Short Sermons

I’m feeling profoundly grateful tonight for the space to breathe and be…

I’m rediscovering parts of who I am, and even better–why I like them the way they are.

And I’m thinking that two of the best sermons that my heart has ever soaked in weren’t sermons (though they were both delivered by pastors), and didn’t sound terribly uplifting at first blush.

The first set of words were spoken right after my Mom died, when my husband was deployed, and I was soaking my pillow each night with grief and lonesomeness, and emotional exhaustion.   I would walk up to my mother’s grave (I was staying at my Dad’s at the time) and look at it and stare and not recognize my life.

And not want my life.

And hate my life.

And hate myself because I hated my life and life was a gift and how dare I?

This pastor that I went and spoke with only once looked me straight in the eye and said, “It’s ok if you hate your life right now.”

Something in me shook loose at those strange, almost  blasphemous words.  But upside down though they were, somehow they gave me the faith I needed to take a halting step back towards God.  Because he still wanted me even in the rawest, messiest truth of my emotions.

He was still in that.  Profoundly wrapped in it.  Not wasting a single shred of the pain, but allowing me to be in it, unabashedly.

A similar sermon, again one line was delivered to me this week by another pastor hearing a spill of my heart and my journey.  I was reflecting on my thoughts about feeling the sting of death.  I mentioned that it troubled me that as a Christian, I was having a hard time getting my heart on board with the feeling of victory over death when I have felt the sting and the fear of it deeply.  And this pastor told me that it was ok to be there.  To not be on board.  To tell God that and then to tell God, but that’s ok.  I love you.  I trust you.  I’m WITH you.  I’m just not there yet on this.

I’m a girl who needs space to own her feelings.

I’m a girl who feels deeply, thinks deeply…  and more than I think I let myself realize most of the time, does life deeply.

I need space to BE where I AM.  To not be shoulded into the easy answers or the theological imperatives.  I need space to acknowledge the reality of heaven, and glory and in the same breath and space to acknowledge the hurt and pain of death and decay in this world.

When the hard, rough, messy parts are embraced, I find that somehow a little piece of my heart goes free.

And I step forward, and lean into the God who sees and knows it all.  I rest into the God who created me and trust the knit-purl pattern of my life.

I breathe with permission for the hurt and the healing begins to trickle and sometimes flood in.

It’s funny how sermons can be so short and sound so upside down and yet set you free.

But it’s those short, raw sermons for which I am grateful tonight.

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2 thoughts on “Short Sermons

  1. Yes, to short sermons that speak God’s truth into one’s hurting heart…Yes, to the reality of our humanity and our feelings – all of them – the messy ones that don’t come with a neat theological bow at times…so glad that you could feel the freedom to be where you are in your process…God is okay with it…sometimes it is other people who seem to have a harder time of accepting where another is… {{{Hugs to you, Val}}}

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