from where I stand…

Earlier this week it came in a simple inconspicuous  envelope. But inside contained paper work necessary for the teenager next year for high school. Game changer. 

Wasn’t it yesterday he was entering kindergarten? Walking next to me, as his backpack hung low on his little frame. The sunlight glistening through his blonde hair, his puffy little boy hand wrapped tightly around my fingers. 

Back then I wasn’t ready either.

This week when I saw that envelope…I just wasn’t ready. 

It made me think about all the times I’ve been at a restaurant or eating dinner and I’ve left to attend to a child, or use the restroom, and I’ve come back and my dinner plate has been removed. All that’s left is my crumpled napkin, or the ice in my glass. Even if there were only a few bites left, the unfairness of it always caught me off guard. I wasn’t ready. It is such a small thing, but I wanted to be the one to say when I was ready. 

In a nut shell, that is parenting. And marriage. And being a grown up. And Life. No matter how much you’ve prepared, even when you slow down and try to savor every moment, some how suddenly they take your plate before you’re ready, they start to bus the tables and vacuum while you still are in conversation…you’re not ready. For any of it. 

The job didn’t work out…My family won’t talk to me…The pants don’t fit…The house is a mess….We can’t get pregnant…Parents get sick…Marriage gets hard…Sickness comes unannounced….he lost his job…Bills pile up… The Pipes burst…. The baby won’t stop crying. 

There’s a lump. 

He left us. 

I can’t breathe.

 She doesn’t remember who I am anymore. 

My heart feels like it’s beating out of its chest. 

My heart aches, and hurts and I can’t stop crying. 

My heart is breaking. 

There’s no heartbeat. There’s no heartbeat. 

I wasn’t ready. They started clearing the plates before I was ready. Maybe if I’d been more prepared, maybe if I would have been more vigilant. Maybe…

The past week I’ve heard such sad news. Different people from all different aspects of my life have needed prayer for the saddest, heaviest, most heartbreaking matters. None were ready. How can we be? 

I prayed. But I also hurt. I hurt for them, but I felt all of the ways I’m not ready yet for so many things…My kids are growing up. It is beautiful the people they are becoming, but life can be so painful. It is full of dishes piled high, and China so fragile, and sinks full to the brim of soapy water that has grown cold. I try to grasp for more time, but life keeps happening, and my dinner plate lays half eaten…and yet I still wanted to finish it. To remember. The good stuff. The bad stuff. 

I guess I’ll never be ready. 

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” – proverbs 16:9 

True words…

While I’ll never be completely ready to say hello, or to whisper goodbye, the one who has set the table before me…is. He is ready to surround me with grace in the moments where my words are broken and my heart is crushed. He brings promise when every other promise and vow has shattered under my feet. He brings hope when shadows have settled and darkness rests on my shoulders. He is my strength. My everything.

He is ready. 

The gravity of what I’ll never be ready for has been softened by the promise and protection of a God who has always been ready. To bind. To heal. To restore. 

There is a table set for me in paradise. I believe I’ll get there. People I love are there…especially one who has been on my heart a lot this week. A little girl who I was never ready to say goodbye to. She’s waiting, and all the unfairness of this world, pales in comparison to the hope in seeing her again. In holding her again, in the light of His grace. 

So,if my table is cleared here…I’ll be ok, because I know even though I was never ready…the love I’ve seen at this table of life- was so worth it. All of it.