. Sometimes you leave me breathless with the moment of truth I need to face... today if one of those days. As I fight to keep control of my fear and worry, instead of handing it over to God once, and for all, I come here this morning for another lesson to just give it up.

    The minute my daughter felt a tooth was loose, she would rip them out of her mouth. It totally freaked me out! :)

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  9. i like the thought that God always meets you where you are.

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  10. I have been really focusing on how big God is in the recent weeks. We have a house that needs to sell and it will require a miracle. And I know He is big enough and yet I find myself saying things that would indicate that I believe the opposite. Why do we do that? Thanks for yet another reminder.

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  11. Beautiful, and thank you.

    Love paragraph two. I'm with you---39 this December. I'm reminded of what my great-grandmother once told my mother: "I walked past the mirror and saw this really old lady. And I wondered who she was. Because she couldn't be me. I still feel 18."

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  12. My FAVORITE ever still!!!
    ALL who believe are called to minister in one way or another!
    Going back to digest it one more time! If the phone allows!

    I LOVE you...my BRAVE beautiful farm girl!

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  13. AMEN! The GREAT Commission ~ go ye' into all the world & preach the gospel...

    Oops! It's almost noon & I about forgot why I was here...PAYROLL!!! Bye!

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  14. Every day is a good day to remember how faithful God is, how big God is and how much God wants us and calls us to share Him!! Thanks for your encouraging words!

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  15. Thank you for this...I am moving into a season of care giving for that person "you're most intimidated by or the one you're a little scared of". Although I'm well passed 40, I've been feeling like I'm 12 and can't do it. But God is leading. Thanks for the reminder :)

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  16. You are so right Shannan. We are all called, aren't we!

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  17. This...THIS...is so well put!! I don't even know what to say except that it spoke straight to my heart. God is so SO much bigger than my feeble mind can comprehend and yet, while I'm trying to grasp it, He understands that too!! Just fyi, your blog is my very favoritest :)

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  18. "If it had been me, I might have said it something like this, "If you love and trust Jesus, then you're a part of his legendary, exciting plan. He wants you to work full-time, every single day for the rest of your life, to show those around you His great, big love. If you don't know Jesus but you want to, then come on up. Otherwise, Go. Get on with it. Get busy. Go find people and love them. Find the person you're most intimidated by or the one you're a little scared of. You're not going alone. He'll tell you how to love them."

    Do you see me? Do you see me walking up the aisle to the altar at your call? Kneeling down. Laying it all down. Remembering again to trust. To chase away the worries that I don't have enough...I can't be enough...I'm not good enough...I can't do enough...and just let Him be enough through me, if I'll just step aside and let Him. His grace is enough for me.

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  19. "he's telling me again-again-again about his biggerness. It's thicker and stronger and tougher, his love. It's gentler. His heart breaks harder and his cheers scream louder. For a while, I remember. So I find something else to talk to him about."

    Shannan I loved this, loved it! It was beautifully written and so nice to peek into your heart and see what God is teaching you and in turn be taught by Him. Oh if I could only truly know how BIG his love is, I would spend so much more time with something else to talk to Him about.

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  20. Oh my gosh! I can totally relate to this post! We are the same age and that is me with a frequent flyer ticket to the doctor. I have two little ones (3 and 2) who try my patience on a minute by minute basis. And I am answering God's call. After being a stay at home mom for two years, I am returning to my ministry~teaching in a Catholic School. I am nervous as I await the start of the school year, but I am thankful that God is with me every step of the way. In fact, the second day of school is an all day retreat for the teachers.

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  21. I know those prayers for my children. He's such a better parent than me. ;)

    Your calling is to write the words you write to show others how you love, how He loves. That was beautiful.

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  22. Shannon,
    I've come to the decsion that it is more of how old we feel on the inside. I am 52 and still feel very young and girlish. Still in pretty good shape physically. I won bootcamp last year and I remember those younger being amazed. I wanted to say "yeah...and I didn't even use my cane!" :-)
    where would we be without our faith and the comfort of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
    xo, Cheryl

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  23. i wrote a very similar post a couple of nights ago but I haven't posted it yet because of the new baby. Yours is better but that doesn't surprise me! hehe

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  24. Thank you for your transparency and for your encouragement through that transparency. I love your last paragraph about the world being large enough to highlight our weaknesses, but that God is bigger and able to cover them with his loud, wild grace.

    I only recently discovered your blog and it is a wonderful encouragement on those bleary days to hear another woman echo so many of the things that course through the veins of this journey as mothers, wives, friends, and those who feel their callings very deeply.

    Blessings and Much Peace!

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  25. I just love "His heart breaks harder and his cheers scream louder." Great post!

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  26. I think it's my most favorite ever post. Thank you.

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  27. I feel the same today at 40 as I did yesterday at 39, so I guess it's going to be okay. :)

    This I love: "Of course you're called."

    A to the MEN, sister!!!

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  28. Your words continue to be inspirational and a reminder in the most pleasant of ways. Thanks for truth, thanks for the love, and thanks for the push to move forward in our what it actually means to be a christian. Hope you're enjoying a fabulous weekend!

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  29. and to that good news i cling.
    praying for you, darling girl and praising jesus for your witness.

    XoXo

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  30. "of course you're called. Of course you are."

    we all are. every single one of us.

    love it when you think and then write it all down for us.

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  31. Loved this post. So very glad He is bigger.

    Forty, schmorty!

    XOXO,
    Angie

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  32. You challenge me and I like it. I like comfort. Argh - so many things aren't comfortable. And you look every bit of 40 - not. I'm freaking fifty in a few months. I was thinking of you and I saw in my mind's eye the scene in The Help where Aibie is running at night, and she runs into Minnie's kitchen all a fluster, and Minnie ministers to her knee. I don't know why I thought of us when I saw that. Are you the minister or the ministeree? Law. I don't know.

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  33. I'm officially smitten with your beautiful blog! Girl, you know how to Get. It. Said. So...thanks! Thanks for being real.

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  34. This is why you are one of my very favorite authors! Not only do you know how to write (and, Girl, you can write!!), you seem to look into my heart and voice what I am feeling! LOVE!

    p.s. I am still mostly 17.

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