Wednesday, May 11, 2011

God's 2 x 4

Sometimes I'm dense. There are times when God really has to work hard to get my attention. Sometimes God has to pull out a 2 x 4 and whack me up side of the head.

This week, the preaching resource I use lists the wrong Scripture passages for this Sunday's lectionary. Instead of sheep and Jesus as shepherd, it talks about Jesus as the vine and talks about God pruning us to make us bear more fruit. Several months ago I decided to preach on this passage and call it "Fearless Pruning." I was thinking of the rich young ruler, who wouldn't let Jesus prune away his possessions, and walked away sad. I was thinking of individuals who remain in abusive relationships. I was thinking of how hard it can be to allow God to prune us. Of course, that's not a problem in my life, or so I thought.

This morning the leader of our retreat challenged us to go deeper. We had an hour to reflect and pray. I was pondering what it is that holds me back. I was writing out my thoughts. I wrote, "What holds," and my phone rang. It was Daughter. She was sobbing hysterically. It took a few minutes to get her to calm down enough to speak. I was on the phone with her for over 5 minutes, reassuring her that she would be fine and I'd see her this afternoon. I finished the call and came back to my papers. "What holds me back?" I finished the question, and wrote Daughter's name next to it.

I picked up a labyrinth with a stylus and began to run the stylus along the path. Every time my thoughts turned to Daughter, the stylus would jump out of the track. Pruning, holding back, jumping track. I began to get the message. I've asked my colleagues (and now I ask my readers) to pray that I would have the courage to follow through on getting Daughter a placement. Pray that Daughter will accept and adjust to the change. Pray that an appropriate placement will become available soon. My colleagues are going to ask me if I'm following through when they see me. Whoever is in town will gather for lunch once a week at a restaurant here in Capital. It was a wonderful retreat. I'm grateful to have been asked to join them. We shared deeply from the challenges of ministry and family life. We are all human, we all have struggles. I a grateful that I will continue this journey with them by my side.

Daughter survived respite. I'm still sorting through her stories, trying to separate fact from fiction. She was dry last night, so that's good. When she went upstairs to get her lunch from Administrative Assistant, she told her she had a great time last night. I had 4 phone calls from her. A teary one last night. A chipper one this morning followed a couple of hours later by the hysterical one, and then the 4th phone call was actually from staff, seeking information on her lunch time insulin, as they'd misplaced the information I sent with her yesterday. I will be attending 5 of these overnight retreats from September to May. Maybe by the next one she'll be in a placement....

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