Without effort, my thoughts delve into the deep, searching this ache in me, asking God to awaken something in me that I feel like is dying.
What are you longing for, Danae?
...this question cuts... it both comforts and disturbs me to answer it. So I start slow and simple. NOT allowing my heart to bleed.
Creativity. Just the ability to create.
What do you want to create?
Not a clue.
Ah!! I want to write!!
What do you want to say?
(Crickets chirping) ...Silence.
Hollow ache in my stomach.
Well, if I could just have enough QUIET time to think, to process, I could come up with something! SOME kind of healthy, productive outlet!! Something creative to do, something colorful and outside of the lines of the daily grind for me to do alone, or with my kids...or alone... or anything, I'll take ANYTHING!!!! Because I know this is the root of what I'm feeling... this sad, weird, restlessness is me needing something to latch on to, find identity in, something that expresses ME. That IS what is wrong with me right?? This is what I need to make this ache go away, right...?
The restlessness is churning now, buzzing in my head.
Go CLEAN something, Danae!! Hurry!! Before you snap!! Go play your guitar, play with the kids, e-mail someone, organize something...
Too late. My heart is bleeding now. That unsettling question is beating hard in my chest, I try desperately to keep down the lump rising in my throat...
"What are you longing for, Danae?"
My heart struggles with this longing I can't quite put into words. It nags at me, it really bothers me, because I feel that there isn't much I can do about it. It is a deep restlessness that scares me sometimes because I don't know what to do with it. It makes me miss loved ones I can't see for long months on end, it makes me impatient to grow in the friendships that will grow only from time and sacrifice, it makes me frustrated at my slow growth, leaving me yearning for a glorious day when I will be wiser, mature, full of grace... less ridiculous, melodramatic, and selfish... I dream... (pitiful sigh)
This is not a happy place, to be sure, a place I have been time and time again. I go for days, weeks, denying that I am discontent with the routine of life, because I KNOW I have everything I need and more, and I want to be thankful for every blessed and sacred moment.
I deny that I get mad that I can't seem to be creative, mad that I can't seem to do something/be in control of something more than laundry, 3 meals a day, avoiding summer heat, trying to keep me and the kids from going crazy in the house, to playdate or not to playdate... the circumstances I get claustrophobic in vary with the changing seasons. But this familier place is, well, just that- familier, whatever the season of life.
Yet, in all this mess, these are the Days that remind me of what I am really, truly, always longing for.
I am longing for Home.
I am longing for Jesus.
My bleeding heart is a hardened one, content to lick its wounds, and it rejects this. It says no, no Danae, your problem is that YOU are not fulfilled. What will make you happy now, right now...? Be practical. Think 5 senses, see, touch, hear, taste, smell... Food? Blogging? Being entertained by music, something funny to watch with the kids? What can I do, see, hear, touch, taste, smell...? So many options... think! So many things to do... so many things so limited... so lacking what my shriveled heart desires... so many distractions... so many things to keep me ignoring what's really going on inside of me... My idol of self-fulfillment trembles.
I AM longing for Jesus.
It is here my heart is pricked by the scalpel of the Holy Spirit's conviction, its edge presses in with precision... it is here Truth resonates in the deep parts of me, here that my idol of self-fulfillment crumbles. I know that even if I receive self-fulfillment from all the things I think will fill this aching deep... I will still only have grasped a passing, temporal fulfillment that will soon fade, and I will be left with only the option to consume more, to conquer my soul's unquenched thirst yet again with what does not satisfy... It is NOT merely my own self-fulfillment needing to be satisfied that is my problem here. Self-fulfillment, in whatever form, in its "purest" form, will not satisfy me, and when I ride its short-lived highs, I inevitably experience its intense, brutal lows- I experience something that cannot be put into words... a fathomless grief that I cannot be satisfied with anything in this life, in this world... a raging thirst to be lost in the wonder of something beyond this life, beyond this world... a ravenous hunger for every breath to be saturated in wonder, depth, and beauty...
I am longing for Home.
I am longing for Jesus.
I am longing to be with the One my heart loves... because He first loved me. To be with my Creator, the only One in whom there is no end to Beauty and Life, the One in whose hands all things are made new. I breathe in the truth of His unchanging character and it fills that desperate thirst to be lost in the wonder of something beyond this world.
Only HE fills that void.
THIS is my longing, the deep ache I have... for my corruption to be no more, to be eternally consumed in the presence of my God and my Redeemer. I long for Home.
