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Over the last few weeks, the Kirby home has been in a paradoxical state of conflict. How do you celebrate with the victorious and support the disappointed simultaneously? Mosie and Chloe, one grade apart, trained hard all cross country season, improved tremendously, and both consistently moved up the ranks each meet. When the announcement was made on who would represent the Greyhounds at the District Meet, Mosie's name was called, Chloe's not.
I happened to capture the very moment when Chloe ran to the arms of her daddy with the crippling news. He held her close. Let her cry. Whispered how proud of her he was for running so well this season. Told her he loved her, and assured her we would get through this. And I believe that's exactly what God does for each of us when we are left disappointed, when someone throws mud in our eye, or we miss the mark.
God is a God of presence.
God is a God of tenderness.
God holds us close, and lets us weep.
Over the past several years, along with becoming more in touch with the suffering side of Christ, I have also found a new depth of the magnificent love and tender heart of God: “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” This is the picture I have of my experience of God through this dark, dark night of the soul.
God held me. Let me scream, blame, cry, throw all manner of temper tantrum until my mascara was streaking down my face, and I was in absolute shambles. You know the place where you slip from merely weeping, to sobbing, and then it happens...that uncontrollable "ugly cry" finally sets in. The type of hysterical carrying on that husbands fear and even a mother can barely bare to behold.
And yet, during my ugliest of ugly cries, even when I would shake my fists at God and scream, "Why, WHy, WHY?!? did THIS happen. WHERE were YOU? WHY did YOU not intervene!" God doesn't turn away. God doesn't recoil. Even in the worst of it--those Scarlet O'Hara like outbursts-- brought on by thinking I was somehow dealt an unfair hand, God didn't move. Instead I found that God is constant. Ever-present in suffering. God is always there, and always fueled by compassionate love and tender mercies.
It amazes me that the magnificent, mysterious, King of Kings and Lord of Lords chooses to hold little ole me as I explode into a million pieces, surely testing the limits of even God's patience. God chooses to know me--all of me. And be known by me. By choice God is a presence in our life so steady, so sure, so insanely loving. Isn't the reality that God chooses to be fully present, especially in our suffering, simply mind blowing?
Along with holding the broken hearted in a close embrace, I believe God celebrates our wins. Our entire family made the early morning journey to Poplarville last Saturday to witness the Middle School Cross Country District Meet. Mosie made the "All District Team," placing 4th. Chloe was there to cheer her brother on. She was there to cheer the seven OSMS girls that were selected to run for the Greyhounds. She was there to support her team. In this way Chloe modeled what it means to be "present" for others. To overlook our own personal disappointments and hurts, and instead focus our energy and attention to being a blessing to someone else. I was one proud mama last Saturday. Proud of Mosie for running the race with perseverance and placing in Districts. And equally proud of Chloe for having the grace and courage to be a Christ-like presence and cheer him and others on!