One sentence, contemplated for weeks and weeks.
Ever Lent I try to prepare a study, read a book, or find something to learn about God, me, my faith, my Church and every Lent God seems to say, "That's nice, but think about this..." and he lays something on my heart.
A few weeks ago in Adoration, I laid prostrate in front of the altar. God placed His hand over my mouth - not like an assailant would who snuck up behind you but rather like a parent kneels down and gently places the tips of their fingers over their child's mouth to indicate this is a quiet place, or a quiet time. Then He said to me, "Be still and know that I am God."
This has been my daily contemplation since.
For someone as mouthy as me, this is big. My mom used to always say, "Robin is perfect little girl, but her mouth gets her in trouble." In school I would write sentences in my spare time because my teachers were always making me write sentences for talking out of turn.
I was known to go head to head with teachers and even the Vice Principal once. I drove my dad to complete distraction in arguments as I performed mental gymnastics around him and argued him into a corner. Literally face to face, toe to toe Battle Royale Cage Match. It never ended well.
I fight. It's what I do or rather what I have always done. For women, for babies, and for children I fight. I fight when I perceive injustice, lies, or stupidity. So consumed with fighting the "good" fight that though many times the fact that I am correct or ultimately my arguments prove right is beside the point. As too often when the battle is over I am left to bruised to care anymore.
As I daily contemplate this leading from the Lord He shows me many things. He showed me Peter in the Garden at Gethsemane drawing his sword to defend Our Lord. Peter. I love Peter. Gruff, intelligent but not educated. Wise in the world, hot headed, unpredictable, and the least likely one of all to be given authority. When soldiers approached Jesus Peter swiftly draws his sword and strikes. He wasn't just ready to fight, he fought. Jesus rebuked him and he instructed him to sheath his sword. Peter's battle was so much bigger than a scuffle in a garden. Peter would soon be fighting for the salvation of the world.
I recalled recently a Twila Paris song I loved in the earliest days of my conversion. "I drop my sword and look up for a smile, 'cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child." Then I remember His words that we should come to him like little children.
For me, the childlike vulnerability of a child is not a place I can go, not yet. Too many times as a child my weakness was violated. Too many times, not be able to fight or battle left me broken and afraid. My father could not defend me. My mother could not defend me. And so now I find myself being called by God to assume the posture of a child and wait. Does He want to show me that He will come to my defense? That my Blessed Mother will protect me? I don't know. Just thinking about it makes me fill ill. Those in power and authority over me have never ever wielded it justly, why would they start now?
I don't know what God is doing. Daily I face the choice of fight or flight. For many months, everyday fight or flight. Daily I fight. But He is revealing another option. It's so much more than simply allowing them to slap my other cheek. It's standing my ground, in defiance of earthly authority but submitting to the abuse without response. Instead offering them another place to strike because I am not moving.
It's so much, too much. If this were about something silly I wouldn't care, wouldn't give it a moments thought. God has placed me here. I wanted to be in Biloxi. I wanted to be with Carol and Phil. I wanted to live in my beautiful beach home with a gate to her back patio and a key to the house. I wanted to ride my bike each morning to the bay and watch the pelicans fish. I wanted to be nurtured and uplifted and cared for by people who love me there. I wanted to work alongside Father George. I wanted to care for and support him in his ministry. I had a notebook filled with dreams there. But a hurricane came and washed all those hopes and dreams out to sea. I landed here in the middle. In the middle of the country, in the middle of a mess, in a place I never, ever wanted to be. In my first act of submission, really, to the authority of my husband.
So God is working and He needs me to stop mucking it up. He says to sheath my sword (in this case, my tongue) and be still. He calls me to watch and learn because I am about to KNOW He is God. That revelation in morning contemplation this week sent shivers down my spine. The Word came alive to me in a completely different way. I will not just know in my heart, but He is about to work in such a way that I will KNOW He is GOD. I'm a little afraid, I'm not going to lie.
He is asked me to get out of the way so there will be no mistaking that He is God and the work is for His glory.
I count on my husband more now than I ever have before. He is Christ to me in our domestic church, he shelters me, his counsel directs me, his love and his embrace comfort me. And so in my stillness I am becoming more of who He is calling me to be.
This probably sounds like garbledy gook but it's true. Yes, I hear God talking to me. Yes, I actually lay on my face flat on the floor in an empty church and talk to God. I can't help but chuckle because in this world that is so weird. But in the kingdom of Heaven, in His presence, we call that normal. I like normal.