Do I long for creativity? Yes. Passion? Yes. Inspiration? Sure. Depth? Most definitely. Anything else that is lovely, that breathes fresh wonder into our souls, shows us how beautiful life is, and makes us come ALIVE somewhere deep inside- YES. But I am so good at trying to find fulfillment in these things in themselves, forgetting Who has given them and Who is pointing me to Himself...
He is patient, and He is kind, He allows me those days of coming to the end, the scraping of the bottom of the bowl, a place where the emptiness hurts, and we feel the pangs of starvation... it is here He reveals that I am starving for HIM. I am longing for every moment to be saturated in the wonder, depth, and beauty of Christ.
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
As the deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary,
beholding Your power and glory.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise You.
...My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
And my mouth will praise You will joyful lips...
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in His temple.
... You have said, "Seek My face."
My heart says to You,
"Your face, Lord, do I seek."
Psalm 27:4, 8
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
And my portion
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him" -
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9,10
Gratitude to God:
June 23, 2012
101. The cool of the morning
102. A chorus of birds, greeting a new day
103. Morning mist, dew on the grass
104. A cup of hazelnut coffee
105. Rising early, time to pray, read, and write to my leisure
106. Coming home to my kids, excited to see me
107. The sweetness of my kids when they first wake up
July 4, 2012
108. Pleasantly tired and slightly sunburned from swimming with the kids
109. Brook and Si beside themselves at learning to swim today
110. Witnessing so many tender moments in my kids’ lives, being a part of these moments
111.The kids staying up late, wrapped in blankets outside, marveling and shouting and constantly commenting on the fireworks overhead
112. Celebrating the independence of a nation in which there is religious freedom for Christians
113. Freedom to share the Gospel
114. Freedom in Christ; being a citizen of heaven, storing incorruptible treasures in heaven in Christ. By the mercy and grace of God, not being consumed by temporal and earthly cares that will pass away.
July 9, 2012
115. A basket of fresh fruit piled high
116. The way my kids love apples, their favorite snack
117. Reflecting on time spent with dear friends and loved ones in the past couple of weeks, so thankful for these people placed by God’s loving hand into our lives!
118. Growth, maturing
119. Turning from fear, letting go of fear- embracing love, seeing through God’s love, not my own fear
120. Talking with my dad on the phone for awhile, really catching up, never a dull moment- what a blessing!
121. Relating to my parents as an adult, how it makes me feel closer to them than ever- I feel like I know them better now then I ever did as a child or young adult; and I realize this knowing can and will grow as the years go by- looking forward to that
122. Pacing myself, taking days “off” to make the most of days with nothing planned, just me and the kids at home
123. How blasting music while I clean or cook centers me and the kids, and they enjoy the loud music with me, while they play and draw or make crafts at the table
124. All of us singing loudly with the artist serenading us on cd
125. Cuddling with my kids
126. My daughters’ soft, golden hair, my sons’ dark tanned skin
127. Michaela and Silas’ green eyes that they got from their Daddy; how much they are both like him and each other
128. Brooklynn’s light brown eyes, Solomon’s dark brown eyes and their round cheeks that they got from me; how much they are like me and each other
129. Cooking dinner for my family and everyone eating together- eating well and happy
130. Reading Charlotte’s Web with Michaela
131. Enjoying “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as much as my kids do! Enjoying teaching and reading from this book when I teach the children at church in Sunday school
132. Bonding with my friends’ children- getting to know these cute and hilarious kids my own children know and love as their best of friends
133. Painting my daughters’ nails and toenails with their choice of vibrant fuchsia nail polish
134. Making paper airplanes for my boys
135. My soft, warm bed, welcoming me in to be still and enjoy the quiet of the evening
136. Not knowing how to stop adding to this list whenever I sit down to add more
July 18, 2012
137. Thinking over the last week or two, so thankful to be a part of so many lives
138. Celebrating the birth of a brand new little boy, the son of dear friends; being a part of the excitement of the day he came, the blessing this family is to our lives
139. Going out of town for two days with the women of my church to a women’s conference that blessed our lives; soaking in the Word and teaching and each other’s company
140. The relationships God continues to build and bless at Redeemer Church, the work He is doing among us
141. Absorbing “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Pink and “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer, praising God for how books like this impact me deeply on every level
142. How solid teaching and books stir my hunger and thirst for Christ, for the Word of God! How this strong, deep, passion humbles me before God, knowing it only comes from Him, because I am absolutely aware of all the time that passes when I do not have this strong desire to drink Him in and soak in the Word… and it makes me so thankful, SO THANKFUL that He gives us eyes to see, ears to hear Him… broken and contrite hearts to know Him.