unreconciled.

i have always been a good multi-tasker.  when i’m on a mission i move a million miles a minute and practically run over people who aren’t moving fast enough for me.  i always have multiple screens open on my computer.  i was so the girl texting during class while simultaneously taking notes and chatting with someone next to me.  i skype people and check my email during meetings.  my brain almost never shuts off.  and it works for me.

but.  i am a terrible multi-emotion-all-at-once-haver.  yes, it’s a real thing.

i cannot for the life of me figure out how to reconcile different emotions together.  which, on a general day to day basis isn’t normally a problem.  until disaster strikes and everything goes haywire and there are so many things happening that i don’t know what to do with myself.

today is one of those days where emotions have been amplified and there are so many things going on that i am totally and completely unreconciled.

i don’t understand how the lord can exist in both life and death. in celebration and in grieving.  in new and old; in pain and in joy.  i don’t understand how justice and redemption and restoration works in the middle of circumstances that seem so unfair.

i feel a little more grown up this week as i’ve watched from a distance a dear friend lose someone she loves.  i’ve coupled that with the news that my sister is in labor, about to bring forth life and give me my first niece.  funny how even in bringing forth life there is still so much struggle.

it’s easy to see the lord in the happy things.  it’s not so easy to see him in chaos and disorder.  its not easy for me to find him in the deaths and tragedies.  the tension of finding a good God in the midst of terrible circumstances isn’t something i’ve figured out.  at all.  i find myself smack dab in the middle of asking a lot of questions.  questions i’ve asked before but seem just a bit more pressing these days.  questions that are, once again, forcing me to wrestle down the things i think i know and fight for the answers i don’t yet have.  i’m okay with the questions and i know that the lord is big enough to handle them.  he isn’t moved by my unknowing and i’ve found comfort in the freedom to ask without hesitation or fear.  but as free as i am to ask them, today that isn’t offering much comfort.  and asking a lot of questions from the comfort and safety of my cozy, peaceful home seems futile.

today, i desperately want my friend to not be hurting.  i want people’s hearts to be full, not broken.  today i would like it if i could understand why some things happen or don’t happen.  i wish i could be okay with the fact that life isn’t fair and believe wholeheartedly that god is still good in the middle of it.  today i want to be able to do more than pray for people and hope it means something.

mostly today i just need the lord to be present.  not even so much with me, i just need to know he’s present with them.  to know he’s present with the hurting and with the rejoicing.  and that he’s at the funerals and in the delivery room.  i need to know that he’s with the mourners and those rejoicing.  i need him to remind me that he’s always with us in the struggle and that somehow, at the end of it all, life will come.

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dear jesus, please don’t come back.

dear jesus,

i am sure that by now you’ve heard the news.  the news about the rapture happening on saturday.  yes, this saturday.  may 21, 2011.  you’re comin’ back to get your people. or something.  they tell me the elect of God will be taken up to heaven and then in five months on october 21, 2011 the earth will be destroyed.  a lot has happened since you were here last time so i bet you’re ready.   you’re probably real excited to have a party, to have all of your favorite people with you, and to rest for a bit.    i get that.

but.  well, here’s the thing, jesus.  i just.  well.  i just don’t want to go.  yet.

it’s not that i’m not ready to have a party with you for all of eternity.  because i am.  really,  i am.  and when i start thinking about all of the stuff going on down here in my life, all of the stuff you are trying to teach me and lessons i’m learning; all of the junk you’re bringing up in me for the greater purpose of wholeness…when i think about that stuff i realllllllllllly want to come to up there.

but then i start to think about all of the orphans that still need to know the love of a father.  and i think about the friends and family who i love dearly who just don’t know you yet.  i think about my friends in africa with aids.  i think about children with cancer who need to be healed.  i think about prostitutes in thailand and adulterers in america.  i think about how they need to be set free.  i think about the hurting and the dying.  i think about widows and single moms.  i think about my friend judy who i met in wal-mart and how she desperately needs to know you.

and i know.  you could make all of that go away without lifting a finger.

but i want to help.

i want to help make dirty water clean. i want to hold orphans and kiss ’em and love ’em and squeeze ’em until they feel loved.  i want to bring food to hungry people.  i want to see aids patients healed and paralytics walk.  i want to see prostitutes freed.  i want to tell my friends and family about you. about how you died for them because you love them.  i want to comfort people who are abused.  i want to share my story.  because it matters.  and because it will bring hope to people who need it.  i want to comfort widows.  i want nations to be transformed by the power of the holy spirit.

i know some of that is happening now.  you’ve sure helped me.  but i’d like to see some more.  i’d like to see more of those “greater things” you talked about.  i’d like to be a part of bringing back some more of your inheritance to you.  i’d like to see restoration and redemption and reconciliation that i just haven’t yet.

so, maybe i’m making a selfish request, it wouldn’t be the first time.  but if you would, just wait a little while longer to come back.  because i think we’ve still got some things to take care of down here.

love, ashley

p.s. if you decide to come back anyway and need to find me  i’ll be at world race training camp getting saved. again. because that happens at training camp, you know.