So I’m tired now. That Monday tirelessness has given way. I also feel like I’m a little under siege. Yesterday, my father was rushed to the ER because he couldn’t breath. He’s had some significant health issues this year. Yesterday my Aunt Connie died. She was my Mimi’s sister and my Mimi is my favorite person I’ve ever known. And the best. Mimi died 9 years ago. Aunt Connie looked and talked a lot like her. Now she’s gone. This last little thread of her. Then of course all the news – Boston and ricin and West….So I’m actually really sad.
I’m continuing the project but I’m also struggling. Last night I sort of gave myself a pass on the whole “body” part of this seven day challenge and had a glass of wine and a Chessmen cookie (a standby comfort food). The funny thing is, I was so proud of myself because I went to a cocktail party Tuesday night at an energy executive’s home and I drank water all night. I drove away feeling like I passed a test.
Let me tell you about this pause though. This is technically the fourth of the pauses, but the Night Watch I’m now holding just before 11 pm so that I don’t have to go to sleep at 10 and wake up at midnight again. So I stay up til 11 and hold vigil. I feel like I would have been the disciple that got in trouble for falling asleep.
That makes this really the third pause in my day. Jen Hatmaker describes the Hour of Illumination, at the brightest time of day, as the time of day when Jesus embraced the cross, “During the Hour of Illumination, we ask Jesus to send light into our hearts so intensely that they break wide open, so we can make the decisions that lead to peace – from death to life, deception to truth, despair to hope, hate to love…We ask God’s love to illuminate the parts of our souls darkened with bitterness or anger or unforgiveness or apathy…We pray against the darkness that consumes and steals and ruins. We offer our hands and words as agents of change and justice.”
The scripture revealed to me on the second day as I prayed was from Psalm 51. This was written in a season of David’s life after he committed adultery, as he seeks forgiveness and to be used by God:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
But what struck me last night, as I was typing this up, was that this is the hour Jesus surrendered to the cross. Not when he died, but the moment, basically, when he agreed to die. After he had asked for this “cup to pass,” and realized it wouldn’t, and agreed to be the sacrifice. There are times of blessing. My year has been replete with that bounty. But there are also times that are hard. Sometimes we say, “okay, this is hard. I’m going to surrender to it and believe that God’s grace is going to carry me through this. This season of hardship, I surrender to it because in the end it will be used for God’s glory.”
I know this week of posts has been pretty “religious.” I don’t ever do this. Back to back faith stuff with no funny kid stuff or fashion stuff or working women stuff. I know a lot of you don’t believe in God or have the same faith. I’m actually thrilled you come and visit me anyway. I love getting to know you and sharing about triplets and high heels. But my core is faith. And when my week is hard, that’s what comes out. Hopefully. Most of the time. There’s this scripture that says the message of the cross is foolishness for those that don’t believe, “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I feel like I’m being saved from the waves crashing in because of my faith. Going through a hard week and happening to be in the midst of these prayer pauses is a gift. I have friends struggling with broken marriages and depression and loneliness and unemployment and their hard season is even harder than mine. Maybe this Hour of Illumination could be when you embrace your cross and pledge to be a light in the darkness. I wonder if it was the Hour of Illumination when Paul begged, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”” (II Cor. 12) Friends, his grace is sufficient and we’ll see His power perfected in our weakness.
This is the song I hear in my head at this hour – Who Is This King of Glory??? At most of these sacred pauses, I have been given a song. What a gift. For you today: