• Natalie Maxwell

Even Now

Firstly, I think I need to point out that I haven’t been on my blog in... while since before 2020 really hit us, so basically a lifetime ago

Some of you may know all that has been happening in our family, but those of you who just follow this blog (if any of you are still out there haha) hang tight and I promise to fill you here, in the weeks to come.

It’s Christmas Eve and I woke early so it was off to the coffee shop for me.

We have no assignments due this week, but I still have one and a half chapters to write for my book proposal so I try to take advantage of every morning Ryan’s home and I can get out, let JJ Heller flow through my earbuds, and wait for my fingers to find the inspiration to dance on these keys.

As we reflect on the miracle and absurdity of “God with us”, this year we’ve had, and set our hopes on the year to come, I wanted to share some words that I hope give voice to your heart as well.

Each of us are living unique stories and react to our experiences in distinctive ways. We cannot compare our pain to another’s or judge their reactions against our own. If you walked through 2020 you witnessed various responses and reactions to loss and change. In a way, we are all trying to pick up the pieces, aren’t we? We’re trying to make sense of our new normal while grieving and longing for what used to be. The array of sudden changes has left many of us feeling disoriented, confused, and insecure. How do we live in a world that can change in an instant? How do we keep expecting and hoping when nothing is certain? Where do we go from here? Can life be good even if it’s never the same? Can God still be good and unchanging when everything around us feels terrible and shifting?

I‘m all about sharing how we can have an eternal perspective in this world that can offer us no guarantees. I love sharing the hope in the midst of uncertainty and how we can find peace in our most chaotic times. But I think there’s something to be said about learning to just sit in the uncertainty, chaos, and pain first. Just as a mother in labor must learn to breathe through the excruciating contractions to allow for the stretching that will give way to new life, we must learn to breathe here. Unfortunately, there is no epidural for the hardships of this life, although we search for it, don’t we? We work more than we need to, but it never feels like enough. We fill our carts and for a moment it seems to fill our hearts, but the feeling doesn’t last long after we remove our treasures from their fragile plastic bags. We exercise until the sweat falling disguises the tears. We get lost in addictions that give us a sense of control, before they rob us of every shred of the little control we did have. We set our hopes on escaping our lives at the end of the day in the turning of a page or the pushing of a button. We build an idol out of our own image, determined to look stable, accomplished and put together when inside we feel like a puzzle that has just been dumped out of its box.

Some people may argue that God is our epidural, He is our peace and joy after all. Yes, but I have come to believe He is less the epidural and more the constant presence by our side. Holding us, being our strength so we don’t crumble to the floor. Turning our gaze to his and modeling for us how to inhale and exhale. Yahweh. When Moses asked God what he should say when the Israelites asked him who sent him, God replied with a name that Biblical scholars have noted to represent the sound of breathing, YHWH. We’ve added vowels through the years, but the truth behind it remains as true to you as it was to Moses. Whatever you are facing, God is your breath. He will not numb you to the pain, but He will meet you in it. You are still breathing for a reason, my friend. So bring him your pain, and bring him your questions, and breathe.

He is here... yes, even here... yes, even now.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Emmanuel, God is with us. Yes, even now!!

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