It’s our day to go. To fly to Phoenix for Christmas but it’s also Sunday and my heart longs to worship because it lays heavy. I struggle to understand why.  I anticipate this trip with joy for months but now I hear myself exhaling deep breathes because the air feels thin.

While I push eggs around a hot skillet, pour boiling water over a tea bag, H stands in the kitchen watching me sigh heavy.  Says this isn’t about going to Phoenix and packing a suitcase, its’ about all the other stuff.  The stuff I can’t control. The emotional well-being of my kids, the unjust acts of leaders, a dog that struggles to swallow.  He pulls me into his chest, wraps his arms around me, and assures me it’s all going to be fine.

My trying to bring Jesus into the list I can’t control makes the body tired.

I come from a long line of worriers. We think if we worry about what we can’t control, it will make a difference. That if we let go of it, things will just crumble like an Oreo cookie crushed under foot. Just a pile of crumbs to sweep up; throw away, good for nothing.  We think the worrying somehow magically holds everything together.

This holding tight to what I need to let go, it always screams warning in my lower back. Soreness and pain that forces me to sit, slow down with my thoughts, take them captive, and let them fly away into the hands of Jesus.

This morning I sit with the pain in church, listen to children in red dresses trimmed furry sing these lyrics: 

What will I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.

And as I look at each one singing heartily, I know that two of the children have suffered recent disappointments. They witness their families fall apart, separate in divorce.  Learn to navigate new waters of living in a home without their father and yet they sing with joy because of the revelation.

That Jesus came into the world as a baby just as they did. 

He died for every single person.

So that we would understand, we can’t live this life of brokenness without a Savior. 

And these children believe this, share this good news with those of us watching, listening.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

 and a little child will lead them. ~Isaiah 11:6

So I follow the children. I give Him my burdened, weary heart.

And as I walk out of church, she follows me, stands in the corner to wait for a break in the conversation.  When I turn around to acknowledge her smiling, she utters these words low and I lean in to hear.

“When you turned around and looked at me earlier, I saw Jesus in your eyes. Sometimes I struggle emotionally and God revealed himself to me when you looked at me. I just wanted you to know.”

Sometimes a look, sometimes a song, sometimes a smile, sometimes a touch of the hand, sometimes in words: He speaks, reveals the mystery.

Counting the gifts with Ann and linking with Michelle and Laura too.

  • For safe, uneventful flights to Phoenix.
  • Thirty minutes of free internet above the clouds for a boy to Skype with his friend.
  • Time to sit and listen to Invisible Empires by Sara Groves, because her words always restore hope.
  • For a husband who always takes good care of us, thinks about the details and tells us what restaurant in what concourse to have dinner.
  • The seafood bisque that makes the boy smile at that restaurant.
  • The lady who turns around to say her back is killing her when the one behind her pulls on her seat. Because it gives me perspective about my sore back.
  • For all the kind words in the comments every day and the new friends who subscribe.