A Prayer for January in Minnesota
It snowed two days ago here. You know this, but I want to tell you about it anyway. I saw it drift past my front window, landing on the shoulders of high school kids and restaurant-goers as they walked down the sidewalk in the twilight.
My favorite part about a snowstorm is the silence, at least from the indoors and away from the honking and yelling and pushing and falling of the road. Unlike rain with its patter and plop, snow drifts and falls silently, covering over everything in a soft and iridescent blanket.
Lord, we were looking forward to snow this summer - it might cover over our imperfect yard, with patches of brown and dirt and dead plants and animal holes.
For a moment the snow covered everything, and yesterday was a snow day and we were all home together, and me and Jake and Josh walked to the park - and it was really fun and magical for about five minutes, until I learned that the hill that thrilled my 2-year-old was "boring" for my 5-year-old, and my 5-year-old's plan to leap onto the park equipment was treacherous for my 2-year-old but he did it anyway, and then I had to carry him.
And it's super hard to carry a 35-pound 2-year-old through a foot of snow, the first snow like this he'd ever seen, a Southern California baby cruelly uprooted to the frigid air of the North.
Maybe you knew God we needed a snowstorm in Minnesota, needed a blanket to cover our pain as our Vikings broke our hearts again - leaving us to host a Super Bowl without our team in it, a year that could have been theirs, a miracle squandered.
And God I fear about the squandering of my own life. For moments the snow covers it all with its impermanent lightness, but then again the anxiety and imperfection is exposed. We wait - in our careers, in our families, in our bank accounts - for answers that will enthrall us or destroy us - we wait ...
Three years ago I waited for two pink lines to reverberate across my heart and quell the pain of the two pink lines three months before that that weren't meant to be.
I waited two years ago to find my place at church and in my family again, a mom of 2, forever, irreparably changed by the further splitting of my heart, making me indelibly more vulnerable and sensitive and careful, aware of the tiny lives that depended on me, and I wondered if I could carry them.
Last year I waited with a heavy heart, to tell the ones I loved in California that my heart was breaking - that I would sacrifice my church family for my family of four, or perhaps our family of 6 or 8 - to return to the Midwest of our parents and our children's grandparents - to make the trek back to the icy North where I began and my children's story would commence as well - though different.
And this year I wait. Constantly on the precipice of another article, another assignment, a book, a trip - in my Minneapolis home surrounded by boys and toy cars and a blanket of snow all around - enveloping me and turning me back to the place I always must come when I wait. With bowed head and folded hands I pray.
It is this point God where I return again to you in the waiting, knowing that in all these places and all these moments you have been there with me - and it was your voice I heeded in the moments where clarity seemed fleeting and ungraspable - you grasped me instead and held me in the orbit of a God of grace.
I pray to you Lord Jesus today, in January, at the beginning of one moment and the end of another - a moment of little boys and big stories - of great national joys and great national pain - of truth-telling and shame. I pray Lord Jesus that in our age of outrage, our age of distraction and Facebook feeds and the chaos of consumerism - that you might keep my eyes on You. That I might sense your presence and yes your absence in the times when I lose sight of my mission - of your mission. That I might seek only Your Truth, and tell it the best way I can, and leave the rest to You.
Lord Jesus, hear Jacob's prayer each night: a prayer even I pray to you today:
Jesus, tender shepherd hear me. Bless this little child tonight. Through the darkness please be near me. Wake me with the morning's light.