longing and begging

It’s December 17th, we are right in the season of Advent, and I can’t recall a time I have longed for Jesus so badly.
This week has been nothing short of longing.
Longing for hope, peace, and anything that remotely resembles joy.

And this is just my little life.

One of my friends had her heart ripped out of her chest on Tuesday morning, discovering that the little boy she thought was going to be hers was in fact not anymore. They call it adoption reversal, which sounds like a cold way of saying, “You can’t have your baby anymore.” Her and her husband are now grieving parents, with nothing to show for it except empty hearts, pockets, and bedrooms.

That same morning, my other dear friend told me she and her husband went into hear the heartbeat for the first time of her precious 12-week-old, and the nurses “found nothing.” And used the cold, non-empathetic words, “this is not a viable pregnancy.” I don’t know who invented that phrase, but they should probably redo that year of their life. I can’t imagine a more lifeless phrase when telling a woman who dreams of being a mother that she is, in fact, not.

On Tuesday afternoon, one of my family members suffered from a mild stroke, which leads to lots of challenging conversations and rearrangements as they navigate what to do in this next very unknown phase of life.

Again, this is my little life.
I know suffering is everywhere.
I’m not blind to it.

I read the prayer requests every Tuesday afternoon in our staff meeting . . . heartbreak after heartbreak, loss after loss, and sometimes my heart gets so swollen I cry right there, in a conference room with gray walls and business suits.

And again, this is only my little corner, with the faces I know and love.
I know it’s everywhere.

On Friday afternoon, I got a text from my husband that said, “Try not to saturate yourself with the media coverage of this.” Of what!? I immediately turned on the news, ignoring his caring request, to find the horror that the rest of you saw and for a minute I said right out loud, in the stillness of my living room, “What in the world is going on?”

All of this coupled with joy–visiting with friends late Sunday evening, eating cinnamon popcorn, laughing about nothing and then eating some more. Listening to my sweet baby’s heartbeat today at the doctor’s office, and hearing, “You and the baby are getting along perfectly,” as I breathe relief because let’s face it, this seems like the week people are supposed to get bad news.

I’ve read Brene Brown‘s wise words about not selectively numbing emotion, about how you can’t numb pain without also getting rid of joy . . . and so I have fully embraced the pain that surrounds me, knowing that without it I cannot receive full joy.

But I confess that I long for Christ in a way I never have before. I long for Him to heal my friends, heal these hearts, and to bind up wounds. I long for Him to bring about restoration in the midst of darkness, and then I stop right where I’m sitting because I remember . . .

He came into darkness.

He was not surrounded by a world full of rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies. He was born right into a dark, unknown world, full of uncertainty and hatred, and yet He was called the Prince of Peace.

And this year, I long for Him.

I long for Him to hold my friends that sit with an empty nursery, to hold their hearts tightly and whisper into their pain and hear their angry questions. I long for Him to heal my sweet friend and her husband, whose entire paradigm of life is now something I cannot imagine, fathom, or begin to understand.

I long for Him to usher in peace to the little corners of our worlds, in the brokenhearted places we dare not say aloud. And during this season of Advent, I am not ashamed in my questioning, no–begging.

Christ, I beg of you to come close.

We beg you to be close to us.

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