You stare at your baby in your arms, rocking back and forth in the room you’d imagined would be a place of solace. You’d envisioned breastfeeding as beautiful and quiet, gentle and spiritual. But the feeding feels like work, physical work. You’re sore. You made rookie mistakes those first few days and your body has paid the price every three hours since. Then there are the tears. The feelings of dread and joy and fear and magic, all wound up around this little life, this child who knows nothing but how you are the only one, the one with the milk, the one with the arms, the one with the body that held him. And your moments in the rocking chair are so full of that intensity, the power of being one small person’s Only, that every hope you held for your life before this being arrived–the woman you would be, the God you would know–seem to crumble around you. You’ve entered a new world and you don’t know how to pray anymore.
We lose things all the time. The sunglasses we adored, the wedding band that slipped into the ocean, the dream of how we would live our one beautiful life. You lost prayer. Once you realized you lost it, it was already gone: sunglasses dropped from a careless hand in the parking lot.
The reality, though, is that the things we lose never cease to exist. Yes, the sunglasses are crushed by the passing car. But always the materials remain, even as the cleaning truck swipes the pieces into the chaos of the landfill. Even as the wedding band slips to the bottom of a sandy sea, and plankton glide through its wide, golden tunnel. And the dreams we once clung to? They wait, quiet. They wait, like prayer, to be found.
Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God as a something we should seek, run after, pursue with our lives. And what about when it feels too abstract to catch hold of? What if what we thought we were seeking actually turns out to be our own performance and not God at all? What does it mean to find?
It’s such a cliche, isn’t it? Lost to Found. Losing and Finding again. Can we find God or is it possible that only God can find us? Is it all, both, at the same time?
You move across the country with your baby and your husband. You lose the part of you that once had a “career,” the part of you that “ministered” and now you stare at yourself in the mirror in this strange new land where no one knows you or loves you, except for the two people in your home. And you ask the God who feels so distant: “Can you love me, if I’m not even me anymore?” And you’re not sure that God hears you. Maybe God stopped listening all those months ago when you stopped talking.
And you have not been found in this place. This place is unknowable. You have been lost here, in the middle of California, alone on a Wednesday morning. You are lost.
Sometimes the finding happens in the ordinary, everyday places. Grace lives in the ordinary. And there, in our weaknesses, our frailties–our mundane lives of stuffing the laundry into the dryer and searching for a parking space, pushing our kids in the grimy, squeaking swing, and learning how to make sense of every dream given and taken–God is finding us.
Finding us. Finding us. Finding us.
My memoir Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer releases April 1. It’s available for pre-order here. (What?! Can you believe this is actually happening?)
Thank you for walking with me through this year and celebrating with me today. I’m so grateful for this community and this opportunity.